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Should You Set up a Book Page on Your Website?

Heidi Thorne is a self-publishing advocate. Author of nonfiction books, eBooks, and audiobooks. Former trade newspaper editor.

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A question came up in an online authors’ community about creating web pages for books on author websites. But are they worth doing?

What Exactly Is a Book Page?

The point of creating a book page is to showcase and market the book for potential readers. On an author’s website, this page is dedicated to information on the author and his book and could include:

  • Book title
  • Book cover image
  • Book description
  • Link to purchase the book, either to another page on the author site or sites such as Amazon
  • Brief author bio, photo, and why he wrote the book
  • Links to any press the book and/or author has received
  • Testimonials or reviews, usually from relevant and recognizable people for the book’s reader audience are the most valuable

But Is Creating a Book Page Worth Doing?

While it never hurts to have information on an author’s book on his author site, there are several issues to consider prior to creating a separate book page. Similar to purchasing a domain name for a book title, the major drawbacks to separate book web pages include:

It Takes Effort and Cost to Create and Maintain the Page . . . Forever

For authors who don’t know how to add pages to their sites themselves, creating a separate book page could involve either effort or cost to hire website help. After the page is published, it will need to be maintained like any other page on the site. This increases costs for the author in time, effort, and maybe even money.

Direct Sales Can be Costly

Some authors believe that selling their books on their own sites can gain them more sales or profits, when compared to the self-publishing royalties they receive from selling their books on sites such as Amazon. This is rarely true since direct sales of books involves online transaction handling and accounting, shipping logistics (handled by the author or a fulfillment service), and sales tax collection and reporting. Consult a CPA on tax and accounting issues that will apply. All of this can obliterate any greater profits achieved by selling direct.

Rather than handling book sales on the author site, it’s typically more cost-effective and efficient to direct visitors to the book’s product page on Amazon or other retail sites where the book will be sold.

Multiple Books Multiply Costs

Once self-published authors get even a taste of success with their books, they often want to do it again . . . and again. So should a book page be set up for every book? As noted earlier, there is a cost to create and maintain pages. Multiple book pages just multiply the cost.

For more prolific authors, creating a web page that lists all books might be more cost-effective, with a new link added for every book published. However, when I did this for my site, I found that I would have to constantly update that page (and sometimes forgot to do so). So now I simply have a “Books” link on my site that goes to my author page on Amazon. This way, I only have to add any new title to my Author Central profile and then let the Amazon system keep it all updated.

The Book Page May Not Get Much Organic Traffic

A separate book page is unlikely to get much organic traffic from search engines such as Google. Merely having a book page won’t automatically draw traffic to it. It's usually better to feature books on existing higher traffic pages on the site.

Another web traffic issue arises if the author decides to drop the page at some point in the future. All the backlinks to that page from other sites will be broken. That traffic (and interest) in the book could be wasted.

Separate Facebook Page for Every Book?

On a related note, there is a debate as to whether a separate Facebook Page should be established for each book title published. As with the author site book pages, separate Facebook Pages for each title increase development and maintenance costs. In fact, it’s even worse since there may be comments and other Facebook Page administrative duties that will gobble up time and energy. Plus, should the author stop updating the page, it will look like it's abandoned and could hurt the author's image.

Even if the author only has one book, a separate book Facebook Page increases the author’s social media investment by having to maintain a standard business page and the book page. It is more efficient to promote the book through the author’s primary Facebook Page (not a personal profile!).

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2018 Heidi Thorne

Comments

Robert Sacchi on January 04, 2019:

Happy New Year to you also.

Heidi Thorne (author) from Chicago Area on January 04, 2019:

You're welcome, Robert! Glad you found it helpful. Happy New Year!

Robert Sacchi on January 03, 2019:

Thank you for providing this information. The article gives a lot to think about.

Laura Smith from Pittsburgh, PA on November 15, 2018:

That's very true. It makes sense to keep the author at the center of it all so that fans know where to find their work. Thanks!

Heidi Thorne (author) from Chicago Area on November 15, 2018:

Laura, it's hard to say whether it would be useful if it takes off. You still have to keep that page updated from now until forever. I'd be more inclined to keep updating my Amazon product page for the book. Less work, more chance for all potential buyers to see it.

Remember, you the author are the star. The book is just one of the things that makes you a star. Keep the focus on you. People follow people, not books.

Just something to think about. Keep us posted on your book adventures and thank you for stopping by!

Laura Smith from Pittsburgh, PA on November 15, 2018:

I've been wondering about this. Good to know that it seems to have more cons than pros, especially for books with few sales. Do you think it's a good idea to make one if a book starts to take off, though? If so, how well do you think it has to be selling before it pays to create a page for it?

Heidi Thorne (author) from Chicago Area on October 18, 2018:

Rajan, I think you're right. Too many drawbacks and too much hassle to running these separate book pages.

Thanks so much for chiming in and have a terrific day!

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on October 17, 2018:

It seems there are more cons than pros to setting up a book page on one's website, rather it is more of a hassle than it is worth. Thanks for sharing this information.

Heidi Thorne (author) from Chicago Area on October 16, 2018:

Thanks, Liz, for stopping by and your kind words! Have a wonderful day!

Liz Westwood from UK on October 14, 2018:

Another useful and informative article.

