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Who Wants to Help Me Design the Website for an Online Book Fair?

Long time readers of this blog have probably noticed the sharp decline in new blog posts. Alas, my interests have shifted, and the following project is an example of why.

I am currently designing a website template for an online book fair, and I need help. While I do have the tech skills to build the template, I don’t have a good grasp of the content to put in it. The content is usually something I develop in partnership with clients, but I don’t have any clients for this project yet, and I might never have clients.

You see, I plan to give this template away for free, so that all can benefit.

Given how things are going, it’s pretty clear we will be having online events until further notice, and giving away this template is my way of helping the author community make it through this trying time.

If you would like to help me in this effort, please leave a comment (or send me an email). Tell me what you would put on the website belonging to an online author-centric book fair. I will incorporate the suggestions into the template, and release it for free.

And just to be clear, this project is focused on book fairs devoted to authors, and not events the scale of Book Expo America. (Maybe we can cover larger events in Phase 2?)

P.S. I have already registered a domain for this project (the website is not yet live), and I’ve made first drafts for the home page and the author profile page. Here’s what I have so far.


P.P.S. Speaking of interesting projects, you may have noticed that the screenshots are from a site called The Speaker Bureau. The short version is that I was elected president of a local writing club back in December, and given the job of recruiting speakers for the meetings. This made me realize that most people in my position would have trouble finding speakers, so I decided to launch a site to solve that problem.

P.P.P.S. Let me know if you need help designing a website for a writing club, online conference, or anything. While I have made a name for myself building author websites, they have taught me that there are certain basic principles which apply to all websites. Or as I see it, designing a website involves asking questions. The answers will differ from one type of site to the next, but the questions are universal. (And I know what to ask.)

image by ActuaLitté via Flickr

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Bill Peschel February 7, 2021 um 7:01 pm

There should be room for applications: to authors who want to be considered as featured speakers, those who want to give talks or classes, and to vendors. It should have links to download applications in PDF, and a clickable link to a page giving the rules, qualifications to apply, legal and liability information, fee schedules (for vendors), sponsoring hotel with discount room block, and cost.

If you want a variety of festivals to look at, I’ve been maintaining a list of those in the mid-Atlantic area at

Nate Hoffelder February 7, 2021 um 7:36 pm

Oooh, a rules and policy page and a form page would be a good idea. I hadn’t even considered those.

Lola February 8, 2021 um 10:22 am

The rules page might also need to include a harassment/code of conduct policy.

Nate Hoffelder February 12, 2021 um 8:27 am

This is true.

Lola February 8, 2021 um 10:47 am

This template might also be useful for small cons, like relax-a-cons, or filk cons.

A freebies tab that might include pages like the following. All pages with freebies or discounts should require the participant’s password to access.

In lieu of a swag bag, a swag downloads page for freebies. As well as posted files, it could also include coupons offered by authors (first come, first serve) for free books at downloadable sites.

A vendor’s page with discount links to products/services. I also see that as separate from the dealer’s room pages.

The freebies/discount pages could be separate from the dealer’s room pages.

Maybe a page designed for food vendors to provide discount coupons at physical takeout/drive thru/delivery places. This page might function as ads by food sponsors.

A page for the event to provide a screensaver, wallpaper, or zoom background.

Nate Hoffelder February 8, 2021 um 2:42 pm

I really really really want to design a conference site. You’re right in that there is a lot of overlap.

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