6 Epic Author Websites that Stand Above the Rest

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Written by Jason Weiland

Key Creative and Chief Bottle Washer at Weiland Press. Writer, author, web designer, publisher. Living the dream life in the Philippines.

May 22, 2021

I spend a huge amount of time looking at author websites and blogs. Not only is it part of my job as a web designer and writer, but I am a voracious reader and I love being immersed in the worlds of the people who write the books.

It’s not hard to find examples of great design in the realm of author websites, but you can find a lot of bad too. I especially see a lot of unprofessional platforms from indie writers without big budgets who try to cut corners and throw something up on the web that is not a great testament to their work.

Today, I picked 20 author website/blogs and was looking for a few specific things as I critiqued:

  1. Simplicity
  2. Mobile-friendly focus
  3. What sets it apart from the rest?
  4. Effectiveness

These are the best of the bunch I reviewed today.

Design Your life — Vince Frost

Screenshot by author — designyourlife.com.au

What sets it apart? Groundbreaking design, unique navigation, mobile brilliance

This is one of my favorite author websites of all time and I wouldn’t expect anything less from Vince Frost. The design aesthetic is minimal and bold and pulls all my heartstrings and twists them.

Beautifully designed and effective use of sans-serif fonts throughout. Minimal use of color and eye-catching motion throughout.

The book is front and center, as wells as promotion for the podcast and special events. Also, there a home for all the press mentions he receives for the book.

He even found a great place for his links to his social media accounts.

Effective and breathtaking.

GrishaVerse — Leigh Bardugo

Ghrisaverse.com — Screenshot by author

What sets it apart? A dark aesthetic that matches the theme of the books, simplicity, focus on the books

I caught the new Shadow and Bone series on Netflix and wanted to read the books. I came across the website and was delighted. In case you didn’t know, I am a huge fan of simplicity, and this personifies the word on both desktop and mobile.

It’s not a perfect website, but it has class and potential and I love how the focus is mostly on the books without much distraction. I can foresee big things for this website and would love if we could get even more personality and exhaustive news about the author Leigh and the community that surrounds the books and the Netflix show.

Great start. Let’s see what else you can do.

David Sedaris

davidsedarisbooks.com — Screenshot bu author

What sets it apart? Simplicity, focus, speed

The absence of useless pomp and flash is what appeals to me most about this author’s website. It looks similar to a lot of the standard WordPress websites you see out there but that is its main strength.

An effective website like this would even be easy for an indie author without a big budget to create.

The simple interface ensures that it looks brilliant on both mobile and desktop. It was fast when opened on a smartphone, and does its job without taking on airs or using up all your precious data.

It features an events list, which is great, but I would have spent a little more time making it more appealing.

While you may want to show a bit more personality, don’t overdo it with massive banners, videos, and graphics. Your readers want to know about you and your books — don’t confuse them.

On the other hand. David could have taken this opportunity to show a bit more of his personality but publishing a few blog posts and putting links to his social media accounts

Austin Kleon

austinkleon.com — screenshot by author

What sets it apart? The simple interface shows personality and is complete

Another website that makes the standard WordPress interface work for them. A simple design like this just goes to show that you don’t need a cinematic intro for an author’s website.

I like that his books are linked first thing on the desktop version, but he drops the ball on mobile by leading with the blog and only having a link in the main menu to get to all his books. Other than that, the mobile version is flawless and loads quickly which is a great feature of using such a simple theme.

Austin’s personality is all over this website/blog, and all the information needed for an author website is present. The about page is robust and acts as his media kit for journalists to get to know more about him and his work.

Chuck Wendig: Terrible Minds

terribleminds.com — screenshot bu author

Check’s website/blog uses the simplicity of a standard WordPress interface with a StudioPress theme, but adds enough personality to make it one of my favorite author websites of all time.

All the information I would ever want about Chuck is here and easy to find without much scrolling or clicking. His huge book catalog is front and center on both the desktop and mobile versions, and the mobile version is fast and slick which is one of the best things about the theme framework he uses.

One problem is that his events haven’t been updated since 2019, but he gets a pass since it’s a freaking pandemic and he probably didn’t attend any conventions or book signings.

Overall the two words I would use for Chuck’s blog/website are slick and fun. I’ve followed his blog designs over the years and he always employs the same simplicity and taste in everything he does.

Mark Manson

markmanson.net — Screenshot by author

What sets it apart? Minimalist style and use of color, brilliant interface, effectiveness

Mark has a lot going on in his world. His website is not only his calling card and a place to find out about his books, but a memberships portal, several courses, and a blog. The style of his website has been similar for quite some time and that is because it works and is a conversion machine.

It is flawless both on desktop and mobile and is fast-loading. There is a huge amount of information about Mark here and it is displayed in a unique but simplistic way that never leaves the reader guessing.

Every author website should be this effective.

What About Your Website?

You might not think a website is that important, but it can be one of your best promotional tools when you release a book.

Even if you don’t have the budget of the big authors and their publishing houses, you can still create a simple and easy interface that is minimal and effective, shows personality, and is complete.

If you are creating your own author website/blog and you feel you need some help, contact us at Weiland Press and ask me anything, or leave your question in the comments!

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