Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Websites and Writing: Why Web?

I thought I would talk a bit about websites for the next several entries, as a bit of a mini-lesson. As a romance author aspiring to be published, I'm very pro-website. If you're trying to break into print, you should be, too.

Why? Why? Why?

This is the biggest question facing authors who are considering a website. Some published authors do not have a website, and there are some unpublished authors who do. If you have decided you don't want to take advantage of the Internet to reach a wider audience, that's completely your decision, but the caveat, especially in an ever-changing market and society, is this: there's a whole new generation of readers coming up, who are convinced that if something isn't online, it doesn't exist. If you want to last as a writer, and you want these potential readers to learn about your work and become fans, you're going to have to establish a web presence of some kind. Heck, even Blogger is free. Why not take advantage of free advertising, and tout your work for minimal effort? It takes me an average of ten to fifteen minutes a week to write a blog entry, and sometimes I create one ahead of time, save it, and paste it once a week to this page. You don't have to be super-savvy to use Blogger, or to format a page. It's quite easy to use, and templates are available if you don't want to fuss with design. My blog's got some pretty bells and whistles, but that's because I am a closet web design junkie. More on that in later posts.

So why haven't you got a website, Miss Greenwood?

I started with Blogger to get my feet wet, and to get my name out there. After some thought, I decided that at this point in my career, a blog, combined with actually writing my novels, is sufficient. I am currently shopping for an agent, and when I have one, I will most likely move up to the next level, i.e. a bona fide website. I have already saved, or "parked," the domain name. Go ahead and try it out - - but all you'll get is a page saying it's "Under Construction," until I actually upload the site.

It's All About Me

Your website is your ambassador, available to all comers, twenty-four, seven. The Internet's always on, and your website (barring major server crashes that make it temporarily inaccessible) can speak for you when you aren't around to welcome a potential or existing reader, or to answer questions. Make the most of that boon with a website that explains who you are, and what you write. You may get new readers in far-flung places where you've never traveled! You can talk about anything you like, from how you got started writing, to what you're working on next. Readers like to connect with the author, and learn more about his or her world. What better way to do that than give them a forum that's all about You? If you're concerned about how much of yourself to put out there, just remember that you control the content. You don't have to advertise where you live, or the names of your family members. A few words about your pets or hobbies would be nice, and some authors post fabulous recipes that play some part in their novels (Susan Wiggs, for one - mmmmm).

Convinced Yet?

So there you have it. Websites aren't just for snazzy technology companies. They are for You and Me, and they're a great way to get the word out about your work. It's a terrific way to say, "I am writer! Hear me roar!" (Or type. Or mouse-click. Or something.) Until next time!

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