Adding Fun to Your Website

Sunday, April 27, 2014
Nowadays everyone has an author website. A bit about the author, a bit about the book, reviews, events and a link to an online booksite. But how can you make your website stand apart from all the others? That got me thinking about the many author websites I've visited and some of the fun "extras" I found on some sites.

Quizzes --  No need to study for these pop quizzes. They're all about fun. Some of my favorite determine which of the book's characters you are most like. It works for readers and potential readers. If you've already read the book, you want to see if this quiz will connect you to your favorite character. If you haven't read the book, after taking the quiz you have just one more reason to read it -- to learn more about "your" character. There are lots of sites to help you create quizzes but my favorite is QuizWorks.

Name Generators -- You're writing about....pirates. Wouldn't it be fun if everyone visiting your website was given their own pirate name? There are lots of name generators out there, many which will allow you to embed it on your website. Or you can go the low tech way (if you know me, you'd know I'm a big fan of low tech). In this case you provide two alphabet lists, each letter indicating a different name. Readers just have to run down the list and find the name connected to their first and last initials and viola! their new name. For instance my train hopper name is Wheezy Flapjack. You can check out an example of the list version of name generating here.

Character Interviews -- That's right, post an interview not with the author but with the character. You can have a lot of fun with this. What would be your character's favorite movie? What inspired them to do whatever crazy things they do in your book?

Recipes -- There's a reason there are dozens of cooking cooking shows on the television and hundreds of cookbooks released every month. We all adore food. Even people who are horrible in the kitchen seem to enjoy perusing cookbooks. So why add a recipe that is somehow connected to your book...a local specialty, something that matches the season or time period when your book takes place or even some recipes with silly names reflecting your characters.

Book Club Guides -- Along with questions to get a great discussion going you can also include suggestions for games, refreshments, decorations, even costumes book club members would enjoy. If you need some ideas on questions to get readers talking check out Reading Guides at Lit Lovers.

Classroom Guides -- Like Book Club Guides, classroom guides can include discussion questions teachers can use with their students. But there is also so much more, depending on the age range of your children's book. Art activities, crossword puzzles, non-fiction information connected to some aspect of book or biographies of historical characters who appear or are mentioned in your book. for more ideas about what classroom guides can include check out Scholastic's webpage for teachers Book Wizard.

Tell us, what types of activities have you enjoyed on an author website?


Margo Dill said...

Jodi: This is a great post and very helpful for authors and readers alike. People's creativity is amazing. I have nothing creative on either of my sites. :) LOL So, I must work on that. I also like author bios that are interesting or share more than the bio in the book. I also like personal photos--not too personal, but like of the person's dog or favorite vacation spot, etc. it's human nature to want to KNOW the person that we really like to read, I think.

Renee Roberson said...

I love these ideas, Jodi, and will definitely file this post away for the future! Another thing I like to see on author websites are music playlists tied to the book's theme and plot. I've posted a few of those on my own blog and on Pinterest as they relate to my WIPs.

Anonymous said...

Great ideas, Jodi. Thanks for sharing. Makes me want to blog about pirates.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Jodi. I absolutely love the ideas you shared. Thanks! :-) I'm going to interview a couple of the characters from my novel! Maybe I'll start with Fran Spitzler.

Sioux Roslawski said...

I enjoy a video about the book, or a video of the author talking about the writing of the book...

Barbara Barth said...

Great post. I love to see animated gifs on blogs. Just added a Chloe Look-A-Like (my Chihuahua) in my blog saying "We Love Comments". Her ears move! Going to try some of your great suggestions.

Unknown said...

I love a good heartfelt post where I get to know the writer a bit more-- not big promos or gimmicks.

These are good ideas!

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

Thank you for raising the creative bar and making me think differently about fun add-ons for my site!

Unknown said...

Great article! We all get caught up in the normal boring process of setting up a site. A lot of us have forgotten why we got into this craft to begin with, to have fun! That’s why I do it, for the fun of it, solving problems and enjoying myself.

Mar@College Reine Marie

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