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scfirenice
07-20-2005, 01:50 AM
Does anyone have an opinion as to wether or not author websites are a good marketing tool to provide to potential agents/editors. If so, what do you put on the site?

brinkett
07-20-2005, 03:52 AM
Does anyone have an opinion as to wether or not author websites are a good marketing tool to provide to potential agents/editors. If so, what do you put on the site?
I've read in numerous places that it's not a good idea. They don't have time to go looking at web sites, and may not be at a computer when they're reading submissions.

Richard
07-20-2005, 03:33 PM
No. It's a complete waste of time, unless you want one. Even if they bother reading it, it won't mean anything if they don't think they can sell your work.

maestrowork
07-20-2005, 03:42 PM
Generally speaking, no. An agent/publisher would care less about your website, unless you're a known entity. All they care about is your mss.

That said, there are rare cares when people did sell their books/ideas/blogs to publishers. It does happen if you have a huge following that catches an agent/publisher's eyes. But like I said, it's rare.

Do the website if you want to. Many people have websites now, and it would only help (unless you post something completely insane and inappropriate or illegal...).

108Days
08-04-2005, 01:42 AM
I highly recommend a good website. Mine has opened a lot of doors for me and is getting a lot of attention for the book.

ATP
08-11-2005, 09:25 PM
A website of and by itself, just sitting in cyberspace, will not do much for you. As a marketing tool, it is only as good as the marketing effort you put behind it.


There are a number of things that you have to do to promote your site> Some of the regular methods include: placing it along with other basic contact details in your electronic signature; getting the website name/address/url ranked highly /listed in such sites as Google (free), Yahoo ($$) and others ($$). With such sites as Google, you might try and examine SEO or search engine optimisation. One other is to include a hyperlink to your site/clips with your query to the editor.

A writer's website should above all else be simple, clear, quick to download, free of all bells and whistles like Flash.At the same time, it should not be overly simple to the point of being dull - there is room for a _little_bit of character.It is after all, marketing collateral.

If you manage to get an editor to examine your site, you're doing well. He is very busy, and so wants what he wants very quickly. Many writer sites have 5 simple pages: home page; about/short biography; portfolio; contact details; and perhaps if potential clients are interested, a page concerning some links of your professional interests, and why you like the sites you have chosen.

For most writers, their site is what is described as a display site: generally static eg. no interactivity, no animation; like a picture hung on the wall.

Do some research on Google for writer's websites or some such. You'll get an idea of what you like and not. I would strongly recommend that if you are going to have a website for your marketing, you have it designed by a professional graphic/web designer. The general poor quality of sites done by writers who believe in DIY and who have no eye for design, does them more harm than good, and surely drives potential business AWAY.

Alternatively, working with your designer, you might look into webtemplates, which is what they sound like - templates, or pre-designed, 'off-the-shelf' websites. There are many for all different types of industries and sectors. These can be from the simple to the complicated, and the price reflects this also.

Take your time, and spend quite some time looking into it. A website is something you intend to keep, and keep using for a long while. Use your money wisely, and while your website will not guarantee you a fortune, (as you are not doing e-commerce), it can tip the balance in favour of a 'sales call' or favourable user response, from either an editor, or potential other client.

ATP

rest
09-29-2005, 08:12 AM
I would say, as an editor of a magazine, I ASSUME every writer has SOME kind of web site; it tells me they know how to conduct themselves in the world of technology. I know my readers can have a way of reading about the book in more detail and even contacting the writer. And if you are an author, you should buy your domain name with your name: www.yourfirstandlastname.com (http://www.yourfirstandlastname.com) When I am looking for a writer this is the first place I start, otherwise I am searching for a long time through all of the web sites that pop up from stores that sell the book.

My only advice would be to not get too caught up in the web site and forget or procrastinate in the writing! But it's a great way to have your media info easily available, your author events calendar, and comments/reviews on your book. People want to see your photo and through your web site they can see an author is a real person. This will make them more likely to buy your book.

