Does a writer need a website?

Does a writer need a website? Absolutely. It represents you and your writing to the world. You can control what is on your website and how you reach out to your audience. It is your homebase. As Kimberley Grabas puts it, your website is “a marketing and networking hub and a portal that allows communication to flow between an author and his or her readers.” ( Kimberley has some tips to pass on.

What should the webpage be about? The writer and writings. This is where you sell yourself and your writing. It is not a place for sharing family photos.

What is the purpose of the website? To promote the writer and writings. The website promotes you, it promotes your books and it promotes your ideas.

Who is the target audience? Current and prospective readers. Readers might want to find out more about you and your books; prospective readers might check you out and then be encouraged to read your books as a result.

What should be on the website? Writer bio, book info, contact info, events etc.

Website or Facebook page? Possibly both though people seem to find out more about books by doing web searches and reading websites ( Some authors have author Facebook accounts in which they only write about their books and connect with their fans. It sounds like a really good idea.

How often should you update your website? Ideally, monthly. If people return to your website they want to see something new and some evidence that you are engaging with your readership. If you post something new on a regular basis, then you will get return traffic. I bought a template for my website which I have been busy adapting using HTML and Javascript. I have total control over my website, which I think is essential for writers.

What about a blog? A blog is a good way of communicating with a wider community on a regular basis and getting feedback on what you are writing. There is some good information on setting up a blog for writers on  this website:

How expensive is a website to run? If you can do a bit of the HTML stuff then creating a website is actually cheap. Notepad comes free with Windows and you need a little coding knowledge to use it. Professional, and easier, software is Dreamweaver. This is expensive, but you can download a free trial. Dreamweaver allows you to have design view (for non-techies) or coding view (for techies). You can create beautiful website with a little persistance. Alternatively, you can buy and template and adapt it, get someone to make the site for you (very expensive) or build a basic site using Blogger, WordPress or any of the other free alternatives. It will cost a few pounds to buy a domain name and around £30 a year for hosting, depending on the package you buy. I am currently trialling a new version of my website ( which is a template I bought on the Internet and then adapted using Notepad.

Does a writer need a Twitter account? Not unless you are really really famous and people are going to follow your every word or you have a brand new book out and you want to publicize it. Then, I would consider have a book specific Twitter account.

Indie writers need all the promotion and marketing tools they can get so a dedicated website has to be a must, in my opinion.




London Book Fair: Book Discovery for Authors

The London Book Fair opened to visitors at 9 am today at Earls Court in London and was an immediate success. Who knew there were so many print publishing companies, ditigal publishers, indie publishers, publishing platforms and digital developments out there? The adjective “amazing” doesn’t even cover it.

I got to talk to so many interesting and helpful people today. I need to mention the guy I talked to at CreateSpace who gave me lots of interesting ideas on publishing and marketing my Photoshop Manual; the guy I talked to at Kobo also told me about their author site, which was something I did not know about and now I can’t wait to explore (I bought a Kobo a few months ago to sit alongside my Kindle) and a couple from a Korean company explained their new online platform for creating ebooks (more about that in a later post). I got my photo taken by a professional photographer and will be using the finished result on my website

On to the topic of what I really learned today. I actually only listened in to one whole panel discussion/seminar and that was Book Discovery for Authors which featured Andrew Rhomberg of Jellybooks, Joanna Penn a Blogger & Author and the fantastic Mark Coker of Smashwords. A couple of years ago I put the first draft of my second novel up on Smashwords and 450 people downloaded it in a weekend. Thank you people.

So, back to what I really learned today.

  • As an  author you need to have more than one book available. If somone likes a book you have written then they are going to want to read more than one.
  • If you have written more than one book, then you need to make one book permanently free to attract readers. If they like the free book then the readers will be prepared to pay for the next one. If one book is free, then readers are more likely to pay a premium for another book in the same series.
  • No one can keep up with their readers as they will finish reading one of your books faster than you can write the next one. Since you need to keep your readers interested and on your side, hook up with other writers in the same genre and promote each others books. When your reader has finished your books then they can go to theirs and stay happy until you have a new book out.
  • Have an email list, a website link, a twitter account and a facebook account and have links to all of them at the end of your book. Your readers want to stay in touch with you and you need to keep them interested in you and your writing. If you can connect with your readers then they will stay with you. Apparently, most book  recommendations are via email. This is a seriously important point.
  • Keeping in touch with your readership is vital. Send them snippets of your new novel as you are writing it to keep them interested in the book and in you.
  • Invest in really good cover design and develop a brand line. A good cover can sell a thousand copies.
  • Give your reader a reason for reading and make your book “outstanding”. If you take your reader to a higher emotional level then the reader will rate you more stars. The more stars you get on Amazon or wherever, the more people are likely to buy your books.
  • Have a good title.
  • Use pre-orders. Pre-orders are counted as sales on day one of publication and send your book high up the best seller chart.
  • Promote, promote, promote.
  • Keep writing.

Since I have to promote my own novel tomorrow, I am off to work on my synopsis.


New promotional Tees

It has finally stopped raining in Neasden, the sun is shining and there are fluffy little clouds in the sky. I have already booked my summer trip to the Baltics and my novel is well on the way to completion. It is time, I think, to think about a promotional effort for the blog, book and website.

Last year, I designed a T to promote my website using an image of Helsinki and had it printed by Vistaprint. The results were good and I have been happily wearing my promotional tees all year.

Promotional Tee

Promotional teeshirt for my website


This year I have decided to go for something a little bolder. The first design is  printed on a light grey cloth and has travel as the theme. The two images I have added promote the Czech Republic and show a collage of photos I created for a calendar and a wall painting I found in a pub on Wenceslas Square. The back of the t-shirt has the URLs of my website and blog.


Promotional T-Shirt 2014


Not a bad effort I think. I can’t wait for it to come.

Next up a promotional T for the book, blog and website combined. I might even go for some business cards as well.