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I recently wrote a non fiction book. A marketer from the publishing company, advised me to setup a small website with a few pages dedicated to this book. This website will have a description of the book and will link to online bookstores. I was wondering what the best way is to do this for somebody who doesn't make websites for a living.

  • First, do I really need to have such a website?
  • If not are there any better alternatives?
  • Do I need to register a domain for this website?
  • Do I need a premium hosting plan?

I was thinking of just winging it with a free hosting plan for instance on Wordpress.

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Is this question "Should I set up a website for my book?" or "How do I set up a website for my book?" If it's the latter, there is a better StackExchange site for that question and it would be off-topic here. Please clarify. Thanks! –  justkt Nov 18 '11 at 14:47
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It seems to me that his four subquestions are all "Should I's". But indeed, if he goes on to need advice on how, I agree possibly StackOverflow would be the place, not here. –  Vic Goldfeld Nov 19 '11 at 0:09
    
I like the theme of the weblog. Is it free one or paid one? I too want the same theme for my weblog. –  user4759 Feb 18 '13 at 8:03
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3 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

If you at all go for a website, please don't go with a free host blog.

It gives off the impression of being unprofessional, and is associated with unpublished wannabe writers, which is just not your case. Anyone can have a free blog, but you sir, have a published book. If the marketing and success of it matters to you, there should be plenty of options for you with minimal cost and a domain wholly yours--that makes all the difference in how your web presence is perceived. As I said, either do it that way, or just don't have any web presence at all, it's better than a free blog. There is such a thing as bad marketing when your product is quality work--your marketing has to be up to it.

Fatcow, for instance, usually offers some plans for just U$4/mo. or something, but I'd actually do some google searches for "wordpress hosting" and drill down the result pages, there are many companies willing to set it all up for you and charge you a modest price for the hosting. They will usually handle the domain registration as well. I'm not talking about "premium hosting", though I'm unsure what you use it for--you mean a dedicated server? You don't need that. If, on the other hand, by premium hosting you merely mean paid hosting, then yes, you do need it.

As someone else said, make it an author blog and not just the book's blog (but definitely give the book a home inside it), and then it might be much easier to justify the cost.

Disclaimer: this is an answer from someone with more experience in marketing than in writing books.

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You make a good point about not damaging the brand by using a "cheap" solution. I will say, however, that not every free blog is by definition unprofessional. TV critic Alan Sepinwall had a blogspot blog for years while working at a major newspaper, and only changed over to a "professional" blog site when he started working full-time for HitFix. I wouldn't call that the standard, but it's possible. –  Lauren Ipsum Nov 18 '11 at 15:04
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Well some people can indeed get away with it! It's like a highly renowned business man (or the owner of a company), he can attend a meeting dressed casually if he likes. But any other would do himself a favor to dress up and dress well. –  Vic Goldfeld Nov 18 '11 at 15:13
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Also, the fact that he made the jump from blogspot to own domain points to a lack of strategy to start with. This change costs any reputable blog a lot of traffic, when you change domains you start anew with Search Engine Marketing (i.e. how you place on google searches). –  Vic Goldfeld Nov 18 '11 at 15:35
    
sorry, I should have specified: Sepinwall was hired by HitFix and moved his blog to the HitFix stable. Still doesn't have his own domain. Your point about traffic is valid, but it's not "lack of strategy." That's just how his career went. –  Lauren Ipsum Nov 18 '11 at 16:20
    
Well, so it seems to me he started the blogspot as a personal project and then "sold" it to his subsequent employer (HitFix), putting his own personal brand under the companies' brand. Seems to me he's just rolling along with where his career takes him. If that's his tick, great, but I'd have preferred more control over my personal brand and expertise. –  Vic Goldfeld Nov 19 '11 at 0:20
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If the publisher thinks it's a good idea they ought to tell their marketer to set one up and ask you to approve the content. Isn't that what the job of a marketer is- to market your book?

If YOU want a web site then make it a web site focused on you the author and your expertise. A link can be for the book. Tell the marketer that is a great idea since a web site devoted to you- will be able to market your books published by other companies too.

BTW, when many folks shop at on-line shops for non-fiction books they see the used books- guess who won't get a royalty check for a used book?

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I think it's a good idea, if for no other reason than people are accustomed to searching online, and you want to make it easy for people to find your work so they can buy it.

A WordPress site would be totally fine. If you don't want your own domain (EngineeringStrategies.com, assuming Engineering Strategies is the title of your book), you can have a meaningful blog title (engineeringstrategies.wordpress.com), and make sure you have good keywords for the search engines to find.

Premium hosting is for websites which have not just a lot of traffic, but a lot of interaction, and a lot of fancy gadgets (video, Flash, forms, games, shopping carts). You don't need the bells and whistles.

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I second the suggestion to set up a WordPress site. They offer a number of very nice templates and are free. I would also recommend getting your own domain name, and the folks at WordPress.com will be able to help make sure that your domain is pointing to the right location. You are basically establishing a brand, and it will be easier for future readers to find it if you have a relevant domain name. Also, if you see the possibility of writing future books, I would strongly recommend setting up an author web site as well. If you have multiple books, then YOU are the brand, and NOT the book! –  Steven Drennon Nov 18 '11 at 15:38
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