Creating an author web site

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Ermo
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Creating an author web site

Post by Ermo » June 16th, 2010, 12:56 pm

Ok, it's time, I think to put an author website out there. I'm going to be entering the query process soon and I've read that having an author website is a good way to show "you're serious." As if spending the time to write an 80,000 word+ book doesn't show you're serious enough...

Where do you guys think is the best place to go to build and host a website? Obviously, I don't want it to look homemade. Do I need to hire someone? I don't want to do a blog because if I'm going to write, I prefer it be on one of my projects and not just something to fulfill my blog obligations.

Also, what types of information do you think should be included on the website? What have you seen that you think works well?

Thanks in advance.

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HillaryJ
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Re: Creating an author web site

Post by HillaryJ » June 16th, 2010, 1:23 pm

Wordpress, Blogger and LiveJournal have quasi-do it yourself templates that look good, are pretty easy to manipulate even if you don't have mad skillz, and are free. My understanding is that, should you choose to set up your own domain later, archival posts on wordpress can be imported, but I haven't tried it.

If you choose to purchase a domain name and design your own website, you may want to hire someone if you haven't done something like that before. You can get a service like lunarpages or godaddy to host your domain.

Take a look at writer websites and blogs and borrow inspiration for elements and design. I think in the "all things procrastination" forum there's a list of blogs. Take a look at what your favorite writers or peers (other aspiring writers trying to build a web presence because they were told that agents would like it) are doing.
Blog http://www.hillaryjacques.blogspot.com
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as Regan Summers - The Night Runner series from Carina Press

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polymath
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Re: Creating an author web site

Post by polymath » June 16th, 2010, 1:52 pm

So many many possibilities, so many outlets, such limited resources. In my opinion, an in-person tech services consultation is in order. I write Web pages, and advise on Web based technology for authors as well as anyone with an interest. I start with a questionaire, what's the product? What's the purpose? What kinds of user interactivity are desired? What kinds of media? What about direct marketing? What about an income stream from the site? How much control does the client want over managing the site? How much Do-It-Yourself intiative does the client bring to bear? What's the client's technological capabilities? What's the client's commitment level to learning the processes he or she needs to accomplish the site's goals? Basic questions that lead to more involved questions.

In the meantime, SFWA columns on networking and self-promotion, blogging and Web site advices;

Index
http://www.sfwa.org/category/networking ... -promotion

"Self-Promotion--Starting Too Soon?"
http://www.sfwa.org/2010/05/guest-blog- ... g-too-soon

"Authors! 8 Tips For Your Website's Usability and Design"
http://www.sfwa.org/2010/03/authors-8-t ... and-design
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wetair
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Re: Creating an author web site

Post by wetair » June 16th, 2010, 6:50 pm

I see on my wordpress blog a button to move it to a different host. So I guess it would be able to do it. I suppose you can start with one of the free blogs (wordpress, blogger, live journal) to get an idea, a feel for it and move it later once you actually get a book deal. The themes you get with them are not bad looking.

But if you want to buy a domain name, well, yahoo and other places offer that. And yahoo also has an auto installer for wordpress, too. Comes with its own site design tools, too, if you don't want blog type software. Pretty simple to use and you don't need to know html, I don't think. But even if you do, basic html isn't difficult and i am thinking you will only need a pro for the fancier stuff.

and at this stage (with no publisher!!!) you might not need the fancier stuff. Really, I am surprised people are telling you need website at all at this stage. :O I thought writers put up sites shortly before publication. I am thinking writing a book and sending it off are all saying you want it to be published . . . I am not sure I understand this business of proving you are serious when you send a query.

