Thursday, March 3, 2016

Do Hybrid Authors Need a Website? Yes. Here's Why @kayelleallen #MFRWauthor

Definition: Hybrid Author -- one who publishes in more than one way, using any combination of traditional, small press, epress, and/or self-publishing.

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There are more reasons authors need a website, but these are the most important, in my opinion. What do I know? As a hybrid author myself, I have marketed my books for over twelve years, and have been a mentor to many. I'm the owner of The Author's Secret, and work with authors every day. Plus, I'm the founder of Marketing for Romance Writers, which has nearly 3k members on Yahoo and over 6k members on Facebook.
  1. When you are self-published, your books are found online, not while a reader is casually walking past a shelf in a bookstore. A casual shopper might see your book on Amazon, or Barnes and Noble, and other sites. But a website gives readers a place to research your books and find out more about you. If a reader likes your book, or wants to know more, where can he or she go to learn about you?
  2. A website with your name as the domain ( provides a place without ads that pop up like some of the "free" sites. Readers who see popups and ads spend less time on the site. If they click one of the ads, they are taken away from your site. With your own domain, you can control whether clicking a link opens in a new window, which allows readers to shop, and then come back.
  3. A website is an investment in your business and your future. If writing is a hobby for you, and you are only in it for the fun, save your money and do a free site. If writing is what wakes you up in the morning and puts you to bed (late) at night, then do yourself and your future readership a favor and become serious about promoting yourself with a website.
  4. A website gives you the opportunity to judge how well known you are. Google Analytics is one of the free tools out there to let you interpret website statistics. (it's not as scary as it sounds, trust me) For example, I know that today, 38% of visitors to my website get there by directly typing my name (and adding .com) into the address bar of their browser.
  5. With your own domain, you can have several professional email accounts with your author name. ( It's okay to use another email account such as Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, etc. as well. You can have your professional email accounts forward there. But you'll need a pro account for contacting publishers, review sites, sending press releases, and for business cards or your website. I use several different email addresses. When I do a live event I can use a new one, and others for anything promoted online or in print. When I get an email, I can tell immediately where the person got the address. This helps me judge effectiveness of an event's reach.
  6. Adding a blog (such as Wordpress) to your own domain means people who read your blog come directly to your site. No one will shut down your blog if it belongs to you and is hosted on your own domain.
  7. A website gives you a place to sell books and to gather contacts for your newsletter. This is vital. A newsletter is a list of people who have expressed an interest in your books. Would you not want to know who they are? Of course you would!
Are there other reasons? Yes. I'd love to hear yours.

What if you can't afford a dedicated domain name?
  1. If you have no money and you are just starting out, scrimp and save and buy that domain. Go without two new books. It will cost you about the same.
  2. Ask on Marketing for Romance Writers  for advice as well. You'll find lots of people ready to help.
  3. If you don't know how to create a site, create one with wordpress. You can get beautiful free themes and do customization on your own by following directions online.
  4. Ask around, and see who built their own sites. See if a friend will help. There is power in networking.
Bottom line, a website is your best bet for creating a place for readers to find out more about you and your books. Make the most of the opportunity. A blog will bring people to your site, so if you've been thinking about creating one, while you're creating your site is a good time to start.
Have something to add to this? Leave a comment below.
Kayelle Allen is a best selling American author. Her unstoppable heroes and heroines include contemporary every day folk, role-playing immortal gamers, futuristic covert agents, and warriors who purr.
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