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67 Author Websites With Delicious Designs and Captivating Content

by Sep 29, 2019

Introduction

We love building websites for creatives and authors. Over time I think we’ve developed a keen eye for what is and isn’t working in an author website.

I’ve realized there isn’t really a comprehensive resource that critiques a wide range of excellent author websites. So I went ahead and made one right here to help you get some author website inspiration for your new author website or upgrade.

I’ve tried to feature completely different websites that are great for completely different reasons. You’ll see some common threads throughout my commentary which I’ll explain in the next section.

I hope this provides you with some excellent inspiration for your next author website build or update. Please give us a shout if you need advice or want us to build your website for you.

 

Important Elements In An Author Website

There are certain parts of your website that are really going to help make it truly effective. The examples in the next section below show off these elements really well.

Easy Navigation

This doesn’t just mean your menu bar is tidy. It means it’s really obvious how to get to different parts of the website. It also means the website content is well organized in a logical fashion. If you don’t do this all of your great content isn’t going to get found.

Clarity

Closely related navigation is the simple fact of making your website understandable and feel easy to use. A good way to do this is to not try and cram too much on any one length of browser scroll.

A visitor can quickly get overwhelmed by the enormous amount of information available and simply leave because they feel confused.

Branding

This isn’t just your logo or colors. It’s the entire communication your author website sends about you and your work. It’s the colors used, the fonts, the type of illustrations, the way you present yourself and your work.

Branding is what makes all the difference in giving a shape to your unique place online. Without branding, you’re just another “insert your genre” author.

Author Funnel

Your website is a great place to get to learn about you, but shouldn’t it also help you sell your books? One of the oldest established theories of marketing is the concept of a sales or marketing funnel. It’s simply a process that leads new visitors through a series of easy to take steps until they become buyers.

Your website should do this! Create awesome resources to send visitors. Make an attractive opt-in offer so they want to sign up. There are so many ways to build an audience. You’ll see many great examples below.

SEO

Search Engine Optimisation simply means making your website more likely to come up in top results in relevant Google searches. Over 50% of all traffic online comes from search engines so if you’re not doing this you’re seriously missing out.

There are 3 simple, important rules for SEO success:

  1. Create epic content
  2. Optimize it for your keyword
  3. Get others to link back to it

Creating epic content means content that is the best answer to that search query on the whole of the internet. I’m not kidding. If it means writing a couple of thousand words for one blog post, then that’s what it means.

If you post your content yourself on a WordPress site, use a free plugin called Yoast SEO. Type in the keyword term you want to rank on Google for in the “focus keyphrase” box and just follow all the little red and orange suggestions until the “SEO Analysis” tab turns green smiley face. Easy!

Getting others to link back to your website is one of the most important ranking factors to Google that your site is important. These links from other sites to yours are simply called “backlinks”. You get backlinks by getting interviews, asking to be featured and simply reaching out to others. Make a buzz in the world of your community and genre. Let everyone know what awesome stuff you’ve made so that they can link to it. The more authoritative the sites linking back to you, the better.

Fan Resources

Closely related to SEO and your funnel (all these things should work together), is the value you provide to visitors and fans when they arrive on your site.

Websites that have a lot of engaging content tend to keep people on them for a while. The longer someone is on your site, the more time they’re spending getting to know you and your work and the more likely they are to opt-in, remember you and become a book buyer or a repeat book buyer.

There are so many ways to create interesting content. You can read parts of your new book and post them to video or podcasts, create giveaways of your original manuscripts, host fan-art boards or short story contests and feature the best, etc. The point is to create an engaging content strategy and stick to it. Even if it’s not you that does all the work on it.

Hint: Video is becoming more and more dominant on the internet. I know, I know you’re a writer, not a filmmaker, but I bet you still love watching movies right? Video is fast, engaging and can be quick to produce if you get into it. Find ways to use it if you can.

Here are our Top 67 Author Websites:

In no particular order. I’ll briefly explain what I think is great about each of them.

Jonathan Fields – Good Life Project

Jonathan Fields website

https://www.goodlifeproject.com

Nonfiction, Self Help, Business

Features: Interactive Tool, Background Video

A site that stylishly broadcasts “feel good” vibes. Combines warm colors with professionally shot uplifting background video which gives it some class. But just in case you thought it was too serious for you, just a short scroll away is the ” Good Life-O-Meter”. Do yourself a favor and drag it all the way to the unicorn. It’s worth it.

This kind of online tool is great for encouraging shares and backlinks from other sites wanting to refer to interesting resources. This is an all-round very professional and engaging site. The top Opt-in bar “Wondering what to do with your life?” is perfectly aligned with what the book promises and sends you to a quiz. This site does all the right things, and does them well, while keeping true to its brand.

