Designing Your Website

Designing Your Website
Published on: Nov 9, 2014

During my interview with Ms. Beck, she said something that made me think hard. “I should have polished my website and made sure the look, feel and features appealed to fans of my genre, (as opposed to just me).” And it dawned on me. Does my website look like it appeals to my fans and not just me? What are my fans wanting? I looked back to my demographic. Fantasy fans. And what do fantasy fans love more than anything? Complex and intriguing, thought provoking and beauty.

I looked at my website and realized it had none of that appeal. If you’ve been following me since the October, you noticed the three upgrades to my site.  That is what happened.  The template I had been using looked more like something a safari adventurer would be into. I was targeting the African Safari Adventurer. Sure, the template looked cool and appealing. But is that who would love my book? I changed the template.

My reason for reviewing this particular topic today is because:

many aspiring authors do not have a website of their own yet.
I have invested the last few articles to building a platform and that begins with a website.
Most of you, like me, have almost no budget, and will be doing it yourself.

When you venture out into the world of website design, take a moment to step back and ask yourself what your genre looks like. Lately, I have seen many author websites that strongly reflect an author, but not the genre. Why does this matter? I couldn’t tell you what the author writes based on what I saw. Some sites failed to keep me there long enough to find out.

Shop the sites of professional authors who write in your genre. See what they are doing and try your best to mirror it while adding a unique twist of your own. When someone opens your website, your genre should be the first thing that comes to mind. You should be second.

Here at Brain to Books, I wanted to give guests the feeling that they had stepped into an online coffee shop. The kind with large leather chairs, a fireplace in the corner, a hot chocolate in one hand and a book in the other. Why? Because I wanted to depict the reader’s “comfort food”: books and a comfortable corner.

If you haven’t built your sight yet, shop around for pictures that resemble your genre best. If you have your website already up and running, take a moment to look it over through a genre reader’s point of view.

Use your website as if it were your book’s cover.

Sci-fi readers love tech and sci-fi pictures with complex computer layouts. Fantasy readers love fantasy pictures that embrace the mood of their genre: beautiful and mystic, perhaps dark and foreboding. If you write for romance, depict the half-naked male women associate with romance novels. Association: that is the key. With one picture, be sure you are evoking one word…and that word should be your genre.

Here’s an exercise for you. Scroll down through this list and try to image a single image with each to best summarize the genre. Yes, I’m stereotyping. That is the purpose of genre and demographics.

Young Adult
Female readers
Male readers
9 to 12 year olds
Tweens Teens
Young Adult
War Veterans
Women’s Fiction

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