Heidi Thorne (author) from Chicago Area on October 13, 2018:

Russell, thanks for checking in! I wish I could say I was rich by now. :) But I keep working at it. Appreciate you stopping by and have a wonderful weekend!

RussellFry on October 13, 2018:

Been a long time since I've been active on HubPages. It's always going to see you active as ever with your awesome smile. With all the info you share, I'd imagine you'd be rich by now...:-)

Heidi Thorne (author) from Chicago Area on October 12, 2018:

Thanks for your kind words and stopping by, Linda! Have a lovely weekend!

Heidi Thorne (author) from Chicago Area on October 12, 2018:

Venkatachari, sounds like you have your book promotion under control! I, too, have found that just linking to the book on Amazon is the way to go.

Thanks for sharing your experience and have a wonderful day!

Heidi Thorne (author) from Chicago Area on October 12, 2018:

Peggy, glad you're having a good time with your site! Yes, it can be fun. But as you know, it is time and resource consuming.

I tried running multiple sites at various times in my self publishing career. I don't now! I just maintain my blog here on HP and my main site to funnel sales inquiries for editing and books. That's enough!

Thanks for sharing your experience and have a great weekend!

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on October 11, 2018:

You've share some great information, as always, Heidi. Thank you for sharing your experience and thoughts. Your articles are always useful.

Venkatachari M from Hyderabad, India on October 11, 2018:

You provided some useful information here to consider.

I have only one book to my credit and I provided the information about it on the original page of my related website with a link to the Amazon site. I keep mentioning about it on social media at long intervals.

Heidi Thorne (author) from Chicago Area on October 11, 2018:

Bill, I used to do book pages (even websites!) until I figured out how much of an investment they were. Hope you're getting some writing in during the farmers market off-season, but it sounds like you're still in busy mode. Thanks for taking a moment to chime in and have a wonderful day!

Heidi Thorne (author) from Chicago Area on October 11, 2018:

Mary, thanks for sharing the story from the field on the topic! Curious, was his sales figure for dollars or units sold? Either way, 160K is outstanding!

Interesting that he claims he did "better" off of Amazon. Everyone has a different definition of "better." For this author, it appears that he feels he's doing better, even though it sounds like he's putting in more personal effort. Some people are like that. But if we had to look at his numbers for sales, time invested, etc., I'm guessing his returns would be very similar for both selling scenarios. It all depends on the market, too, and his may be a good fit for a non-Amazon selling strategy.

BTW, after your comment on my podcast marketing post, I started adding a video of every podcast to YouTube. Luckily, my video editing program allows me to easily rip the audio from it to create the audio podcast so I don't have extra work. Thank you for the inspiration!

And thank you for adding your thoughtful insight, as always! Have a beautiful day!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on October 11, 2018:

I have my own website and am having fun with it because it keeps us busy discovering more places, photographing them and writing about the discoveries. It certainly does take time and you are correct in that it also takes money to operate the site. I have not authored a book. To keep separate sites operating for each and every book I think would be time and cost prohibitive from my personal perspective.

Heidi Thorne (author) from Chicago Area on October 11, 2018:

Larry, yep, there are always pros and cons. And with self publishing, authors really need to weigh what's best for them. There's no one right way to market a book. It takes experimentation and awareness of your limitations and strengths. Thanks so much for stopping by and have a terrific day!

Heidi Thorne (author) from Chicago Area on October 11, 2018:

Flourish, I've tried hosting multiple pages, groups, etc. on Facebook and it was just overwhelming. It's even overwhelming to keep up with them as a visitor! Good point about it taking away from writing time. That indeed it does. Thanks for chiming in and have a lovely day!

Heidi Thorne (author) from Chicago Area on October 11, 2018:

Hi Pamela! It seems so easy to run a website, right? Then when you actually do it, you discover how much of an investment it really is. Thanks for sharing your experience and have a wonderful day!

Heidi Thorne (author) from Chicago Area on October 11, 2018:

Hi John! I don't think it's worth the trouble either. I say put the promo where the eyeballs already are on higher traffic pages. Thanks so much for stopping by and have a lovely day!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on October 11, 2018:

I truthfully had to go look to see if I had a book page. LOL My online marketing efforts have fallen by the wayside, I'm afraid. Still, great information here, Heidi, and I thank you for the gentle nudge.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on October 11, 2018:

Heidi, I tend to agree with you as it is quite difficult to get organic traffic. Lately, I met an author in a farmers' market and we got talking. He told me his sales reached about 160,000 annually. He got out of Amazon and he claimed he did better. He is, however, on the phone all the time and he is retired so he can do all the things required in selling your own books. He has around 8 books and the niche is one that libraries would be interested in. This, probably, accounts for the sales.

Larry W Fish from Raleigh on October 11, 2018:

Thanks for all of the information, Heidi. There are always pros and cons about anything concerning how to promote those books.

FlourishAnyway from USA on October 11, 2018:

To your point it would seem unwieldy with Facebook pages, separate webpages, as well as an Amazon page. Seems like a lot of writing time wasted on administrative upkeep with uncertain payoff. Great points.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on October 11, 2018:

I had a website for a while and it was time consuming. I have not published a book, so my perspective is limited. This is a vey informative article.

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on October 10, 2018:

Useful information here Heidi. To me, it lust seems too much trouble to set up and maintain a separate book page. Just advertising on existing pages should suffice. Thanks.