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Rochester
05-08-2010, 05:37 AM
I have no online presence, and unless I really need one, I'm not sure I want one.

I have no myspace. I have no facebook. I have no twitter. I have no website. I have no blog.

Now that I am published and will presumably be trying to keep writing bigger and better things, would I be foolish not to get a facebook, or a blog, or a website?

Any advice would be very helpful.

Thank you kindly,

Tooterfish Popkin

Stanmiller
05-08-2010, 06:06 AM
TP,
Your agent and editor should be advising you on this. At least, register an appropriate domain name and email address. Say...tooterfish.com and tooterfish@hotmail.com, for example.

That way you have dibs on the name for your website when you decide to create it.

--Stan, with no website either, but who owns stanmillernovels.com if he ever decides to build one.

Xvee
05-08-2010, 08:58 AM
At least start a blog or site to showcase your published work. If people start googling you they'd at least get some info on what you have for sale. Lots of writers tweet and it doesn't take a lot of time to set up.

codytull
05-08-2010, 10:23 AM
Either Lisa or Laura Roecker, who have a book coming out next year (their agent is Catherine Drayton of Inkwell) recently tweeted: There's nothing worse than googling an author and coming up with NOTHING. Major pet peeve of mine. I'm NOSY.

I feel the same way. Even if it's something simple with a short bio, and cover art, at least there's something. If I google an author and nothing comes up, I kind of feel like they're not that big, even though it might not be true. Same goes for agents too. If I google an agent and nothing comes up, I feel like they're not worth querying.

dpaterso
05-08-2010, 10:36 AM
If you haven't already done so, take a peek at Blogging and Social Networking (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=90) and Book Promotion Ideas and Advice (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=48) forums.

-Derek

Jamesaritchie
05-08-2010, 07:16 PM
I wouldn't worry about it. Too many writers spend far too much time trying to build a web presence, or trying to promote their writing, when they should be producing ever more writing.

When you actually need a web presence, you'll get one, even if you don't want it, and have nothing to do with making it happen.

Lauretta
05-08-2010, 07:19 PM
I agree with James here. I don't think JK Rowling has a personal facebook page... She isn't on twitter either, she said she is too busy writing to have one...

willietheshakes
05-08-2010, 09:43 PM
I agree with James here. I don't think JK Rowling has a personal facebook page... She isn't on twitter either, she said she is too busy writing to have one...

She is on twitter, actually.
She joined in March, and had over a million followers within 24 hours.

She's also had a very, very popular website for years.

She might not buy into full-force (and she doesn't need to), but clearly she sees some value in an on-line presence.

Soccer Mom
05-08-2010, 09:44 PM
I say it partly depends on what you write. If you write for kids or YA, your audience will usually expect you to have a web presence. Rowling is the exception rather than the rule. Not to mention that there are numerous sites devoted to her work. She doesn't need to maintain one.

Likewise, the SF/F world is more likely to be computer savvy geeks. I happen to be married to one of those. A web presence is a big plus.

Nonfiction? I would definitely have web presence as part of my platform.

So really, it depends on who you write for and what you want to accomplish. If you do decide to have some web presence, it can be as small or as enormous as you choose.

brainstorm77
05-08-2010, 09:58 PM
There's a huge difference in JK then a writer just started out. And again, I don't agree with you James. It can make a difference if a writer along with the publisher helps to promote.

willietheshakes
05-08-2010, 10:05 PM
There's a huge difference in JK then a writer just started out. And again, I don't agree with you James. It can make a difference if a writer along with the publisher helps to promote.

I agree (and disagree with JAR) -- it's a manageable enough thing to do, so why not do what you can to support your own career?

brainstorm77
05-08-2010, 10:08 PM
I agree (and disagree with JAR) -- it's a manageable enough thing to do, so why not do what you can to support your own career?

Exactly.

Rochester
05-09-2010, 02:06 AM
Thanks for all the replies. Good stuff.

Is a facebook page enough? Or is it better to go with a real blog?

kurzon
05-09-2010, 02:44 AM
A blog/website comes across as more professional than a facebook page, in my opinion. Look at the wording - people friend you on facebook, people put you on a watch list on a blog.

Remember that you don't have to treat a blog as a daily diary or anything. Just set the front page to show only the latest post and call that post "Latest News".

And an author's web presence is great for finding an author's bibliography, and news about when the next book is likely to come out. That's generally what I go looking for authors for.

Rochester
05-09-2010, 03:24 AM
A problem I'm running into is that every blog and website with the name I publish under seems to be taken. Any ideas?

CAWriter
05-09-2010, 08:37 AM
You could add "books" after the name; I saw that recently on another author's site. Or "Author" at the beginning.

