We love working with Katie Jennings. We’ve had the pleasure of designing her books and marketing materials but when she asked us if we could whip up a new website for her, we could barely contain our excitement!
In today’s online world, having a web presence is extremely important. Whether you create your own site or have someone else do it for you, let’s discuss some of the key elements needed. A lot of these elements apply across the board but today we are going to focus on author websites.
Why is an author website important?
Your website is your business card to the world. After people discover you, it’s often the next glimpse that your fans and supporters will have of not only you but your work, so it’s important to convey the right image. Remember, as an author, not only are you a brand but your genre and work are also part of that brand. The key to designing an awesome website is to tie all of these elements together by capturing the essence and personality of the author and then weaving them together using design, words and function.
Your Website Essence
Whether updating or creating your first author website, here are some items to help guide you through the process
Define Your Author Style
What genre do you write? Do you write romance, suspense or fantasy? Are you an extrovert or an introvert? How do you see yourself but more importantly how do you want others to see you? If you are a fantasy writer, for example, examine what aspects of fantasy appeal to you. Do you have a love for wooded groves and fairies? Perhaps you prefer dragons and wish to make a stronger statement. Pick out the aspects that appeal to you most and then incorporate them into your site. The key is to strike a balance without overdoing. For instance, if your entire website is filled with graphics it will distract from your content.
Research, research, research…
Who are your favorite authors? Visit their websites to gain inspiration for your own site. What vision do you have for your own website? What do you want people to know about you and your books? We asked Katie to share her vision and she requested a clean and elegant website that was easy to navigate.
Meet Katie Jennings
Katie is a fun and carefree spirit with a smile that can melt your heart. She began writing fantasy and is now branching out into drama. Currently working on her sixth novel, she is energetic with a quiet, understated elegance. She is passionate about her writing and is a down-to-earth homebody. She believes in true love and happy endings. Knowing this about her and what she wanted, we went to work on bringing her new site to life.
Capturing The Essence Of Katie In Her Website
Katie’s favorite color is green. We picked a deep shade of green to reflect her love of nature and home. We accented it with hues of burgundy and tan to compliment the color scheme. When choosing colors for your website, pick colors that coordinate but also don’t overwhelm. Nothing can turn off a visitor to your website more than too many competing colors.
We also added other personal touches as well. Katie uses a “swirl” design that has become a part of her signature brand and we used this graphic throughout her website. We also created her signature line “Fairytale wishes” to further accentuate her love of happy endings. She uses a unique combining of the letters “K” and “J” to represent her name. We added this to her “About” page for a more personal experience and also used it to create a green Favicon (a custom graphic at the top of each page tab) to further enhance her brand. Be sure to add personal touches like these to your own website, too.
Home Is Where The Heart Is
Your home page is the portal to your entire web experience. We asked Katie to provide us with several professional photographs of herself for her website. Luckily, Katie’s husband is a photographer and he provided us with amazing shots. We also asked Katie to provide us with quotes to personalize the experience even more. The result? A soft, warm and inviting home page that beckons you to explore deeper into the website.
The Home Page
Books, Books, Books…
One of our favorite areas is the “Book” pages. We had a blast testing our creativity, designing these pages and watching them come to life. We created a main book page with all her book covers featuring snippets and character information for both of her book series. This page leads into each individual book separately.
Creating A Custom Wonderland
The individual book pages are one of our favorite features. We color coordinated each page to match each book, right down to the customized social media icons. Pulling the beautiful design elements from the book covers, we used them to custom create each book page banner to tie everything together. We also added a quote from each book to the banner to further enhance the experience. It was a fun way to give each page its own personality. Next we added everything book related. This included the book’s image, synopsis, trailer, any blog it was featured on, reviews and purchase links. Make it fun and easy for your fans to find information and purchase your books by including everything relevant together!
Customized Book Page For A Life Earthbound
Read All About It
Make sure to have a “News” page so your fans can keep up with all your latest information. We designed a custom web ad for her newest book, When Empires Fall, and made it a clickable link to Amazon. Her blog posts are also featured and included the latest updates. We also included links to her favorite websites and links to sites Katie has been featured on. And, most importantly, be sure to include a newsletter sign-up like we have featured so your fans can keep in touch with you.
Giving Back To Your Fans
We love every page on this website but if we had to pick a favorite, it would be the “Fans & Fun” page. It took the most design time but it was a lot of fun to create and we think it’s pretty cool!
We wanted to do something different that would allow Katie to give back to her fans. First we created a custom ad announcing a free, autographed bookmark. Then we added in interactive polls so fans could vote for their favorite characters with instantaneous results.
But our favorite part was designing the custom wallpapers that can be downloaded for use on your computer and your iPhone or Android phone. Using images and design elements from all of her books, we created six wallpapers for her Dryad Quartet series and six wallpapers for her Vasser Legacy series. The various wallpapers we designed used images of the main characters, book design elements, book covers or combinations. For the Vasser Legacy wallpapers, we also included a quote for each main character that truly identifies with them and brings them to life.
Custom Designed Computer Wallpaper (left) and iPhone/Android Wallpaper (right)
Lights, Camera, Action…
In the coming weeks we will be expanding the site with a media page complete with a customized media kit including author photos, press releases, and store and event media.
We are also in process of converting the site to a mobile-friendly version so you can keep up with Katie on the go!
And there you have it. An amazingly awesome author website! Depending on your needs, your own website can be as simple or as elaborate as you need. Remember, it’s all about creating your own personal reflection and matching your author image and brand to your site.
And to quote the infamous Billy Crystal line…Katie Jennings, we must say…you look simply mahvelous!
Check out the full experience at www.katieajennings.com