When I found out that my novel would be published, I was ecstatic. Then my publisher told me I needed to set up a blog and a website. I like to think of myself as technologically literate but I’ve never had a blog or a website before. I started looking at the websites of various authors, trying to come up with ideas for my own website. I started with my favorite authors but for the sake of completeness I looked at many other authors, some whose works I’ve read and some that I haven’t.
What I discovered was surprising. Most authors have a website - that was a given. What was missing from many of them was professionalism. In a sense, it’s understandable. Websites take time and effort to set up. I can’t count the number of emails between my website developer and I as we worked on getting the site up and running. Nor can I count the number of hours that I’ve spent on it myself, trying to come up with the ‘right’ look.
There are only so many hours in the day and I know I would much rather read a new novel from one of my favorite authors than check out their website. However, if I were a new reader, someone unfamiliar with the author, that website could influence my decision to buy one of the author’s novels. In that case, it would be worth it to invest some time to create a clean, professionally designed, and easy to navigate website.
In a sense, a website is the electronic equivalent of a book cover. For many readers, the website will be the first time they’ve seen me or my work. If my website doesn’t look professional, then these readers will assume that my work isn’t professional either.
One of the links on my site is to one of my favorite authors, L. E. Modesitt Jr.. Our websites bear a striking – and entirely coincidental – resemblance to each other. Although I didn’t set out to emulate the design of Mr. Modesitt’s website (my website developer came up with the theme, presumably because I’m a science fiction author), I will admit that I would like to emulate the style of his site. In this case, I’m referring to how Mr. Modesitt presents himself on his site. He comes across as what he is, a well educated professional author. That is at least as important as the design of the site, perhaps more so.
Interestingly enough, one of Mr. Modesitt’s blog entries discusses Cover Art. This is one of the comments that he makes.
…, for an established author, how much of a difference do covers make? Or do they only make a difference in sales to new readers?
I’ll leave you with a similar question.
Do websites and blogs make a difference for established authors or only new authors?