Best Author Websites for 2023: Greatest 19 examples found online today 

Denis Caron
September 4, 2022

This page contains affiliate links to Amazon and other marketplace, meaning we get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through our links, at no cost to you.

The journey of self-publishing authors makes Frodo’s journey to Mordor seem like a walk down 5th Avenue on a glorious spring day.

Apart from the usual tribulations attributed to the creative and technical processes of writing a manuscript, there are other facets beyond that trouble start-up authors. And that one lingering questions that haunt them for as long as they live…

How can I get people to discover my book?

It is only after completing their first book that most indie authors discover an even more significant challenge than writing the book- finding platforms for exposure. You’ll need an elaborate proven book marketing strategy to generate sufficient exposure, and we’ll be glad to assist you with that. But in this article, we will focus on only one of these platforms: your website.

Throughout the years of paving the marketing path for clients, we discovered a trend in repetitive questions that both newbies and those looking to upgrade their website asked. 

Let’s start with the easy questions first.

Click here if you want to skip to the best author websites examples.

Is a website necessary for an indie author?

There are two schools of thought on this topic. Some authors would say that it isn’t necessary. They reason that readers can find all the essential information they require on Amazon and that a website is essentially a portal that would take them to Amazon anyway.

On the other hand, a website should be considered more than just a portal leading to a sales platform. It could be harnessed to be the foundation of your brand, which will essentially lead to long-term growth and improve the stickiness of readers to authors and their work.

As you will learn from the rest of the article, established authors have a lot to say and display on their beautiful websites. But what if you are just starting out?

Should an unpublished author have a website?

And also, what do you put on this website if you have no published novels?

The chicken or the egg, which were first?

Most authors and publishing consultants would recommend that you have everything in place before you send your book to the digital shelves. First, you can already generate excitement and begin collecting email addresses through your website. This brings us to something called reader magnets.

What is a reader magnet?

A reader magnet is a promise that a reader will be awarded for complying with a certain requirement. Mostly, authors want readers to subscribe to mailing lists. But people, in general, don’t want to hand out email addresses willy-nilly. Reciprocity is where it’s at, and you need to award them for providing their email addresses.

You can use a reader magnet to reward them for providing email addresses, which you can then use to communicate your first book’s launch or future launches. A reader magnet could be anything from a free short story, a map of the world in the book, or whatever you think would be interesting to your readers. We will review some examples later.

What kind of website should an author have?

Investing in a full-blown hosted website with all the bells and whistles, including built-in shopping capabilities, is unnecessary for first-timers. Luckily, there are lots of alternatives for authors starting out.

A good example is Bookfunnel.com. This platform is straightforward and intuitive and, depending on the pricing plan, may just have all the features a new writer requires.

BookFunnel Example

Simplicity in its purest form. A book cover, blurb, and information about the lead magnet. Similar platforms include Reedsy Discover and StoryOrigin. Again, you won’t have all the features of a website, but they are good platforms to start from.

What makes a great author website?

Your website should be an extension of your brand as an author, and you will soon see what we mean by that.

It has to resonate with your target audience. Keeping the tone and voice of your website consistent with your books will not only help people recognize and remember you, but it will also help create fans out of your readers.

The examples we have chosen all exemplify that consistency, but you will notice that we also included a few curveballs that do not follow the same trajectory. The reason we did that…. well you will soon see why!

To give you a quick grasp of what to look for, we have created a scoring system based on the overall requirements of a good author website.

1. Essential elements of the website _/100

  • A compelling Call-to-Action (CTA)
  • Your library of books     
  • An about you section
  • A contact you section
  • Author photo
  • Links to social media and shops

2. Visual appeal _/100

  • The look, feel, and overall attraction. Includes layout, color schemes, images, book trailer, and the overall author website design.
  • Does the branding accurately represent the author and their genre/ books?

3. Content _/100

  • Is there enough to keep potential readers engaged? To turn the reader into a fan, instigate returning to the site with an updated blog post, etc.
  • Enhances credibility

The final score (Weekend Publisher Score) will be the average score of the three categories mentioned above

Here are some examples of good author websites (in no particular order).

Website examples

Number 1: JK Rowling - 93%

What makes her site so unique is the interchangeable grown-up and children’s sections. The grown-up getaway contains everything it should and opens up on a page containing news updates. The children’s entrance leads to an interactive click-and-drag page that caters to playful minds.


