Monday, May 19, 2008

Websites

Happy thank-God-it's-no-longer-100-degrees Monday!!!

Ay ya ya...was it hot enough this weekend or what?! Friday night my poor kids had a baseball game. It was 102 when we drove over to the baseball fields and 99 on our way home. I was melting in the shade, they had to be dying in the sun! I'm so so SO happy we've returned to "somewhat" normal May temps. Don't get me wrong, I love the warmth and sun, but going from the 50's to 100's in a matter of days is a shock to the system!

Since Lisa's bogged down in class right now, snowed under with term papers and press releases and taking photos of hot guys (you'll have to ask her about that one...) I'm filling in for her today with a random survey.

Author Websites...what catches your eye?

I'm in the process of revamping my website to be more in line with my adventure theme. And as I'm looking at content I'm asking myself, what brings readers back? Obviously, new content. Contests are good. Updates on releases. What about teasers? Deleted scenes? Character interviews? Sections for writers - articles on query letters and agent hunting, etc? What content on author websites has piqued your interest and kept you clicking around? What content do you find boring or not worth including? And finally, what author websites have you seen that totally rock?

4 comments:

Paty Jager said...

It's still warm but tolerable.

I love Brenda Novak's website. She has sound and something happening in the banner pic. And it is easy to navigate.

I only go back to author's websites if I'm looking for information. I know, I'm bad.

But I have a monthly contest on mine that has been getting close to thrity participants and most of them enter every month. Christy and I change the content on the home page every month, we add reviews as I get them, and I have areviews and an excerpt of the books on a page. I have a bio which I need to update and a links page I need to do more with. As far as I know people come back to mine for the contest.

Good luck with revamping your site.

Alice Sharpe said...

I'm not going to be any help, Eli. I go to a website mainly when I want to see what a friend is up to or if someone sends me there. Sometimes I'll read a blog if it's catchy. I don't do contests and I don't springboard around from site to site, so like I said, I'm no help. The thing that turns me off every time is difficulty in navigating. And -- nothing you would have to worry about -- poor writing. If I am rewriting a author's words as I read their comments, that's just not good, or if an excerpt is boring or too involved or poorly written, kiss of death... My daughter did some of the writing on my website because she gave up on me getting around to it and though she's an excellent writer, she's not me, she doesn't sound like me, and I know that can't happen again.

I do have a website and it is currently being upgraded. I have to force myself to care. My daughter set up a thing at one time -- I'm not sure it's still there -- where people could send me a SASE and I would send them a bookmark and since most every reader letter I receive includes a SASE, perhaps that's why though no one ever asks.

On the plus side, I am not who you are creating your website for. You're making it for your fans, those lovely people who read your book and wonder if you have other books out so they go look you up and so I would certainly focus on what's coming next and since your books are connected, that should be front and center, don't you think? I liked the photos you had on your old site. Some people include family pictures -- not sure how I feel about that.

My daughter looked around sites when she started updating mine and loved yours. I know your new one will be great. You have terrific instincts concerning yourself and your career -- I say trust them.

Karen Duvall said...

I don't visit many author websites, unfortunately. And when I do I rarely return, but I love Rachel Caine's site because she posts an occasional short story featuring her series characters for those of us who suffer withdrawals between books. She's such a doll.

I'm not big on contests because it usually requires me to sign up with my email addy, then I get newsletters I don't want in my inbox. Sometimes I get these anyway even when I don't sign up, and it makes me a bit testy because I feel like I've been spammed. Grrr...

Keri Arthur has some really fun stuff on her blog for her readers. She has character profiles for current and future characters in her Riley series, links to podcasts, interviews, a link to her cafe press site with promo goodies to buy, and of course the all important excerpts. Must have those!

Usually the only reason I visit an author's website is to read a sample chapter to see if I like that author's style and voice before buying the book. I've saved myself a lot of time and money by doing this, let me tell you.

I like author sites that don't brag about the author and focus on the books.

Genene Valleau said...

Hi, Eli!

I look at the design of authors' Web sites first -- no big surprise there. Too much cutesy stuff to wade through before I get to the meat of the site is irritating. Like Alice, I want a site that's easy to find things.

In addition to information about their books, I like finding out bits and pieces about the author. Writing-related tips or articles are nice, as are contests and the other things you mentioned.

When I go to an author's site, I'm usually looking for something specific and don't click around much as I try to limit my time on the Internet or I can burn through half the day and not touch my "to do" list. :)

Like Alice said, your Web site always looks very nice, so trust your instincts.