Savi Sharma

Savi Sharma website

https://savisharma.com/

Romance, fiction, inspirational

Features: Intimate Branding, Room to Breathe

I really love the branding of this website. I haven’t read this woman’s books but I’m immediately given the impression that she is an extremely thoughtful and compassionate individual.

Look at the way her books are framed on the homepage in their own little space on the steps to some magical garden. It just makes you want to explore her world. It says in a subtle, inviting way, “this is the home of something special.”

Henry Neff

henry hneff  website

http://henryhneff.com/

Fantasy

Features: Video, Great design, Crossover artist skills

Henry leverages his highly skilled illustration ability to make beautiful time-lapse videos of his artwork creation. Lean on what makes you unique as an author and artist. As an illustrator myself, I can seriously appreciate Henry’s abilities and I’m sure his fans can as well.

I’ve written a more detailed breakdown of Henry’s site on my fantasy author websites article.

Austin Kleon

austin kleon website

https://austinkleon.com

Nonfiction, Self Help, Art

Features: Blog Focused, Cheeky, Engaging

Austin Kleon clearly wants you to focus on his blog which pops up right away. It also makes sure his website feels fresh all the time because he literally posts every day! This strategy acts as a clever customer journey for website visitors who aren’t too familiar with his work because they can read through hundreds of pages of his free content and get to know his voice and become one step closer to a buyer.

His books are also always tastefully displayed in his sidebar so the longer you’re on his blog the more likely you are to check them out at some stage or another.

One thing I really noticed about Austin’s website is that he’s a smart blogger. He creates a rich internal linking structure using many links to other resources and encourages others to build links to his site using clever techniques like asking them to copy-paste his preformatted bio complete with his most important backlinks. I’m sure this has earned him a ton of referral traffic over time and helped his SEO massively.

Melissa McPhail

melissa mcphail website

https://melissamcphail.com

Epic Fantasy

Features: Rich content, Fan resources

Full disclaimer here, my agency built this author site so I’m terribly biased. That being said I think I still have enough objectivity to say that it is a fantastic and rather unique site all the same.

Melissa’s cover art is really awesome. We used this artwork as the branding theme for the site and then took it a step further with a whole lot of new and interesting rich content. We created a series of detailed, full-color, illustrated maps that have now been downloaded several thousand times.

There are magic charts and codes of lore, glossaries and character lists. It’s everything one needs as a thorough online companion to her epic fantasy series “A Pattern of Shadow and Light.”

We strived to create an immersive website that is also an artwork. Interestingly enough Melissa herself stated that the site was truly a work of art in her final review. So I guess we nailed it.

As far as the site building her author platform, email signups instantly shot up over 5 times the daily opt-in rate since we launched the site and have shown no sign of slowing down. This site has no doubt paid for itself many times over in terms of future readers created and current readers engaged.

You can make your own assessment. Melissa’s feedback and our own has been overwhelmingly excellent so far.

Michael Grumley

michael grumley website

https://michaelgrumley.com/

Thriller

Features: Reader-Centric, Progress Meter, Bold Branding

You can see this author is his own individual and cares about others. A next book progress meter shows readers how far along he is and keeps them coming back to find out. He has a page dedicated to donating to a charity he believes in, and get his merch in return.

Take a page out of his book and show you care about your readers and others as well.

Seth Price and Barry Feldman – The Road to Recognition

author website example

http://www.theroadtorecognition.com/

Self Help, Business

Features: Bold Branding, Link-worthy Infographics

What really caught my eye with this site is that it very much feels like it is designed. Which is the whole point of the book: personal branding. So the website makes a good case for the book whether a visitor realizes it or not.

A clever device used to get more link-worthy and share-worthy content is having an infographics page with several infographics that can be easily embedded into another site. Once embedded the code automatically sends a link back to the site using the image.

Timothy Ferris The Four Hour Chef

chef website

https://fourhourchef.com/

Non-fiction, Cooking

Features: Engaging, Interactive, Cheeky

While at first impression this site may seem overly busy, it’s still definitely interesting. There’s so much to do and explore on the site you kind of want to get stuck in and check it all out. Many different lightbox, carousel and preview type features allow you to consume a huge amount of information in what at first seems like a fairly concise page.

While a one-page website isn’t usually advisable for SEO, it certainly will make you stay on the page a while exploring all the rich content. The other unfortunate disadvantage with this type of site is it tends to break easily because it’s heavily tech-dependent. Several of the features didn’t work when I checked it out, like the trailer, which I really wanted to watch.

