This month-long series of blog posts will explain author websites and offer tips and writing strategies for an effective author website. It alternates between a day of technical information and a day of writing content. By the end of the month, you should have a basic author website up and functioning. The Table of Contents lists the topics, but individual posts will not go live until the date listed. The Author Website Resource Page offers links to tools, services, software and more.
Yes, I Want to Talk with My Readers and Fans!
You are going to all the trouble of putting up an Author Website so readers can find you. PLEASE make it easy for them to have a conversation with you. You need to decide how you want people to contact you. Do you want to connect on a social media platform ONLY? That may sound ideal, but what if your reader doesn’t use this platform or that one. Do you make them come to you, or do you make it simple for them? Of course, I think you should make it simple for them and provide an email address. (If your site is targeted at children at all, please read and comply with all COPPA regulations–the Child Online Protection Policy Rule. Also see a later post on Privacy Policies.)
Do you want them to email you directly or use a contact form? It’s personal preference. I’ve never had problems with having my email on the site, but you may not want to do that. Fortunately, there are simple, easy ways to provide contact info.
Social Media Links
To provide social media links, either find a theme that provides them as part of the design or use a WordPress plugin.
The theme I use on this site is WPAttorney and it includes those icons you see at the top of the page and a way to link each to my various social media pages. There were more options than you see, I just used the ones I needed.
You can also use the linking icon on the editor of your WordPress post/page. It’s the small chain icon. Just add this as a link: Mailto:Famous@FamousAuthorWebsite.com (Of course, fill in your email address!).
Put this text link where ever you like.
Contact Forms Plugins
For those who prefer not to have direct mail links, you can use a contact form. This presents a form that readers fill in with their contact information and a message. The Contact Form plugin then emails you the info and you can respond as you like. Contact Form 7 by Takayuki Miyoshi is often mentioned as a strong candidate for this function. Search for it in Plugins/AddNew.
Do you Need a Separate Contact Page?
On this site, I’ve chosen to include the social media icons at the top of every page/post. Do I need a separate Contact Page? I decided not to do that. I include contact info on the ABOUT page, and those persistent icons, and feel that’s enough. But you might want a separate page with its own link on the HOME page. For example, if you do school visits or lots of speaking, you may want to explain your services and provide contact information in that context. You’ll need to decide how and where to put CONTACT links, but I highly recommend that you put them somewhere! And don’t make readers hunt for it.
How do you like readers to contact you? Social media–what platform? Email? Contact form? Or have you found a different way? You can Tweet me @FictionNotes! Or use the icons at the top of the page to connect on YOUR favorite platform. Of course, commenting on this blog is also contacting me. I’d love to hear what you’re doing with your Author Website.