The site contains everything that we recommend a good author site should have, but there is no subscription option. In fact, she categorically states that she is unable to respond to mail, and info seekers should visit the website for more information.


Being the wealthiest author in the world and one of the most famous, J.K Rowling does not need to barter email addresses. However, we are still going to deduct points for that.


Sorry, J.K!


Essential elements of the website: 80 (no clear CTA)

Visual appeal/Branding: 100

Content: 100

Weekend Publisher Score: 93%

Number 2: Stephen King - 83%

The undisputed King of horror was a best-seller long before the internet was born. Now, we know you are looking for the best websites, and although we have nothing but respect for this legend, we couldn’t help but frown when we saw his website.


Mr. King, doesn’t have to get a 100% score to sell books, but rising authors do. When you think Stephen King, your mind conjures images of haunted homes, whisps of clouds drifting past a cycle moon while a lone wolf howling in the background. It is, therefore, strange to see a white background draped with festive colors. This is a big brand miss.


At least he has a mailing list!


Essential elements of the website:  100

Visual appeal/Branding: 70 (A misrepresentation of the author and his works)

Content: 80 (A list of books, instead of book covers)

Weekend Publisher Score: 96%

Number 3: A.G Riddle - 96%

A.G Riddle is an inspiration for all indie authors. The very first book he published, The Atlantis Gene, became a huge hit, and the series of three books sold over a million copies. A.G Riddle’s site is excellent in many aspects, but here is a lesson you take home to improve your website.


Don’t bombard readers with a CTA in their faces as soon as they enter the room. It almost feels like a bouncer jumping up, demanding a cover charge. Also, not a fan of big empty white spaces and the Extra page looks like it was made in 1998. He does have an awesome reader magnate, though.


Essential elements of the website:  100

Visual appeal/Branding: 90 (Too much white space, Extras page needs work)

Content: 100

Weekend Publisher Score: 96%

Number 4: Dan Brown - 100%

Well done, Dan! His website encapsulates everything you would expect of a world-famous mystery thriller author. With a net worth of $160 million, he doesn’t need to have all the bells and whistles on his website, but he certainly has. He included a code-like riddle at the bottom of the page for visitors to play with, typically something that would fascinate his main protagonist, Robert Langdon.


Fans who aspire to write like Dan can also join his Masterclass by following the link below the riddle and watching to video to learn what it is all about. Certainly, not a website that we would recommend for beginner indie authors, but perhaps one day, you can have your own fantastic website like this one.


Essential elements of the website:  100

Visual appeal/Branding: 100

Content: 100

Weekend Publisher Score: 100%

Number 5: Emma Davis - 98%

Emma Davis pulls off the white spaces because they complement soft pastel colors and welcoming copy. It instills a heartwarming yet tranquil feeling in visitors, a tone that represents her writing.


She gets bonus points from having a chatbot on her site, but we sadly have to deduct some points for hiding her social media links which are only visible on her contact page.


Essential elements of the website: 95 (You need to search for social media links)

Visual appeal/Branding: 100

Content: 100

Weekend Publisher Score: 98%

Number 6: Karen Kingsbury - 100%

When opening Karen's website, the first thing you see is her upcoming book, with the words New York Times Best Selling Author clearly visible, creating instant credibility. The video background brings the page to life and already sets the scene for what to expect from the book.


The first page is just about the new book. No other distractions such as links, menus, etc. But at the bottom of the page, visitors will find a link to the rest of her website, which perfectly resembles her brand and hosts everything that is required from a good author’s website.


Well done, Karen!


Essential elements of the website: 100

Visual appeal/Branding: 100

Content: 100

Weekend Publisher Score: 100%

Number 7: Keri Arthur - 100%

Kerry Arthur writes fantasy, horror fiction, and romance novels, but we don’t have to tell you that, as you will immediately get a feel for her work upon entering the website. It radiates her brand but does so in a simplistic fashion.


Before even having to scroll down, everything you will ever need from an author’s website is presented to you. From social media links, subscription options, accolades, and clear navigational links to the rest of the site. Kerry scores additional points for also having another call-to-actions at the bottom of every webpage page.


