I was recently contacted by a marketing team member for Thrive Themes. Having never heard of the company before and being intimately familiar with scam emails, I was skeptical, but this particular representative (Hi, Alvin!) was lovely to speak to and responded to my questions quickly. He asked to meet up with me to discuss a WordPress theme that was designed by writers for writers - it's specifically made for authors, which is cool!
So, I decided to give it a try, because an author's website is one of the most important resources they can have.
Quick Note: While I am a member of the affiliate program for Bookwise, I am NOT paid to speak on behalf of Thrive Themes and my opinions are my own. If I didn't like it, I wouldn't be an affiliate. That being said, if you decide to use Bookwise, a portion of the sale will come back to me. Do with this information what you will.
What is Bookwise?
Bookwise is a WordPress website template created by Thrive Themes. Thrive Themes is a digital marketing and business-building company that provides tools that individuals and small businesses can use to build, promote, and grow across multiple industries. They have lots of different programs for helping people create functional, aesthetically pleasing websites that can build their email lists, grow their customer bases, and sell their products.
Per my contact, the people who worked to put together Bookwise are mostly aspiring authors themselves, which is great! They put together a template that includes all of the pages that an author might need to promote themselves and their work, including
"About me" pages
Contact forms for email list building
How Bookwise works
The actual setting up of the Bookwise plugin is a bit complicated. Firstly, it requires that you have a WordPress site ready to go - if you're using WordPress.com, that means having a Business subscription in order to use plugins. If you're using WordPress.org, then it means setting up the hosting yourself (along with a slightly confusing account creation process). If you can get through the account setup, though, actually installing Bookwise is relatively easy.
The Bookwise editor is drag-and-drop, which is awesome because it means you don't need to know how to code to use it. It's set up in simple taskbars with buttons for adding and changing any element on the page to better match your aesthetic and your needs.
Something interesting I want to note about the builder: when you're setting up, you can choose to make your pages either author-based or book-based. Author-based pages are great if your brand revolves around knowing you as a person - for example, if you're a nonfiction writer who does courses or speaking engagements alongside your books. Book-based pages are great if your brand revolves largely around your books or a particular series that you create - for example if you're a fantasy writer with a longstanding series. I appreciate that this builder offers you the ability to customize your website based on your niche.
How much does Bookwise cost?
Bookwise costs $299 per year or $99 per quarter, but you can try it for free with a 14-day free trial. That free trial comes with access to Thrive Suite, which comes with nine different Thrive Themes tools:
Why use Bookwise?
As with any other website builder, there are benefits and drawbacks to using the Bookwise template.
The Pros of Bookwise
So one feature I'm particularly happy about with Bookwise is universal changing - if you change the color of a button on one page, you have the option to change the color of buttons across your entire site. The same is true for fonts and background colors, which means that it's ridiculously easy to create a cohesive, on-brand website that sticks to your media kit exactly.
Beyond that, I love the versatility of the pages. It's nice to be able to create dedicated landing pages for each book from a template rather than having to construct them myself from scratch every time, but it's also nice to have such a high level of control over the customization of those pages so that it feels like mine rather than just being a template.
I also love how simple the UI is through Thrive Themes. The buttons are placed logically and they're not in the way when you're trying to move or change things on the page. They're all clearly labeled, so finding what you need is easy. Also, Thrive Themes provides some great tutorials so that you can learn how to do what you want to do easily.
The Cons of Bookwise
An obvious downside of Bookwise is that it is specifically for WordPress; if you use any other website-building software, you're simply out of luck. Additionally, the theme is definitely not designed for absolute beginners with no WordPress experience; if you're brand new to using the platform, you're probably going to have quite the issue using the plugin.
Beyond that, I can't say that Bookwise is great for authors who write in multiple genres. While you can definitely customize the theme to match each book individually on their landing pages, it would be somewhat hard to make a cohesive homepage. I don't know if that's strictly a flaw with Bookwise - it may be a general struggle for multi-genre writers - but it does make the theme slightly less appealing.
Bookwise from Thrive Themes is a classy, simple-to-use WordPress theme, as long as you've got a little experience with WordPress already. It's elegant, customizable, and professional-looking, though it does come at a relatively high price point. Still, it's competitive with other website builder plans and, unlike those other plans, is specifically designed for authors to help you build an audience and sell more books.
If you're interested in trying Bookwise, you can check it out through this button:
As a quick reminder, that is an affiliate link, which means that if you do decide to try Bookwise, a portion of your payment would go to me.