But anyway most writer sites have stuff about the book, about its sequels, an excerpt, a short about the author page. i really like nora robert's site: http://www.noraroberts.com
I like kelley armstrong's site: http://www.kelleyarmstrong.com/
okay and this is a site that I think could use a bit of improvement: http://www.kagebaker.com/


might want to read this: http://blog.franciscossette.com/2010/06 ... n-and.html
its about making a website for writers

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ryanznock
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Re: Creating an author web site

Post by ryanznock » June 16th, 2010, 10:52 pm

I'm going to be setting up a Blogger site soon. I've got some content planned, things to appeal to a nice array of visitors, both one-offs and regulars. I'm just stuck on what to name the dang thing.

I want something that captures the idea that I writer adventures, and I want to go on real life adventures. Adventure #1: Setting up a website. A friend recommended AWESOME RYAN'S AWESOME BLOG OF AWESOME COWBELLS. And the logo would be a shark playing an electric guitar.

But Blogger looks pretty nice to me.

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February
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Re: Creating an author web site

Post by February » June 16th, 2010, 11:58 pm

FK7 from the forum here wrote an awesome blog post yesterday on the subject. For some reason I can't get the URL link to work but if you go to the Procrastination forum it's linked there in the new blog post thread.

I for one find it frustrating trying to comment on Wordpress as a Blogger user without a Wordpress account...I never end up leaving comments even when I visit a site, they never seem to work for me...

~bru

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Casey Lybrand
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Re: Creating an author web site

Post by Casey Lybrand » June 17th, 2010, 12:58 am

If I understand correctly, you do not want to blog? So you are looking to build a static web site with your author and book info. That's cool.

First, I would second what polymath said about talking to a web design professional. That is a really excellent idea if you aren't sure what you're getting into with a web site.

Next, if you want to go it on your own, you might still take a look at the blogging options out there, but use the blogging software as a Content Management System (CMS). With a CMS, you set up your site with the pages you want, but the interface makes it easy for you to change the content when you need to update the information. (It's not blogging, but pages need to be updated periodically.) The blog templates would also provide an easy way to get a professional look for your site.

You might take a look at Wordpress to use as a CMS. I just poked around, and there is lots of info out there on how to do it. This post seems pretty good and up to date:

http://www.onextrapixel.com/2009/07/17/ ... s-designs/

(And I should warn you here: even though I have installed and used a CMS, I have not used Wordpress, specifically, in this way myself. But it seems like it could work well, and it would work better for you than the CMS I have experience with, anyway. Something else that could work well is hiring a web designer!)

Congrats on finishing your ms, and good luck with your queries and with your web site!

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Re: Creating an author web site

Post by Sommer Leigh » June 17th, 2010, 8:43 am

Everyone is different.

If you can afford to hire someone to design and build you a website, then by all means. Do it. Price can range from kind of pricey to really pricey and everything in between. I'd start by finding a couple of author websites you love, scroll to the very bottom of the page and find the link that says "Designed by_________" and check out those designers first.

The downside of this is that if you need to update information, you will probably have to pay your designer to update it. Some people are ok with this, some people want more control. You can work some control out with your designer, but most changes will have to go through them.

If you're like me, you want to be able to do things on your own, you'll have to do some research. You'll need to buy your own domain name if you want the professional look of a dedicated website. You'll need hosting. If you don't know anything about building a website, you'll also need something easy to use.

I use AN Hosting. I like their prices, their support, and their ease of use. I've also used GoDaddy which is fine too, especially in price, but I did not find they could help me with the ease of building the site like I wanted. AN Hosting has a great built in set of sites it can create for you. I use Wordpress.org (NOT the same thing as Wordpress.com which is just a traditional blog) Wordpress.org is more about building a full site, with or without a blog is up to you. AN Hosting will set up the wordpress.org for you and then you go out onto google and search for wordpress.org templates. You find one you like, download it, upload it through the wordpress.org admin site and you've got your basic tools for building your site. It's not hard, it just takes time to play around with all of the gadgets and widgets and designs and features that are available. You can build multiple pages for your site with this program, they can all have the same tempalte or each page can look different. It depends on which tempalte you end up going with. Most are very customizable so if you have any skills, or have friends with skills, in graphics you can do pretty well putting together your own. Find a couple of author sites you like and mirror some of what they do.

