Author Tamela Hancock Murray

Build it Before They Come

 

If you want to be a published writer, realize that someone will look for you on the web. Agents will Google your name. I guarantee that editors and marketing folks will visit your web site to find out more about you.

Thus your web site needs to be both professional and effective. It is a bit like putting on your “Sunday Best” before going to an interview. That first impression is critical.

Allow me to share unscientific, subjective thoughts regarding a few elements I especially enjoy as an agent learning about writers through their web sites:

1)    A home page sharing a good photograph of the author, a brief bio, and a sense of what type of books the author writes. Bold colors and dramatic images are great for edgy, suspenseful, mysterious, and speculative stories. Gentle color schemes and images of beauty take a visitor into soft stories. Writers of Amish fiction using those images on their home pages provide immediate brand and identity.

2)    A page about the writer’s books. Show visitors your book covers. Give a blurb about each plot. Mention awards. Include a link to an Internet retailer so the visitor can buy your books on the spot. This is also a great place to include a link to your publisher’s site. Show that you are in great company with other wonderful authors and what great taste your publisher has demonstrated in choosing your books.

3)    Your third page is tricky because it’s personal. To stay professional, be judicious in sharing. Anyone can stop by your web site. Someone once told me he could look at one picture on a site and locate a person’s house. Thankfully this wasn’t an ominous person! But in only a few clicks through social networking and mapping sites, anyone can piece together a profile of you and your family. An experienced webmaster can help decide how much family information to share.

4)    Another page might include hobbies if they reflect your work. For instance, if you write Westerns and have traveled to the West for research, share pictures. If your stories include sewing, perhaps offer sewing tips. Keep unrelated information off the site. For example, your author web site is not the place to advertise a second business. Save that for a different site. Here, focus on your books.

5)    Bloggers need to make it easy for visitors to find their blogs. Adding a link to an email address set up for your site only is a good idea. Agented authors, please also include a prominent place for your agent’s name and a link to the agent’s and/or agency’s site. Your agent will thank you!

My personal author web site was recently redesigned (email me if you would like their information). Our agency’s web site was put together by AuthorMedia.com. Karen Ball’s personal site was designed by Pulse Point Design. Check them out!

 

 

 

 

 

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Letting Go of Your Babies

One of the worst mistakes writers can make is being too possessive of their words. They fight for each adjective, adverb, and conversation tag.

My early writing suffered from too many words. I once wrote an artist didn’t “really” understand the difficulties of making a living in his profession. The editor kindly cut all instances of “really,” “just,” “so,” “very,” and other weak words experienced editors call “weasel” words.

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To Romance or Not to Romance

According to St. Teresa of Avila’s biography, the battle over romance novels has been going on at least since the 1500s:

Teresa’s father was rigidly honest and pious, but he may have carried his strictness to extremes. Teresa’s mother loved romance novels but because her husband objected to these fanciful books, she hid the books from him. This put Teresa in the middle — especially since she liked the romances too. Her father told her never to lie but her mother told her not to tell her father. Later she said she was always afraid that no matter what she did she was going to do everything wrong.

Those of us who write, represent, and publish Christian romance novels can be made to feel the same way when our brothers and sisters in Christ object to our efforts to provide readers with God-honoring entertainment.  I have spoken with authors whose pastors have derided their writing, read negative blogs, and heard conference speakers criticize Christian romance novels.

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Happy to be Here!

HAPPY TO BE HERE!

I am thrilled to be a part of The Steve Laube Agency and to post my first blog entry. I have been asked lots of questions about my new venture. I’ll answer a few here.

Will you continue to represent Christian romance novels?

Yes, I will! Steve was familiar with my client list when I joined the agency and we both believe Christian fiction is a vital part of publishing.

I am passionate about Christian romance novels. The talent of my clients, the dedication of the editors, and the support of the publishers make this endeavor worthy and God-honoring.

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