Why authors shouldn’t hide behind their websites
I’ve lost count of the number of author and writer websites I visit that have no visible means of contacting the author. In some cases it’s almost as if the person, or persons, behind the site want to remain invisible and don’t want to court opportunity.
When I’ve come across people who admit to such a state of affairs my question is always ‘why?’ Why bother going to the trouble of creating a public body of work if you don’t want to be acknowledged for it?
After all, you never know when opportunity is going to strike; you don’t know who is reading your blog or website and you don’t know who other people know. Personally, I’d hate to be in a position where someone with influence was prepared to recommend my work but didn’t bother because they couldn’t get in touch.
I appreciate there may be a few instances where someone needs to maintain their privacy; perhaps they are writing something highly controversial, they don’t want to compromise their current employment or they are sharing secrets. But even in these instances to provide no means of getting in touch is foolish. In these cases I’d expect them to be writing under a pseudonym anyway so it shouldn’t matter as the email address you use will almost certainly generic like Hotmail or Gmail.
At a minimum, I’d expect to see a contact form prominently placed on your site that sends a private message. Comments at the end of posts just don’t cut it – after all not everyone wants their message displayed to the world and as a result they won’t bother getting in touch.
How to add your contact details.
There are different ways to add your contact details depending on the type of website you have and your preferences.
If you are using WordPress.com as I am you can use the Add Contact Form button from the formatting boxes at the top of the posting area to put a form in a new page or post to create a simple form that sits somewhere within a page. Just click where you want the form to appear and then click the Add Contact Form button. Follow the on-screen prompts. Don’t forget to add a link to the page or post in your navigation menu.
If you prefer and you have a sidebar or widget area on the right or left hand side of your site. You could add a little text box widget with a Contact Me link to your email address. You may need to add this as html code though – to do so just fill in your email address where I have mine below and copy and paste it into your text box:
<a href=”mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org”>Contact me</a>
The words ‘Contact Me‘ should appear as a link and when someone clicks it a new message will open in their email system. You could even add a link like this to a webpage you’re writing if you don’t have the ability to add forms.
It’s worth bearing in mind too that if you are selling your book or work online yourself then you must provide your name, physical address and a land-line telephone number to comply with the EU distance selling regulations.
Oh, and don’t forget to include your contact details in your manuscripts too – after all someone might read your book and think ‘I bet my friend *** would love to represent this …!’