Eric Ries – The Lean Startup

eric ries website

http://theleanstartup.com

Non-fiction, Business

Features: Bold Branding, Page is a Funnel

The great thing about this website is its brand is in harmony with its theme. The little blueprint arrows that lead you around the site and the simple matter-of-fact font and style all contribute to the idea of only using what you need to get going.

The fact that there’s no navigation menu is an interesting choice. The website is more of a funnel landing page than a website really. In this case, I think it kind of works. There are other website pages like the book pages which, again, feel much like landing pages to drive sales and sell the book. I’m not sure I’d recommend this type of site to most people but for Eric and his brand, I think it works.

Gary Vaynerchuk

gary vaynerchuk website

https://www.garyvaynerchuk.com/books/

Non-fiction, Business

Features: Bold Branding

His branding is very loud and in your face, much like he is. Fans will feel welcome here because they feel like they’ve arrived at the right place.

Frank Chimero – The Shape of Design

frank chimero website

https://shapeofdesignbook.com/

Non-fiction, Design

Features: Minimalist Design

The website IS the book. Gorgeous minimalist design informed by functionality which better emphasizes the theme of the book.

Judy Moody

judy moody website

https://judymoody.com/

Children’s

Features: Bold Branding, Fun, Fan Resources

A fun and engaging site which uses the cover art branding throughout. Her fan resources pages for teachers and parents are a great idea.

Chris Guillebeau – Born For This

Chris Guillebeau Author Website Inspiration

https://bornforthisbook.com/

Nonfiction, Business, Travel

Features: Interactive Tool (Quiz), Bold Color, Author Funnel

This author website is bold, clean and simple. It’s clearly oriented to taking fans and readers into the authors funnel. You can either “take the quiz”, which is an awesome customer journey tool in itself, register for an event held by the author, buy the book, go to Chris’s personal author site to read his blog, “get free stuff” or join him on socials. All roads lead to buying, opting in or following somehow and yet you don’t really feel pressured. It’s a simple site, professionally executed and well thought out.

Mark Dawson

Mark Dawson

https://markjdawson.com/

Thriller

Features: Bold Branding, Opt-In Focused

Clear calls to action. Crisp Decisive lines with high contrast make you feel compelled to go and interact with the limited but appealing calls to action. I’ll bet he has a high opt-in rate!

Greg McKeown

 greg mckeown

https://gregmckeown.com/book/

Non-fiction, Lifestyle

Features: Sleek Design, Multiple Calls To Action, Video

Branding spot on. The muted palette works with the “essentialism” theme. Video is well branded and sells the core concepts. Multiple calls to action mean if you’re at all interested you’ll get Chapter 1 and enter his author funnel.

Dan Brown

https://danbrown.com/

Thriller

Features: Mystery Magnet

Anyone who knows Dan Brown knows he’s obsessed with symbols. His website reflects this. What may not be as obvious is that the mysterious symbols draw you in by making you curious.

Just look at this cryptic form field with a send button. What does it do? Don’t you just have to know! I’m pretty sure the sets of symbols are clues and that you can figure it out and unlock some kind of puzzle. It’s all very intriguing. Which is the point of course. Mystery pulls an audience in and keeps them interested.

Ditter Kellen

ditter kellen

https://www.ditterkellen.com/

Thriller

Features: Mystery Magnet, Ominous Foreboding Background Video

The subtle movements on the water combined with the wet haired emo femme make you feel somewhat uneasy. It’s like something is about to happen and never quite does. It keeps you there, wanting to know more.

Peter Joseph Lewis

https://www.siwelp.com/

Thriller

Features: Minimalism, Fan Contribution

As with all minimalist designs the site has great use of white space, making every design element that much more impactful.

Earthy brown is a color that evokes down-to-earth, dependable and safe feelings, which provides an interesting contrast to his rather disturbing imagery. Like you’re in a safe place of his making, where it’s safe to explore his rather disturbing material. Nice touch I thought. I also love how you can buy him a cup of coffee online. If I was a fan, I would do it.

Evangeline Anderson

https://evangelineanderson.com/

Romance, Sci-Fi

Features: Mystery Magnet, VIP List

Although this is a Sci-Fi Romance author and the mystery magnet technique is generally used for thriller and horror, I’m going to stick this website in this category as well.

Evangeline Anderson is obviously known for her romance novels but has now ventured into what appears to be alien romance, which I must say freaky or not, you just want to find out more right there right? Hunky alien dudes giving you the “you’re-mine” look? It may just be the next big thing and Evangeline’s website sells this well.

