Monday, October 24, 2011
It's All About Me: Website for the UnPublished Author...Yay or Nay??
It seems like the most commonly asked question about websites among us writers is: "Should I have one?" This is most often followed by: "Is it worth it?"
If you're published--got that deal, got that book *yay!!*--then the answer to those two questions is a big fat YES! Yes you should definitely have one and Yes it is most definitely worth it. You want people to find your books right? And readers will want to know what's coming next. They'll also want to know more about YOU. So Yes, Yes, Yes...an author website is a must for the published author.
But what if you're not published yet? I mean you could be in the very beginning writing stages, the *shudder* editing stages, or even *gulp* querying every agent you can....should you still have a website? I've heard lots of different opinions on this. A lot of writers claim they just don't have the time. Some even said they think it's kinda pointless when they don't have anything for people to read yet. Not anything that they're willing to let them read, anyway.
So I browsed, read, asked a lot of questions of my already published pals. What's the deal? Is it a good idea or not?
Ok. I'll give y'all a few minutes to shake your fist in fury at the screen....Done? Fantastic. I know that's not the answer most of you were expecting. I think deep down even I was hoping to be able to write out this blog with a sweet little answer like: Nope. It's totally fine if you don't have a website. Don't even worry about it.
But really, there are some very good reasons why the answer is still yes, even for the unpublished author. The best one? Here it is:
Dress for the job you WANT. Not for the job you HAVE.
I'm sure plenty of you have heard that saying before. Unless you're me. Then you're probably kind of lost, much like I was when someone mentioned this brilliant two liner to me. I'm a writer. Any social network that I'm on will tell you this. My occupation on Facebook, Twitter, Webook, etc...?? Writer.
Do I have a job? Um, oh you mean besides writing? Haha--of course I do. I know you might like to know what that is but I'll spare you the details and just say that I can no longer think of bagels without cringing. I cry on the inside. *giggle* No, ok, not really.
But day job aside...I'm a writer.
Are you a writer?
If you are,then of course you want to connect with other writers. With readers. With bloggers, publishers, etc... You might not have a publishing deal yet. Or even an agent. But you need to act as if writing is already your career, regardless of how little time you might actually have to spend on the writing itself.
If you have Facebook, or Twitter, or Google +, or an account on any social network....First of all, if you don't, I want to know who you are! It takes a strong person to stay away. Lol...Seriously though, if you're on any of these networks, chances are you'll have a following of some sort. Big or small. Sometimes even whether you know it or not. You will.
Having a website even though you've yet to be published shows agents and publishers alike that you are serious about this writing business. Why? Because you've put forth some effort, time, and even a little money to make this website. Which means you understand the importance of author branding.
*cough* online presence (see above) *cough*
Sure, some will say creating an author website is not AS important as creating an online presence and this is true. But what's the advantage in waiting? Very little.
Of course there is a negative side to this and time seemed to be the biggest problem. It doesn't take a whole lot to get a site up and running but sometimes keeping up with it can interfere with precious writing time. Not a good idea. If anything, let your website be static. Once it's up...leave it alone. Put up your bio, your contact info, and maybe a brief FAQs page. Yes, you can update it once in awhile but until you get that awesome pub deal, you can pretty much leave it be. Remember that writing comes first. Repeat that will you? Writing. Comes. First!
If you're really against creating an author website, however, I offer a bit of advice from one of the RWA conventions I attended. RESERVE YOUR DOMAIN NAME. You don't need big bucks to do it. Skip a couple lattes. Forgo that new foundation you wanted so badly. But get that domain name before someone else does.
So what do you think about author websites now? Think it's worth it if you're not published yet? Let the debate begin!