If you decide to blog (and you don’t have to so don’t feel guilty for not having one), there are some things that are good to have on it. You don’t have to have them on it, but it’s worth mentioning. These things will be on the other pages on the blog.
1. A list of all your books.
If you have different series, I think it’s best to separate the series into their own pages. These can be sub-pages of the main page you have for your list. This is to help make it easier for people to find exactly what they’re looking for.
For example, I have a main page for my book list on the “My Romance Books” page. When you go to that page, it lists all my series. When you click on the link for the series, it takes you to that specific page so people can find the one they’re interested in. Some people might be interested in my historical westerns, so they can look under the “Historical Westerns” category on my list. But let’s say they want to only check out the Nebraska romances I’ve done. I have a link specifically for the Nebraska romances. So you might want to make a list and break the list down further. Someone who’d rather read my Regencies can find the link to that series on the main book list too.
2. Where to buy your books.
I suggest doing a search on Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Apple iBookstore, Sony, Diesel, Smashwords and anywhere else your books are sold. Use the results page that pop up with all of your books to post the link to where to buy your books. Why do I suggest doing that instead of putting a direct link to every page on every site where you sell your books? Because if you publish enough books, it will be a huge pain in the butt if you have to make 5+ links under every single book you publish. Instead have one link for each bookstore and have that link bring up a complete list of all your titles.
3. Chronological Order of Your Books (optional)
This depends on if you have a series. The most common question I get from readers is what is the chronological order of my books. It’s a lot easier if you can send someone a link instead of listing all of your books, unless you don’t have more than five. Once you get more than 10 books out there, it’s not worth it to spend all your time listing out all the books when you can send a link.
4. Any Frequently Asked Questions You Get
This is also helpful in case you end up giving a lengthy explanation and don’t want to repeat yourself over and over. This way you have a place to direct people who have a question about something. I don’t know how many of you have spent a half hour answering a question that has been answered several times already, but this is a time saver.
5. A Bio (optional)
I don’t think this is necessary, but after getting two requests for a biography from readers who were writing up reports on authors at their schools, I decided to make it easier for them to learn about me. This way they can go to the page and get the information they need.
6. Contact Page (optional)
I know I’m going to ruffle some feathers on this one, but it is optional. I’ve been stalked, had a background check done on me (still have the email that states this) and have been harassed through my contact form. I’ve had to put up barriers to prevent the people who have done those things more difficult. It doesn’t stop everything, but it has helped a lot. Sometimes it’s not in your best interest to be easily accessible. This is going to have to be your call. Most people are very nice and most of the time, you won’t have any problems. But after you’ve been burned a couple times, you just can’t bring yourself to be as open as you used to be.
So use the contact page/form if you want to, but please don’t feel guilty if you don’t. Only you can decide if having one up is beneficial or not.
Now for other things that can be on your blog (esp. on the right or left hand side for easy access):
1. Follow Me
Have the follow me widget put in so that people can easily follow your blog. This way when you make a post, it goes directly into their email. This way they don’t have to remember to stop by for a visit and can read your post directly in their email (which can be a time saver for them).
2. Any books you’re working on, upcoming releases, and new releases.
These are nice since they let your readers see your progress as you go along. I like to put word count widgets under them and estimated release dates after I finish my first draft. You can also put new releases up. I’d say once your book has been out for 2-3 months, it’s time to remove the new release from the right/left side of the blog.
3. Email Sign Up Form
This is a very handy feature. This way people can sign up to be notified of your new releases and you’ll get to accumulate an email list. Please do not use this list to spam. Only do it when you have a new release and only email one time per release. You don’t want to annoy people.
To create this, go to your widgets (in WordPress), then put “text” over in the widget area (you drag it over), and type in the html into the text box:
If you’d like to be notified of when a new book is available via email, please sign up below. Your email address will be kept private. You will not receive emails other than to notify you that a new books is now available.
Type [add contact-form subject="New Release Sign up!" to="type in your email address here"] Type [add contact-field label="Name" type="name" required="true" /] Type[add contact-field label="Email" type="email" required="true" /] [/contact-form]
Leave out stuff I put in red. When I did this the html way before, it wouldn’t show the html code. It showed the form instead. This way the code showed up. But remember to delete the red words I added in and type your own email address so you will get emailed the new release requests.
This is such a handy way to have a way to connect with your readers when you have a new book out. I suggest putting this widget toward the top of the right/left side of the blog.
4. RSS feed link.
Some people like RSS feeds. I never use them. I just have them their for other people’s convenience.
5. Your other website/blogs/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Google +/etc Links.
This way people can easily find you in other places.
6. Any other links you think are worth noting.
7. A search option
This is from the widgets, but a search box can help someone find a post they are looking for.
And now for the extras:
1. Under each post you make, have ways others can share your posts.
Go into Dashboard, Settings, and Sharing. Then drag the social network sites you want into the “enabled services” portion of the page.
2. Set up your blog to automatically post to Twitter, Facebook, Linked In or Tumblr
Go into Dashboard, Settings, and Sharing. At the top of the page, you can type in your links. So when you make a post, the post will show up on the sites you choose. It’s a time saver in the long run to have these.