Making the most of your Contact Page is part three of the Essential Elements of an Effective Author Website series.
Quick – you’re an author with a new book coming out and a radio station wants to contact you to schedule an interview about your book.
How do they reach you?
Easy answer, right? They go to the Contact Page on your website. Well, not always.
Here’s a real life example of this that I experienced a few weeks ago. I saw that an author who’s work I admire had a new crime novel coming out in six weeks. Of course, I wanted to have her on CrimeFiction.FM, so I go to the website and click on the Contact page.
The dreaded email form. You know the form – Enter your name, email address and a message and I’ll get right back to you. That form?
So, I enter my name, email address, and the interview request, and then I wait.
After a week, I wonder if the author got the message. Should I try again? No, I don’t like being a pest. I’ll give it another week.
Another week goes by, and I’ve totally forgotten about following up.
A third week goes by, and I get an email:
Hi – Ms. Big Time Author would be happy to be on your show to discuss her new book. Her email address is X.
Great – except that I’ve already booked the two weeks surrounding her book. So, I’m unable to interview this author.
I understand why some authors use those forms, but my experience with them is that somewhere over half those messages are never responded to, even three weeks later.
(If you’re wondering why someone would use a form rather than just including their email address on the page, it may be the fear of being overwhelmed with email. They create the form rather than expose an email address. The form often directs email to an address that’s rarely checked. Of course, it may also be a website default, which can be changed.)
So, unless your books routinely land you on the New York Times bestseller list, and you’ve got people who handle your email, don’t use an email form on your Contact page.
Who visits your contact page?
1. Readers and fans who want to open a dialogue with you.
2. Industry professionals who need to communicate with you.
3. Media members who wish to shine a light on your work.
4. Others who may have business/partnership opportunities.
As authors, we don’t want to hide from readers, industry professionals, or media, so make it easy for people to contact you and let them know it’s okay.
- Readers and fans – Let them know in big bold type that you love hearing from them about your books.
Industry professionals – Nothing needs to be said here, just make it clear what your email address is and use an email address that you check regularly. If you don’t want to attract spam bots do what others do and enter your email address like this: author at authorsite dot com.
- Media – If you’re up for an interview, let people know.
- Others – Not everyone who may want you to co-write their next bestseller will be friends with you on Facebook. Make it easy for them to reach you through your website.
What else Should I put on my Contact page?
Your Contact page is a great place to add buttons or links to your social media accounts. (Of course your home page is another great spot for those buttons. Make it easy for people to connect with you.)
It’s a great place to include contact information for your agent if you didn’t put the information on your About page.
If you enjoy speaking with book clubs, add a blurb about how you do that as well (In person or Skype).
It’s a great place to list your social media accounts so that readers, fans and others can connect with you where they’re already hanging out.
Think about why people would come to your Contact page and try and answer their questions in advance.
Yes – I love hearing from readers – contact me.
Yes – I love speaking with book clubs – contact me.
Yes – I’d be interested in being interviewed by you – contact me.
Your Contact page should be one of the easiest pages to create on your website, but make sure it includes the proper elements.
The Essential Elements of an Effective Author Website series continues with a post on encouraging site visitors to sign up for your email list.
If you’d like to download the entire series as an e-book, that will be available soon. You can signup to receive a free copy the minute it becomes available by clicking the button below.