Books bring people together.
They kickstart dialogue. Books can become a gathering place for entire communities. In our connected society, much of this interaction happens online.
These days, authors and publishers know how important it is to provide an easy-to-remember online address (also known as a web domain or URL).
Want examples? The sprawling online community of Dan Brown fans—men and women who can’t get enough of his suspenseful DaVinci Code franchise—revolves around the URL www.DanBrown.com. Or, check out www.JKRowling.com or www.MitchAlbom.com.
Get the idea?
In addition to using authors’ names as a web address, many publishers create online hubs around specific book titles. Dan Brown’s publisher uses both author-name and book-title options—so fans can also jump into the online community via DaVinciCode.com.
Check out the title of your favorite book and you might be surprised by what you find. Here are a few good examples of book titles as URLs:
- And, the latest book-title domain we’ve just added: www.TheBlackKnightBook.com
We Encourage Authors to Welcome Online Communities
To facilitate discussions and provide readers with up-to-date information, Front Edge Publishing uses hub pages accessible via a book-title-related URL. After purchasing that URL from an online vendor, we then make sure to include that URL prominently in every copy of the book—as well as in promotional materials like book-cover postcards that many authors like to distribute.
This is a great way to make sure readers can link up with other interested fans or contact the author to inquire about a public appearance.
To make full use of book title domains, check out these tips:
Tips for Choosing Web Domains for Your Book
Purchase a sustainably priced domain related to the book
Domain names can be expensive. When selecting a URL to use for your book’s hub page, consider how much it will cost to purchase and maintain the domain over several years. Select a URL that relates to the book’s title, but add words to the web address like ‘Book’ to minimize cost if necessary. The more specific a URL is, the more expensive it will be. For example, if TheBlackKnight.com is taken or too expensive, try TheBlackKnightBook.com instead.
Top level domains like .com, .edu and .net may also be more expensive to obtain or reserved for specific affiliations than newer top level domains like .info, .top, .biz and many others.
Can potential readers easily remember the URL?
When selecting a top-level domain to append to your URL, balance the potential cost savings with clarity. For example, if an author appears in a radio interview, will listeners be able to clearly remember the web address? TheBlackKnightBook.com is much easier to remember than TheBlackKnightBook.top due to people’s familiarity with the popular “dot-com” domain.
Use a scalable solution for website design
Creating a brand new website for every book is not scalable and it will quickly increase project costs. Before committing to a new website project, consider the needs of the hub page. If the page will be used primarily as a resource aggregator, it likely doesn’t need the capability to host a forum, for example. In that case, consider using the purchased URL to redirect to a new page on an already-existing website affiliated with your book or publishing house. However, if a hub page will be used as a robust, interactive gathering place and a constantly changing source of events information, then it makes sense to invest additional resources into building a feature-rich, multi-page website.
Include the URL in marketing materials
Make sure that the book-related URL is present in all marketing materials to help interested readers and media professionals find all of the resources you’ve collected for them.
What Should I Put on My Author or Book Page First?
Provide preorder links
One of the most valuable resources on a hub page is a list of retailers and online portals where readers can order the book. Make sure to include the most important preorder links. We encourage authors to focus mainly on a book’s Amazon.com sales page, as Amazon.com algorithms carefully track the attention preorder sales pages receive and use that customer data to improve the future health of the page. That includes setting discounts specific to Amazon.com, promoting the sales page throughout Amazon.com and other benefits.
Include advance praise and media coverage
Part of preparing a new book for launch includes gathering endorsements, praise and allies for the book. For more on endorsements, check out this Front Edge Publishing blog post. Endorsements and praise can be used in metadata to create a more compelling sales page in online bookstores, but you also can use this “advance praise” to make your book hub more compelling for readers.
Host the press release
Press releases are a great way to direct specific attention to a book launch. Make it easy for interested journalists to find by hosting it on the book’s hub page.
How Can a Book or Author Page Help with Book Marketing?
Update purchase links to include all platforms
When the book is officially launched, make sure to update the hub page with a diverse list of retailer and online purchase links. Reader have their own retailer preference, so you want to make sure they’re aware of their options, whether that’s through Amazon.com, through the Kobo eBook store or through the many other online retail options. You don’t want to lose a sale to an interested reader simply because they prefer to order through Barnes & Noble—and you neglected to include an easy B&N link.
Include video, photos and schedules of launch events, tours and appearances
Author events increase author visibility and build buzz around a book. They’re also a great way to create additional promotional content by taking videos and photographs of the event. While individual events will make their way to social media and news sites, make sure to consolidate information about events and upcoming appearances on the hub page to help fans and media find everything in one place.
Request and republish great reviews
Good reviews are extremely valuable! They represent a reader who truly supports the author’s message. That reviewer took time to compose and post a review. Other potential reviewers appreciate seeing those reviews. Remember that book reviews may pop up on any retailer platform, so make sure to review your sales pages often. Republish the best reviews on the hub page and prompt fans to leave their own!
Point readers to additional resources
Many authors create additional resources for readers. Study guides, group discussion questions and other material are great ways to help readers enjoy a book, either on their own or in a small group. If these resources are free, include them on the hub page. If these resources are add-on paid content, make sure to point readers in the right direction.