You can spend the money and have someone else do all the work for you, or you can do it yourself cheaper, have full control, but expect to put in time, effort, research to pull it off.

Good luck! Let us know what you come up with.
May the word counts be ever in your favor. http://www.sommerleigh.com
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wetair
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Re: Creating an author web site

Post by wetair » June 17th, 2010, 7:14 pm

another site that you might be interested in: http://scribechat.com/archives/2394

talks about writer blogs and sites, but mostly blogs.

deepsesh
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Re: Creating an author web site

Post by deepsesh » June 19th, 2010, 2:43 am

Its always a great idea to have your own website. But getting it done professionally might be a tad bit expensive. You can enquire around - there are ton's of sites online. Just search for 'web hosting' on google. Most of the companies who offer domain and server space - also offer web design services.

But if you don't want to spend too much, it would be better to use a CMS tool or go for a template based site. Its do-it-yourself and easy to use. The main thing here is for you to show your content - your talent as a writer, and not a designer. So its ok to use template based sites.

lmjackson
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Re: Creating an author web site

Post by lmjackson » June 20th, 2010, 9:10 pm

If you have a Mac (or macbook), or access to one, you can use the program iWeb. It comes with Mac OS, so it's basically free. The program is made especially for people who have no web building experience. There are at least 12 different layouts that range from kind of funky, to professional. It's kind of a neat little program that takes care of things like color scheme, balance, font face/size, and other things that a graphic designer would have to worry about. The problem does come in when you do want to add some serious customization. I do know HTML/CSS and have built websites for recreation over the years and I find the program a little frustrating.

Otherwise, if you're on Windows, I like Microsoft Frontpage. I have an old 2000 version, and it's still such a great tool. As you make your website, you can there are three different tabs: one is an html page, one is a preview, and one basically looks like Microsoft Word. It makes it really easy to preview your website as you go along, and even mess with the code if you so desire (or just stay on the Word-like page).

But, like Sommer Leigh said, if you have the money then go for it. Then you'll have a guarantee that your getting a finished product that is visually and intuitively appealing to visitors and potential agents.
Junior student studying at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
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CharleeVale
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Re: Creating an author web site

Post by CharleeVale » June 26th, 2010, 2:54 am

I love, love, love, love, love (did I mention I love this?) Squarespace.com It is super easy and amazing, and not very expensive.

I bought my domain name, and I did the graphics myself, but it's plenty customizable even if you suck at graphics. Take a look at my site! (charleevale.com)

I highly recommend it, because it is so easy to use.

CV

Transitoria
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Re: Creating an author web site

Post by Transitoria » June 28th, 2010, 12:22 pm

My question is in regard to my website, TammySetzerDenton.com, where I have posted an excerpt of my novel, MAN OF THE HOUSE,in order to start building a platform. By publishing this excerpt on a personal website, am I breaking any rules that might sabotage future publication?

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polymath
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Re: Creating an author web site

Post by polymath » June 28th, 2010, 12:45 pm

Posting narrative excerpts on publicly accessible Web sites is tantamount to publication. A short sample might, might not impact publication potential, favorably or negatively. An entire narrative posted will consume first digital publication rights. However, substantially rewritting a previously published version is a work-around for refreshing first rights. And an interested publisher will overlook previous publication on a personal Web site if it has little or no negative impact on sales potential and causes no undue hassles.

I read the Man of the House excerpt. I think the quantity posted is safe from rights consumption concerns.
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Transitoria
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Re: Creating an author web site

Post by Transitoria » June 28th, 2010, 7:53 pm

Thanks Polymath. I posted another question regarding ISBN numbers in a new thread. If you have any input on that question, I would appreciate anything you have to say. Thanks again.

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