Introducing the Rocket City Writer’s School

Introducing the Rocket City Writer's School! Do you want to learn how to be more successful as an author? Check out our self-paced online courses! Are you an author struggling with getting the word out about your books? Are you unsure about how to market your books? Have you considered setting up a crowdfunding campaign to help cover your initial costs, but don’t know where to start? My new online school will help you.

For years, I’ve worked as a professional writer, editor, author, and marketing professional. Recently, I decided I wanted to use my background, skills, and experience to help authors sell more books and to succeed. As I started to plan my new publishing business Rocket City Books, I knew that so many authors with fantastic manuscripts still need help setting up an “author platform,” they need help understanding social media marketing, and so many other things that really help sell books. That’s when I came up with the idea for the Rocket City Writer’s School. It’s an online school that integrates video lectures, printed materials, and online course notes to provide self-paced training. I jumped in.

Today I launched one new course aimed at helping authors with one of the most critical aspects of running a successful writing business: setting up a good author’s website.

Introducing the Rocket City Writer's School! Do you want to learn how to be more successful as an author? Check out our self-paced online courses!

I am always surprised at how many authors I meet who tell me they don’t have a website. I consider a good website so critical to every marketing effort for any professional writer that I chose this topic for my first online class. The self-paced class will walk authors through analyzing other author websites to see what is effective, what is not effective, and what types of information would be useful, fun, and engaging on your own website. We’ll discuss all of the information you MUST have on your websites (obviously your books, but also information about you and how to contact you), plus information that is not essential but extremely helpful if you’re serious about selling your books. I also think building an email list is so important that I also go over that, as well as how to start an effective blog.

If you are new to the writing life and unsure how to proceed setting up a professional author website, check out the class link above. You can review the entire class curriculum as well as watch an introductory video about what you’ll learn. I hope that many of you will take the class, come up with some killer content for your own author website, and launch a website that will be a great marketing tool for you for years to come.

Some of the other courses I’m working on right now that will launch in the next month include:

  • How to set up an effective crowdfunding campaign for your upcoming book
  • Social media strategy for authors
  • How authors can use Pinterest to sell books and attract new fans
  • How to use Facebook groups to promote your book series
  • How to write for magazines
  • And next year, even more!

I offer discounts on new courses to my email subscribers. If you want to get the discount code to try out new courses at a discounted rate, just join my mailing list now.

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How to write a compelling About page for your author website

Jennifer Pinkley cavingLearn how to write a compelling About page for your author website. Include interesting and unusual photos of yourself.
One of my favorite picture of me in a cave–I like to use this image to supplement my more formal photo.

Even though you may think your webpage is all about your books, many readers also want to know about YOU. Take some time to craft a really compelling About page for your website. Don’t just include a few lines that say “I’m an author and here are my books.” Let readers get a little glimpse of your personality, what you’re like as a person, and why you write the books you write. Here are some tips to create an About page that will draw readers in an make them want to learn more about your books.

Describe your books. 

Well, this one is obvious. Yes, you should share information about all of the the books you’ve published. Provide the names of all of your books if you only have a few, or your most popular ones if you have published several. If you’ve won awards or hit any bestseller lists, share them. This section doesn’t necessarily have to come first.

Learn how to write a compelling About page for your author website. Having  a photo of yourself in a Star Trek costume doesn't hurt!
Here’s a fun photo from the DragonCon science fiction convention. Photos like this can show readers your fun side.

Where are you from and where did you go to school?

Where did you grow up? Where did you go to grade school or college? What did you study in college or what were your favorite classes? For example, I studied history in college, so it makes sense that I like to write historic nonfiction. However, I’m also a huge fan of science fiction even though I had no aptitude for many science classes. I have encountered other writers who have degrees in astrophysics and now write romance novels. Readers will find your background interesting.

What jobs have you had?

People are often interested in the career path that led you into writing. Talk about your career path and how writing became a part of your life. This kind of information is especially interesting if you worked in fields completely unrelated to writing. Tell your readers how you made the transition from your field to an author. If you’re not a full-time author, you don’t have to tell us. Just describe how you integrate writing into your daily life.

What inspired you to become an author?

Was there something interesting in your life that inspired you to become an author? Share that story with your readers. People love learning what inspires you. For me, I was inspired to write science fiction by reading A Wrinkle in Time when I was 9 years old. I can still see the characters that appeared in my mind when I read that glorious book. I loved that book so much I wrote my very first book report about it when I was in the third grade. That book inspired me to seek out other science fiction and fantasy books, which then led me to the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings, which remain in my top ten list of all-time favorite books.

What are some of your hobbies? 

Do you have an interesting or weird hobby? Are you a sports fanatic? Do you enjoy gardening or shopping? Share some of yourself and you’ll make a stronger personal connection with your readers. I like to go caving, and caves show up in many of my books. People find caving a weird hobby so I enjoy adding my love of caving to any “About Me” pages. It’s also helpful to add a photo of your interesting hobbies to your webpage.

Is there any other personal information you feel comfortable sharing?

Do you want to mention your family? Many authors mention that they live with a spouse, children, and pets. Think about describing your childhood, especially if you have some great stories about childhood events that inspired you to become a writer. If you don’t want to talk about your family, what about your pets? What about describing the house where you live or your town?


Provide a photo. People want to know what you look like. In addition, if you want to get some attention in the press about your book, reporters will often want your official headshot. It’s helpful to provide a high quality photo that anyone can download and use in an article. If you want to be all mysterious and protect a pen name or something, include a photo of your cat or a landscape photo from your last vacation. At least those photos will give people a better idea of what you like. In addition to a portrait-quality head shot, you can also include photos of your family, your home, your hobbies, your pets, or whatever else you think your readers might enjoy. Any additional information you feel like sharing will make your About page more interesting. The photos I’ve included in this post are two of my favorite photos of me. I often use them in addition to my more formal portrait photo. They are just more fun.

Learn how to write a compelling About page for your author website. Include photos of some of your favorite hobbies.
A photo of one of my solo camping trips in the New Mexico desert.

About Page examples

I just flipped through my Kindle and looked up some of the first authors in my “recently read” list who have About pages that are fun to read. Check them out for inspiration: