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message 1: by Libbie Hawker (new)

Libbie Hawker (L.M. Ironside) (lmironside) | 253 comments Hi, guys! I wanted to start a thread to discuss the importance of author web sites. I think there is much to be said for having a "face" for your work and your brand online -- one unified landing page that really represents what you do. Facebook and Twitter are awesome, but I think there is still a very important place in the online world for one location where readers can find all the information they want quickly and easily.

I just put my new site together for this pen name. I hope you'll check it out; feedback is welcome. :)

L. M. Ironside's web site

I used Squarespace to make it -- very easy and inexpensive. I am a total idiot when it comes to technological stuff, and I found it a snap to make a nice site.

Share your sites and your experience with using a single site to aid in your online promotional work!

message 2: by C.P. (new)

C.P. Lesley (cplesley) | 717 comments It's a lovely site. Nice work.

I agree that a single, unified author website is invaluable. Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr posts disappear in a flash, so I use mine to link to my website and blog (itself linked to the site and to Goodreads)—in greater or less detail depending on the network. But the website is central.

I hadn't heard of Squarespace. I use Google Apps, which was free when I joined but no longer accepts free users; it has grandfathered us in, at least for now. Very easy to use, and it links to Blogger. The template isn't all I could desire, but for the most part it works.

message 3: by Geoff (new)

Geoff Woodland | 74 comments Great idea !

Had my site produced by a guy in the US, who also produced the print ready file of my book for publication - he was very easy to deal with - all via e-mail
www.geoffwoodland.com which has been updated recently. Not sure how many sales the web site has produced. I have a feeling that most of my sales have been via word of mouth.

message 4: by Libbie Hawker (new)

Libbie Hawker (L.M. Ironside) (lmironside) | 253 comments I like your site, Geoff! I'm not sure whether sites in themselves do much to actually generate sales, either, but it just makes sense to have a sole place that brings everything together. Like CP said, social media stuff just rolls off of feeds so fast. Maybe that's why I've never liked it much.

message 5: by S.R. (new)

S.R. Mallery Very nice website, indeed! Lovely paintings, simple yet elegant! I agree about websites--they show the flavor of an author and his or her work. I personally used wix.com (or had a friend use it with me): www.srmallery.com.

Reading some of these comments, I, too, am wondering how helpful Twitter is...I personally have started going the public library route and have been informed that is a great way to generate a 'buzz'. We'll see. Just got into the Los Angeles Public Library system and waiting to hear about the New York public library system.

Thanks for bringing up this subject.

message 6: by C.P. (last edited Jun 04, 2013 09:41AM) (new)

C.P. Lesley (cplesley) | 717 comments I think Facebook does have a bit of reach, because if the author keeps posts on his/her timeline to book-related posts (rather than recording every stray comment, like, and Pinterest post) there, they do stick around for a while. I have real doubts about Twitter, just because there are so many tweets in a given hour. I know I never have time to read them all, so I'm sure no one reads all of mine. The only reason I signed up for Twitter was to secure the cplesley login name.

And I was inspired by this discussion to update my website, so thank you, L.M. (may we still call you Lavender?)! If anyone is interested, you can see the latest version at http://www.cplesley.com/.

message 7: by S.R. (new)

S.R. Mallery Nice, delicate website, C. P.! Got ideas for my website as I develop as a writer....thanks!

message 8: by C.P. (new)

C.P. Lesley (cplesley) | 717 comments Thanks, Sarah.

message 9: by Marlana (new)

Marlana Williams (marlanawilliams) | 5 comments I love getting some ideas from you all! Very nice sites, everyone!

message 10: by Ian (new)

Ian Stewart (goodreadercomIanStewart) | 118 comments What's the difference between a website and a blog, as in the thread Author blogs. Seems to me these two threads are talking about the same thing.
(I have a blog/website powered by TypePad.)

message 11: by Rob (new)

Rob Godfrey | 10 comments Ian wrote: "What's the difference between a website and a blog, as in the thread Author blogs. Seems to me these two threads are talking about the same thing.
(I have a blog/website powered by TypePad.)"

Technically they are the same as far as I can see. Just a series of pages to display words/images and more or less interactive bits.

One thing search engines look for is how often site content is updated. Also people will come back to a site (assuming it was originally of interest) if there is on-going stuff on it.
That said I'm hopeless at updating my site - I keep getting distracted with various projects (did I tell you I have just qualified as an electrician?).
Building websites is something I do for a living (amongst other things) - I still enjoy it although sometimes people ask me to do things that I think looks poor - but it's their website after all.