Even though you wouldn’t get me reading a novel like this with a ten-foot pole, the website definitely got me interested in this crossover genre if nothing else. I also like that she calls her one newsletter sign up page “VIP List”, and has it separate from her “Newsletter” page. I’m not exactly sure what the difference is but it’s gotta make a fan feel more special right?

H S Paisley

https://www.hspaisley.com

Fantasy, Science Fiction, Romance

Features: Clarity, Room to Breathe

This is not a flashy website. It’s not full of crazy animations or gimmicky online tools or downloads. The one thing it really does have going for it is it’s clean. The font is consistent throughout. The color scheme is harmonious. The overly busyness of 99% of the internet has been banned from this space. It’s a place where you can calm the *** down and just learn about the books and the author.

I always say, with websites, when in doubt, reduce the number of elements on the page. If there’s only one button to click, as long as it’s obvious, that’s the one they’ll go for.

Her contact page is a great example of this, the menu disappears and you’re confronted with 2 options, either click contact and fill out the form or hit back. It’s a level of clear communication that’s desperately missing from most of the internet.

Richard Hummel – Hummel Books

https://hummelbooks.com/

Fantasy

Features: Strong Branding and Design Sense

His website feels like you are already in a dystopian future. From the high-tech user interface to the glitchy book trailer that feels like it’s a recording of something that’s already happened.

Hummel does a great job of pulling you into his world without you even realizing you’ve arrived there.

Mark Manson

https://markmanson.net/

Non-fiction, Lifestyle

Features: Cheeky and Memorable, Great SEO Strategy and Funnel

Mark’s site is fun! It’s an experience. Much like his writing in general, you just kind of love his insouciant attitude and the website reflects this well while still being quite organized. There’s a hell of a lot of content on the website which is mostly tucked behind the hamburger menu bar.

He has clearly worked out his funnel very well, both in terms of customer journey and SEO. There are various tiers of membership to his content. You can opt in to his blog and unlock VIP content right inside his blog. You can pay a little extra for an insider circle as well. This is an author and content creator who clearly understands marketing in the digital age.

His website has an impressive backlink profile: A high domain authority and a lot of quality links from other websites. He’s getting an estimated 250K organic visits a month! Whatever this guy and his team say they know about his subject, they definitely understand SEO and content marketing. All-round this is a brilliant site that is no doubt a huge success for its author.

Christopher Kastensmidt

https://www.eamb.org/

Fantasy, RPG

Features: Rich world-building, Theme on point

Like most of the website examples I’ve cited, what is working in Christopher’s is that his look and feel is in harmony with his brand. The website screams RPG which is at the core of his work. You immediately feel the gamified style and want to get in there and play (if that’s your thing.)

Chris also has some high-quality artwork for viewing in his artwork gallery. Along with a rich “world” resources page, I can see his genre of RPG fans loving this site.

L Ron Hubbard

https://www.lronhubbard.org/

Fiction, Non-Fiction, Philosophy

Features: Great use of video, Clean clear message.

A smoothly built website that focuses on a filterable video timeline that selects video clips by periods of the author’s life. The fact that there’s just so much video content here means you could spend hours on the same page learning about all the various life phases.

It’s a clean site, easy to navigate and packed with content. Probably the most impressive aspect of the site is the incredible volume of multimedia content on it. Virtually every page you go to has professional video footage covering the content. I can imagine users can spend a long time here. Time-on-page being an important ranking factor for Google, the site will no doubt rank quite easily for its relevant search queries.

Rick Riordan

http://rickriordan.com/

Young Adult Fiction

Features: Unique Interactivity, Easy to navigate

A site that takes the term “storyline” to a whole new level. The home page is a very literal, dynamic storyline that moves down with the user, leading you through the various series. The same living line gimmick is used on the individual books on each series pages, keeping the site feeling unified in its look and feel. Inviting you to explore each as you go.

To me, this is an elegant solution to a young adult-friendly site. Quick to understand and engaging to navigate. The clarity of design and high quality of the illustrations don’t do it any harm either.

Veronica Roth

https://veronicarothbooks.com

Science Fiction

Features: Clean clear message, White space

The obvious thing about this site is clarity and white space. You don’t feel cramped into a corner with too much information overload. All the information you want is there and easy and inviting to discover.

Although it helps site speed I think some of the images could have been a little bit better quality because they look overly grainy at times. Apart from this, I’m always a fan of a site that is clean, clear and communicates.

Victoria Aveyard

https://www.victoriaaveyard.com/

Young adult, fantasy

Features: White space, Elegant

A stylish take on a classic minimal design. It feels as if this website is a modern version of the basic WordPress theme with a large measure of added style.

