To Build or Not To Build: When to Create an Author Website
“Should I create a website to promote my textbook?” This is a question we often hear from authors after their book has launched on the national market. And the answer is: maybe.
If your sole motivation for creating a website is marketing your textbook, the effort may be greater than the reward. You will likely have marketing webpages created either by your publisher or third-party distributors (such as Amazon, VitalSource, etc.) where the details about your book and the ability to purchase it will be readily available. To avoid redundancy, if you create a website, it should significantly expand beyond this baseline information.
Ideally, a website should serve as part of a larger strategy—building your author profile. As a textbook author, you can help to cultivate interest in your book by also cultivating interest in yourself, your expertise, and your contributions to your discipline. Think of a website less as a marketing tool for your book and more of a marketing tool for you.
If you have other items to share or promote alongside your book, a website could be a powerful promotional tool for you.
Content to Include on Your Website
When you publish a textbook, it will be available for purchase within your publisher’s title catalog and through any third-party distributors with whom they partner, such as Amazon, barnesandnoble.com, etc.
Knowing that these informational pages will be available, you want to ensure your website brings something new to the table. It should expand upon your title listing and feature information or content that is not already available on other webpages.
For example, you can use a website to host a blog where you post weekly musings about hot topics in your discipline. You can host a podcast and upload episodes to your website. You can craft an in-depth author biography that explains your educational journey, your passions, the reasons you decided to write a textbook, etc. You can post links to peer-reviewed articles in journals and other publications to showcase your research. You can advertise speaking engagements or upcoming appearances. You can highlight anything that elevates your brand as an author and your credibility as an educator and an expert within your field.
When you have more robust offerings on your website, visitors can learn more about you, which can then inspire greater interest in your book and your work.
Create a Full List of Your Writing Credits
If you’ve worked with multiple publishers to publish textbooks, a website is a perfect opportunity to group all of your publications in a central location. If you’ve published works in peer-reviewed journals or other educational outlets, you can and should include a full listing of these publications on your site. A full list of your writing credits can speak volumes about your experience, thought leadership, and credibility as an expert within your discipline.
Before You Begin, Consider Your Time and Resources
While there are many programs and platforms that make website creation more accessible and achievable than ever before, creating and maintaining a website is no small feat. Most of the work is involved in the setup of a site, but you’ll also want to ensure you feel comfortable adding content, making updates, and troubleshooting any technical issues that may arise.
If you have the ability or resources, you may want to enlist someone’s help to build the website and teach you how to navigate the back end.
Already Have a Website?
If you already have a website developed to promote a podcast, a blog, etc., there is no need to create a separate website. You can simply add news about your textbook’s publication on a new page or in a new section on your existing site.
Cognella Author Examples
Dr. Edward Neukrug – https://counselingbooksetc.com/
Features: Books from multiple publishers in one catalog, educational videos available for purchase, information on speaking engagements, author biography, contact form
Anthony G. James, Jr. – https://sites.google.com/view/prof-ajames/home?authuser=1
Features: Link to educator profile at Miami University, link to Marriage and Family Review (of which he is the editor-in-chief), The Editor’s In podcast, contact form
Sara Safari – http://sarasafari.com/
Features: Promotes her as an author, speaker, leader, and career coach; information on speaking engagements; explanations of the causes she believes in and is affiliated with; author biography; apparel shop; video content; blog posts
Benjamin R. David – https://www.benjaminrdavid.com/
Features: Video content; author biography; online courses available for purchase; contact form
Jeffrey A. Kottler, Ph.D. – https://www.jeffreykottler.com/
Features: Author biography; information on speaking engagements; books from multiple publisher in one catalog; video content; book reviews; interviews
Nada J. Yorke – https://www.yorkeconsulting.com/
Features: Consulting services, including training, curricula, videos, activity downloads, and more
Dr. Monique M. Chouraeshkenazi – https://www.moniquechouraeshkenazi.com/
Features: Author biography, list of scholarly research and publications; military career details; awards; information on teaching and course development; booking information