Suggestions for Author Websites - From Readers - Part 2

February 2009

I previously (Part 1) discussed readers' comments regarding layout for an author's website. This month, I am addressing the Book List.

The main reason readers come to an author's website it to learn more about the author's books - so, make sure this information is Up To Date, Accurate, and Easy to Understand. I particularly like a complete chronological list for a couple of reasons, primarily because a title is less likely to be excluded. I have made a few suggestions assuming this is used.

1) Complete Book List - this absolutely needs to be complete. Not just what is currently in print. Not just books that were available for purchase. It should consist of any and all stories that have been made available - including free stories. I personally suggest having a complete chronological list, maybe with the most recent at the top of the page, and the oldest at the bottom. There should be a picture of the original cover, and note if there are any additional covers. Also include publisher, publication date, and whether in, or out, of print.

2) Series - All books within a series need to be clearly identified, and the number within the series. So, if all the books are chronological by publication date, then simply include a note that this is "Series XYZ #5". Or, a separate list can be made listing them all together. Of course, that would mean additional work as the books would need to continually be added to the complete book list, as well as any affected series. Whichever method is used, it must always be up to date.

3) Formats - Particularly for ebook authors, note if it is ebook and/or print. However, this can also be applied for identifying whether the title is available as: Hardcover, Trade, Mass Market, Large Print, and Audio.

4) Reissues - Reissued titles need to be clearly identified, particularly if they have been repackaged, either with a new title and/or a new cover. If a title is reissued, it is strongly suggested to note this with the original release, but then input this reissued title in the appropriate place chronologically in the list. Include the cover and title and that it is a reissue. Also mention any changes - such as if it is a re-write, added chapters, if the title has changed, etc. Be sure that all pertinent information is included.

5) Pseudonyms - If you have one, it is recommended to either include the books on this page, or have a link to the appropriate page for these books.

6) Buy Links - if you want the readers to buy your books, make it easy for them. This is particularly true for ebook authors.

7) Excerpts/Reviews - to keep it from being too cluttered; perhaps have links beside the title, one for Excerpts, one for reviews.

I understand that this can be very involved, but based on the feedback I received, it is important to readers.

I would be interested in learning your opinions for author websites. Feel free to e-mail me also with questions or topics you might like to have addressed in future columns. Although I do not make any guarantees, I will take all e-mails into consideration.