Some of you asked for examples of good writer websites.
Our own Nicola Liu has a good one here
Nice horse picture for a good start.
Link to Twitter works.
I love the flash fiction! FF is a great way to show your writing chops without requiring 15 minutes of eyeball time from me.
And there's a mailing list sign up!
Madeline Mora-Summonte uses her blog as a website.
This works well.
It's current (VERY good)
The tab with Select Credits is terrific. Once you've got more than two or three pub credits this is an ideal way to let an agent know. You don't want a big block of text in a query that lists all this. For one thing it would be hard to read. And second, you don't want that many live links in a query (you actually don't want any.)
But what I look for here is engagement, and yup, there are 20 comments on the blog posts. That tells me there's an engaged audience.
Did I miss the place you get those engaged people to sign up for a mailing list?
Lisa Bodenheim tells us she has a page, but is there a link in her Twitter profile?
NO there is not.
(Lisa is waitlisted for Carkoon! Let's see if she evades the net!)
It doesn't do you any good to have a lovely website if you don't let us know your URL.
Make sure your Twitter profile has it, and your Blogger profile.
(When was the last time any of us looked at our Blogger profiles??
KariV has a very nice website here!
The peril of linking to Facebook is that you can't go back from whence you came.
I'm not sure if that's adjustable on your end (open tab in new window?) but if you send people to your Facebook page and they can't get back to your webpage by clicking the back arrow, you increase the chance you'll lose them.
Kelly Claytor's website is here
NOT in your Twitter profile, but quite nice when you get there.
I notice the mailing list sign up asks for telephone number and address.
I suggest taking those out.
You're not going to need that info are you?
If you're mailing something to a reader, you'd email and ask for their preferred mailing address no matter what, right?
I've had THREE mailing addresses in the last 18 months (and no, I haven't moved even once!)
The first was my home address which I used by necessity when I could no longer receive mail at my former agency.
The second was a PO box which I thought would solve the problem. It did not. The postal workers had a hard time recognizing that Janet Reid and JetReid Literary were both on the box.
The third address is 151 First Ave which is a mail receiving service. Staffed by real people that I can talk to. And who kindly email me when packages arrive. It's twice as expensive as a PO box and worth every nickel.
But more important, people are reluctant to hand over their info. Don't ask for anything but what you need: name, email.
What I particularly loved on Kelly's site is the self-pubbed book. Take a look.
Some of you have very slick websites, and with lots of gorgeous pictures! I'm super impressed (and have some reading to do.)
My website is my blog...though the last landing page update was my 2021 awards eligibility post that the SFF sphere encourages and asks for. SO I should really, uh, do something about that. I've kept up on my publications in the "How to contact me/Where to find my work" tab, but as Janet says, it's a long block of text (though divided by year!)
I've been thinking of a revamp (or at least just updating!) for a while, and just haven't gotten there. I used to blog far more often, but now I'm writing more often, so that trade worked out well for me.
Janet - duly noted and both items fixed. I thought the "contact" form was an un-editable element, but your prompt made me dig into the editing guts for a fix. And thank you for the mention and the website shout out!
Wow - the Shark goes above and beyond. This is very helpful. Thank you for this and good job with the websites my fellow Reiders.
Thank you for the masterclass, Janet!
After wrestling with WordPress for the better part of a day, I canceled my subscription and went with Wix as per KAClator's suggestion. Not exactly easy, but easier, and free. Got together some rudimentary elements. Will spend some time digging back through Janet's archive for her helpful stuff on mailing lists, and try to add some links to some flash (I have to say, the editor is driving me crazy trying to find ways to add menus and links to other pages -- I am such a newbie at web design!)
Very timely as I ready a WIP to query in September. Need to get some Beta reads first. Hopefully I can find a few brave souls . . .
For those who inadvertently (or was it advertantly?) volunteered your sites to get picked apart, I applaud you. Getting professional feedback on your PR is a real gift!
I very much appreciate the follow-up and examples. Thank you. I clearly have work to do. But first, I must write.
Aaack! Nooooo. Not Carkoon. Is it all dark and dank and dusty after the pandemic? Are there any critters or people or monster vegetables I need to watch out for?!
I'm not on Twitter. I'm on facebook. But that doesn't seem too advantageous. I just added the URL to blogger! It's been a while since I've been on there.
Thank you for the kick in the keister (am I off the waitlist?) and the good examples of websites, too!
Good stuff, and very helpful. It was fun and interesting getting to know a few more people here.