This website deserves serious consideration if you are searching for inspiration to create your own website or want to upgrade your existing one by replicating another.


Essential elements of the website: 100

Visual appeal/Branding: 100

Content: 100

Weekend Publisher Score: 100%

Number 8: Simon Beckett - 93%

It pains us to give this website anything less than 100%. His website is a dream come true for thriller fans. Upon entering, eerie music plays while an empty swing floats back and forth through the misty sky. The rest of his website also has a dark, ominous tone and everything we are looking for, even testimonials and an awards section.


But, we could not find an option to join a newsletter anywhere. Perhaps you can? Still, it should not be something you spend time searching for.


Essential elements of the website: 80 (No subscription option)

Visual appeal/Branding: 100 (Beautifully designed website)

Content: 100

Weekend Publisher Score: 93%

Number 9: Melissa McPhail - 99%

We wanted to subtract points for the call to action that was a little too fast on the draw, but because she used a perfect reader magnet, we will let this little technicality slide. This type of reader magnet is something beginner indie authors should consider. She offers something for free and makes it look very enticing by using adjectives that elicit emotion and curiosity.


This site nails it from both a branding and content point of view. It was strange to find a section dedicated to yoga, but she explained how it played a role in her life from a balance point of view and inspired some of her work. Still, this could perhaps be included under the bio section.


Essential elements of the website: 100

Visual appeal/Branding: 100

Content: 98 (No need for a separate yoga section)

Weekend Publisher Score: 99%

Number 10: Michael Crichton - 93%

Everything you ever need to know about Michael Crichton can be found on this website, and you can’t help but wonder, where does this man get the time to do everything? But I digress. The background of the homepage is somewhat bland compared to what we have seen, but to make up for it, there is a really cool trailer video in the second section of the homepage.


Book trailers have become a popular point of debate in the last couple of years. Do you, as a beginner author, need one? No. Would it help to create one? Sure, but only if it is as intriguing as the simple trailer Michael displays on his website.


Michael Crichton doesn’t need to have a subscriber list. But just like some of the other authors on this list, we’ll have to punish him for not having one so that you can learn from this experience.


Essential elements of the website: 80 (No subscription option)

Visual appeal/Branding: 100

Content: 100

Weekend Publisher Score: 93%

Number 11: Joshua T Calvert - 92%

What is wrong with the people at Weekend Publisher?


That is probably what you might think when you look at the score and at Joshua’s website. But allow us to explain the method behind our madness.


You have seen 11 stunning websites up to this point, and they might have been overwhelming and perhaps discouraging to non-tech-inclined authors. Some of those websites could cost you an arm and a leg as well. That’s why we threw Joshua’s website in the mix.


He is at the beginning of his career, perhaps just like you. His website is pretty basic, but it has everything you need as a beginner author, starting with a call to action at the end of the book. Don’t ever forget the call to action at the end of your book!


On his website, you will find this message:


Subscribe to Joshua T. Calvert’s mailing list for exclusive epilogues to his books and get in touch with him. Make sure to check your spam folder! Excellent reader magnet, well done!


He exhibited his books using images of the covers, and these will take you straight to Amazon. You can learn more about the writer, his work, and the benefits of subscribing to his newsletter. Everything is there, but he didn’t create links to his social media platforms. Still, his website is a great template to work from as a beginner.


Essential elements of the website: 90 (No social media links)

Visual appeal/Branding: 95

Content: 90

Weekend Publisher Score: 92%

Number 12: Michael C Grumley - 98%

Here is another example of an author at the beginning of his career, just like Joshua T Calvert.


First, the fantastic backdrop takes you straight into the heart of most of his works. But have a look at the menu. Free eBook! Michael doesn’t bombard you with a massive pop-up prompt; he subtly leaves the title Free eBook on the menu. When you go to that page, you will find a short description of what the eBook entails. Then it takes you through to Bookfunnel (remember this site from earlier in this article?), where you need to enter your email address to get the book.


Unlike Joshua, Michael included a link to his Facebook page and links to various other sites where you could find him.


Essential elements of the website: 100

Visual appeal/Branding: 95 (Not as good as, say, J.K Rowling, but not bad at all)

Content: 100

Weekend Publisher Score: 98%

Number 13: Ditter Kellen - 100%

A backdrop can make the world’s difference to your website, as we have seen many times before. But let’s go beyond and see what else we can learn from Ditter’s brilliant website. The first unique attribute is the live chat function, which we don’t see that often. It is a brilliant offering for those plagued by instant gratification and also another platform to gather email addresses.


