Should I Branch Out on my Author Website?

So, I’ve had a thought about my website. At present, it is solely an author website; it covers information about my books and a little biographical information about me. You’re going to find it if you’re looking for me or one of my titles, but there’s not really a way to happen on it by accident.

I have another website which is several years old and quite plain. It contains pictures from our trip to England and Scotland that specifically pertain to medieval history and research, plus some discussion and costume conjecture by me.

I’m thinking about moving the information over to my author website under the heading “Historical Research.” (I also have some short biographies of medieval women that I’m doing as part of an SCA project.) The material would be more attractively presented on my author website, plus it would give people a reason to end up on my author website. Perhaps some, seeking medieval information, will be intrigued that I also write historical fiction and buy my books. And, personally, I think it makes my historical fiction look more legitimate; it says, here is someone who knows what she’s talking about.

What do you think? Okay to merge my author website with my historical research, given that I do write (or, rather, am writing) historical novels?



10 comments on “Should I Branch Out on my Author Website?

  1. Wallace says:

    I would say the main determining factor is: do you have ads that you get money from? If yes, then you certainly want to drive as much traffic there as possible to increase your income. If you don’t have ads, then you should seriously think about getting some. Most good websites and blogs have some form of Google ads on them to help pay for the site and give the blogger some income. The really big blogs, the once with thousands of hits per day, can allow the blogger to make substantial income just by the number of viewer hits it gets per day.

    If you don’t want to have commercial ads on your website, then I’d suggest leaving the author site as is. You might get some extra traffic by people looking for Medieval research, but your site would have to be either very special or very popular to have it show up in the first few pages of a Google search. If people can’t find it on the first two or three pages of a Google search, they’ll never find it at all except by word of mouth.

    If people are looking just for you, tho, they are either stalkers or fans of your writing, or maybe both, it’s hard to tell some days. But fans of your writing want to know about you, your books, the schedule of any forthcoming books, where to buy your books, and where and when you might be making any personal appearance at Romance Cons for readings and autograph sessions. Most of them couldn’t care less which historic journals you sourced for your research or what art collections you scoured for your art work.

    People who are fans of your writing are writing fans, not research fans. Just pack your author website as full of things about your writing as possible and leave off anything that doesn’t directly promote you or your book sales. You can always add in a link that points to your research site for the few people who might actually find it interesting, but it’d just be link on the author website page that says: Writing Resources or some such.

    • Keri Peardon says:

      I don’t have any ads. If I was going to have ads, I would have them on my blog, which will always have a higher amount of traffic than my website. (Plus, I don’t think ads look terribly professional on an author’s website, unless she is advertising her own books.)

      But you would be surprised at the amount of traffic I can get on my research website and my Squidoo articles on medieval history. No, I’m not pulling down thousands of hits every day (there aren’t that many people interested in medieval history), and no, you’re not going to find me on the first page of Google with a generic search for “medieval history,” but if you do a specific search, you have a good chance of finding me.

      For instance, a search for “tomb of Katherine and Thomas Beauchamp” displays my website on the first Google search page. The somewhat broader search for “14th and 15th century clothing” turns up both my website and my blog on the third page of Google search.

      Stuart has accidentally landed on my website while searching for information on 14th century clothing. And my apprentice-cousin accidentally found my Squidoo article on how to make eyelets. There could be several hundred people, every year, visiting the research information on my website and seeing, oh, she also writes historical fiction.

      I have also not ruled out the possibility of writing non-fiction in the future.

      • Wallace says:

        Humm, ads on your blog, not a bad idea really. They could be on the side of the page or a banner acros the top of the page. Not to intrusive, but with a few hundred hits a month they might generate at least a little money to pay some bills or at least buy you lunch every now and then. Plus it would be steady money, especially if you continue with weekly Vampire Lawyer episodes to keep a steady traffic going. With short story and book sales iffy and sporatic, some ad money might not be too bad.

      • Keri Peardon says:

        The only problem with that is that I can’t place ads on a free WordPress template, and the upgrade is $25 a month. I’ll have to wait until I have enough traffic to at least make it pay for itself.

  2. I kind of like the idea of conglomerating your websites. So long as you keep the “research” as an optional tab that people can visit, and not plastered all over the front page, I don’t think it will distract from the author/book aspect of your site at all — in fact, for people looking for a bit more info, it would probably enhance the site. Just my two cents 🙂

    Oh yes, and did I ever mention I officially received the paperback of Acceptance for Christmas? Woo!

    • Keri Peardon says:

      How does the full cover look? Professional enough, or does it scream “author is deluded about her Photoshop and design skills?”

      • I like it! My mother was confused about the maple leaf theme, though — she was like, is the book set in Canada or something?

      • Keri Peardon says:

        LOL. You know, we have maple trees down here in Tennessee, too.

        The leaf was in keeping with the ivy leaves in the picture. I wasn’t able to find an ivy leaf at the time, though, so I went with the next closest three-lobed leaf. Of course, I have since found an ivy leaf in the custom shapes. (I may get a wild hair one day and redo it, although that part–setting each individual shape and fooling with all the layers–is a pain in the ass.)

        My second book has a sea picture, so its decoration is a compass-like shape. The third book has a sad woman on the front and the decoration is tear drops. None of it has anything to do with the content of the books (well, except the tear drops); it just fits with the theme of the picture. And the pictures fit with the feeling of the book, even if they’re not an exact representation of anything that happens. For Acceptance, I just really liked the interaction between the man and the woman in the picture. She had a loving, but desperate look on her face, whereas he was calm and gentle. It looked a lot like Kalyn and Anslem’s interaction in the first book. Also, the figures look a lot like Kalyn and Anselm.

        I picked the second book’s picture because the male figure resembles Micah. I will leave you to draw your own conclusions about the pose. Likewise, the third picture resembles Kalyn and definitely sets the mood of the book.

        Have you read any of the additional materials on my website? I’m curious to know what people think of them, once they’ve read the first book.

      • Oh man, Micah’s soooo gonna die. And I haven’t read any of the additional materials — I barely have enough time to do my job, let alone have fun, lol. I’ll try to take a glance at them, but no promises.

        And I’ll tell mother about your maple leaves. I’m sure she’d like to have that minor mystery solved!

  3. wordsurfer says:

    I think it sounds like a good idea to combine them. As you say, your knowledge on these topics will give your fictional writing additional credence. That’s what I think, anyway.

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