This is one of the most common questions I get asked, both from potential clients and at speaking events throughout the year. The simple answer to this is actually a question… do your audiences overlap? This is something that an author and their designer really need to consider when building a website in order to benefit as much as they can from the potential an author website offers. And in the process, not create a website that is either confusing or difficult to navigate.
A website, much like a book cover needs to appeal to a certain market of readers, in order to keep them engaged. If you write in opposite ends of the genre spectrum, then you may well need two websites. For example, I know one particular author who writes sweet historical romances, but also erotica. These two certainly don’t compliment each other, and although there may be readers out there who enjoy both genres, by combining these two under one website, the risk is much higher that you would in fact be turning potential readers away.
This is not to say that genres that are very different need to have separate websites. There are many genres that inadvertently compliment each other, and as an author you really need to assess them for your own work and readers. An example may be that you have written historical novels, and also a work of historical non fiction. These combined into one website would mean those that have read one of your works, could potentially be keen to read the other.
Another obstacle may be that you write under different names. Although a little more awkward, this still doesn’t automatically mean you require two websites. It is again, a matter of considering whether your audiences will connect in a way that may benefit you as an author. One website which does this quite successfully is that of Candace Robb (Emma Campion) who writes in two different historical sub-genres. She explains nicely on the opening page that she has a pen name and it is made very clear to the reader, further enticing fans of either side, to venture into the other.
If you do decide that you need two websites, there may still be potential for linking between the two. Some genres that don’t compliment each other directly, still overlap audiences in a way you may find interesting. The biggest example would be children. If as an author you write both adult and children’s books, you may find that providing a clear link from your adult website to the children’s website means that parents who enjoy your work, would also recommend your other (children’s) books to their children. By providing the link, you are enabling a clear path for them to notice you in another form, and after all, it is the parents who make the sales. By having a fun filled children’s website to entice both parent and child, you have created more interest that you may have failed to gain otherwise.
If you have any questions about design and content, or would like a friendly critique of your website, get in touch with me via my website: www.authordesignstudio.com or tweet me on @authordesigner.