As some of you know, The Qwillery has hosted a Debut Author Challenge since 2011. (You can see the 2017 DAC here.) The Challenge centers on first Adult novel and the occasional debut YA novel with strong Adult crossover appeal. The Challenge can include interviews with and guest blogs by the author, reviews by us, and Cover Wars (because I think that cover artists/illustrators are sometimes the unsung heroes of a book launch).
So after running the Challenge for 6+ years I have some minimal advice for debut novel authors - mostly about their websites.
First - have a website or at least a Facebook page where interested readers can find you. Facebook is free and so are places like Blogger. I don't know much about Wordpress, etc. but I'll take a guess and say it has free options too. You can of course set up a website through a domain provider directly.
If you go the free site route you may want to reserve a domain name (www.[authorname].com, etc.) and point it to your free site which is not impossible to do. That's up to you of course, but really you should have some sort of stable online presence.
Second - if you have a website make sure the website is easy to navigate. You don't have to get all fancy initially and please please please no auto playing music. It's really annoying.
Third - what should you have on your website? At a bare minimum:
- Information about the book - cover, description and buy links;
- Information about you - a bio, author photo, and your social media links. Please include the credit for your author photo;
- Contact information - a link, a form, someway of reaching out to you;
- A media section if this information is not readily available elsewhere on your site -
A downloadable book cover image;
Author photo(s) and bio(s). Some authors include bios of various lengths and a selection of author photos;
Contact link of some sort for you (if you handle your press directly) or to your publicist (if allowed and they handle interview requests etc.) or to whomever handles your press.
Note: All of what I call a "media section" can be spread through your site but please include it somewhere.
If you want to provide more content:
Interviews: A section listing all your interviews, guest posts, etc.;
A blog section: Whatever you want to write about of course;
A bibliography: list all you short stories, novels etc. (you might want to link to where the short stories can be found!)
There is a lot more you can add to your site and your needs will change over time!
A question for Authors and Readers - what do you look for in an author's website or Facebook page?