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Author/Publisher Websites: How much better could they be?

03 Dec 2019 9:59 AM | Geoffrey Dutton

Let me ask a favor, one I would be happy to return. While this blog is pretty quiescent, it seems a good venue to reach out to the authors, self-publishers, and indies who collectively make up IPNE. Are your notifications on?

The favor I'm asking is for you to visit my publishing website and rummage around in it (It has a dozen or so pages, most of which concern my novel Turkey Shoot, and a blog). Then tell me what I'm doing wrong, and if any ameliorations occur to you, what  I could do better. In return, I will cast an eye on your online enterprise, if you care for feedback.

I read a lot of columns and listen to podcasts telling authors how to approach the hardest part of their job, publicity. They tend to play up the importance of websites as sales magnets. And so, having run a Wordpress blog for about five years, I used it to publicize the novel I was writing between 2015 and 2018. Among those pages were a lead-in, synopsis, backstory, a sample chapter, a set of podcasts of me reading chapters, and even a list of the people and places that populated the story line, and also photos evocative of places where the action took place. All in all, it was a lot more collateral than most authors put online.

When it came time to publish, I opted for the Hybrid model with a publisher that gave me all the rights to the book and allowed me to publish under my own imprint. And thus, Perfidy Press was born. And of course it needed a website that would put my novel up front, as opposed to the back pages of my blog.

I picked a cute URL, bought it for under a dollar, signed up for hosting, and set up another Wordpress. The whole exercise took less than a month to get working. It went online about a month before my launch date (9/11/18, selected as appropriate for a thriller featuring an Islamic Terrorist). After a few months of little usage, I changed the theme, edited some of my copy, and embedded a video of an interview I had before the book came out. There's even a press kit, and of course a pop-up announcing the award IPNE bestowed upon the book last month ("Courage in Fiction").

I choose not to set up any eCommerce. Even though it probably wouldn't have been hard to do, I had decided I didn't want to involve myself in fulfilling orders, and simply directed readers to the online bookseller of their choice with links to my book at Amazon, Apple, Kobo, Indiebound, and B&N. Was this a mistake?

I keep tweaking it, but am never quite sure how engaging Perfidy.Press is for someone who has stumbled upon it. Few comments come my way and even fewer new subscriptions to the TinyLetter newsletter that I occasionally emit to 140 victims, most of whom I coerced onto my list in the first place. At least, only half a dozen have unsubscribed. And for the record, I haven't spent a lick of time optimizing SEO, black art that it is. Am I missing out on significant traffic as a result? What do you think?

So check it out and sock it to me. You can find me in the member directory, but just in case here's an email address. And feel free to comment underneath this post if it isn't for eyes only.

And if you have a website you want checked out, give a shout.

Thanks y'all.

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