Author websites vary greatly. Some offer much content; some consist of a blog.
When launching my romance novel review site and The Romantic Editor, I researched the hell out of author websites.
Most authors did something right. A few did everything wrong (and their sales show it).
Then there are authors with epic websites. Websites so effective they make me want to delete my template and start from scratch.
6 Author Sites to Learn From
#1 Cynthia Eden. Eden’s site is sexy. The red and black colors, the illusion of fire and smoke in the header, the torn picture on the right—sexy. Her name is in bold white font and, if my screen is showing it correctly, her white-font name is whiter than the background for her text. Now that’s sexy and smart.
Scroll down and the most surprising feature awaits: plain-text font. Eden’s trying to convey a message for viewers to buy her books, and the plain-text font helps deliver it. We’re accustomed to reading plain font. Our default word processors are set to plain font. We understand plain-text font. (And underlined hyperlinks. Which Eden’s author website also employs.)
#2 Christine Feehan. Feehan’s website delivers an overkill of information. She can justify this because she’s written over forty world-building novels. When writing paranormal, you want the reader to get lost in your world. Feehan’s website feeds readers’ obsessions by providing information for each novel along with trailers, chapter excerpts, and T-shirts.
Then, her community page (where you must subscribe prior to viewing) gives access to sound bites of the ancient language used in her Dark series and other behind-the-scenes information. With all the links and pages demanding attention, Feehan’s author website also uses a plain-text font.
#3 Pamela Clare. Clare writes historical and suspense, but her site colors favor the suspense tone. Which is understandable, because the first book cover you see is part of Clare’s better-selling romantic suspense series. Scroll down, and you see sexy man chest and Clare’s latest historical novel.
Noticing the plain-text font yet?
Clare’s social media is easy to find, and her links are clearly displayed at the top with a gray background—drawing viewers’ attention. Try to scroll down again. That’s right, Clare’s home page isn’t even a full scroll. There are countless studies published explaining why this is smart.
Click on Clare’s Contact tab, and you’ll see my favorite feature. Clare has a mailing address for herself and her agent. Clever, clever Clare.
#4 Tiffany Reisz. Reisz’s website is modern, sleek, and highlights her tag line it’s not erotica until someone gets hurt. One visit to her website and viewers are sure of its erotic intent. They’re not sure she’s an author, but those who are curious—and there will be a whole heck of a lot of them—will click further. (And those who aren’t curious aren’t in Reisz’s potential reader pool, anyway.)
Reisz’s home page does not scroll, and her entire design is streamlined, classy. Reisz’s author website is minimalist, easy to use, and provides a soothing experience with its calm gray and white tones. (Reader be warned. Reisz’s erotica novels will not make you feel calm or soothed.) ((Ms. Reisz has since told me she writes BDSM erotica, and those wishing to achieve calm and soothe-like feelings might benefit from whale songs. She even provided me with a link.))
#5 Lynn Raye Harris. I’ve traveled to Harris’s site a lot in the past few months, and on first glance it looks like an ordinary, well-thought-out author’s website. But Harris writes category romances for Harlequin. Category romance writers for Harlequin publish a lot of books in a short time and often have changes in covers.
Haris’s author site itemizes her books available in the US and UK (on separate pages, with book covers, buy links) and offers a printable book list with ISBN numbers, release dates, countries, and types of format the books are sold in (mass paperback, large print). That attention to detail makes it impossible for readers to miss a Harris book and lands Harris in one of the 6 Author Sites to Learn From.
#6 Lauren Dane. Dane’s site appears average with an appealing layout and genre-sorted bookshelf. Click on her Media tab and not only do you have her mailing address and publicity and agent contacts—you have zipped files for Dane’s profile picture and thirty-two novel covers. Below each file is the file type, dpi, and pixels. In a digital age, Dane’s website makes it easy for media, bloggers, and fans to access quality files of her covers.
Great job, ladies.
I learn from you.