Another unique facet is the link to Linktree where you will find access to all the platforms you could contact her, including Amazon and the usual social media sites.


Essential elements of the website: 100

Visual appeal/Branding: 100

Content: 100

Weekend Publisher Score: 100%

Number 14: Lee & Andrew Child - 100%

Here is something a little different that you can consider once your books become popular. Give your character their own website! Jack Reacher is the protagonist in the Jack Reacher series by Lee and Andrew Child. What also impressed us about this website is the way in which they displayed all the books.


It is a carousel display that resembles a bookshelf, and once you select the book, a blurb pops up, a sample to read or an audio sample to listen to, as well as a link to the Penguin Random House, where the book is sold.


We looked hard and wide but couldn’t find it in our hearts to subtract points.


Essential elements of the website: 100

Visual appeal/Branding: 100

Content: 100

Weekend Publisher Score: 100%

Number 15: Julia Quinn - 100%

Purple, considered the color of royalty and noble folk, is suitably used as a backdrop for Julia Quin’s books that also made it to television. Her site offers a lot, seriously, go and have a look. There are even two different subscription options for those addicts that just can’t get enough of her work.


This is an excellent example of how to turn a fan into an addict using your website. Fans of the show, books, and the author could spend a considerable amount of time on this website once without getting bored. Now, don’t try and do the same if you are just starting out, but keep this in mind as you become more popular.


Essential elements of the website: 100

Visual appeal/Branding: 100

Content: 100

Weekend Publisher Score: 100%

Number 16: Jo Jo Moyes - 98%

Soft pastel colors blend in with the heavenly white background to create an ambiance that perfectly complements the genre of JoJo’s books. Her website ticks all the boxes we require, but we would like to bring your attention to her subscription section (CTA).


‘’Sign up for my newsletter.’’


Now let’s compare it to newcomer Joshua T. Calvert’s CTA discussed earlier.


‘’Subscribe to Joshua T. Calvert’s mailing list for exclusive epilogues to his books and get in touch with him…’’


See the difference?


Essential elements of the website: 95 (Ask nicely for my email and tell me what I get in return, please)

Visual appeal/Branding: 100

Content: 100

Weekend Publisher Score: 98%

Number 17: Sebastian Fitzek - 96%

Danish author Sebastian Fitzek didn’t create a website to promote himself and his work, but rather an experience. Animation greets you upon entering, and then an elevator takes you underground. Once you select a section, you want to go to, rusty elevator doors slam shut, and the screen moves down or up as if you are in an elevator.


Sadly, we couldn’t find a subscription option anywhere on this amazing website.


Essential elements of the website: 90(No mailing list)

Visual appeal/Branding: 100

Content: 100

Weekend Publisher Score: 96%

Number 18: Joy Fielding - 96%

You may have noticed that we have a tendency to lift a brow when we see an all-white website, but in all fairness, this one is squeaky clean, and well structured, which makes up for its blandness. But the main reason we want you to bring this website to your attention is to look at the section that says Enter our Contest.


Joy offers one lucky winner the opportunity to score a signed copy of her latest book, which will motivate many to eagerly leave their emails behind. Emails that could be used (with permission, of course- there is a tick box) to send newsletters or promote future works.


Also, a big no-no is that Google displays a warning, stating that the connection to the site is not secured. Pay attention to this when you are testing your website for both desktops and mobile.


Essential elements of the website: 90 (Visitors scram away from websites with red security warnings)

Visual appeal/Branding: 98 (More color please)

Content: 100

Weekend Publisher Score: 96%

Number 19: Daniel Gibbs - 100%

This website is any science fiction fan’s dream come true. Animation galore from first entering the door ties the visitor in and keeps them waiting to see what high-tech cannon or spaceship appears next. Interactive maps of the universe, models of spaceships with information popping up as you click on different parts, an encyclopedia, a timeline, and much more helpful content can keep visitors busy for a long time.


His reader magnet is literally twice as good as the other authors on this list. He offers two eBooks if you subscribe to the mailing list.