Janet, thank you! I feel much better. :)
I don't have a mailing list yet - I know, I know! - but I do have a spot on my blog where you can subscribe to get new posts by email. (I'm going to bump it up higher on the sidebar.) And I always post when I have something new published, so maybe it's kind of like a mailing list and/or newsletter? Maybe?
I understand that an author needs to self-promote. But, until said author has a publishing deal, isn't it like putting "the horse before the cart" to have an author website (for fiction)...when they are still just a writer, and not yet a bona fide author? Wouldn't it be better for the author and agent to come up with a good ole marketing plan (websites and social media alike), after the sale of the book to a publisher, where they can mold and shape the author's profile (which can be done quite quickly) with a view to reach the target readers? I find it hard to believe that having a website which shows pictures of your pets and talks about what you like to do on weekends is now a prerequisite to getting an agent.
All of these things can be achieved quite quickly and seamlessly after you get an agent. And isn't it better for the author, agent, and publisher if this is a well thought out, collaboritave business decision?
@Timothy Kowe - Send me a note (via my nifty website contact form!) if you'd like to walk through anything with the Wix site or editor. I am functional in using it and by no means know how to use the full complement of options, but I've been able to streamline some. Note: There's a "basic" and a "brain melting" option for edits. It does take a little time spent with it before it starts to make more sense.
Wow! I am chuffed as cheese that my little website meets the acceptance of the Shark! That has made my year! Now for that novel I need to finish...
Also been enjoying checking out the other websites. KariV's is super good-looking. Swoon!
I am truly impressed by all these websites. So many different styles and all very professional. Well done, everyone!
KAClator - I especially loved your forest mural. Incredible!
Okay, I have my weekend homework scheduled. I can't believe I'm saying this but thank you for the assignment. I'm looking forward to the research.
Wow, some really interesting websites I see here :) Thanks for sharing!
After looking through these fantastic sites, I'm terrified to look at my own. Thankfully I'm obligated to attend a graduation party soon, so I can officially wave the procrastination flag for one more day.
Kudos to the sites Janet listed. Remarkable.
Just updated mine. I am lucky in that I have a graphic designer for a husband and a work colleague as a web master.
I'd also be curious to see opinions about .com vs .net. I switched from .net and .com seems to be working well.
I'm enjoying all these sites.
Ooops! I need to fix something on my own website. GoDaddy did something strange to it, I needed to republish it, and somehow the pic of my book cover disappeared. Need to go find it before anyone notices... ;-)
The number one thing that turns me away from any website is when a pop-up dominates the screen the second I open it, and I have to close it before I've even seen what's on the site. Two of the examples you gave did that, and it was like being shouted at into my face. Not sure why anybody thinks that's a good way to attract readership.
Carolyn, I agree about the pop-ups.
Re: Kelly Claytor's site and her self-pubbed book, that was a fun story ... behind the story.
Congrats, Kelly. That's a great tale to get to tell.
Oh I now might need to worry that my website actually has too MUCH for the Shark's eyeballs. 😯
Mine has information on the book's topic in general. It also has a link to my bookish designs on Etsy. 😬 And an integrated blog (which has increased website visits, however 😀).
I agree with Barbara and Carolyn about the pop-up thingie - any pop-up of this kind turns me away and not attract me just like anyone in a shop who'd approach me the second I enter and ask me whether they can show me something 😉.
I'm more of a shy browser and not someone to be grabbed by their neck. 🤣
Re: pop ups. Agree! They make me feel like something just flew into my face, screaming.
However, you have to include the one about cookies or it's illegal. People can sue you for all the money you don't have. I'd take an annoying pop up over that any day.
Also, all the advice I've read for writers says you “must” have your mailing list sign-up as a pop up so visitors don't have to work out where it is and then get distracted and forget about it. Would love to hear thoughts on whether that's actually true.
My comment didn't get through, oh why not?? 😭
If you're commenting on a blog post that's older than three days, your comment goes to moderation.
Notice it's there now.
I do this to keep spammers under control.
I don't want them sneaking into old blog posts undetected.
This is perfectly timed, as I'm in the process of building a proper site instead of just a blog. I just need to nail down my writing samples.
I've been told that it's a good idea to set up your website early (even if it's just a landing page) so browsers have a chance to index it early, before you need it to be easily findable on your publishing day.
Thanks, Janet, for the shoutout and the suggestion. I've fixed both links to now open in new tabs.
Adding *this* to my to do list for the weekend.
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