SJ Gordon
05-09-2010, 10:00 AM
My name is fairly common (yet another reason for me to use my initials, really) and even though I switched to using my initials, I still couldn't get my name as a domain. I ended up adding 'online' to my name to get my domain name.

I'm not published yet and I doubt I have a huge crowd following my blog or my twitter (which I just set up this week) but at least I'm there and it is at my disposal when I want it. I have heard agents say they will sometimes seek out a website or blog of an author who sends them a query that interests them. They like to try to get a sense of who that person is, after all.

Rochester
05-09-2010, 10:23 AM
I just bought the domain my-name.com


Not as cool as myname.com... but whatever, it gets the job done.

Jamesaritchie
05-09-2010, 06:28 PM
I have heard agents say they will sometimes seek out a website or blog of an author who sends them a query that interests them. They like to try to get a sense of who that person is, after all.

This can be good or bad. But agents want books that will sell. If you have one, everything else is meaningless until after the book is on the market. If you don't have one, nothing helps.

Writers are much like agents in this sense. The really good ones don't need to owrry about a web presence, and the bad ones aren't helped by it.

Aji
05-09-2010, 07:17 PM
When you actually need a web presence, you'll get one, even if you don't want it, and have nothing to do with making it happen.
It doesn't take long to set up a webpage or a free blog that showcases your work. It makes you come across as more legitimate, in my opinion (not that you weren't legit before having a page, but moreso because I know I can trust what I find on your page to be coming from you, the author). It doesn't even have to be a website - Lynn Viehl just has a blog (http://pbackwriter.blogspot.com/)(which she updates like clockwork; I'm in serious awe) and it contains the pertinent info of upcoming work, backlist, etc.
Having others talk about/post about your backlist, upcoming books, etc is a bonus. I know on more than a couple occasions there were times I tried an author due to the references and reviews of others, especially in genres I tend not to read in as often.


She is on twitter, actually.
She joined in March, and had over a million followers within 24 hours.
[...]She might not buy into full-force (and she doesn't need to), but clearly she sees some value in an on-line presence.

Yup. There were people parading around as her and JKR didn't like that so she created a Twitter account so readers wouldn't be fooled/do something silly because they thought, well JKR said to do it...



And an author's web presence is great for finding an author's bibliography, and news about when the next book is likely to come out. That's generally what I go looking for authors for.
Right. Goes back to the legitimacy factor. It's nice to get info about the books right from the person writing the books.

I just bought the domain my-name.com
Not as cool as myname.com... but whatever, it gets the job done.
Link it in your profile...free advertising right in your signature section every time you post on the boards, especially useful since you've published and everything (congrats, by the way)! :)


This can be good or bad. But agents want books that will sell. If you have one, everything else is meaningless until after the book is on the market. If you don't have one, nothing helps.

They want books that sell, but they also want to get an idea of your personality. I think it helps give them an idea of how to market you overall. When I look at Dean Koontz's (http://www.deankoontz.com/) online home, I get a different feel of the atmosphere and than when I look at Dorothy Koomson's (http://www.dorothykoomson.co.uk/)website. Even without clicking through their backlist, I get an idea of the type of stories they write.

Libbie
05-09-2010, 07:59 PM
I don't think it's necessary to have a Twitter or Facebook account. I do think a simple web site is a good idea -- just a couple of pages that has some very basic biographical info about you, what books you already have out, what will be coming out next. Just some way for people who do want to learn more about you to get a little bit of information. A really simple site won't require a lot of time or energy to maintain.

Rochester
05-12-2010, 06:28 AM
Okay...

I decided against a website, I don't want to bother with the hosting and whatnot...

I contacted the guy who has my name at wordpress.com, and he is willing to sell it for 200 dollars...

I have no idea if its worth 200 dollars. What say you?

KathleenD
05-12-2010, 06:43 AM
I don't think it's worth paying 200 dollars. Just play with variations until something comes up.

My publisher's advice about web presence was simple - if you don't put something out there, someone else will. When people google you out of curiosity, do you want them to find what other people have written (like a review that doesn't glow), or do you want them to find a site that you control prominently listing places to buy your book?

With that said - I created a blog, a site, a Facebook, and a Twitter, but I won't lie - I update the blog daily, and the rest of the stuff comes if I have energy left over after writing. And hanging out here. It's too much, trying to pay attention to all those channels. As long as the writing comes first, I think the other stuff can only help.

Polenth
05-12-2010, 07:06 AM
It sounds like you want everything to be as low maintenance as possible, because you're not keen on the online stuff. Blogs are quick to start, but have high maintenance as you have to keep writing posts and dealing with comments. Websites have more to set up at first, but they only need updating when you have news or new books. So you may not have made the best choice for the longterm.

