In this world of the Information
Superhighway, Internet, World Wide Web, and interconnected technical
communities, a ticket on the electronic train is more than worth its
weight in gold.
My name is Tiffany Stockton and
I co-own Eagle Designs with my husband. We provide affordable and
professional Web sites to our clients, the majority of whom are
writers, speakers, or writing industry professionals.
A Web site is a must for anyone
in the writing industry, no matter where you work. And if you’re
already published, you need to make sure your site is functioning at
the optimum level. When you are sure this is where God called you to
be, make plans to start your Web site. Here are five reasons to help
you see why this is critical:
1. Your site puts you
in touch with readers.
Even before your first book is
published, you can establish a connection with site visitors and
readers by sharing personal stories, tidbits/samples of your writing,
photos, links, posting to a blog or journal, etc. Readers can be rather
fickle. Sometimes, your writing won’t be the only thing that keeps them
coming back. If you provide them with a personal connection to you,
chances are you’ll have a reader for life.
2. A Web site can mean
the difference between a contract and a rejection.
If an editor, agent or publisher
is considering you and another author for similar projects, he/she
might browse the Internet to see if you are “online.” If you don’t have
a Web site and the other person does, you might receive the rejection
while the other author receives the contract.
3. Publishers want
authors who are actively involved.
Today, publishers want authors
who can market themselves successfully and work with their marketing
team rather than with those who sit back, waiting for someone else to
do the work for them. Even if your site is only one page, it’s still a
site. And it gives you an edge over those who don’t have one.
4. Almost all of your
readers are online.
When readers want to learn more
about you or find other books written by you, they will search the
Internet. If you don’t have a Web site, you could potentially lose
sales on your other books or even lose a reader after the one book is
finished. Yes, some will remain loyal and return to the bookstore,
anxious to get your latest release. But if they have no form of advance
notice, they might grow tired of waiting and move on to another author.
5. You can market
yourself and secure new readers or opportunities.
Sometimes, readers will find
your site through a referral on another site, links discovered through
browsing the Internet, or even word-of-mouth. Your site can also
provide other industry professionals a source for your areas of
expertise. As a result, you might be offered a new writing project, a
speaking engagement, or any number of prospects.
But first, you have to answer
Should I build my site
myself, or should I hire someone to do it for me?
Some key things to consider are
your time, your ability to learn HTML (HyperText Markup Language), whom
you hire, how much content you have, your budget, and so one.
If you decide to hire someone,
always request referrals. Ask questions about timeliness,
professionalism, approachability, cost and what’s included in that
cost, satisfaction, and if they’d hire that person again.
If you decide to go it on your
own, look for WYSIWYG programs, or pick up a book to help you. I
recommend HTML for Dummies or the Idiot’s
Guide to HTML. They are virtual gold mines of knowledge and
Most authors don’t question if
the cost of printing bookmarks or business cards is worthwhile, but
many wonder if a Web site is. In today’s market, it’s essential. And if
you think you’re going to break the bank with this investment, let me
reassure you. The majority of my clients have gotten started for under
Whatever you decide, make
certain you feel good about it. Don’t invest in a professional if you
don’t feel comfortable with the expense. And don’t try to do it
yourself if you feel the end result might reflect badly upon the image
you want to convey, or if it might cause you more headache than help.
Once you have that decision
made, do your research. Talk to others. Visit other sites. Make a plan
for your site. And here are some starter steps for
getting your feet wet:
domain name (yourname.com, .net, .org, etc.) so people can find you.
2. Find a host, or a place to store your files online.
3. Determine how many you will have and decide on an overall scope. If
you don’t have a plan, your site will reflect that.
4. Decide on a color scheme and graphics. Go with something that
reflects your writing style and personality. Make it a place readers
want to visit, and one you’re honored to call your own.
5. Determine what will go on which page.
Remember, you have only a few
seconds to make a good impression and grab your visitors’ attention.
It’s a competitive world out there, and you want to be on the leading
If you build it; they will come
. . . but they won’t stay . . . unless you give them a reason to
return. That is where marketing comes into play. But if you have done a
good job with the set-up or partnered with a reliable designer, your
site will do a good bit of marketing for you.
For a list of resources and
guides and other tips to help you on your Web design journey, consult
the links page on our Web site (http://www.eagle-designs.com). And feel
free to contact us if you’d like to learn more. We’re here to help.