I also have a nonprofit organization and we are always seeking chat guests that are authors. Nearly everyone has a web site and this way we can point our chatters there and also allow the author to post the chat transcript. It adds credibility for the author on the topic.

Lisa Copen
www.hopekeepersmagazine.com (http://www.hopekeepersmagazine.com)

ngoldman
11-05-2005, 07:23 PM
As editor of the book reviewing and author interview site Bookpleasures.com (http://www.bookpleasures.com/), I highly recommend that authors have their own web sites.
I know that when I interview an author, I always like to link to his or her site in order to give my readers more complete and up-to-date information about the author.

The site is vital as a marketing tool and also a place where readers can visit, ask you questions, know where you will be signing books, etc etc.
You may even consider having a blog on the site.

Cathy C
11-06-2005, 04:12 AM
True, ngoldman, but remember that scfirenice is asking about marketing to agents/editors. This makes it a whole different ballgame than what you're suggesting. I do think that a website is an excellent marketing tool to fans/potential book buyers, etc., but what you have to keep in the back of your head, scfirenice, are two questions: "What are you selling?" and "Who are you selling it to?"

Well, when you're talking about PRE-SALE of a manuscript, what you are selling is the manuscript! A website for this purpose is preaching to the choir. The editor/agent already HAS your query, or synopsis, or full. So what are you selling them? Are you: a) Selling your ability to create a website? (which has nothing to do with whether you can write a book, of course.) b) Selling your marketing potential? (Again, which has nothing to do with whether you can write a book.) or c) Selling a built-in readership? (Which might possibly have something to do with writing a book.)

Now, there are several writers (such as Diana Gabaldon) who started her career by building readership of excerpts of her stories which became The Outlander series. Remember, however, that this was in the EARLY days of the internet, and she's overseas. It was different; unique and the publishers thought it was a neat idea. Will this work in today's world, however? Not really. Most publishers are VERY conscious of the power of the internet --- so much so that it's actually made them a bit edgy. If everybody can read your stories on your website for FREE, can they then SELL them to that same audience? Probably not. So, in this case, the website works against you in selling the manuscript. Even if the particular manuscript you queried them about has never appeared there, how would they know this if you freely give away other things?

If you want a website, cool. If you want a place to have your friends and family read about you and the progress you're making on your book, also cool. But as a marketing tool to potential editors/agents? Nope. Write an exceptional book, a really good query letter and a dynamite synopsis. That's the best marketing you'll get for your book! ;)

ngoldman
11-06-2005, 05:44 PM
Naturally, a web site will not be a determining factor in the sale of your manuscript. However, on the other hand, if you are going the self-published route, you certainly cannot be without a web site.

It is still my belief that the web site no matter which route you take should be part and parcel of your marketing plan. Lets face it, even if you do suceed in having a publisher take on your book, the bulk of the promotion will come from you and you alone. Authors cannot afford to be without their own site in today's market.

Regards
Norm
Editor
bookpleasures.com (http://www.bookpleasures.com/) :)

Linda Adams
11-14-2005, 06:39 AM
Just a side note in this--if you're thinking of using a Web site to promote an upcoming book, have the site up well before the release. I see too many people say "My book is coming out next month, so I should put up a site." It takes at least six months for Google's spiders to find a site.

victoriastrauss
11-14-2005, 07:10 PM
Lets face it, even if you do suceed in having a publisher take on your book, the bulk of the promotion will come from you and you alone.Not if you're taken on by a commercial publisher. For the most part, the things that authors can do to promote their books are successful only if they can piggyback on the publisher's own marketing efforts.

I agree that a website is important, but I think it's more like a calling card than a sales tool.

- Victoria

Mike Coombes
11-27-2005, 04:37 AM
I highly recommend a good website. Mine has opened a lot of doors for me and is getting a lot of attention for the book.

