Nancy: The Big Reveal – Nancy Hunter, Author Website

Last week, I was lamenting my sad lack of progress on my website. This week, I’m singing a different tune.

That’s right. I did it. I completed my author website. You can see it by clicking on the link at the bottom of this post, after I’ve shared some details about creating the site and a few caveats to know before visiting it. Or you can skip straight to the link and come back here after that. (Go ahead, you know you want to do it! It’s definitely what I would do.)

The Look and Feel of the Site

To set up my website, I used a WordPress template built by a company call Author Cats. I’m giving it a try, and might decide at some future time that it’s not the right template for me, so I can’t tell other authors whether it would be right for them. I do think there are some interesting things, to consider. The look of the template is built on an underlying philosophy that is particularly geared to self-publishing writers, but is something to consider for traditionally-published writers as well.

If you’ve done any research on self-publishing, you know how important the author newsletter and the email mailing list used to distribute it is to a writer. It’s one of the few things an author really owns. You don’t own your Facebook or Twitter account. You don’t own your Amazon or Kobo or iBooks account. You can’t force good reviews on Goodreads or count on BookBub ads. But you can connect with readers who would want your books by collecting the email addresses of those who are interested, and then reaching out to them regularly. That’s why you’ll notice that there are two to three places to sign up for my newsletter on every page of my website. And the landing page (where the newsletter sign-up occurs) does not have a menu bar (visitors have to back click to leave the page).

That’s what the site will hopefully do for me, the author. What I hope it will do for visitors is provide a clean, easy-to-navigate place to learn a little bit about me, try a sample of of my work, and effortlessly contact or follow me if that’s their thing.

Placeholder Information

As with many things in life, including me, my website is a work in process. Where appropriate, I’ve made it clear that the Harrow’s Finest Five series will be available in the fall of 2018, the freebie meet cute stories that subscribers get for signing up for my newsletter won’t be sent until May 2018, and the excerpts for kickoff novella and novel 1 will also be unavailable until May. There really is a good reason for this: I want to present the best-possible versions of my books and the excerpts that represent them, which precipitates a good, thorough editing process with an amazing editor. This is happening as we speak, but I want have ‘final’ drafts for another month or so.

I have included placeholder book descriptions on the excerpt pages, in the interest of having something to share about the upcoming books with site visitors. But this, too, will change after I’ve worked with my editor on the book descriptions.

Room to Grow

Some of the self-publishing-specific functionality of the template I’m using is the ability to quickly and easily embed buy links to outside sites that are connected directly to images and text on my website. Changing and updating these links, for instance if I start in Kindle Select and go wide later, is also easy peasy. Easy is important to me. You know how long it took me to get this site set up. When I need to make updates and add more fancy, book-centric bells and whistles, a Nancy-proof way to do so is essential. Otherwise, I’ll never do it.

Over the next several months to a year, I plan to launch websites for my other writing alter egos: Nancy J. Yeager for Women’s Fiction/Mainstream, and NJ Christensen for Mystery/Nordic Noir. (We can discuss the brilliance or idiocy of this plan in a future post.) I had hoped this template would provide an easy way to have multiple home pages that I could manage out of the same site, but it doesn’t look like that’s the case.

Max makes an appearance on my new website, but I hope you won’t see him! He’s on the 404 page.

There are no doubt good technical reasons for this, but sadly, it means I’ll probably have to build separate websites. But it does look like I’ll be able to manage the sites from one dashboard and easily embed links between them. Here’s hoping.

The Reveal

So now, here it is, the moment you’ve been waiting for (or, at least, the moment I’ve been waiting for over the past several months). To visit my new website, click on this link to go to! And if you’re so inclined, sign up for my newsletter while you’re there. I’ll talk more about that when we closer to the first issue in a few months.

Love the website? Hate it? Have deep thoughts to share? Let me know in the comments.

8 thoughts on “Nancy: The Big Reveal – Nancy Hunter, Author Website

  1. It looks lovely, Nancy, and I signed up for your newsletter! (After I clicked Sign Up, I saw your cat, indicating a 404 error…was that supposed to happen?)

    I like that you’re giving the reader lots of reasons to sign up for your newsletter, as well as opportunities. Q on the newsletter: what platform will you be using FOR your newsletter? I know some people use Constant Contact (which is expensive) and others use Mail Chimp. Which one have you selected and what was your determining factor(s)?

    I can’t wait to see how your other alter ego websites turn out. 🙂

    • Thanks for signing up! But, ack! You weren’t supposed to see Max. There’s a ‘thanks for subscribing’ page, but when I moved from a staging to a live site, I forgot to update the pointer. It should go to the correct page now.

      I’m using ConvertKit for my newsletter. I think it’s more of the one expensive ones, but it’s fully scalable, has lots of tagging options, and should make it easy to maintain one mailing list across all my genres, while allowing me to target specific readers by their genre preference. And it’s pretty non-techie friendly, and their tech support is really good. I also got a really good deal on it at the time I joined (a few years ago). So I’ve wasted a few years paying for a service I wasn’t using, but that’s another story. Onward and upward!

  2. LOL, is it cat week at Eight Ladies? I’ve got to say, Max is quite distinguished!

    I really like the illustrations for the excerpts — they convey the time period well, and they are very different, but very much of the same cloth.

    • If by distinguished you mean he’s large and in charge, then yes, yes he is. 😉

      I liked those illustrations, too. Obviously, they’re placeholders for the book covers. (Hiring a book cover designer is in my April to-do pile.) But I also use the one that’s on the novel in my newsletter sign-up pop-up, so she’ll stay with the site even when I do get the covers. And as I put together each synopsis at the start of writing each book, which is one of my new goals to help me FOCUS on what the story is and whether it works, I might do the same sort of thing. I could create a summary and post it there so readers have some sense of future books. With the caveat that some things could change during the writing, but by that point, hopefully nothing huge.

  3. Hi Nancy,
    I looked at your site (very pretty!) on my phone, so this comment might be device-specific, but your log line or tag line, or whatever it’s called (the line that begins, “Writing stories…”) runs off the bottom of my screen, so you can’t read it at a glance. Can you move it and your name up? It feels to me that there’s a lot of empty real estate at the top. Also, is there a button for the newsletter without clicking the menu button? I don’t see it.

    ETA: It turns out, these first comments WERE device-specific. This morning I looked at your new site on my laptop, and the newsletter button is right there at the top, twice. But maybe check with your designers for phone optimization? Or at least, check it on your phone. YMMV.

    Looks good!

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