How to add a book catalogue to your author website
I said I occasionally do advice, so here you go. Advice.
This is absolutely born from the heart, a.k.a. I just did this and it took me so long and I nearly bloody cried because it wouldn't do what I wanted it to do. And if that describes you (and let's be honest, it does), then this is the post for you.
are the pits.
There, I said it.
I did not sign up for this. I signed up to be an author, naive little me, and there was no contract fine print that said by the way, you are also signing up to do:
Pulling your hair out
Dying quietly in a corner
And about sixty trillion other things that you will most assuredly hate
Nope. My contract was way out of date. What can you do?
Anyway, I've been doing this website thing for a year and a bit (which I know, because they just shook me down for cash again for my renewal), and it's been a learning curve to say the least. I thought maybe I should share some of that learning with you guys because you know what? I was searching for tutorials, and there aren't any!
I mean, there are tonnes of people trying to sell their services, and a couple of helpful videos on how to get started, but there aren't any tutorials for the cash-strapped author looking to upgrade without wasting a million years or a million bucks.
That's the gap I'm filling (marketing value right there).
So, here goes nothing.
How do you get that sexy-looking book catalogue that all the other authors seem to have?
I seriously spent at least three hours looking at everyone else's, just to figure out what I wanted mine to look like. Some had all the information on one page. Others went minimalistic. Some had search functions (remember what I said about dying quietly in a corner) and filters. Some just had a cover and a description.
Okay, right. First off, what do you need?
ONE: An overview
You want a page that lists eeeeeevery single book you've ever written.
TWO: Detail pages
And you want a page that has all the juicy details. Blurb, cover, links, reviews, preview.
THREE: Free time
Most importantly, you don't want to spend sixty years creating a new page for every book.
Here's the tutorial (for Wix).
Start by creating that overview page. Make it pretty. Chuck all your cover pics in there and arrange them. Want to do it quickly? Use the gallery function to arrange them, and add their titles as the hover text.
Now for the tricky part. Which actually isn't tricky unless, like me, you're figuring it out from first principles.
On the left of your screen is a button called CONTENT MANAGER. Click it. Hit CREATE A COLLECTION. Call it something useful, like BOOKS (not like I did the first time around).
Now fill in the form. Chuck every single book you've written or plan on writing in there. Upload the cover images. Go to town! And add a few extra fields. These are the ones I added:
But you can add additional URLs as needed. I'm only on Amazon. You might need one for every site you publish on. Here's how to do it:
Right, now it's time to create the pages. If done right, this will automatically generate a new page for every book you add, based on a single template.
Don't waste your time with their templates. You want the blank page. Hit CUSTOMISE.
Create the dynamic item page but NOT the dynamic list page. You don't need that.
Now go to the dynamic item page you've just created. Here's the really handy thing. You only have to design one of them. Every other one will look the same. You just need to add the blurbs manually on each one, but other than that, it'll grab the formatting from the first one, automatically creating a new page for every book. Added bonus? When you add new books, it will automatically create a new page, with no added hassle for you (except adding the blurb manually, because Wix couldn't be totally sensible).
To link it to the list you made earlier, just add a DATASET and set it up to link to the list you made. That will get you this little icon. Drop it anywhere--it's invisible on the website.
Then, link each item you create to the correct column of the list by clicking the dataset icon:
Now there's only one more step. Head back to that pretty books page you created earlier. Remember the one with every book on it? That one.
The last step is to link each picture to its correct page. You want to select it, hit the hyperlink button, and say link to page. This is the one you're looking for:
That will make a new drop-down menu appear. Select the correct page, and you're done! Publish your new site, and enjoy having a page for every book you've written, without having to manage all those hundred pages manually!
P.S. One last step. Want to thank the person who helped you with this advice? Pretty please share this blog post on your socials. It's the number one best thing you can do for your friendly neighbourhood author.