Then why not publicise it a bit more widely by putting it in your sig line and telling us where to find it?

Bufty
11-27-2005, 10:10 PM
I visited your site and didn't want to wait for a download so left it without finding out anything about a book.


I highly recommend a good website. Mine has opened a lot of doors for me and is getting a lot of attention for the book.

Richard
11-27-2005, 10:14 PM
Flash is largely ubiquitous, to be honest. The site looks okay, although the use of the Javascript pop-up at the start is madness. There's nothing on there that should require Internet Explorer 6, nor is sound in any way essential to viewing the opening movie.

Mike Coombes
11-28-2005, 02:58 PM
Writers often seem to set themselves apart from the rest of the world - maybe because for the most part it's a solitary, thankless profession.

One should bear in mind that your novel - whether published, soon to be published, or seeking representation - is a product, manufactured by you, that you hope to sell. We all have lofty ideas about our 'art', but it's a cold reality. You're manufacturing goods you hope to sell on to others.

If you look at the web as a whole, probably 99% is about advertising goods and services, and as such your website can be a 24 hour, always open storefront, just like every other. But - and this is the biggie - whether you put it together yourself in an evening, or spend $10k on it using a prestige agency (and I know many writers who have fallen in the middle somewhere, $2,500 seems to be an average 'pro' spend), if you get no visitors, that time and money is wasted. Like any advertising campaign, you have to treat your site as just a component; you have also to drive readers to your site.

As to editors/publishers/agents: If you think that they trawl the 'net seaching for the new big thing, be prepared for the worst - they have enough landing on their desks every day to worry about, without going looking for more.

BUT... having chatted to a writer a few days ago who did a workshop with an agent, said agent, when recieving query letters, always visits the author's site if mentioned in the query letter before reading anything else. The agent believes that this often gives a good idea of what the writer's about. That doesn't mean all agents do that, but it's indicative.

Sample chapters: many writers post teasers or sample chapters, and this doesn't cause the same problems as posting short stories - it doesn't mean your work is previously published, any more than posting a paragraph of a short would. It's a good way of showing visitors what you do, and what you're about - after all, if you don't have a sample of your work on site, what do you actually have in the way of content?

Site look and feel: If you're going to do it, do it well, or don't bother. Free hosting may look attractive, but at what cost? If your site's plastered with advertising, ask yourself - does this make me look like a committed professional writer, or a wannabe with no pride? Make your site interesting and easy to navigate. Make it attractive to look at and interesting to read. Give visitors a reason to spend more than 3 seconds on your site.

And before you even start, take a long cold look at exactly what you want your site to achieve, how you intend to make that happen and how much time you want to devote to (a) building the site, and (b) driving traffic to it.

veinglory
11-28-2005, 07:26 PM
I agree that webostes are more for readers. They should be clean and well presented and give extra information about published books as well as extra stories, excerpts and gossips to make your reader feel like they know you better. I personally hate the use of flash, soundtracks or other fluff although some nice pictures helps to lift a site.

lisanevin
08-17-2007, 04:38 PM
Hands down - have a website! You can use it to post appearances, links to reviews and interviews, and as a marketing tool. I just posted a link on a different thread that I found other sites to upload my cover jpg for my title Into This Mind in exchange for a link on my site AND in my book!
We're a web crazy nation! Yes yes yes to websites.
And don't forget the contact!

J. R. Tomlin
09-04-2007, 10:52 PM
I agree that webostes are more for readers. They should be clean and well presented and give extra information about published books as well as extra stories, excerpts and gossips to make your reader feel like they know you better. I personally hate the use of flash, soundtracks or other fluff although some nice pictures helps to lift a site.
I'm not sure that they are totally for readers--well, I do agree, but it looks to me like a lot of publishers look "funny" at any author who doesn't have one. You'd have to wonder why and if they would be willing to do what is required to aid in book promotion, if they don't.

It's not that a website would sell to a publisher, but that not having one would look a bit hinky.