The thing I love about this site is that it has exactly what’s needed and absolutely nothing else. Lots of white space frame the elements well. One single font across the entire website keeps load times fast and design feeling unified.

For a Squarespace site, I’ve got to say, I’m impressed.

David Arnold

http://davidarnoldbooks.com

Young Adult, Contemporary

Features: Bold branding and Color, Unique

I chose to feature this author website because it’s quite different but not so different that it’s broken. David uses an interesting mix of pop art and his own folky music backed book trailers. The guy comes across more as an artist, not a marketer, and I’m not saying you can’t be both or that you should or shouldn’t be one or the other. Each to their own right?

But it is a little sad to me that there’s no funnel for his fans and readers on his website, no opt-in, no cool free intro giveaway. I think the world could do with more of his unique brand of art but without a real funnel in place, fewer folks are going to get it.

Leigh Bardugo – Grishaverse

http://www.grishaverse.com

Fantasy

Features: Engaging Fan resources, Fun

Leigh’s site, Grishaverse is a whole lot of fun. It’s got that rich graphic novel type feel, with liberal use of illustrations, textures, decorative fonts, and fan resources that all come together really well and compliment her brand.

I’m a huge fan of this site. It’s engaging and well made. While navigating through her website, even though I’ve never read her books, I feel like I’ll find a well-crafted, quirky, original world within their pages.

Lev Grossman

Lev Grossman

http://levgrossman.com/

Fantasy

Features: Viral Video

Lev’s site makes genius use of video to build credibility, community, and engagement to a whole new level. This video features on his home page. If you haven’t watched it do yourself a favour and check it out right now. Mind=blown. Nuff said.

Ransom Riggs

http://ransomriggs.com/

Fantasy

Features: Quirky, Fun, Leverages unique skills

Ransom’s author site feels like an antique shop. Which, if you look at his cover art and know anything of his work, seems to be very much in keeping with his general theme.

I like the way you can click on the different illustrations on the home page. Then all of a sudden you land upon a set of beautiful short films he’s created?! This website is an artwork featuring an artist, that’s for sure.

Katie Alender

http://www.katiealender.com/

Thriller

Features: Minimal, Clean and clear, Cute

When you add less, what is there stands out that much more. The tiny apology under her logo “Sorry my website isn’t scarier” is cute and inviting in its vulnerability.

I’m a fan of the clean design of the site. However, like many Squarespace sites I’ve seen, I can see it just isn’t delivering in terms of being an author funnel. No opt-in option. No resources. No opportunity for engagement. Maybe she only uses her socials for that? I’m not sure.

It’s a great looking, clean site, but also a missed opportunity to really delight fans and gain future readers. There is a beautifully made book trailer hidden in one of the book pages with over 2 million YouTube views, why it’s not more accessible I don’t quite know. I feel like this website looks good but really isn’t helping her brand as much as it could be. It seems more like an afterthought than a marketing tool.

Multiple Authors – Thug Kitchen

https://www.thugkitchen.com/

Non-fiction, Cooking

Features: Cheeky, Fun, Content, Engaging, Emotional connection

So much fun right? If you have a sense of humour this site is going to get a reaction. It’s so bold an in your face and unapologetic in manner.

It also has the feeling of almost having been casually thrown together, but I can tell it’s definitely had some professional branding attention. The spacing, choice of fonts and general layout smacks of a pro behind the scenes.

Love the filterable recipes, podcasts and awesome use of puns. Lot’s of value for new visitors and fans alike. More content equals more opportunities to be found on search so it helps with exposure. They have quite a few recipes on the number 1 spot in google for their meals so it’s clearly working for them as a strategy.

Jacqui Shephard

http://jacquishepherd.com/

Children’s

Features: Fun and flowing, Fan resources

We made this children’s author’s website as well. We wanted to make it playful and engaging. We used the characters from the books in various parts of the website. They peep in and out of the frames and backgrounds. The site, like Jacqui’s writing, is lighthearted and reflects her warm attitude towards her young readers.

David Sedaris

https://www.davidsedarisbooks.com/

Essays

Features: Minimalist, Clean and clear

David’s website works on the easy to admire principle that your words and books should speak for themselves. He’s already made it in his genre and his website has no need to prove anything. Nevertheless, it still is well organized and updated with his upcoming events, links to press and useful resources and of course his books and audiobooks.

Amy Krouse Rosenthal

http://www.whoisamy.com

Children’s

Features: Cute, interactive

Ok, this website is just too cute. It’s not all professional and slick feeling but it’s a children’s book author so it doesn’t have to be. The way you can make the umbrella open in different ways. Many little slice-of-life videos. A link to the foundation created to honor the author’s legacy. It’s just so simple and endearing so I had to feature it.

