Should You Set up a Book Page on Your Website?
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.
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© 2018 Heidi Thorne