Writer's website - opinions appreciated

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Writer's website - opinions appreciated

Postby Steph.s » 30 Dec 2010, 18:06

I am having an internal struggle over the look of my website. Should an author's website reflect the author's personality, the genre the author writes in (for me that is urban fantasy) or should it touch on the feel of the stories the author writes?

At the moment, I am afraid that my site is too girly/cheerful. I really don't want it to be gothic looking because my heroine is not the typical leather clad bad ass UF gal. What's a girl to do?

I'd love some feedback.

http://stephanysimmons.com
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Re: Writer's website - opinions appreciated

Postby AMSchilling » 31 Dec 2010, 09:51

Not that this will be terribly helpful, but I'd say "all three." :-)

I think the author's personality should come through, and that that's not necessarily different than the genre they write or the tone of the book. Our own personalities do come through in our writing, and really--we write the genre's we write because we love them and therefore it's part of our personality (or at least I hope so. Writing for popular markets when you're not into them never seems to work very well, because you don't enjoy it enough as an author to make the book shine).

BTW I like the entries for Liam. I think that's a pretty clever way of introducing your characters and getting readers invested in them. Especially if it gives insight into them or the story that we wouldn't get just from reading the novel alone.
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Re: Writer's website - opinions appreciated

Postby Guardian » 31 Dec 2010, 10:29

I have no problem with the content at all. But maybe you should change the background wallpaper (But that's only my opinion.).

Should an author's website reflect the author's personality, the genre the author writes in (for me that is urban fantasy) or should it touch on the feel of the stories the author writes?

I also meditated on this for a long time. This was the reason why I created a website for my WIP instead. Different genre requires different style. As I'm writing high fantasy and dark sci-fi, that two style can't be represented in one style (At least I wasn't capable to solve it when I created my site.). As you're writing urban fantasy, I would suggest you to create a bit darker composition (That doesn't have to be gothic looking. A simple shaded, mythic background can do the trick. The present background is too cheerful for an urban fantasy, but it may represent your soul, which is also good. The question is, what would you like to present with your website? Your cheerful characteristic or your writing style? The two is usually not the same.).

And a quick observation: The "Books" menu has larger fonts then the other menu points. Try to use the very same font size all over the website.
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Re: Writer's website - opinions appreciated

Postby Steph.s » 31 Dec 2010, 10:48

Thanks so much for the feedback and compliment.

The background is exactly what I have been struggling with. I am not sure where to go with it or how dark to take it. My gut has been telling me all along that I need to change it.

I'm getting on the font issue now. Thanks for pointing it out.
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Re: Writer's website - opinions appreciated

Postby Sommer Leigh » 31 Dec 2010, 11:33

I personally love that background and would love to have my dining room chair cushions covered in fabric with that pattern. However, as a background for a website? I don't know.

The answer is, it depends.

I think there are a lot of really good choices for website styles, and you just need to figure out which works best for you. I would say go out there looking at other websites for authors and pick a handful that you just love. Figure out what about them you just love and go from there.

Personally, I either want my authors to go BIG with matching to their book's theme, or I want them to not try at all. For example, author Scott Westerfeld ( http://scottwesterfeld.com/blog/ )goes BIG with the steampunk historical war theme that is present in his current book series Leviathan. I love the look and feel of his blog and website. The problem, of course, is if I was only interested in his Uglies series and not his Leviathan series, I might be quite turned off by it as they are two very, very different book series. Author Cassandra Clare does something similar with her book series, but fortunately for her ALL of her books are set in the same world, no matter the series, so the look of her website always fits. http://cassandraclare.com/cms/home

I think it is a good idea to find some element from your book you can incorporate into your design so that potential readers know what they are getting into when they find your site. Easier said than done of course, but a good thing to strive for.
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Re: Writer's website - opinions appreciated

Postby Steph.s » 31 Dec 2010, 12:32

Sommer - Your banner is beautiful. As are the other two sites you linked. I love the thought of being able to convey the world that your novel is set in with a website. Honestly though it makes my head hurt trying to think of a way to do it with mine. Never let it be said that I wasn't up for a challenge though. I will work on it.

For now I will be changing the background to something a little less like cheerful, feminine upholstery fabric.

If you don't mind, I may ask your opinion again when the redesign is done.
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Re: Writer's website - opinions appreciated

Postby Sommer Leigh » 31 Dec 2010, 15:30

Steph.s wrote:Sommer - Your banner is beautiful. As are the other two sites you linked. I love the thought of being able to convey the world that your novel is set in with a website. Honestly though it makes my head hurt trying to think of a way to do it with mine. Never let it be said that I wasn't up for a challenge though. I will work on it.

For now I will be changing the background to something a little less like cheerful, feminine upholstery fabric.

If you don't mind, I may ask your opinion again when the redesign is done.


Thank you! I have designed dozens of banners and I still doubt I've figured out the perfect one. Give me like six months and I'll have a redesign in mind.

I'm going to give you a couple more links to check out. These are people who design websites for authors. They have some good examples of work they'd done that might give you some ideas.

Manning Leonard Krull http://www.manningkrull.com/
Dreamy Blog Designs http://www.dreamyblogs.com/
Xuni http://www.xuni.com/
VLC http://www.vlcphoto.net/ - This one isn't a website designer, but she designs marketing material for authors.
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Re: Writer's website - opinions appreciated

Postby Margo » 31 Dec 2010, 15:38

Speaking of great author web sites, I really like this one: http://iantregillis.com/. It is, of course, professionally designed.
Urban fantasy, epic fantasy, and hot Norse elves. http://margolerwill.blogspot.com/
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Re: Writer's website - opinions appreciated

Postby Sommer Leigh » 31 Dec 2010, 15:50

Margo wrote:Speaking of great author web sites, I really like this one: http://iantregillis.com/. It is, of course, professionally designed.


Oh yeah I really like that one too!!!

Stephanie Perkins has a design that I really love: http://naturalartificial.blogspot.com/
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Re: Writer's website - opinions appreciated

Postby Margo » 31 Dec 2010, 20:18

Sommer Leigh wrote:Stephanie Perkins has a design that I really love: http://naturalartificial.blogspot.com/


Oh, now that's a nice one that looks pleasing but not like it took a team of expensive professionals to design it for a small fortune. Good option for authors who don't have a chunk of an advance to put down yet for professional design or who have more pressing things to spend the money on -- like really cool shoes.
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Re: Writer's website - opinions appreciated

Postby Steph.s » 31 Dec 2010, 20:28

With all of the great advice that I've gotten here, I did a redesign on my site. I hope that it has a more urban fantasy feel now.

http://stephanysimmons.com
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Re: Writer's website - opinions appreciated

Postby J. T. SHEA » 31 Dec 2010, 21:11

You've got a 1962 Lincoln Continental in your banner. What's not to like?
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Re: Writer's website - opinions appreciated

Postby Steph.s » 31 Dec 2010, 22:43

My main character drives a 61. That is the closest that I could come in the right color.
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Re: Writer's website - opinions appreciated

Postby Sommer Leigh » 31 Dec 2010, 23:13

Wow you did a really great job! I'm impressed with the redesign!
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Re: Writer's website - opinions appreciated

Postby J. T. SHEA » 31 Dec 2010, 23:17

It could very well be a '61, Steph.s. I only guessed at '62. The 1961, 1962 and 1963 models were almost identical.
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