Sometime in the past few days I received a Good Reads invite for an event. Wait, before you groan, this was an actual invite from an author for a book signing. I'm going to keep everything anonymous here, so I won't be mentioning the author's name or book. Basically the information provided was "Here's my event on this day in this city, usa. No state location. No address that could be plugged into google. Not even a name of the bookstore/pizza place/convention hall/street corner, WHATEVER, that would be housing the event.
Honestly, I barely pay attention to Good Reads invites. I don't see them as amazingly annoying spam like I've heard others feel, but I find out about things by being subscribed to newsletters, blogs or webpages and making a personal effort to wade through my google reader. So in most situations like this, I would have hit delete. I've got too many books to read, places to go, laundry to do and twitter to update, to waste my time on vaguely worded author events.
After 20 minutes of trying to navigate said site, I found... nothing. I still don't know where this signing is being held. I'd have to search each book seller site individually to see where the book is being sold, and the author's website is less user-friendly than FiOS On Demand (Which is pretty damn user-unfriendly). In the end, the book that I wanted to find out more about... dropped straight off my radar. And that's when this blog/rant about what I like to see on an author site was born.
A Banner, A Banner, My Kingdom for a Banner
Please, please, please have a banner at the top of the site with author name and book genre(s) that you write. It doesn't have to be fancy. I can be wooed by a cool graphic or clever hook, but really I just want to see YOUR NAME at the top of the page.
To Navigate, Or Not To Navigate
As a reader and reviewer, there are tabs/page links that I feel are pretty necessary. Have a Home page, a Books page, a Contact page, a Reviewer Information page (publicist/publisher to contact for requests), an Upcoming Events page. You don't have to be on all social media outlets, but if you are on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Good Reads, or you blog, include direct links to those sites. Coded to open a new page/tab. (This is one of my pet peeves when clicking links)
On that Books page, list your most recent releases. List your upcoming releases. List your backlist books. I want to see the book cover and a synopsis of the book on that page. Have a direct buy link for the book. Please have a direct buy link for the book for someplace other than Amazon.
On that Upcoming Events page, can you have upcoming events? You know, like blog visits, bookstore visits, talks or signings? That would be so helpful if I wanted to support you and your event by buying a book and/or getting a book signed.
Obviously the above blog is MY OPINION only. But I blog, I review, I buy (lots and lots) of books. Authors: I am your audience. If you don't want me to do the equivalent of getting up and walking out in the middle of the show, please consider my words.
Book lovers, reviewers, readers: What do you think? Yay or nay to what I've said? Did I leave anything out? Comment please.