As a poet or creative writer, you might wonder—is there any point in having an author’s website when I’m not yet published? Isn’t an author’s website a place people go to learn more about the author’s books?
Well, yes and no. While people do generally visit author websites to learn about what they’ve published and what they’re working on, an author’s website is also a good place for unpublished writers to create an online portfolio.
An online portfolio can benefit any writer, no matter if they’re already published or not. If you’re working on getting a poem or another piece of creative writing published, you can refer literary agencies to your website for examples of your work.
Even if your work hasn’t been officially published by an agency, you can still publish it online through your online portfolio.
So, are you ready to create an author’s website that has an online portfolio? Here are some tips to keep in mind.
Keep it simple
If you visit a published author’s website, you’ll notice that they have pages dedicated to each book, FAQs, speaking opportunities, upcoming releases, and more. Visiting the websites of published authors is good, but avoid modeling your own site after theirs.
As an unpublished author, you won’t need as many pages. Keep it simple. You might want a general homepage, an about page with contact info, a page for your portfolio, and maybe a blog.
You can always add pages later, but keeping it simple in the beginning helps ensure that potential publishers reach the most important part of your website—your online portfolio.
Showcase your best work in your portfolio
Your online portfolio isn’t a place to showcase all of your work. Instead, select your best pieces and present them in an appealing way.
Any piece in your portfolio should be completely polished and free from spelling and grammatical errors. Consider asking a friend to proofread your portfolio.
Once you have your initial portfolio, make sure to update it regularly. Add new pieces and wean out pieces that aren’t as strong. The more you write, the stronger your portfolio will be! There isn’t any reason to leave old pieces in your portfolio that no longer reflect who you are as a writer.
Start a blog for new work
If you want to share new pieces you’re working on, consider creating a blog. You can mention that the pieces are still works-in-progresses but aren’t yet polished. You might also provide writing tips to followers.
If you do it correctly, a blog can allow for more organic traffic to your site. If you optimize your blog for SEO, potential publishers may be able to find you instead of you finding them.
Keep in mind, however, that a blog needs to be updated on a consistent schedule. If you start one, you should be updating it with new content several times a month.
Don’t be afraid to brag
Once you have your author’s website, don’t be afraid to shamelessly promote it! Whenever you update your portfolio or post on your blog, promote your writing on social media.
Even if your social media followers are primarily friends and family, you can still start to direct traffic to your website. Your friends and family will likely enjoy seeing what you’re working on and will help support you.
Another potential bonus of sharing your content with friends and family is that they might reshare your work or might know of someone who is interested in publishing it! Never underestimate the power of networking.
Thinking ahead—using your website in the future
Once you’re published, don’t get rid of your current website. Instead, tweak it to meet your new needs! Maybe instead of your portfolio, you have pages showcasing your published work.
Your author website will also be a good way to promote books you’re trying to sell. You can use landing pages to create sales funnels that increase your sales. Visit a site such as Hustle Life to learn more about sales funnels.
You can also use your website to tease upcoming releases or to provide updates on your next project. The ways to use your site after you get published are endless!
An author’s website with an online portfolio can help you start getting your name out there. If you keep it simple, update it frequently, and provide the website’s link to your family and friends, you may find yourself getting published sooner rather than later!
How to Create an Online Portfolio as an Unpublished Poet
Putting yourself out there can be scary, but it’ll be worth it if you get published.