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Thursday, May 20, 2010

When To Start An Author's Website

Once I landed an agent I really struggled with the decision of when to start an author's website. I had a conversation with my agent about it and he said to go ahead if I wanted to but that many wait until their book is picked up by a publisher. He also said that some of his published client's still don't have websites. It was an individual decision he said based on what the author wants to accomplish with the website. That made me really think hard on what I wanted to accomplish with a website.

I realized I wanted to connect with readers, get to know them, I wanted to help other writers who were on a journey to getting published, and I wanted to support debut authors. A friend advised me to look at a few of my favorite author's websites. That's when I realized I didn't have any. Then I had to ask myself why. The question was pretty simple, though I loved their books their sites didn't offer me anything. Even as a reader I want a more personal connection, the connection you get from reading an author's blog.

Aha! That solved my dilemma for me. I realized a website wasn't what I wanted at all for myself and my writing, I wanted a blog. From that realization Heather's Odyssey was born. I don't just want millions of readers and fans (though that would be really awesome too), I want people who feel connected to me and my stories. While for some a website is the right thing, for me a blog was the right thing. And you know what? After almost a year of blogging I realized I can do just as much with a blog as I could with a website, and it doesn't cost me a thing!

There are a lot of great author websites out there, some who are already published and some who aren't. I've come across many in my social networking. I think author websites are a great idea, just not for me, at least not at this point, perhaps they never will be. One thing I can guarantee though is that even after I'm published you'll still find me blogging! When making this decision for yourself just ask what it is you want to get out of a website. Maybe the answer will help you make your decision like it helped me.

19 comments:

  1. I liked this. I feel the same about websites. So ho hum.

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  2. I know huh? With the amazing advances blogger has made (and possibly wordpress, don't know) you hardly need a website anymore. But I can still see the benefit of them!

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  3. I rarely check out an author's website. Actually, I rarely check out the blogs of authors. I stick with the blogs of aspiring writers. This will changes soon, as a number of my favorite bloggers have novels coming out soon. Will I check out their websites? Nope. Only their blogs. ;)

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  4. Good to know Stina! Thanks for sharing your opinion. I enjoy authors who blog about upcoming appearances and tidbits about what they're working on, as well as things about their characters.

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  5. I've never fallen in love with any writer's Web site. Some are neat, but blogs feel more intimate. They're also a lot harder, I think! The bloggers I love to read clearly spend a lot of time on it.

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  6. True Portia, one has to put a lot of work into a blog while a website can just be ran by a second party. That's probably part of what I don't like about author websites, they can seem detached. I always gravitate toward the author's blog.

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  7. I've bought my domain name to keep anyone else from getting it, but I haven't even THOUGHT about developing anything yet.

    I think I will have one though. The website will be "home base". A place for someone to find basic biographical info, available books, upcoming events, etc. Then I think I will link my blog to it to add that "personal touch".

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  8. That's a great idea MissV! Good point too, as an aspiring author it's a really good idea to buy your domain name to protect it. Sounds like you have the perfect plan. Yours is a website I'll be visiting when you get to that point!

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  9. I had a go at setting up a website but it wasn't as interactive as my blog had already become and I kind of let it fade into internet history.
    The blog definitely helps you feel more connected to your visitors.
    Thanks for sharing your views.

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  10. I've had a website for year now, but obviously not for writing. ;) It's true that even as an artist I rarely update it that main site. If you want to know me as an artist (or aspiring writer) you have to go to my blog.

    Great post Heather!

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  11. Thanks Cassandra and Amanda, you've solidified my belief that a blog is the right thing for me!

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  12. I like the interactive and friendly feel of a blog. I can think of only one author that I really like who has something like this, and it's Kim Harrison. "How I Write" is excellent.

    Hoping to gain more followers--some of mine are privately following me, I know because they're my friends. But all in good time, and once I do have something out people can sink their teeth into, then, I think it'll begin to grow.

    Great blog, wish I could have caught it yesterday, but was too busy.{;

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  13. I'm torn on this issue. It seems as if everyone and their pet goat has a blog... how many of them can you actually read? Many are so lengthy that I think they need an editor. :) I do agree that what's nice about a blog, though, is the interactive part-- being able to post readings or what you're working on. I started a wordpress blog mostly because I wanted a free website. I blog very little.

    That said, Heather, I must say I'm impressed with your blog. I like the sidebars with shelfari, what you're reading now, helpful books, etc. Overall, it's impressive. It's inspired me to put a little more work into mine. Good luck with the sale of your novel! I hope you'll tweet any announcements. I'll be following you!

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  14. I had to pause and think about the differences between a blog and a website. I think the blog by definition is more intimate. So I have to agree with you it's the way to go. Just found your blog btw the layout looks great.

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  15. Lorelei, I'll have to check out Kim Harrison's website. I love her writing! And don't worry, the followers will come as soon as they realize how wonderful you are!

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  16. Linda, (lksienkiewicz) I checked out your website and I really like it. If I were to have one that would be a great layout. Thank you so much for your compliments on my blog! I'm glad you like it. As for the blog networking part, it's hard I won't lie. I read over a dozens blogs a day during the week to keep up with everyone!

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  17. Thanks Scott, both for finding me and for your compliments! I'm all smiles now, you guys made my day!

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  18. Hi Heather--Good post. I think blogs are useful for finding an audience, agents and possibly book deals. I think a website comes in handy for promotion and as a landing place for the book's readers after the book has been published. Publishing houses don't always have the funds that are needed to support a book tour. Stop by Pen and Ink and let me know if you agree. thepenandink blog.blogspot.com

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  19. Excellent points about a site being a landing point for readers after publication. I'll definitely stop by your site, thanks!

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