Updated: Jul 25, 2022
A Book Without a Website Can Be a Dead End for Future Sales
By Kate Rafferty / selfpublishingUS.com
Writing a book can be challenging but selling a book can be daunting.
We believe that the number-one error most authors make is not having a website ready before their book is ready to launch.
Authors are so focused on their physical book that they miss an incredible opportunity to market it, that is, to include their website in their book’s ancillary information.
Put Your Website in Your Book!
Your website is like a business card, it provides a quick way for people to contact you for interviews, press kits, or to find out how to purchase more copies of the book. If they loved your book and your website gathers email addresses, you could be growing your list for your next book. Or they could easily go to your website to find out how to provide a testimonial.
Where exactly do you put your website in your book? You can include your website domain on the copyright page and/or the About the Author page. Print books should have just the domain name (e.g., selfpublishingus.com); however, ebooks should have the full, hyperlinked URL (e.g., https://www.SelfPublishingUS.com) so that people can click on it on their digital device.
What Type of Website Do I Need?
AUTHOR SITE: An author website is a website with a domain name of the author’s name (e.g., myname.com). These websites can start off as a one-page site with a description of the author and the book on the home page. In the future as you write more books, you can add pages to the site for each of your books, perhaps even a blog.
BOOK SITE: If you are an author with one book in your heart, you might want to create a book website (i.e., the domain would be closer to the book title). Again, this could be a single page website. But if the topic of the book is something you’d like to continue writing about, you might consider adding a blog to the website.
BUSINESS WEBSITE: Some doctors, lawyers, and business owners have websites and then write a book as a subject-matter expert. These authors already have their website; what they need to do now is to prepare a web page on their site for the book and think about offering speaking engagements.
Domain Name Availability
Another reason to do this early is that the domain name that you want might not available!
What do you do? You have to get creative. There are two parts of the domain that you can get creative with: before the dot and after the dot (DomainName.com):
The top-level domain – this is the “.com” and there are many other options besides country codes.
The second-level domain – this is the area before the .com (e.g., the selfpublishingus in the selfpublshingus.com domain).
Consider adding dashes to the domain (e.g., if myname.com isn’t available then perhaps use my-name.com).
Consider adding the word “author” or “book” (e.g., katerafferty-author.com).
Note: before you register a domain name, read the next section about email availability.
An Author’s Email Address and Email Availability
Many authors make the mistake of using multiple email addresses, and some personal emails are just not professional enough for the author of a book.
You will probably use this author email address for your website, social media, or perhaps put it in your book. If you create a KDP Amazon account and/or a Goodreads account, they should all be with the same author’s email address.
Even if you only plan to have one book, consider creating an author email address. If possible, your email and your website should be exactly the same or very similar. This can get tricky.
Here are some different options for the types of author email address you can use:
My Domain: If my website domain is xyz123.com, then I can purchase a domain-based email through my website hosting company (e.g., email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org).
Third-Party Email: If my website domain is xyz123.com, and I want a Gmail or other free email account, go to the email provider and see if you can email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org is available. If unavailable, you might want to start over with another domain for your website and email.
Business Email: If you already own a website and your book helps provide professionalism and validity, use your business email address. Only use a work email if you are the owner of the business, the domain, and the email.
TIP: If the idea of another email address gives you a headache, just create it and have it forwarded to your personal or work email.
When you plan your book launch party and your marketing campaign, don’t forget to add the creation of your website and email address to the top of the list!