(This posting originally appeared on The Melt-Ink Pot)
Andrea has been blogging lately about setting up a “writer’s retreat,” a place where she can go when she wants to get some writing done. I’ve been devoting a lot of thought to a different kind of place for my deepest, most thinky writing thoughts: a Web site.
I’ve been told that authors, even aspiring ones, should have a Web site. So a couple of days ago, I took my first step in that direction. I bought a domain name of my very own.
Literally. I bought the domain name sheilamcclune.com.
No, don’t go there yet. I haven’t started building it, so all you’ll see is a parking page from Register4Less, which is really boring. But I have it. It’s mine, all mine.
Once I had that part settled, I started to do some research as to what should go on an aspiring author’s Web site. And the number one most important thing everyone agrees on is: content.
Um, okay, duh? It’s a Web site. I know I need content. But what kind of content?
Different Web sites recommended things such as:
- An author bio. Okay, check. Got one of those, from when I did the NaNoWriMo panel at WorldCon two years ago. Even have a halfway decent picture of myself to put with it.
- Links. Well, this blog seems like an obvious target. I’ve got some other writers’ blogs I follow — I could ask if it would be okay to link to those. Maybe links to some of the resources I’ve found on the Web. Okay, check.
- Excerpts from upcoming or published works. Um. Not so much. I can’t really say anything is coming soon, since I haven’t gotten any contracts yet. Okay, I haven’t even submitted anything yet. Details.
- A way to buy your books. Also a moot point just now.
- Lists of upcoming appearances. Moot at the moment, but maybe I can talk to the folks at COSine and see if they would be willing to put an aspiring author and multiple-time NaNoWriMo winner on a panel or two? Otherwise, yeah, moot.
Hmm, that doesn’t leave me much. A bio and some links. Not very exciting. What could I add to it? I can certainly talk about NaNoWriMo next month and do daily word count updates. Is it worth dusting off some of the short stories I wrote back in college? Maybe I need to work on some Web only content, like a serial story that gets posted a couple of pages at a time. That could be a lot of fun.
It’s a bit of a puzzle, I’ll admit, but one I’d like to tackle successfully.
What would you like to see on an aspiring author’s Web site? What are some of your favorite author Web sites, and what do you like about them? What would you prefer not to see on an author’s Web site?
Last weekend, Colleen and I went to a panel on marketing yourself when you're not published yet and they talked about doing this. One of the authors even talked about her website is .net because someone else already had the .com. So it's definitely a good idea to grab them up.As for what to have on it, I answered that over on your LJ post. But I've seen this as sort of the list for pre-published authors — Home, Bio, WIPs, Blog, and Links.
Since I haven't begun to give this thought, I'm interested to see what you come up with!
You might give some thought to putting some excerpts of your work that you have completed, despite it not being published. This way, people can read it and get an idea of the sort of work you do, and they'll be looking for it when you do publish.
Ditto to the above- I think having bio, links, works in progress, blog pages are great. Having excerpts is a great idea; I know I like having a taste of the author's style if I am not already familiar with their work.