Should You Set up a Book Page on Your Website?

Updated on October 10, 2018
heidithorne profile image

Heidi Thorne is a self-publishing expert, nonfiction book editor, author of 21+ books and eBooks, and a former trade newspaper editor.

Source

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 personal profile!).

Disclaimer: Both the publisher and author have used their best efforts in preparation of this information. No representations or warranties for its contents, either expressed or implied, are offered or allowed and both parties disclaim any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for your particular purpose. The advice and strategies presented herein may not be suitable for you, your situation or business. Consult with a professional advisor where and when appropriate. Neither the publisher nor author shall be liable for any loss of profit or any other damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential or punitive, arising from or relating to your reliance on this information.

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Heidi Thorne

    Comments

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    • heidithorne profile imageAUTHOR

      Heidi Thorne 

      2 days ago from Chicago Area

      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 jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      3 days ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      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.

    • heidithorne profile imageAUTHOR

      Heidi Thorne 

      4 days ago from Chicago Area

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

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      6 days ago from UK

      Another useful and informative article.

    • heidithorne profile imageAUTHOR

      Heidi Thorne 

      7 days ago from Chicago Area

      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 profile image

      Russell William Fry 

      7 days ago from Indonesia

      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...:-)

    • heidithorne profile imageAUTHOR

      Heidi Thorne 

      8 days ago from Chicago Area

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

    • heidithorne profile imageAUTHOR

      Heidi Thorne 

      8 days ago from Chicago Area

      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!

    • heidithorne profile imageAUTHOR

      Heidi Thorne 

      8 days ago from Chicago Area

      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!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      9 days ago from British Columbia, Canada

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

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 

      9 days ago from Hyderabad, India

      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.

    • heidithorne profile imageAUTHOR

      Heidi Thorne 

      9 days ago from Chicago Area

      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!

    • heidithorne profile imageAUTHOR

      Heidi Thorne 

      9 days ago from Chicago Area

      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 W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      9 days ago from Houston, Texas

      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.

    • heidithorne profile imageAUTHOR

      Heidi Thorne 

      9 days ago from Chicago Area

      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!

    • heidithorne profile imageAUTHOR

      Heidi Thorne 

      9 days ago from Chicago Area

      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!

    • heidithorne profile imageAUTHOR

      Heidi Thorne 

      9 days ago from Chicago Area

      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!

    • heidithorne profile imageAUTHOR

      Heidi Thorne 

      9 days ago from Chicago Area

      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!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      9 days ago from Olympia, WA

      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.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      9 days ago from Ontario, Canada

      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 Fish profile image

      Larry W Fish 

      9 days ago from Raleigh

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

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      9 days ago from USA

      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.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      9 days ago from Sunny Florida

      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.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      10 days ago from Queensland Australia

      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.

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