As for the Wordpress name, I wouldn't pay for it. I'm sure you can come up with something short and appropriate that noone's taken.

Rochester
05-12-2010, 07:29 AM
I really like the idea of having just my name at wordpress... 200 seems a little absurd to me... but then I think maybe its not because since it isn't a website I have to host it pays for itself in a couple of years...

But still... it don't seem right.

As far as the wordpress account goes, I wouldn't use it as a blog.. I'd just post one page of basic info that i might change every blue moon.

Dungeon Geek
05-12-2010, 08:37 AM
Why would you pay 200 smacks for a URL? It doesn't matter what your URL is, because whenever someone googles your name, your website will pop up. Just make sure you put your own name on every page of your website.

I'll be honest here--unless you've got a book out there and it's already selling (or a host of professional short fiction sales to your credit), your website probably won't get many visitors. If you do create one, make it look professional and then leave it alone. How many writers spend hours and hours updating their blogs for the sake of 5 or 6 visitors a week? Time better spent writing, in my view. :)

Rochester
05-12-2010, 09:08 AM
To be honest I don't even want a website or blog. But I have been getting a lot of short fiction published lately, and I'm wondering if it would do me good just to have links to those and a basic 50 word bio... nothing more.

I'm not interested in getting traffic... not even a little bit. But on the off chance some publisher wants to do a search for me, you know... it would just exist for that purpose.

Terie
05-12-2010, 09:37 AM
To be honest I don't even want a website or blog. But I have been getting a lot of short fiction published lately, and I'm wondering if it would do me good just to have links to those and a basic 50 word bio... nothing more.

I'm not interested in getting traffic... not even a little bit. But on the off chance some publisher wants to do a search for me, you know... it would just exist for that purpose.

What would probably serve you best is a very small, very inexpensive web host package. My web host is oneandone, and at oneandone.com you can get a beginner package for $3.99 per month. You can see their packages here (http://order.1and1.com/xml/order/Hosting;jsessionid=AFEBEF4149BC3C0660C2111FBE416CA 5.TCpfix141b?__frame=_top&__lf=Static).

Oneandone has some nice, easy-to-use templates, so you don't have to do any real design work, you just drop your content in using a web-based wizard. Plus even the beginner package allows up to 600 e-mail accounts, so you can have e-mail associated with your website name....and set ones up for your parents, your significant other, your best friend, anyone. :)

There are other hosts that cost even less, though since I don't use them, I can't vouch for how easy it is to acutally publish a site with them. Other AWers might be able to make other recommendations.

If you'd like to see some samples of sites designed in oneandone templates, click my website links (not my blog link) in my sig.

MartinD
05-13-2010, 04:15 AM
I'm not excited at having to create a web presence but more and more publishers are requiring their authors to exist in cyberspace. Once I have a book to promote, I'm assuming I'll need an e-life, too.

illiterwrite
05-13-2010, 05:02 AM
I would search for a domain name that isn't taken, rather than a blog. And like you say, you can just add to it whenever you feel necessary, but your contact information and links will be there. People expect more with a blog. If you work on a Mac, you can easily create a simple website yourself, especially if you don't need to update it regularly.

(I am like you. I flirted with the blog et al. but am rather shy and prefer to simply work on my own in silence. I am on Facebook but found it too crowded with "contacts" and people I don't know. I will return but won't be using it for professional purposes and will be doing a massive purge.)

E. S. Lark
05-13-2010, 06:17 AM
I tend to feel annoyed when I cannot find a site for an author or even a literary agent. Some agents still have no web presence, which makes it very hard to see what they like and what their guidelines are. Same thing goes for authors. I love knowing how they got started, what sort of person they are - do they have pets? That sort of thing.

Twitter, facebook and of the like are not necessary, but you should at least have a blog or a personal website in case someone search for you. Also, make an amazon author's page (it's free) so folks can find your books easily in one place.

Emily Winslow
05-13-2010, 02:20 PM
I'm not excited at having to create a web presence but more and more publishers are requiring their authors to exist in cyberspace. Once I have a book to promote, I'm assuming I'll need an e-life, too.

There's a big difference in maintenance between a website, which can be static, and dealing with updating a blog, facebook and twitter. If ease if what you're looking for, a decent, basic website is your best bet. You want to be in control of the official "you" when people google for you, but it doesn't require constant updating. (Some say that you must update your website, to reflect current promotional activities and such. You certainly can. But you can also set it up to avoid that need. Just refrain from anything that will quickly expire, like "coming soon!" or "this month" or whatnot.)

It's easy to lump all these different aspects into a need for "e-presence" but I think it's important to clarify that "social media" and an "official website" are very different. I do think an "official website" is the bare minimum for a professional writer.