July 6, 2017

What You Can Learn From J.K. Rowling's Website, Pottermore

By Annette Cole Mastron, Communications Director for Southern Writers Magazine

Last week the media, Facebook, and the internet in general were all abuzz about the book that started the Harry Potter book series turned 20 years old. My life was different then. I was raising children and began reading the books to my young children the summer of 1997. They loved being read the adventure of the young wizard. 

We attended Harry Potter events in our area surrounding each book release. These were held at midnight with themed events. It was obviously fun for the kids but as an adult, I loved every minute. Watching kids crack open a book and begin reading it while sitting on the floor was amazing. These books changed many non-reading children into readers. As an adult I loved them, too. 

What J.K, Rowling did was unusual. She created books read by both children and adults. Twenty years ago we did not have smart phones. Today, we have a computer in every smart phone which means as an author your website needs to draw readers into your world of words. 

For the twenty year celebration Facebook developed an "Easter egg" which "magically" highlights words all Harry Potter readers know in various colors. When you click on the colored word a magical wand appears and sprinkle lightning bolts of "magic" across the page and then disappear. It is interactive and fun. See below the posting letting FB users copy to their own FB pages. 

"Celebrate the 20th anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. For a limited time, when you type in the names of the four houses they will change color to match their house colors. So, Slytherin turns green, Hufflepuff turns yellow, Ravenclaw turns blue, and Gryffindor turns red. Additionally, if you type in the words “Harry Potter,” that will turn red as well, because Harry is in House Gryffindor."

After posting and helping others "find the magic" I decided to go over to the website created by author, JKRowling. It had been a while since I had been to Pottermore and has it changed. WoW. It is very interactive like a good author website should be. A reader is drawn into the website by being sorted into one of the four houses at Hogwart House and also a reader can test to find his own patronus (personal magical guardian.) as a fan of Rowling's books you could spend hours on the website and not see it all. 

When developing your own website remember your readers want to be drawn into your books world. Each new book you need to update your website so readers keep coming back. 

An important goal and really the purpose of your author website is to draw your readers into your website. Make them want to go through every link on your website by creating items that will be of interest to them. Then update with new features and announce on all your social media links. You may not have the resources of Ms. Rowling but with a little ingenuity you can create a website readers will want to read. 

What have you done to draw readers to your website?

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