Different people come to of writing for very different reasons, but there’s one thing that just about every writer wants: more books. No wait, maybe more time to read them? No, wait, I meant to say that every writer wants another cat. Wait, no, that’s not it either. Hm… oh, right, true as some of those might be, what I was getting at was that just about every writer wants an audience.
It’s a truism that all those places that offer to pay you with “exposure” are preying upon you. Very few of us write with the intention of putting our work into a drawer forever; if we write, and especially if we publish, we want to find readers who appreciate and enjoy our work. Finding the right audience can be a real challenge, though. There’s an extremely high noise-to-signal ratio out there in the world, and lots of competition when it comes to getting your voice heard. What’s more, even if you get an audience, there’ll always be someone else out there who would absolutely love your book or story, if only they could find it.
So one of the biggest challenges facing just about any author is finding your audience. If you’re fortunate, you’ll have good editors and agents and publishers who can help you find the right audience for your work, but the fact is, no matter how fortunate you are, finding an audience is hard. So what can you do? Well, a good place to start is to not make it any harder.
No less a luminary in the horror and weird fiction fields than Laird Barron recently took to social media to extoll the virtues of having a good, easy-to-use, and up-to-date author website. The value of an author website in finding an audience really can’t be overstated. For most people, your website is going to be your first point of contact. If someone reads one of your stories in an anthology or magazine or on a website, then your site is where they’re going to go to find out more. If someone picks up one of your books, loves it, and wants to know what to read next, your website is where they’re going to look.
A good author website will be tailored to your work and personality, and to the needs and scope of your body of work. For some authors, a home page, bibliography, and contact information may be enough, while others may benefit from more complex and dynamic websites. Whatever the needs of your specific website, an author website plays a few crucial roles in finding an audience: it tells potential readers what you’ve written and where to find it, and it gives people a way to contact you. This second one is extremely important if editors or publishers want to invite you to anthologies, buy reprint rights, and so on. Many is the time we’ve heard editors and publishers bemoaning the difficulty of tracking down an author with whom they wanted to do business, and sometimes the author loses out on an opportunity because they’re just too difficult to contact.
Finding an audience is hard; a good author site is one of the best ways to make it easier. If you need an author site—or if your site needs an update—let Clockpunk Studios help!