Top Free WordPress Themes for Writers

Look, you’ve got to have a blog. That much goes without saying at least. But it also has to look cool, because the author is the brand and you have to get used to selling yourself. WordPress is as good a place to start as any, if you want to get going with social media, but it still begs the question – so many themes, so little time!

Well, here’s my top picks for writers. If any of you don’t have a blog yet, get yourself over to WordPress.com and sign up! All of these themes are free and listed in the WP Themes Directory.

Expound Magazine Style Theme

expound wordpress theme

Lots of options, and I just love the front page posts. This one’s definitely for an author who’s big into blogging and has plenty of photos to enhance their content. Those who are short on photos need a different style – this theme will look lackluster without them.

Esplanade Theme

esplanade wordpress theme

 One of my personal favorites. Esplanade is a great choice for an author who wants to showcase multiple books in the big front page slider. It comes with enough options to make a blog distinct, and a few different layouts depending on your preference.

Serena Minimalist Theme

serena wordpress theme

 For authors who prefer a completely clean, mildly antique style that focuses the reader on the text. Serena’s excellent use of typography make it a great choice for authors who lean towards literary and historical fiction.

Sunspot Dark Theme

sunspot wordpress theme

 Sunspot is another favorite of mine. Not many options, but it’s got a huge amount of style and the color works well for authors who write thrillers or crime novels, especially if their covers go with the orange and dark grey scheme.

PinPress Pinterest Style Theme

pinpress wordpress theme

 Pinpress is my choice for children’s authors. A custom background and custom header, as well as the flow layout, mean this one can be made exceptionally colorful and bright in just a few clicks.

Dusk to Dawn Genre Theme

dusktodawn wordpress theme

Dusk to Dawn tends to pop up quite a lot – its dark, organic style lends itself well to fantasy and urban paranormal books. It’s got a very simple layout, and may be too limited for some authors, but it’s a good startup theme for those who just want to post on their blog and move to something more complex later.

Expressionista Custom Color Scheme Theme

expressionista wordpress theme

 Despite the dark orange here, Expressionista is my choice for romance and erotica authors. It’s got a wonderfully extensive set of custom color options, and along with a custom background option. Finding a red or pink WP theme that’s just the right shade is sometimes a big chore, so this one is definitely recommended.

Koenda Business Theme

koenda wordpress theme

 For the non-fiction and business authors among us, Koenda is a good, solid choice. It’s got a clear sense of style with plenty of options for calls to action.

MesoColumn Social Media Theme

mesocolumn wordpress theme

Finally, for the author with a lot of social networking going on, MesoColumn has a great layout and highlights the different social media links. A great choice for authors who are spread across a lot of networks at once.

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11 comments

  1. Hi,

    I’m building a new blog/site to feature and promote my current and future work. I’m an author and journalist. I’m hosted by SiteGround, but their themes are insufficient in functionality. For example, they don’t support custom menus, it’s difficult to place links (such as one to my existing site, gangof60.com). I’m potentially interested in the Serena Minimalist Theme, but I have to know if it has complete functionality–I mean that it can do anything that Atlantica or one of the other top themes for writers and authors can. Also, I need to know its price, and the amount of support you provide once I purchase it. Thank you.

    Sincerely,

    Jim Gerard

  2. Hi. I’m looking for a theme for my first WordPress website. I’m a historical fiction author, and I’m looking for something that’s a) simple (all I want to be able to do from a design standpoint is change fonts, colors, and my header image — much more than that’s just going to make it more difficult to use AFAIC), and b) looks like it would be happy in the 19th century (rough textures, no razor sharp edges — I’ve seen websites with edges that look like torn paper, for instance, the option for sepia tones, etc.). Do you know of any free themes that might work for me?

    Thanks!

    • Sure :)

      Okay, first of all, best thing to do with fonts is use this plugin: http://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-google-fonts/ Most themes don’t let you change the fonts on a whim, so this will give you that kind of functionality.

      On the theme – this’ll be a bit tricky. Most theme makers are moving away from using too many images in their themes, and rounded edges are apparently going out of style – and, of course, most themes are designed with a modern look in mind that I would consider unsuitable for a vintage subject matter. That said, I have a few options for you…

      First up – take a look at Sixteen. This theme has a warm color scheme that should play well with some kind of dark, textured header, and the parallax effect is a new thing in design that looks really good with the right image. With this one, I’d pick some kind of city skyline. No color options, but some CSS style changes could fix that if you want to attempt it.

      My next choice, if you want to try something less earthy and more bright – and if you like green – is a new theme I spotted recently called Timeturner. I really just like this one, it’s got a great vintage style going on and its portfolio functionality would be awesome for showcasing books. Changing the color would be very tricky though, if you’re not into it.

      For a more customizable appearance, you could try out something like Codium Grid. With the right kind of background and a font change, this one could pop pretty well.

      If you want to showcase your site when it’s done, please drop me an email – I’m planning a post on great author websites. :) And let us know here how it turns out at least!

  3. Thanks for taking the time to answer me. I hadn’t thought about searching under the term “vintage” (although I’d tried just about everything I could think of [wry g]). I really like Timeturner, except wow, is that green! (and green is my favorite color, but not *that* much). I think I’m going to try Sixteen, just to see what it looks like with my header and so forth. And thanks for the plug-in. I suspect the right font will go a long way towards making my site look less like an all-glass skyscraper.

    If you don’t mind me asking, what’s a parallax effect? The one thing that baffled me about Sixteen’s layout was the movable background around the edges. What is that, and would I be stuck with it or is it changeable? I know a little html, but no css. Would changing the background from black to brown (or to an texture image) be difficult for a raw beginner?’

    Thank you so much for answering me. I really was beginning to tear my hair out. I just wish I could find something that looks vintage right out of the box [sigh].

    • Timeturner could be modified for a different color, but it’d be somewhat tricky. I’ll take a quick look, see what’s involved…

      The parallax effect is that movable background thing you see. If you put a photo of a skyline or mountains or something in there, the moving background creates the illusion of depth. I don’t think it’s changeable in that particular theme, though.

      Get the Jetpack plugin – it’ll let you add extra CSS to your theme, so you can start doing some modifications on the backgrounds and colors etc. Then take a look at the W3C Schools primer on CSS, that’ll give you the basic idea of it. If you’re brave, you can do all kinds of weird things to a site with this sort of thing. :) And it’s not that hard. Just takes a bit of reading and experimenting!

  4. Thanks, Claire. I think I may have found a theme I can live with. Have you ever used Relik? It has one skin with a striped background (tone on tone) that looks kind of like old-fashioned wallpaper. I also like the rounded corners [g].

    The only problem is, I can’t get my header image to show up. I’ve got a request into the support forums, and if it’s easily fixed I’ll be on my way. But otherwise, I guess I’ll have to keep looking.

    I wish I had the time to start messing with CSS, but I suspect it’s something that’s going to have to wait. I will keep the Jetpack plug-in in mind, though, for when I do.

    • Never used it, no. It’s not enough of a showcase theme for my liking. More power to you if you like it though – with the right plugins, it could look very good.

      Let me know how you get on with the header. It might not be a quick fix, but if this is the one you want and you’re not getting anywhere, I’ll help you out.

  5. Well, I’m not exactly looking to blow people’s socks off [g]. That’s what the books are supposed to do. If I don’t hear back from the Relik folks soon, I’ll get back to you.

    You are a fantastic resource. I am so glad I found your site.

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