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I'm building a dedicated WordPress website for my (in-progress) graphic novel.

My first thought was that I'd have an artist's blog for work-in-progress, and explore some of the worldbuild-y aspects of the project through media (maps and sketches). I also planned to build out an index of characters and locations as they are polished.

Then I started thinking this might be an amateurish presentation, practically a self-fan site. A more commercial presentation would be to only show polished promotion-ready artwork and story teasers.

I am artist, author, and promoter (and probably publisher, too) so I am wearing all the hats on this project, and they typically conflict in what aspect they want to feature. Artist wants to show you the whole process. Writer wants to embed you in the story. Promoter wants clickbait and sharable media.

What should I include (and not include) on a book's website?

  • 2
    Related: First Chapter for Free? (Full disclosure: The accepted answer is my own) – a CVn Mar 8 '18 at 17:56
  • Why word press? Have you looked at other options? – DPT Mar 8 '18 at 18:13
  • I use WP for my other websites so it's familiar. I like it because I don't always know where a website is going (pantsing, lol). Mine was recently hacked with a js re-router, so I am open to suggestions. – wetcircuit Mar 8 '18 at 18:19
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    Both great answers, but the most important bit is to ensure you have somewhere on there where your work or other products can be purchased directly. Either the finished product, artwork, coffee cups, t-shirts whatever. Make it easy for them to come and buy – Thomo Mar 8 '18 at 22:28
  • For a basic site with only static pages, GitHub offers free not-quite-hosting. I quite like it, and it's worth looking into at the very least. The service is called GitHub Pages. – Fund Monica's Lawsuit Mar 9 '18 at 2:22
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If you aren't yet published with an established fan base: post everything you feel comfortable with publishing

Your goal should be to build up a fan base so that people know your name and know what you are working on. That way you can build up a reputation while working on the finished product and at the same time get a lot of feedback. How useful that feedback is will depend on your audience, but at least you've got feedback you could try to work with if you wanted to.

Working until you have more-or-less completed works might mean that you will not have so much to post and people nowadays expect a constant stream of input if you want to keep your product in mind. Only when they already know you and think about something when reading your name or the name of the universe they will be a bit more patient.

If you already have a fan base: post little excerpts

If you already have a fan base that is eagerly awaiting your next product you should try to give them things that are close-to-finished. You will still be able to incorporate the feedback into the final product, but you want to tease your fan base with these excerpts to start up the hype-train.

In any case: try to leave the most important plot points out

You don't want to completely spoiler your whole product with the marketing, so try to keep some things secret. Or maybe write little short stories that show your style, but from different characters that explore little parts of the world or build up some things in a "Ten years before the events"-style without revealing too much about the real plot.

That also means that you should include basically everything you can create that is somehow related and can give you fans that would consume the real product that you are working on. The more you can guarantee a steady supply of something the better. And as long as you focus on a single topic, which is the world you are building, posting a lot of different stuff might attract lots of different people. Normally you should be careful about changing the type of content too often as people often will only look for a specific type of thing when looking at blogs - but as you are focusing everything on a single topic switching the type of content is a good thing to do.

You can also use the above advice as a sort of ordering - first you start with a bit of this and a bit of that and a side story here, until you have some regular readers/ viewers/ ... and are ready to post nearly-ready little excerpts as teasers.

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I eagerly await the answers to your question.

There are several levels of information to include.

  1. You'll want to include the meat of what you are creating: Through IRL groups and feedback, I've been asked to include character sketches, maps, short stories, and real science that forms the basis of the story.

  2. You'll want to include a real person 'persona': A blog is evidently important. One marketer who presented to our group said that you can blog falsehoods, which is ... remarkable advice. She said that the goal is to grow the fanbase and so if a trip to an exotic destination does that, who cares if it's real? I am not advocating that approach. You want some sort of contact functionality. An interactive section seems like a good idea (the blog may serve this purpose.)

  3. You'll want to include great window dressing: You want the artwork to be top of the line.

  4. You'll want to include "inter-webbing stuff": You want to connect to your other social media (at least some of it.) You want commercial functionality, in other words visitors should be able to buy your book easily on your site or with a click to a linked site.

That's all I know so far and all that I've observed on well-executed sites.

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