What is a Book Launch Page?
A few months ago I stumbled upon an article on book launch pages. It touted this to be the newest, greatest thing for book marketing. As I stared at the page I realized all it was, was a dedicated webpage to the book. Granted, it was a well-formatted webpage, but all it was, was a webpage. This got me thinking, is this really a new thing for authors? Personally, I've always had a dedicated book page, but this "special" page had me thinking about how I could make my dedicated pages better.
How to Do It
First, you really need to look at your overall website and entire online presence. As an author, you're most likely hitting 95% of your audience via online, so it's important that your brand is seamless across all channels that you select to operate in. What do I mean by that? Slogans should match across media outlets. You'll notice Music.Words.Love. is at the end of all of my social media and on my header. The header is utilized on all outlets unless I am in the process of promoting a particular book, in that case my header may be different on my social media than my website, but all social media matches. In addition, your profile picture should also be the same and recognizable. One important thing about profile pictures that I would like to mention--you should not make it your book cover. Readers want to connect with you as a person, so your book cover should be reserved for your headers and your profile picture should be you. Slogans, headers and profile pictures are all a part of the bigger picture of your brand. I'll talk more specifically about "the brand of you" on another post, but keep in mind that I have a strong brand image and that flows throughout everything that I do as an author and webpage designer. You could always pay someone to make your book launch page, but I feel like the book launch page should be a part of your website and not a separate page. Why? Search Engine Optimization. You want to drive people to your website so they can learn about more than just one book. If you're sending leads away from your web page, then well, you might as well not bother having a webpage.
Setting Up Your Book Page in 5 Easy Steps
Go Spying - That's right, go look at other author's websites and book pages, and see what readers are saying. I went to a major author's website, and it was kind of a bummer, to be honest with you. Her "Books" page was simply a huge list of buy links. There was no information about the books--there was no call to action--and even worse, a reader called them out on it. I then typed in book launch pages and came upon a website that I liked somethings on and while there were other things I didn't like. Then I went to work.
Make a Template - You want all of your book launch pages to have the same look and feel. Not only does this support your brand, it allows readers to know what to expect and best of all, it makes the process easier for you. In my template I included.
Catch Phrase - This is actually something I have on all of my paperback layouts, and it translated nicely over to the webpage. This could also be your "elevator pitch". Whatever it is, it should immediately draw the readers attention.
Beautiful Book Cover - Your book cover should be professional and beautiful. If you have a great webpage and you have a cover with a papyrus font, readers will have the impression that you don't have follow-through. You signal to your readers the time and value you place on your novel by having what looks to be an expensive cover. If you don't have experience in graphic design, there are plenty of sources for free covers. You can even reach out to authors like me, who have graphic design experience and ask them to help. *wink*
Book description - This is pretty obvious-- tell your readers what they're looking at!
Call to Action - This is an important one. You want to engage your readers, either by getting them to purchase the book right then and there, or do another action. Call to actions are an important feature to have across your website.
Engage the Reader - I chose to talk about what my books mean to me to engage the reader because an important part of my author brand is connecting with the readers at a personal level. This helps me do that.
Book Trailer - If you have one.
Endorsements - Review snippets that strongly convey the image you're looking for. Is the book emotional? Fun? Pick short review snippets that identify these characteristics. These should also match the feel of your description of your book. If you indicate in the description that your book is chick-lit fun and the reviewer says it had them sobbing, you send mixed messages.
Test Across Channels - How does it look on your computer, tablet or smartphone? You're reaching readers on multiple formats, so it should look good across them.
Once you have your template, it will get easier, but depending on the length of different aspects, things will look a little different on each one. It took me about an hour for each of my book pages, but the commitment is well worth the streamlined, beautiful dedicated page. Each of your books is a unique gem, so make sure you give it the royal treatment.