This post, from Yen Cheong, originally appeared on The Book Publicity Blog on 5/11/09.
At this point, pretty much everyone is convinced of the value of an author’s web presence. Yay. But I’ve seen too many authors shoot for the book’s publication date (or a couple weeks before) as the launch date for their website.
This is about four months too late.
Typically, four to six months before the hardcover publication of a book, the publicity department sends out galleys to magazine and newspaper book editors as well as to some broadcast producers and online journalists.
[Publetariat Editor’s Note: since ‘galleys’ aren’t always applicable to the world of indie authorship, you may want to substitute ‘author copies’ for the term in this article.]
When I follow up with galley recipients, I’ll include some information about the book in the text of my email message, but it’s helpful for me to be able to link to more information online — links are an extremely effective and unobtrusive way for book publicists to provide the media with the additional details that could sell a writer or editor on a book. They are also vital tools for bloggers whose posts are lent credibility by links that direct readers to further information.
I’m not saying the complete author website needs to be up and ready six months before the book’s publication date. I’m not even saying the author has to have a web site at all. But I am saying it’s a really, really good idea for *something* — a website, a social networking profile, a blog — to be accessible when galleys are mailed out. An author without a web presence is a bit like the proverbial tree falling in a forest with no one around.
The more information a website has the better, of course, but it’s also okay also to add to the site in stages. Realistically, busy authors may simply not have the time or the money to create beautiful websites at this stage in the game (or ever). Here are a few quick and cheap suggestions for getting online fast: