“Today, you can’t be a successful writer without having a little Barnum in your bones.”

Today’s headline is a quote from Brad Meltzer, author of numerous bestselling novels. Meltzer is one of the first authors credited with harnessing the power of the internet to sell books. He was interviewed in the New York Times recently for an article titled See the Web Site, Buy the Book. The article focuses on the growing importance on an author’s website in the publishing world. It seems not only are we judging a book by its cover, we’re also judging it by its website. This is something I talk about everyday with new and aspiring authors. I would take this one step further. It’s not just your website that sells a book, it’s your entire web presence. I do zero mainstream marking for my books. Everything is done through this blog, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, etc. My website (rwridley.com) is just a front page that directs you to this blog when you click on the freaky picture of me. I probably should have it professionally redesigned, but I’m just using it as a brand marker right now. Eventually, I will dish out the dough to have some kid with far superior graphics skills than me make it even more awesome!

If you’re an author, click on the New York Times’ article. You may be surprised that most web designers are paid directly by the author. You’ll also be directed to watch a video companion piece to a book by Naomi Klein. The book and video are titled Shock Doctrine. The video is below for your convenience. It is seven minutes long. Normally, I advise against videos longer than two minutes, but this is the exception to that rule. It’s powerful, compelling, and professionally produced, and I dare say will move some viewers to purchase the book.

If you’re an author reading this, ask yourself one question, “Am I Barnum enough?”

BTW – side note: I prefer the one word incarnation of the word website. The New York Times apparently is still holding onto the two word ‘design.’