As a programmer I use Perl for the site scripts written using Editpad (a simple text editor). The geek inside loves doing all that coding.

Here's the site for my book: Year of the Celt
The site is useful to me as a central place to direct/tempt people to visit in the hope they might find the book interesting enough to buy. I look obsessively several times a day to see how many people have visited, especially if I am promting an event.

message 12: by Ian (last edited Jun 05, 2013 12:21AM) (new)

Ian Stewart (goodreadercomIanStewart) | 118 comments Rob wrote: "Ian wrote: "What's the difference between a website and a blog, as in the thread Author blogs. Seems to me these two threads are talking about the same thing.
(I have a blog/website powered by Type..."

I agree with Rob that updating is important. If I change the lead post or announce a freebie at the top of my blog the item is picked up by Google.

But my chief hits come from searches that prompt Google to offer up my old photos of Hong Kong and my foreign corresponding days.

message 13: by C.P. (last edited Jun 05, 2013 03:52PM) (new)

C.P. Lesley (cplesley) | 717 comments I would distinguish website and blog as follows. A blog is an ongoing, if somewhat one-sided, conversation with blog readers (who, as authors, we hope are also real or potential book readers). I post to my blog every Friday, usually in the range of 400-700 words, and I talk about writing, publishing, research, books I've read, etc. I aim for a lively, off-the-cuff approach that is less polished than my fiction but nonetheless gives a sense of how I write as well as who I am. I also use the blog to alert people to the monthly interviews I conduct as the host of New Books in Historical Fiction. I post pictures most weeks to illustrate the blog (I am very careful about copyright).

I do update my website every few months as I come up with new ideas, my tastes change, or I have announcements to make. I added a page for the FA Group Read, for example, then changed it to a regular Book Club page when the group read ended. But the website is much more static than the blog. It includes a link to the blog, but the idea is to have one place on the Web where people can always go to find basic information about me and my books.

There is some confusion now because Wordpress, for example, lets you set up a blog that looks very much like a website. But it is possible to have a blog and not a site, or a site but not a blog, so I think they are not quite the same thing.

message 14: by Sandra (new)

Sandra O'Briant (sandraramosobriant_) | 52 comments My blog is free w/blogger and feeds into facebook and my website.

Blog: www.bloodmother.com

Website: www.thesandovalsisters.com

Most of my hits come from FB.

1. Be sure and put a Share box so that readers can Like, Tweet or Pin your post or website page.

2. On your website have a press kit available for download.

"Winner, Best Historical Fiction and Best First Book, ILWA, 2013."The Sandoval Sisters' Secret of Old Blood

message 15: by Hilda (new)

Hilda Reilly | 176 comments I use weebly which is free and as easy to use as falling off a log. They allow you two free sites so I have one personal one (www.hildareilly.com), which has some background info about me, plus info about all my books and a few other things, including my dog. The other one is for my biographical novel (www.berthappenheim.weebly.com). This is the book I’m most involved with at the moment and have most to say about in terms of research etc. I do more blogging here than on the other one.

message 16: by Libbie Hawker (new)

Libbie Hawker (L.M. Ironside) (lmironside) | 253 comments Ha -- you can call me anything you want, CP!

I think any contemporary web site will contain a blog or some other rotating content -- that's just how we do things now-a-days. :) But having a single URL for your stuff as opposed to only social media -- that's what I'm talking about here.

message 17: by Paul (new)

Paul (paullev) | 86 comments I think you need both social media and your own blog or website. Here's my blog - primarily devoted to television reviews, with a little politics thrown in, but a good place for announcement of my books http://paullevinson.net

message 18: by Bryant (new)

Bryant | 2 comments Hello, I'm new to the group and to the process. What's allowed in terms of sharing my own website and Facebook information? I read the Rules, but they're lengthy and complex. Thanks for any help or advice in breaking down what legit and what's not.

message 19: by Jackie, That's Her Constableness to you! (new)

Jackie (thenightowl) | 2467 comments Mod
Bryant wrote: "Hello, I'm new to the group and to the process. What's allowed in terms of sharing my own website and Facebook information? I read the Rules, but they're lengthy and complex. Thanks for any help or..."

Hi and welcome to the group, Bryant.

We allow you to mention your book, website, etc. in the first introduction post. After this you need to be an active participant, meaning you need a minimum of 25 posts to advertise/promote your book.

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