Some Friendly Advice

Some Friendly Advice

All you authors out there, we need to have a talk.  Sit down.

Tell me, if someone were to Google your name, or the name you write under, right now, would they be able to find you?  Would your website come up on the first page of hits?  Do you even have a website?  No, I am not talking about your LJ, I am talking about a website.  A place where people can find out where you’ve been published, what is coming up, maybe a little bit about you?  No?  No, no, no on all counts?

Then you FAIL, author.

Look, I understand that not everyone is all about being all up in the internet and revealing their whole lives all the time.  I really get that.  However, if you plan to sell some stories and make a name for yourself, you need to be out there a little bit.  You need to have some kind of web presence, even if it’s just a very simple group of pages that list your published works and maybe your favorite soup recipe.  There needs to be a way for people who enjoy your work to keep up with you and maybe read more of your stories.  You need to have a presence on the damn internet.

And no, LiveJournal is not enough.  Because LiveJournal or any other social networking site — Facebook, MySpace, whatever — is generally only useful to those already on it.  People who are just on the internet, or just looking for some casual information, or just looking to read more by you, are not interested in your LJ.  Not that they aren’t interested in journals or blogs, but they want something that feels open, inviting, and not like they have to have a password or be a part of a community.

So, I will say it again: Get a website.  Seriously.  If you have sold one story or five or however many, you need a website.

I just spent several minutes trying to track down the contact info for about 7 authors and 5 of them did not have a website or just had an LJ.  A lot of them had distinctive names, yet show up no where on Google.  No  No, no, a thousand times no.

Go get one now.  (Or find someone willing to make you one.  I know several people who charge reasonable rates.)

21 thoughts on “Some Friendly Advice

  1. Those of us with semi-common names that are shared with NBA basketball players, musicians, and a teen author of books about Asperger’s have a problem. Now I see why so many authors are thrice-named or write under an unusual pseudonym.

      1. You now, other than the fact I’m white, have a full head of hair, a beard, dress in pocket tees, and have corrective lenses instead of shades, that looks exactly like me? Dud wants to play me in my film bio, cool by me. :)

  2. Speaking of which, my domain name is still languishing in the aether somewhere and a certain person was going to help me sort it out and rebuild it…???

  3. Oh and HAVE YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION READILY VISIBLE. Jesus, the number of times I’ve seen an author’s site with no contact info…dude, ou don’t start by hiding yourself from you “legion” of “fans.”

    1. INORITE

      seriously, contact form at *least*. Then you’ll get email but the emailer won’t know your address. (See my contact link for example)

  4. I am seriously looking for website builder recs, bigtime. Someone to set up something simple I can then maintain indefinitely, b/c it’s the set-up I don’t have time/skillz for. (And to think I used to hard-code my own sites. Sigh.)

    1. I build them :) Jeremy Tolbert used to, but he has a real job now. Matt Kressel does, but he’s expensive. Have to poke my other contacts.

  5. *grins proudly* I even built my site myself (except for the buttons) and everything. You put Moondancer Drake in the search engine in google at least, boom there it is! I totally agree that even before you are published you need that web presence.

    I work hard to promo fellow writers and it’s hard when I spend an hour trying to find a site or web mention of them. Needless waste of time. A reader will not take that hour. They want what they want right away and if they can’t find you they will move on.

  6. Do you feel that’s true for unpublished writers as well, or is it enough to set up the domain once they’ve gotten some traction in the biz?

    1. If you’re unpublished and working toward publication, go ahead and get a website. At the very least if you have one, then you can put the information on it you’d want people to know. Then it can sit there waiting for you once you’ve sold something.

      1. Fair enough. I personally hadn’t seen the usefulness of a “professional writer… someday” website. The writers I’ve seen who use their websites best have publishing histories, their official bio, contact information, and news of upcoming releases on it. Some even do their own (electronic) reprinting of their stories. Love those sites, but none of it seemed pertinent for someone who is still developing their craft. But, yes, I see your logic. If only as a placeholder, it’s good to have it.

  7. I try to include links to author websites when I post events to GothamLit, and I’m always surprised when I don’t find one. These are sometimes well-known authors, too! I think you’re just hurting yourself if you don’t have some kind of web presence these days. Granted, my site isn’t anything to write home about, but it does the job. And one day I’ll have a really pretty one when I have something worth promoting. In fact, my problem may be having *too much* of a web presence…

  8. I’ve got as far as purchasing my domain, so a website is on the way. But I’m generally of the opinion that an out-of-date or badly-laid-out website may be worse than no website at all (nothing inspires confidence like “Last updated August 14th 2004”!). So it’s not enough to HAVE teh website, you need to have an ACTIVE website…

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