R.L. Stine

http://rlstine.com

Horror, Young Adult

Features: Fan resources, Clean and clear

For a Young Adult Horror Author, I think this website really pulls it off. It uses striking, contrasting elements and awkward diagonal compositions that are just a little bit off to create a fun, edgy neon brand of young horror. He offers some cool resources for his audience as well, like audiobook stories one can listen to which are professionally narrated by voice-over artists. He also offers a beautifully presented free PDF download of his writing program to be used by educators in helping you adults become writers. At first, you may not think too much of this website, but once you really dig in you realize it’s quite well thought out and offers a lot of value to a visitor in a simple, clear manner. Big thumbs up.

Vince Frost – Design your Life

http://designyourlife.com.au/

Self-help

Features: Unique Design, Interactive

This author website is just so different. It’s like you’ve stepped outside of the internet as we know it and landed in a Bauhaus montage made of words and interactivity. I wouldn’t advocate making a website like this yourself, to be honest. It’s not really clear what’s what and what to do, but you have to marvel that someone went out there and custom-built this crazy beast.

J.K. Rowling

https://www.jkrowling.com

Fantasy

Features: Unique design, Personal touch

Of course, when you’re a billionaire you really get to invest in a groundbreaking technical masterpiece of a website. I’m not sure what it cost her but this site is a marvel. Open it on a desktop, resize the browser window and watch how the objects seamlessly rearrange themselves into different and interesting compositions according to the browser size. What I love about her homepage is it feels like a little window into her life. Like you’ve stumbled upon her belongings left lying around when she just popped out for a minute and now get to have a rare inside glimpse at what this extraordinary woman is all about.

Beyond the home page, the website is really quite ordinary. Well designed and elegant for sure, but otherwise quite simple. I feel like more could’ve been done with the inner pages to keep up with the amazing home page.

But hey, she has several other entire websites dedicated to her worlds already, Wizarding World, Pottermore, and Harry Potter the Play so I think she’s got it covered.

Davis Ashura

https://davisashura.com

Epic Fantasy

Features: Author Inside the Story

Another one of my agency’s websites, Davis Ashura’s site is rich in imagery and interesting to explore. You can check out the site for yourself but the thing I really wanted to feature here was a novel About page we created for him. We placed him inside his own fantasy world with a dragon about to swoop down and bathe a small village in fire, in the background.

If he’s having so much fun within his world, it kind of hints to the reader that they should dive right in as well, right?

Katherine Center

http://katherinecenter.com

Romance

Features: Bold, Colorful, Unique, Rainbow colored ice cream

Katherine’s site is bold and bright. The opening banner is a scrolling panel of impressive reviews and accolades basically saying you gotta read this now. She has an interesting extras page which really just seems to have a bit of everything: social feeds, a shop, books her blog. I couldn’t quite figure out if the extras page was just everything in one place, but I found it interesting. Her site reminds me of rainbow-colored ice-cream.

Alexandra Bracken

http://www.alexandrabracken.com

Young Adults

Features: Personal, Great Design, Fan Resources Inspirational Insights

This site really feels like a thorough reflection of the author’s personality. It’s clean, organized and well, personal. Apart from the obvious gorgeous design work, there are so many cool insights into her as a writer that makes the site really interesting to explore. She lists her playlists that she listened to for each book, her Pinterest boards for her world inspiration, interviews, trailers, etc. There’s really a lot going on here to dive in and get involved in. You can go ahead an sign up for her newsletter and she’ll give out a whole lot of amazing stuff, but it’s not in your face, you have to want to. I really like this site. It feels mature and inviting.

Rachel Hollis

https://thehollisco.com

Non-Fiction

Features: Power branding, Funnel oriented, Energy driver

This site sends a professional message of motivational and insightful promise to its visitors. It feels partly like a news site, partly like a shop. You can see the target audience is more business focussed but there’s still some playfulness at work. What’s really working for her is the volume of content. So many different ways to engage: podcasts, video, a chatbot (ok too far maybe?), 90-day challenge. There are a lot of opportunities to engage and get hooked. I took a peek at her traffic estimate and not surprisingly it’s doubled in the last 5 months.

The video on her home page immediately positions Rachel as a celebrity authority. The huge screaming audience acts as social proof that she’s for real and instantly elevates her perceived value. By proving her credibility she’ll obviously boost her sales because she’s shown that she’s a worthwhile source for many others already.

