Websites for the Top 10 Best-Selling Authors of 2012

I love books and am very interested in the convergence of the traditional publishing industry with the new world of ubiquitous screens (I’ve written about it here, here, and here). The entire industry is changing drastically and quickly, however the whole engine is still driven by the extraordinary minds creating content for us to read – the authors. My job is to help authors get a presence on the web that beautifully reflects the personality of their writing (I’ve done it herehere, and here).

In this post I’m taking the opportunity to check out what other, extremely popular authors have done on their public websites. Below you’ll find a glance at the homepages of the top 10 best-selling authors of 2012 (compiled from here, here, and here), with some of my thoughts on each site.



1. E.L. James

The sizzling Shades of Grey trilogy sky-rocketed E.L. James to the top of this list and second place was far distant. James’ site is well done with an understated design and easy links for her visitors. She even links out to fan sites and gives specific wine lists from her books – great additions only found on the web.


Suzanne-Collins website

2. Suzanne Collins

With all the fame and hype surrounding The Hunger Games, Suzanne might not have had time to update her site much. (Suzanne! If you’re reading this, contact me to get a new dynamic website!)


Gillian-Flynn website

3. Gillian Flynn

Gillian has a smart-looking site that offers all the basics I recommend on an author site: upcoming events, a contact page, and lots of focus on her books. The site is simple, but enough for fans to get what they need.


Wimpy-Kid website

4. Jeff Kinney

Jeff’s website is wonderful, maybe my favorite on this list. He doesn’t even have an author website, he’s completely branded himself with his Wimpy Kid series. The site’s design is delightfully playful but great attention has been paid to content as well. There is a plethora of extra information, links, and “fun stuff.” Perfect!


Nicholas-Sparks website

5. Nicholas Sparks

I’ve mentioned Mr. Sparks here before, on my roundup of 8 Great Author Websites. Sparks’ site is well-geared to target his audience. Calm colors, passionate photos and beautiful faces make me want to escape into a romance book or movie of his.


Tom Rath website

6. Tom Rath

Tom’s website is clean and simple. It’s minimal design with bold contrast plays well to the business-crowd he writes for and is certainly a reflection of his writing as well. A small photo of Tom in the sidebar makes it feel like he is taking me on a personal tour of his site and a big note on his homepage lets me know exactly what he’s working on now.


Author Kevin Maurer website

7. Kevin Maurer

Kevin might be the kind of guy who likes to do things himself, his website included. A few more photos, some type-treatments, and an intentional visual design would go a long way to making this site feel more accessible and interesting.


Rick Riordan website

8. Rick Riordan

This site is epic! Colorful illustrations of dragons! Legendary font for the headlines! Plenty of content! Let’s get to battling bad guys!


George R.R. Martin website

9. George R.R. Martin

George (one of my favorite authors) has a site that is an amazing throwback to 1998. But believe it or not, this site is updated quite frequently and keeps visitors informed and entertained.


Bill-O-Reilly website

10. Bill O’Reilly

O’Reilly’s website is extensive, pulling in news, a store, features for premium members and much more. There are some nicely designed parts to the site, but overall it is a dense, crowded site and dozens of links everywhere make it pretty hard to scan.


So, there you have it. Quite a variety of sites in the top 10 authors of 2012, from do-it-yourself pages to fully-featured exhaustive websites. Let me know which ones you prefer.

And hey, guess what? Creating author websites is my specialty! If you are an author looking for a great new website read about the 6 things I think every author website needs, then contact me to get started!

Susan Lagsdin

former Executive Director of Write On The River

Brad’s design work is creative and impeccable — and best of all, he listens well and asks all the right questions, with no assumptions about his clients’ experience.

Jennifer Skiff

Best-selling Author

Hiring Brad Fitzgerald to create my website was the greatest gift I gave to myself in 2013. He is a pleasure to work with!

Ona Russell

Author and Speaker

As an author, I wanted something that would showcase my books, but do so by telling a kind of story. And that is exactly what Brad accomplished. The finished product is beautiful, evocative and efficient, just like a great novel.

His ability to grasp an organization’s goals and translate them into images is pitch-perfect. With his upbeat attitude and timely delivery, he is a real pleasure to work with.

After scouring dozens of author websites I contacted Brad – because his designs are clean and tight, and he is easy to work with. From inspecting his initial concept drafts, it was clear that selecting Brad was the right move.

I really can’t recommend Brad highly enough. He’s come through for us time after time, and always delivers outstanding work. His sites are beautiful and functional works of art. Brad has designed the websites for some of our biggest authors. You know he’ll deliver an amazing site, right on schedule.

Emma Otheguy

Children's Author

Brad effectively translated my half-formed ideas into a beautiful website, and he gave me lots of choices and allowed plenty of feedback. He also did a great job making the web design flexible enough to evolve with my needs.

Dr. Robert Rosenthal


It was a pleasure to work with Brad at Apt Design. On the design front, his concepts were spot on, so we never got started on false trails. And he easily and accurately incorporated my feedback in a comfortable back-and-forth dialogue that resulted in a strong final product. I remain extremely pleased with the result.

Robert Howard


Brad came up with a powerful visual look and graphic design that tied together the various “chapters” in my story. What’s more, he is a pleasure to work with—a great listener and highly collaborative!

Rolf Boone


Brad provided very clear and understandable (for those of us who are tech challenged) directions on the process, explaining the steps he would take to build and design the site, as well as the input he wanted from me, and the training involved once the site was complete. Brad, who has a sharp eye for design, ran with it and produced a great site. He does good work.

Carol Scibelli

Humor Writer & Speaker

I chose Apt Design because Brad’s websites stood out from all the others I saw. The bonus was that besides his talent he is also a joy to work with.

Traci Mann

Author, Professor of Psychology

Brad is an incredible designer. My book’s website is exactly what I wanted, even though I couldn’t even begin to articulate what I wanted before talking to Brad. Not only is the website wonderful, but he finished it faster than he promised, and he was great to work with. I am so glad I hired Brad for this project. I am absolutely delighted with the results.

Brad is a complete professional and a pleasure to work with — he’s intuitive, creative, responsive and reliable.

I had a terrific experience working with Brad. He was at all times flexible, patient, and responsive. Above all, Brad is a terrific person and working with him was a pleasure.

Kirk Douponce

Owner of DogEared Design

Apt Design is a pleasure to work with. They always meet or beat their deadlines with consistent creativity.

Brad made the process of developing my web site not only painless, but positively enjoyable. His enthusiastic, “can-do” attitude permeated every discussion we had. I would recommend him to any writer looking to develop a web site!

James Townsend

James Townsend, Author and Co-Owner of The Human Condition

Brad’s creative insight is easily accessible through constant communication and feedback. He’s concerned about your vision, and it shows in the final product. He has a consistent devotion to making your vision a reality.

Justen Forge


EVERY project he works on is the most important project to him, and that’s how he makes you feel through his accessibility, responsiveness, communication and professionalism.