This website did not come cheap, especially with all the hours that went into creating the content. We don’t recommend creating a monster like this as a beginner author, but keep it in mind as your author business grows.


Essential elements of the website: 100

Visual appeal/Branding: 100

Content: 100

Weekend Publisher Score: 100%

Which website builder is best for authors?

You have seen mind-blowing websites and other simple yet effective designs in this article. Perhaps you found the inspiration you were looking for, and you’re ready to create your own author website or upgrade or overhaul your existing website. The next step is to choose a suitable website builder.

Website builders are plug-and-play tools designed for people like you and me. They do not require any manual coding and are usually very intuitive. These are not your only options and are pure summaries of our most recommended sites to point you in the right direction for now.

Wix allows users to easily create websites and mobile sites using simple drag-and-drop tools. Wix offers over 500 free themes and graphics for free. The web hosting and domain services are also free, but you’ll need to purchase ad-free tools and customized branding solutions.

The drag-and-drop editor is easy to use and allows you to embed videos, GIFs, images, edit text, etc. but be careful when selecting a theme. Wix doesn’t allow you to change the theme midway through, and you’ll have to start all over again if you wish to do so.

And for those planning to sell on Amazon, Wix has many free apps, including free Amazon integration.

Squarespace’s builder and editor are just as user-friendly as that Wix’s, and the themes, layouts, and designs are gorgeous. That is why Squarespace is one of the top choices for artists. But unlike Wix, whether you settle for the Personal or Professional plan, after the two-week free trial, you’ll need to start paying.

But with your subscription comes free hosting, free domain registration, Mailchimp integration, SEO tools, and more. It offers an effective e-commerce solution for entrepreneurs and budding authors and is definitely worth considering if you plan to stay on the author's path in the long term.

37% of all websites are WordPress sites, and 43% of the top 10 million websites worldwide are also WordPress sites. These stats speak for themselves, and most of the most stunning websites you observed upstairs are probably WordPress sites. But there is a catch…

WordPress is not as easy to master as Wix, for instance. It will take a lot of time to learn the basics and much more to become a master. If you're new to the space or not looking for all the bells and whistles, you should ask yourself if the juice would be worth the squeeze for now.

We spoke of Bookfunnel.com earlier in this article. Again, suppose you are only interested in a platform where you exchange your reader magnet for email addresses. In that case, Bookfunnel.com is probably your simplest best bet.

Conclusion

After reading this article, you realize now that the best author websites aren’t necessarily the most expensive ones, and this is probably the key takeaway for indie authors at the beginning of their careers.

In addition, here are some of the other important lessons from this article that you should take with you.

  • The general consensus suggests that authors should have a website or at least a platform to exchange reader magnets for email addresses. Building an email list is a long-term strategy to sell more books in the long term.
  • Don’t just demand an email address. Ask for it nicely and give something back in return.
  • Don’t forget to add links to your website and subscription options at the end of your book.
  • As a newbie to the author game, you don’t need to invest in a mammoth website with all the bells and whistles. If you go for something simple, do remember the following:
    • Match your brand. Select themes, images, fonts, colors, etc., to represent your genre.
    • Include an About the Author section that includes background information and a picture.
    • Include a call-to-action (CTA). The best is to offer a reader magnet in exchange for an email address.
    • Include social media links
  • Make sure your website is mobile responsive, meaning it is just as good on the phone as on a desktop.
  • The website builder you choose depends on how far you are in your author journey and your budget. 

For a premium done-for-you book marketing service (including website design), check out our package here.

About the author 

Denis Caron

Denis was a coach long before he ever knew what that was. From his time in the military, to the decade he spent as a 911 ambulance dispatcher, he constantly found himself in leadership and teaching roles (he knows his way around an emergency). And after struggling to self-publish his first book, he knew he could help others do it better.

Currently, Denis is traveling around Europe, exploring WWII sites and sampling all the delightful cuisine the continent has to offer.

8 secrets to get more reviews for your books

Grab your free copy now

Enter Your Email

Related Posts

Deep collection of articles to help you write better stories and share them with the world.

How To Write A Book With No Experience: 11 success shortcuts

Read More

How Much Does Editing Cost: Prices and Rates for Your Book (2022)

Read More

Amazon KDP Categories: How to maximize your exposure

Read More
>