Blogging for authors

How to set up your author website

Derek Murphy


Photo by Anna Auza on Unsplash

This is the preface to my revised book marketing guide, you can find the whole series on Medium or download the free PDF.

Setting up your author website

The first thing you should know about making an author website is that it can be a marketing black hole. It’s very easy to get it wrong, so it can kill sales. If you spend money on marketing or advertising but the lead dies on your website, your book will never have a chance.

That’s why it can be more effective to send people directly to a Facebook or Amazon page, because at least things will look good. It can also suck up a ton of money (if you pay several thousand dollars for your website) which you are unlikely to earn back, and time (if you obsess about small details, colors, fonts, positioning — rather than picking something easy that works).

And because I’ve seen so many awful author websites, I’m tempted to tell you to skip it, because it isn’t worth the effort and money. But that’s not really true either, for a few reasons.

As author William Hertling discovered when marketing his book with a targeted Facebook campaign, “People I sent to my landing page (his website) were twice as likely to purchase as people I sent directly to the Amazon page. The landing page was more effective at convincing visitors to purchase the book” (Indie & Small Press Book Marketing).

This is probably because even people who were marginally interested enough in the book to click the ad needed more convincing and information. They weren’t ready to buy — so when they were taken to the Amazon page, they backed out. Whereas after spending a few minutes on William’s website, they could read a bit about the book and the author without feeling pressured, and were more likely to buy the book.

But there’s a bigger reason to make an author website: you need to create your own seat of power. You need to be able to control your relationship with your online connections.

And most importantly, you need to start an email list.

As Tim Grahl writes in Your First 1000 Copies:

“Your #1 goal as an author should be to grow your email list as much…



Derek Murphy

I rent castles and chase kittens into dark alleys. PhD in in esoteric literature, creativity alchemist for authors, finish your best work @