An author site should connect readers to an author’s books, be able to buy the books, and let them learn about the author and connect with them in multiple ways. An author site is an online marketing hub for an author.
A good basic site, frankly a good advanced site has the following attributes. A good author site needs your cover and book summary, reviews and media mentions, events and links to them and the ability to add a video and an excerpt. Readers want to learn about who you are so your photo and bio are a things to add. Lastly, they want to connect with you so adding links to a Facebook page and other social media are must haves as well. Some authors like to build mailing lists and we recommend using MailChimp and linking it in as well. If you want to add links to other writing you could add them as media mentions. Some authors want to blog on their sites but we believe it is better to go where the audience is and post on Facebook, Twitter, and for longer form on platforms like Medium and WattPad all of which can be linked into a TitlePager site.
When we built TitlePager we tried to simplify this process for authors and create really good marketing tools all on a dynamic page that looks good across devices. Amazon’s Author Central pages do something similar but they belong to Amazon and not the author. They show related books and aren’t really a home for an author. The same goes for Goodreads but that is also owned by Amazon so you won’t find links to buy at other online stores or even publisher owned stores. We wanted to create the ease of a platform but give ownership to authors and feel that we have.
TitlePager uses Bowker’s API to power some of the data that flows into the sites we make. For those of you who aren’t familiar with them, Bowker is the official supplier seller of ISBN’s, the Publisher of Books-In-Print, and other key bibliographic data. They power libraries, bookstores, and Amazon. They have information on every book in print and also every forthcoming book with an ISBN. In other words, they are the source you want to use when using book related data. So we naturally turned to them to power parts of TitlePager’s service. When you enter your ISBN we use their API to pull down your cover, your summary, and other bibliographic data that you or your publisher submitted. And they keep this data up to date. So we were really pleased that the chose to partner with us and also really pleased that they issued a press release about it too. Read their press release here.
Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote about Five Books To Make You Less Stupid About The Civil War in The Atlantic. We noticed that the list didn’t have any links to buy or read more about the books so in less than 5 minutes total we made them and gave them all custom sub-domains. You can read more about the books here and buy them from any online store or your local if you like
In Caddyshack there is a scene in which Bill Murray deadheads flower after flower while having a running commentary of the cinderella story at the Masters. In the 1930’s a real unknown amateur golfer named Ray Billows, was known as the Cinderella Kid. The author Tom Buggy, chose TitlePager to make a site for his biography of Billows
and since it was such a well-done niche title we wanted to ask him some questions about his decision to self-publish and his marketing plan.
Is this your first book?
The Billows book is not the first book I have written, but it’s the first one to be published commercially. In the late 1990s I authored a centennial history book of Dutchess Golf and Country Club in Poughkeepsie (116 pages). That book was distributed only to club members and to some golf organizations, although it is now being sold as a used book by Abe Books and on Ebay (it has an ISBN). I have writing experience dating back to a high school newspaper and I started my post-college days as a technical writer. I have also had a few magazine articles published.
Why did you take the self-publishing route?
I decided to self-publish because I did not think a first-time author could get a contract from a traditional publisher for a niche golf book about an amateur golfer from 80+ years ago, and because of cost factors. I spent only about $500 to publish the Billows book, $300 of which was for a cover design by a professional designer. I did not hire an editor, but the manuscript was reviewed by Vassar College English professor Bob DeMaria, a fellow golf club member. The paperback edition of the book is printed by CreateSpace, Amazon’s self-publishing facility; the hardbound edition is printed by IngramSpark (CreateSpace doesn’t do hardbound books). Both are Print on Demand (POD). Because of a quality problem with dust jackets produced by IngramSpark, I plan to unpublish the current hardbound edition and publish a casewrapped hardbound edition via Lulu.
What is your marketing plan?
I am doing my own marketing. I believe that the niche nature of the book precludes use of traditional book marketing approaches (except for social media). My major focus has been coverage in the magazines and websites of state and regional golf associations, especially those in New York and Wisconsin. I have also successfully solicited articles by sportswriters in those states, and coverage in national golf blogs. I have had articles about the book published in local newspapers, and have used some paid advertising in the Poughkeepsie Journal (which I plan to repeat pre-Christmas).
We wanted to make it easy for authors to include excerpts on their sites as a way for readers to sample books. Authors can upload a .pdf and it appears in an in-line reader that enables visitors to read on desktop, tablet, and mobile. Authors can use this for a sample chapter, a recipe, illustrations, graphic novel spreads, or something extra like a reader’s guide. It’s great to see TitlePager users like Clotilde Zehnder taking advantage of this feature for her book Arthur and Kip.
To add an excerpt to a TitlePager site you simply go to the admin and upload a .pdf. in the same area you would link a YouTube or Vimeo movie.
Lulu was kind enough to include TitlePager in a great Facebook Live Video about website builders for authors. Then they called us “the perfect website builder for indie authors.” As you make your site on TitlePager you can add an optional buy button, so all you need is your link to the Lulu store.