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 here, here, 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.
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!)
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!