Mary Burton

https://www.maryburton.com

Thriller

Features: Clever branding, Functional, Clean and clear,

Two things I really liked about this site: Firstly, the author watching you with a big grin, leaning out of the banner section with her next book called I see you. Secondly, the long scrolling banner of books at the bottom of the homepage. I thought that was a good solution to having too many books to easily display on one page.

G.A. Aiken

https://gaaiken.com

Science Fiction, Fantasy

Features: Mystery magnet, Spooky Gothic

Dark and mysterious, easy to navigate, the site is good looking and well branded. I love how it feels mysterious and almost like it was engraved by Viking blacksmiths. My only criticism is that it doesn’t suit most of the branding on the book covers which almost seem like the come from another genre. My guess is the site is focussed on promoting the newer book branding on the home page which it does do effectively.

Katy Rose Pool

https://katyrosepool.com

Science Fiction, Fantasy

Features: Bold Conspicuous Intro

The homepage introduction is awesome. It’s interesting how you get sent to an entirely different website for her book. Not entirely sure why but the fact that it’s a MacMillan branded book site is probably the answer.

Lewis Carroll

https://www.lewiscarroll.org

Children’s

Features: Homage to a Classic

You often expect an author who isn’t around anymore to not have a great website. Lewis Carol’s site is definitely an exception. The site really does pay homage to the spirit of Lewis Carol, complete with animated, disappearing cats, original character art and a kind of classic feel. I think the old man, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson as he was actually named, would probably look at the website and nod in approval.

I love the fact that the site really does do everything to honor the writer and not go all over-the-top about modern Disney renditions of his work.

Marie Forleo

https://www.marieforleo.com

Self-help

Features: Stylish Optimism, Funnel

Marie’s website feels like a news hub for everything Marie Forleo, which is exactly what it is. It does a great job of carrying the flavor of her stylish brand of optimism. She obviously really wants you to buy her book. You can’t browse on a page without seeing a button to buy it.

One thing that’s interesting about this website from an author’s point of view is that you’re sent to another website to buy the book. For Marie, who already has a good online presence over many platforms, this makes sense because she can then use her book website as a tight funnel to drive more sales (no other distractions from buying it).

For less established authors I wouldn’t recommend this. More websites mean more history and backlinks to establish for each one for google. Even Marie’s book website only has a small fraction of the backlinks of her personal website.

Wilbur Smith

https://www.wilbursmithbooks.com

Nature, Adventure

Features: Animated Ambiance

The homepage you land on is fantastic. Striking colors, clean navigation, and engaging animated elements. The style is maybe not for everyone but it definitely feels alive.

Brené Brown

https://brenebrown.com

Self-help

Features: Smooth and Sleek, Fan resources

This website is well designed, easy to navigate and feels smooth and sleek. High-quality photography helps sell the value behind the words. Has a ton of great looking downloadables and shareables.

R J Palacio

https://wonderthebook.com/about

Children’s

Features: App Download, Fun and Interactive

A fun and cute layout, Palacio’s author site uses a muted color scheme to focus on her playful character art and subtly animated interactivity. She’s created a whole bunch of downloadable resources and even her own app.

Dav Pilkey

https://pilkey.com

Children’s

Features: Zany Engagement Overload

Super fun and all kinds of extra interactive fun things for kids to keep on coming back. The site is bold and clean, letting the colors, illustrations and font do the work.

Go and check out the trailer for Dogman. Such a riot.

Ruth Ware

https://ruthware.com

Crime Thriller

Features: Opt-in, Clean, multimedia, engaging

Clean engaging design and layout. The site feels professional and is laid out in such a way that you’d actually want to read it. Various media from video to audio clips make it a rich user experience. I like the opt-in being a “book club” with tons of value thrown in for subscribers. A bit confused why the blog is called “Extras” but otherwise it all makes sense.

Jo Nesbo

https://jonesbo.com

Crime Thriller

Features: Killer Navigation

His navigation with the little revolver icon is fun. The layout is clean with high contrast and lots of bite-size sections, ensuring you don’t get bored going through long bodies of content.

James Rollins

https://jamesrollins.com

Crime Thriller

Features: Immersed in the Story

Love his dark, gritty feel. The branding of a kind of wartime dystopia really makes you feel like you’re inside a story. I found the navigation and way the site was organized a little confusing because it didn’t seem consistent one page to another, but otherwise love the design. He obviously has a lot of great content to share as well, I just wish it was a little easier to find.

Katherine Arden

http://katherinearden.com

Fantasy

Features: Make Your Books Precious

Like the way her books are displayed almost like sacred or royal artifacts as you arrive. Simple and clean layout and navigation make the site easy to use. The fan art is a fun touch.

