Monday, February 6, 2012

What came first, the website or the author?

We've covered a few things that you need to promote and market your career already.
PR Personality Test
What Is A Brand?

What about a website? Do you need a website? Do you need a website before you have a book out?

Why don't you just go ahead and ask me, "what came first, the chicken or the egg?"
This is sort of like the big debate on the pricing of ebooks. Nonetheless, it's all important information for you to put in the back of your head. OR in your writer's toolbox to refer to when you are thinking about a website. All I can do is give you pros of having a website at all stages of your career, starting without a book.

Author Buzz Founder, MJ Rose gave me a quote for my upcoming non-fiction book, The Tricked Out Toolbox~Promotional and Marketing Needs Every Writer Needs.
"Yes, you need a website, but it doesn't have to be complicated. People go to your website after they hear about you and your book. No one wakes up and says I'm going to start searching for websites of authors I never heard of."

AND

NYT Bestselling author, Brenda Novak's advice, "a website is important for anyone who's really serious about becoming a professional writer. Just as you lay the foundation for selling your first book by finishing a manuscript and submitting, you lay the foundation for the promotion side of your business by creating a great website, one where you can begin to establish a presence in the community."

AND

Agent, Holly Root, even weighed in on the subject. "A website helps me get a sense of who the author is. I've never said no to a bad site, but it does make me eager to say yes."

I have to agree that it is very important to have a website. I use to have a high dollar website with web hosting, web designer, yadda-yadda. I gave all that up for here! I love this blogger site and I choose it because it fit the needs of my target audienc.

1) Know your goal. Determining your purpose—meaning what you want people to take away from your site—is key.
 I wanted my site to be light. All about tips and tricks I have learned on the way. My website is centered around this blog. My website is my blog.

2) Keep your audience in mind. 
My audience is writers and paying it forward. I do know that my readers come here to check out my tabs with my books, trailers, and events page.

3) Knowing the Purpose of Your Website.
My purpose is to help other authors and entertain my readers. Simple!
Based on what your audience see, will they pursue you as a writer, or cut you lose?
o   One: selling yourself is knowing that a bad website is worse than no website, so make sure you create a professional web presence.
o   Two: make sure your website exemplifies you as a professional writer. Your site is doing more than selling your writing. It’s giving a snapshot of your commitment to your craft. You must exhibit proper use of the English language and show your attention to detail. Take yourself seriously as a writer and others will, too.
o   Three: edit your website carefully, always keeping your target audience in mind.
o   Four: choose a website design to match your genre. The visual design of your website should
 mimic or compliment the style of your writing and the tone of your books. If you write erotica, naked people and a sexy feel are great. For a gritty thriller writer, not so much.
o   Five: dress for the job you want, not the job you have. That saying is applicable to websites, as well. Your job is to sell your personality, or the desired image you are creating, to the public. Build a site that highlights you AS A WRITER. Sure, being a handsome or pretty person helps, but an interesting life story or a beautiful visage will not sell your book. Dress your website by focusing on your career as a writer, not your pretty face!

I started my new website on September 17, 2011, a little over four months ago. My target audience is to reach writers with my blog and readers with my tabs/content. As of today, I have had over 11k page views. I keep the counter on the side of my blog because even seeing it go up one, makes me giggle and tickle inside.

The Plot Monkey's Blog asked this a couple years ago, and I've found the findings in the comments very interesting.

The Huffington Post also has a great post on Does An Author Need A Website.

What about you? Do you have a website? Why or why not?

15 comments:

  1. As a college English major (which, of course, is literature rather than grammar), I've studied my share of 'classic' authors.
    Before the WWW, writers used to congregate in pubs and coffee houses (or, the wealthy, in private clubs). There they did pretty much what we do now on blogs and websites: they discussed what they're writing, what worked, what didn't work, what they want to write, etc. And they complained about reviewers, publishers, and (probably) contests. Ha.
    So, the answer to your title question is: the author came first. Second was the need to share and compare. Third was the particular format: formerly coffeehouses ... now websites.

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  2. Hey, Tonya... I wholeheartedly agree. Websites/blogs are very important to both unpublished and published authors.

    I actually have 2 websites. One for my pen name Cera duBois, under which all my paranormal stuff is written and my first book will be published. And one for my real name, under which I write contemp westerns. Obviously, the tones I've set for both are very different, but because I have followers of both, I cross-post my blog on both.

    But other than my domain names, which I just bought, my host is free because I use Wordpress.

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  3. Hi, Tonya!

    Great job in presenting the merits and purpose of a website. Several years ago I considered investing in a high dollar website, but I'm so glad I never did! I started out with just a plain blog on Blogger, then turned it into a website since you can add pages.

    I love Blogger, it's easy to use (for the technically impaired like me) and it's like one stop shopping. My blog and website are one, I'm in control, and best of all it's free! I did buy a domain name, which costs about $10.00 a year. It's nice, but not a necessity.

    As a writer, it really is a must to have a website so readers can learn about you and your books! And nowadays cost is not an issue!

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  4. As one who looks at a lot websites, I think it's an important tool and it should fit or give a snapshot of who you are.

    So far, I'm using blogger. I don't have any fiction writing for sale just yet but I have a tab with a few things I've written. Just samples.

    Sia McKye's Thoughts...OVER COFFEE

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  5. Hi Tonya: Great analysis. Personally I am in favor of websites. Updating mine is always a challenge.
    Una Tiers

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  6. For me, having a website was kind of a no-brainer - I'm a web designer/programmer for my day job! Yet I didn't really do much with my site until I decided to publish. My purpose is to give readers a place to get to know me and my books. I have a Wordpress-based site I host on GoDaddy. It's the best of both worlds for me - easy to add updates, and hosting it on my own means I can add fun, techie stuff to my heart's content.

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  7. Great analysis, Jeff. But do you think an author needs a website?

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    1. Oh, definitely. In today's world of instant communications, an author HAS to have speedy contact with as many readers and interested persons as possible.

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  8. Hi, Sara. Wordpress is great! I have another site, The Naked Hero, where we use wordpress. Love the idea how you have two websites. I know of many authors who do that. I also love that you post your blog on both. That way you can bring your readers together.

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  9. I agree, Maria. I've found that once you've found your audience or once you begin to publish, money isn't as big of an issue as when you first decide to be an author. But having a website before you even publish is exactly what I would suggest. The more you get yourself out there, the better.

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  10. Sia, I had a big website, but blogger really has stepped up and got the new tabs, new designs, and much more competitive. It's perfect for even me and I love it.

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  11. Fiona, what is making a challenge to update your site? Maybe we can figure something out in your schedule where you can do it once a once. That way it will only be just that one time.

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  12. I LOVE THAT, Jennette! Making a website your own is key. I go to so many sites that just don't fit what I know about the author. For me, being able to personalize it on my own is instant gratification.

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