Thursday, March 19, 2009

How Author Websites Influence Book Sales

Last summer, the Codex Group, a publishing research firm with clients including Random House and Barnes & Noble, surveyed nearly 21,000 book shoppers. The objective of their study was to understand the relative effectiveness of author websites among shoppers and determine the elements that keep them coming back to a site. Result from this recent ground-breaking research revealed these important statistics:

● Book shoppers who had visited an author website in the past week bought 38% more books, from a wider range of retailers, than those who had not visited an author site.

● Visiting an author's website is the leading way that book readers support and get to know their favorite authors better. And, this is true regardless of age.

● Most author websites lack the right content that makes readers want to return, such as exclusive material or fan interaction.

The Codex research revealed that author website visits translate directly to the number of books bought. However, the data also indicated that most author sites don't attract the repeat visits needed to help boost book sales. And, according to readers, flashy design is not a key to success. Content is more essential. So, what do these new statistics mean to you as an author?

1. Your website is your most powerful book marketing tool. A website that keeps readers returning can have a direct affect on increased book sales.

2. Most author websites work against the author. The reason why is that most websites are nothing more than a boring, electronic brochure. Not much is offered to help the visitor experience the author's message, join a community, interact with fans, or get free resources.

3. If you have a lame website, you're hindering your book sales. The good news is that you can fix this problem. But, don't rely on your web designer for answers. Most web techies don't understand the needs of an author. They tend to get caught up in expensive bells and whistles that waste your money.

4. Don't assume that a fancy website is a good website. For example, the current #1 selling fiction author in America, Stephenie Meyer, has a terrible-looking website, but she's got a huge community around her books. So, you can have the best-looking site on the Internet, but if it's not getting a lot of traffic and repeat visitors, then it's a waste of money.

5. High search engine rankings aren't necessarily important for high-traffic. Don't waste money and time trying to boost your search ranking...that's an Internet myth. Instead, focus on building a website that provides value to readers and gives them reasons to return.

Click on the links below to view some before-and-after website samples of WildFire Marketing clients:

Sample # 1: Leslie Vernick
Sample # 2: Johnny Parker
Sample # 3: Mary DeMuth

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