Tips for Websites for Writers
Since one of the things we focus on at Dabbled Studios is websites for creatives, today we’re going to talk about websites for writers. A writer (particularly an aspiring to be published writer) needs to present his or her best face to the world. A good, professional website is key to this.
- Research: Take a look at other authors, particularly successful ones. Note what you like, and what you don’t. See how easy it is to bookmark a page within their site, or find their contact information. Do they seem to connect with their readers? Do they blog? Get a good idea of what you would like to see on your site.
- Think about style. If you are published, the cover art from your most recent book can be a great cue to use for the design style of your website. The marketing department has all ready done half your work for you, and you can use that as a starting point for the look and feel of your site. If you’re not published yet, you’ll want to try to figure out a way to distill the feeling from your most recent work into your website. Think about your target market – a website targeted at teenage girls is going to look very different from one targeting spy thriller fans. If in doubt, keep it simple and professional.
- Keep it simple. Don’t overdo on the bells and whistles. Just like your writing, everything you do on your website should be for a purpose. Use white space effectively.
- Avoid music. You’re not a band. Remember people may be reading your website at their desk at work, and having to struggle to find the mute button is not a good first impression
- Minimal Categories: Books/writings (include synopses / reviews of published or future novels), Bio, Contact (email + social networking), a blog or ‘news’ page. Others: Articles/Essays, Media, Purchase
- Keep it focused – your website should be about you and your writing. If you write about a particular subject, then your website can focus on that as well. And it should go without saying, but unless it’s relevant to your writing, avoid the big 3: sex, politics, and religion!
- Show your best stuff. Any samples of your work on your website should be good, representative samples of your work. If you wouldn’t want a prospective publisher to be looking at it, it shouldn’t be on your website.
- Although I’m not an expert in publishing, most of what I’ve read recommends you not include unpublished works that you are trying to sell, like a chapter from your new novel.
And other resources:
- The Intern Spills on author websites
- Authors on Twitter and who is getting it right
- More on Twitter
- A writers website
- Putting your Characters on the web
- Another point of view for non published authors
- What the heck do I do with Twitter?