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I have seen that sometimes an author will have one website with a lot of content and a separate website that does nothing but offer the book(s) for sale. What are the advantages of this approach? What are the advantages of having only one website, and offering the book for sale directly on that website (which would have supporting articles, perhaps some unrelated content, perhaps some interactive features, more detail about the author, and perhaps some sections from the book(s) to whet the reader's appetite)?

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    My suggestion would be to find a hosting option which provides unlimited subdomains. Then you can do either, for the cost of only one site. Just make sure you can revert from single to multiple (or vice versa) painlessly (see Mark's answer). – Thomas Reinstate Monica Myron May 10 '17 at 18:01
  • @ThomasMyron - I use wordpress. Going from one to the other wouldn't be a big deal, but I'd rather start with whatever setup I'm likely to want to stick with. – aparente001 May 10 '17 at 20:27
  • @ThomasMyron - There are two meanings of "wordpress": Wordpress.com is hosting plus canned software; wordpress.org is exactly what you described. My point was that I don't think it would be a major hassle to switch, when using either flavor of wordpress, as it would be for Mark (see his answer). – aparente001 May 11 '17 at 1:50
  • @ThomasMyron - glad we understand each other better now. Shall we delete most of these comments now? I think we could leave the top two (your first one and my first one). I want to make space for any additional discussion there might arise. – aparente001 May 12 '17 at 1:53
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Often the author website is the author's own, managed by themselves. It is a place where the author blogs their private opinion, portraits themselves as a person, often with a glimpse into their private lives, and presents their œuvre. Even when the author website is managed by the publisher, the purpose of the author website is to provide a hub for all information surrounding an author.

The book websites are part of the publisher's marketing strategy for that book. They often have a crunch page to convert visits to sales. Everything on a book website is designed to make the visitor click the buy button.

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If you only have one book you've authored, it's best to just have the one site based on that book. You should include free info related to the subject of the book. This is to build a following/traffic/list for the book. You should also be promoting the sale of the book at every appropriate opportunity.

By all means include author information.

When you have a second book (or if you have more than one) you should have a separate site for each book AND a separate author site. On the author site you should, among the normal author info, include a list and description/sale copy for each book with a link to that book's site.

Can this all be done on one site: YES but I prefer the multi-site version which provides better search engine optimization possibilities, especially if your books are focused on different keyword phrases. Although your books may be related in some manner, the specific, "long-tail" keyword phrases are likely to be different and therefore give you better search engine visibility.

  • Could you provide some examples from the real world, I mean, from the real internet? // If one uses wordpress.org software and a good SEO plugin, do you think there is still a gain from so much atomization? – aparente001 May 12 '17 at 1:50
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I have four. I now profoundly wish I only had one.

The idea of a "site" is now becoming moribund anyway. The essence of a "site" is a home page, but the importance of the home page is diminishing every year simply because, across the board, home pages get less and less traffic each year. People navigate the web using search and by following links in social media. No one types a URL into a browser anymore. Thus people go straight to the page of interest, not to the "site". Having multiple sites, therefore, is just a maintenance headache and expense that is unlikely to do you any good.

  • This is helpful, thanks. // But why, then, do you still have four separate sites? – aparente001 Feb 1 '17 at 15:02
  • Because other people have links to those sites which would break if I changed them. At some point, I could setup a redirect scheme but I would still have to maintain and pay for all four domain names, and setting up the redirects is non-trivial. – user16226 Feb 1 '17 at 15:30
  • Hmm. Non-trivial? Really? – aparente001 Feb 1 '17 at 17:01
  • @aparente001 Seconded. It's just a bit of html. But Mark is right about having to maintain the domain. – Thomas Reinstate Monica Myron May 10 '17 at 17:55
  • @ThomasMyron Actually, it is a bit of web server configuration, and what makes it non-trivial is not the redirection itself but maintaining the same structure on the consolidated site when much of it is generated on the fly. Jamming two static sites under one domain is trivial. Intelligently integrating two sites and two instances of the back end without breaking links, is not. – user16226 May 10 '17 at 18:03

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