Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Writers and their Web Pages


Every writer knows they need a web presence. They need a blog, a web page (behind the blog). They need to Tweet and drop by Facebook, maybe do Live-journal. They need to organise blog tours and chase up reviewers.

Honestly, it's enough to make your head spin. Promotional Web Personal Assistant, anyone?

I've noticed some posts recently by reviewers on what they want from author web pages. Here on Dreams and Speculations, they talk about what they want from an author's web page. Most important for a reviewer seems to be a list of previous books and easy navigation is important, which is fair enough.

And here, Rebecca from Dirty Sexy Books talks about the biggest mistakes authors make. She uses the term link-bait to draw people to the site. Basically free stuff and fun stuff. Then she updates it here, with some more mistakes.

Now we are all time strapped authors. We're juggling real lives, work, family and writing. And now we have to become PR Web Gurus. I'm trying, I really am. But just as soon as I learn a new skill, I find I need to learn another new skill. (What? Now I need to Twitter?)

I'm asking you as aspiring writers and readers, what do you like to find on author's webpages? And what cheeses you off on author's web pages?

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

I like pictures of the author. I like to know that she really exists and this is what she looks like (in case I want to stalk her later {oops...did I say that outloud?}). Seriously, it helps me bond, especially if I've already read her work and enjoyed it.

I like to see a list of her body of work complete with cover art. It would please me to find the first chapter of her books for my review so that I know what work I want to hunt up.

I like to read stories about her work (how it came to be, any funny anecdotes regarding its history, what editors thought about this or that on her work), especially if I'm familiar with her work.

And I like to know what they're working on now for future release.

What I don't like: complaining, whining and general griping. A website should be positive thing that readers will want to visit. I think the negativities should be kept to a blog or other social media if the author feels it necessary to share.

Linda

Rita de Heer said...

Right. OK, I guess I'll go home now and scan in Canterbury 2100 and add a stationary page to my blog.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Linda, I think all this is fair enough.

I like finding out how the book idea came to the author.

I think Australians feel slightly uncomfortable talking about themselves.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Rita, there are always more things you could be doing.

I heard one author say, pick what you are good at, and concentrate in that area.

Anonymous said...

I must be partly Australian then, Rowena. I don't talk about my personal life a lot online. I've said more here than most online places, mostly because I already knew Sarah and Dave when I began visiting, and it's been relevant (in my brain anyway) to the subject matter.

Linda

David Barron said...

Portrait, Backlist/Available Works, writing thoughts (craft or business), an image or two from the books, links to other writers, lots of comments, No Politics.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Terrible of me to generalise, Linda.

I should say that my perception of the average US citizen is that (in the spirit of capitalism) they are much more likely to put themselves and their book/CD etc forward.

In Australia we do laconic self deprecatory humour.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

David Barron.

See, that's interesting. It never occurred to me to talk about politics.

One thing I noticed on Wiki was that US movie and TV actors mention their religion or say something like, of Jewish and Irish extraction.

Dave Freer said...

Hmm Very useful, thanks, Rowena.

David Barron said...

Well, that's Biography, so that's fine. But in my "Writer" persona-blog, I don't want to be muddying up the waters with Drama and Politics.

Kindof in the same zone as not talking about what I ate that day as the sole purpose of the post.

Jason Cordova said...

I don't know if I have any peeves on author's sites. I usually am just happy enough to read about their day-to-day activities that make me feel better about my own procrastination.

Jim McCoy said...

My main expectation (yes, I said EXPECTATION, even if that makes me a bad guy) when I visit an author's website is a complete list of novels published. If I like an author's work I tend to buy the author's catalog. It makes my life much easier when I can get my information from the author.

It seriously, seriously irks me when I go to an author's site and the list of works published is either missing or incomplete. One particular author I can think of hasn't updated his list in literally years. I own books that are not listed on his page and for that reason I don't go back. I have other places to get that information.

A serious bonus would be a list of things in the pipeline with (where possible) publishing dates. Obviously an author may have can't put out a date before they have one, but if they have it takes like two seconds to update the page from "New Book" to "New Book 01/01/2012" and making me aware of when a book comes out makes it much more likely that I will buy it when it first hits.

Synova said...

I don't face-book or tweet. Maybe tweeting is nice once you're famous because a single sentence is easier than a regular blog post, right?

I don't think that an author really needs a blog unless they like to do it for its own sake, and some of them should just say no, regardless, if they can't behave themselves.

I do want a web-site though, so I can find information when I want to find it.

Sort of in order of priority...

It should have at the very least a complete bibliography (with the order of all series 1!!11!!) cover art and links to buy. Optional but nice is a bio and picture and one to three chapters of each book. Fun Stuff is good. A friend of mine set up a monthly raffle in order to collect email addresses to send out notices of new releases. I'm pretty sure she made it clear that's what she was doing. After that I think I'd be most interested in anecdotes about writing each book; anything from the tales of the hard-disk meltdown of twenty-ten to a recipe for a dish in the book or the sound-track for it or a story about foreign sales. Short though. Whatever it is should be short and sweet. Far lastly, as a writer, I wouldn't mind a section on writing advice.

I don't think that a web page needs to be updated any where near as regularly as a blog does but it can't look abandoned. A monthly raffle is probably plenty often as updates go.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

LOL David.

'Kind of in the same zone as not talking about what I ate that day as the sole purpose of the post.'

Jason Cordova said...

Synova, Facebook is one of the easiest ways to get word out about your book. If not for Facebook, I could almost guarantee that I wouldn't be selling nearly as many books right now as I have...

Free publicity... who could say no to that?

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Jason,

It is nice to know that we are all human and we are all battling life, to find time to write.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Jim,

A list of forth coming books is a good idea.

You guys, know I'm making notes, don't you?

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

LOL, Synova.

'I don't think that an author really needs a blog unless they like to do it for its own sake, and some of them should just say no, regardless, if they can't behave themselves.'

Anonymous said...

Oh, I'm definitely American in that way. I'm happy to put my work and work related issues out there. I keep a LiveJournal blog, and sometimes I'll put personal life things on there, but mostly, it's just about my writing.

My mother-in-law is Australian, originally out of Melbourne, so I find it all interesting to read about the Australian way :).

Linda

Linda

Synova said...

Jason, I suppose I figure that nothing is "free". For me Facebook is a time-suck, energy-suck and emotional-suck that I simply can not afford.

That's with blogging, too. I do blogs (read them, comment, etc.) because even if I waste more time than I should, I still feel like I pretty much get enough out of it to justify that expense. Mostly I enjoy myself and I like that if I feel overwhelmed I have no expectations to meet. I don't write on my own blog often because I end up with an uncomfortable feeling of obligation and it all becomes a burden.

That these networking things don't cost money doesn't mean they don't *cost*. But they cost differently for different people. Some of us also find networking in person to be emotionally draining or otherwise burdensome.

If something isn't work to start with, there is no reason at all not to take advantage of it. But if the question is, which of these things that are work should I do, then I think that a published author ought to have a web-site. The other stuff, the twittering and face-book-friend thing, whatever else, that's fabulous so long as it's something a person enjoys *anyway*.