It may sound obvious, but did you ever stop to think about WHY people visit an author’s website? Each person who types in your URL or clicks into your site has a particular agenda: Literary agents might want to learn about your latest work-in-progress. Lit mag editors might want to find out more about your publishing history. Fans might want to discover what else is available for them to read.
But no matter the core reason for a person’s visit to your site, every visitor has one thing in common: They all want to learn more about who you are as a person and as a writer. And a good author website will give visitors what they want.
Here are some ways to personalize your author website and show off your personality!
Have fun with the formalities: Although there’s a time and place in a writer’s career for a formal bio, your author website gives you the opportunity to let loose. Write about who you are in your own voice. Provide a true sense of what makes you tick so that curious agents and editors will know you are professional but down-to-earth.
Or, post a formal bio, and then also include a personal note or “Dear Reader” letter about your passion for writing. Talk about what brought you to your love of words. Talk about your hopes and aspirations. Let visitors into your life by using your “About Me” page to share your personality.
Direct your design: An author website is your own private space on the entire World Wide Web, so let your design depict who you are. In the same way that you’d decorate your living room to reflect your taste, decorate your author website.
Take time to think about the feeling you want people to have when visiting your site. Think of the colors that might evoke that mood, the images that would serve to complement the visitor’s overall experience, and the font that will support your goals.
Add a visual element: Personal photos are great tools to show off your real-life personality, especially if they are photos that are special to you. A video or slideshow can help add a unique dynamic to an otherwise typical site.
Socialize with your visitors: The best way to get personal with visitors is by incorporating social media sites like Facebook and Pinterest into your website. Because social networks are updated regularly, you can use your updates to give visitors a sense of what’s going on in your life at any given moment. People can learn more about what you’re reading, how you’re spending your free time, and what you’re interested in. Plus, integrating social media into your author website can help you create long-lasting connections with readers who “like” or “follow” your profiles.
Be accessible: Visitors, especially those interested in your writing, will be pleased when they have the option to interact and ask a question pertaining to your craft or career. Include a contact form so that visitors can write to you without necessarily seeing you personal email address.
Get Personal—But Only To A Point
Remember: Sharing your personality with website visitors doesn’t mean that you have to share everything. Keep your sharing friendly but professional. Don’t post personal information (like location, birthdays, children’s names, etc.). Instead, focus on showcasing your personality rather than your personal life.
These days, authors are expected to do much of their own marketing and promotion, and demonstrating to literary agents and editors that you have a warm, inviting personality can suggest that you’ll be a writer who is “easy to like” online. So don’t underestimate the important of letting your light shine!
BIO: Writer’s Relief is an author’s submission service that has been helping creative writers make submissions since 1994. Their work is highly recommended in the writing community, and there are TONS of freebies, publishing leads, and writers’ resources on their website. Check it out!