How Many Websites Does a Hybrid Author Need?

How Many Websites Does a Hybrid Author Need?

How many websites does a hybrid author need?Answer: 2 + the number of books they have written. One for their imprint, one main website and a one-page website for each book.

Okay, this is in a perfect world and without regard to budgets or time. But if you are a hybrid author—an author who self-publishes and is traditionally published—chances are that you are a cut above most of the authors out there, certainly new authors. You are making money from writing, people clearly buy your books, and you sense that the more you write, the more successful you’ll become.

Hybrid authors understand the importance of a professional online presence

How many opportunities are missed because someone—the media, a reviewer, event organizer—either found us online and didn’t like what they found, or tried to find us, and couldn’t? You’ll never receive the inquiry that isn’t made. Think about it.

A few weeks ago I was contacting blog tour companies about representing a client’s book on a blog tour. This client is serious about her publishing venture:

  • She established an LLC in the name of her publishing company.
  • She bought a series of ISBNs in the name of her new publishing company.
  • She invested in professional editing (multiple rounds, in fact).
  • She invested in professional book design and eBook programming.

But her online presence? She created a single website in the name of the book. That’s it. No publisher/imprint website.

In this case the author/publisher did everything you would expect a publisher to do, except create an online presence for the imprint. So when I heard back from the blog tour company—my number one choice for managing this tour—the response was:

I took a look at the book, and I can't find any mention of the publisher online, so I assume the book is self-published. If that's the case, I would want to refer you to [other firm 1 or other firm 2], both of whom work with a lot of independent authors and put together effective campaigns for self-published books.

Oh, the Humanity!

Just like that, this publisher was dismissed as “inferior” because she lacked a presence separate from her regular website (which isn’t professionally designed to begin with). Keep in mind that this gatekeeper never even saw the book.

There are three categories of websites for hybrid publishers, or for that matter any author who has self-published multiple books

Your Main Website. This is your primary online presence and the domain name is probably your name, although it could be a business name if that name is representative of the scope of your writing. If you blog, you blog here. All your books are listed regardless of publisher/imprint name. It’s also the place where you connect with readers: ideally you use it to collect emails for your mailing list and certainly you add links to your social media profiles and a calendar of events.

Book Website(s). This I consider to be optional, but helpful. Creating a website for each book can get expensive but if you /plan marketing around a catchy title or topic, it’s a good way to collect extra visitors when they go searching for these terms. Think of these as one page brochures, or the back cover of a book. (The Internet marketing term to describe this is “landing page.”)

If the website gets traction you can always expand the scope, but in the beginning all you need is:

  1. Your book cover.
  2. A book description and your bio with a picture.
  3. Links to your book in online stores.
  4. Links to your main website.
  5. Links to your social media profile(s) so people can connect with you.

Here’s a good one-book-website example (note the domain name) and I created this website for my book, Register Your Book.

UPDATE: Also read my article, Are book websites a waste of money, or smart marketing?

Imprint or Publisher Website. Here is the website most self-publishers forget. You buy your ISBNs using this name, you fill out the publisher field in KDP (etc.) with this name, but you have no presence in the event people come looking for you. This website can be even simpler than a book website. For example, the minimum requirements are:

  1. Book covers and brief metadata for all the books published under your imprint.
  2. A reference to where the books can be purchased.
  3. A media kit for each book (press release, author Q&A, reviews, blurbs, author bio, an excerpt or chapter).
  4. A link to your main website and book websites, if any.
  5. A reference to contacting the publisher for review copies.
  6. A reference to contacting the publisher about reaching the author about speaking, writing or interview opportunities.

So in other words, this becomes a funnel for PR activity. If you have a publicist, great. If not, this can serve as a presence to receive public relations inquiries 24-7. Just keep in mind that you'll want to have a way to respond so you can maintain your distance.

By the way, it isn’t good enough to put this page on your main website, intermixed with your author brand. The goal here is to create separation between you and your publishing company. That’s what serious publishers do. Are you serious?

photo credit: Jisc via photopin cc

2 thoughts on “How Many Websites Does a Hybrid Author Need?”

  1. Margaret langstaff

    As a former NY trade publisher, can attest to the soundness of your advice. Great post, but the work involved for the self-publishing author (however savvy) is immense if he or she is to do it right. Super blog. Right on.

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