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!