Veronica Rossi

http://veronicarossi.com/books

Young Adults

Features: Epic Intro

The website makes a great introduction. The logo and header navigation makes it feel cinematic. The rest of the rest feels a little outdated in style with long pages of scrolling text, but I still think it’s a pretty cool site.

Ronald L. Smith

https://www.strangeblackflowers.com

Children’s, Young Adult

Features: Beautiful header

The top banner looks awesome and sets the tone of the site well. I like the general clean feel of the site. Not much of a fan of the general way the body text is laid out in the inner pages. It could be more engaging.

Hafsah Faizal – We Hunt The Flame

https://www.wehunttheflame.com

Fantasy, Young Adult

Features: Worldbuilding Resources

An endearing and interesting site. Love how you can click sections of her world map to learn more. Her character page is also beautifully done. I think she’s done a good job of giving a sense of the world with minimal content produced.

Cassandra Clare

https://www.cassandraclare.com

Young Adult

Features: 24 Carrot Navigation, Lots of Content

The golden navigation banner immediately draws your eye. There is a lot of content on the site to explore. I feel like if there were fewer fonts and cleaner navigation the overall branding of the site would be stronger. Still a good looking site though.

Stephanie Meyer

https://stepheniemeyer.com

Fantasy

Features: Unique, Illustration, Resources, Well-Integrated Artwork

Maybe it’s because I’m also a professional illustrator and artist, maybe because I’m a little crazy as well, but I LOVE a well-illustrated intro to a website. Stephenie’s website is heavily illustration-based and it makes it feel very creative and unique. It’s also easy to navigate, beautiful and clean. Has a fun “obsessions” page in which she obsessively shares all the things shes obsessing over. I guess in the hope that fans will become obsessed as well?

Jojo Moyes

https://www.jojomoyes.com

Romance

Features: Fresh and Calming

Fresh color scheme which is accentuated by the plant motif. Her books section layout is a clean well-presented solution for an author with a lot of work to show.

Kate Morton

https://www.katemorton.com

Fiction

Features: Elegant Yet Quirky

Kate’s author website is a combination of professional high-quality feel, quirky illustrations, and interactive elements. Her professional photographs add to the high-end feel of the website. It’s just a pleasing and interesting site to explore with plenty of written and video content to get lost in.

Helen Hoang

https://www.helenhoang.com

Romance

Features: Feminine Fun

Helen’s website carries her book branding nice into an online format. Similar feminine color schemes yet still punchy and fresh. I also like her little tagline “saying it with a love story.”

Emily Martin

http://www.emilymartinwrites.com

Young Adult

Features: Pop Art Feel

The ultra-bold colors on the intro really grab your attention. I feel like the inner pages could’ve been a bit more interesting though to maintain that wow factor.

Shel Silverstein

http://www.shelsilverstein.com

Children

Features: Animated Navigation

Illustrations are super fun. The navigation activates these awesome little animations. Makes you feel like the author’s work is going to be a lot of fun to read to kids.

Kira Butler

http://www.kirabutler.com/

Young Adult

Features: Design and Branding

Absolutely Beautiful clean layout and color scheme with engaging grid section and photo illustrations that show a lot of attention to detail. Makes you want to dive in and explore further. The unfortunate downside to so many hi-res images is the site load time suffers which may put some visitors off.

Conclusion

We’ve put a huge amount of energy into compiling this post so you can be better inspired and informed on your next author website project.

If you feel like I’ve missed out featuring an author website that absolutely has to be here, let me know in the comments and I’ll consider adding it.

As you can see, there are so many ways to make your author website truly awesome and really work for you as a marketing and branding tool.

If you’d like any further advice on author website design or online strategy let me know in the comments or through our contact page.

If you’d like to work with a professional web design agency that specializes in working with creatives we’d be happy to help you.

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Have your say, make my day!

  • What did you think of my author website choices and reviews?
  • Is there any author website you think should be on this list that isn’t?
4 Comments
  1. Jacqui

    Great article! Interesting and informative. I thoroughly enjoyed going through this comprehensive, well laid out list of author websites. I am thrilled to have my website featured on this list. Thank you Matt and Sonja from Rocket Expansion for creating my website. – Jacqui Shepherd Children’s Author.

    Reply
    • Matt Ziranek

      Thanks so much, Jacqui! Glad you enjoyed it. We love your website and your work. It’s earned it’s placed in the article 😉

      Reply
  2. Susan M

    Wow. Such an in-depth and interesting read. So many great authors and websites. Thank you for sharing this, I enjoyed it. I need to get cracking with my book and finish it, feeling inspired!

    Reply
    • Matt Ziranek

      Glad you liked it, Susan. Best of luck with wrapping up your book.

      Reply

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