As a self-publishing author, you’re the one driving your promotional efforts. As you sketch out your marketing efforts, you’ll invest time in a number of different elements. What’s your core message as an author to your audience? What social media platforms will you use to communicate with your prospective readers?
Your website, in particular, deserves a lot of thought. From the design to the content, it’s your basecamp for all of your marketing endeavors. It’s where your prospective readers will get info about you, your book, upcoming releases, signings, and lots more.
There’s one space on your website where a lot of that info can go for easy reader access: the sidebar. So, today, we’re going to focus on what you should – and should not – include in the sidebar of your author website.
Social Media Information
Your readers want to know how to follow you and the best way to do that is to be accessible via social media… and, so, keep yourself discoverable by including links to all of your social media platforms on your website.
It’s important to note, though, that you should pick your social media platforms carefully. Find the ones (or even just one) that work for you and advertise that as the best way to follow you online. So, if you’re most at home on Twitter, make that your social media platform of choice. Don’t feel obligated to force yourself to use other networks as it inevitably ends with a poorly cultivated page that can turn readers off because it hasn’t been updated in weeks.
Links to Buy the Book
You, no doubt, put a lot of thought into how and where you are selling your book, so let your readers know! It doesn’t have to be pushy (no one likes the hard sell), but a simple header that says “Where to Buy My Books” with links or icons to Amazon, B&N, etc. gives your readers a quick, easy way to get your book in their hands.
You may not be a prolific blogger, but if you’re planning to occasionally update your website with news, you should give your readers a way to subscribe and have those updates delivered directly to their email. There are lots of options for subscriptions, so do some research and decide which one is best for you… and double check that they have a widget that you can put easily into your sidebar for snappy signup!
Remember to Choose Your Content Wisely
Don’t feel like you have to cram EVERYTHING into your sidebar. Most of the time, it’s best to keep it simple. Messy or cluttered navigation can turn readers off. Rather than digging in to learn more about you and your books, they’ll navigate away. So, no matter what information you decide is vital to your sidebar, make sure you’ve thought about why it’s there.