Wednesday, September 8, 2010
TO BLOG OR NOT TO BLOG: THAT IS THE QUESTION
As someone not yet published in book-length fiction, do I really need an online presence as an author?
A period of steely self-appraisal revealed that the portents seemed auspicious. I had a complete manuscript in fairly good shape, and a ten-year business plan in a steno notebook. Years ago I had sold in short non-fiction, and had a writing earnings record of forty-two dollars.
I would be submitting to agents and editors soon, and wanted them to be able to find me on the web. It seemed to me that a beautiful, individualized, business site would emphasize my professionalism and serve as a sales tool. I wanted to network with other authors, too.
Where to start, where to start? I googled any key words related to web design, and lurked in bookstores browsing the computer sections. I found some of the most useful information in a magazine. “Demystifying Author Web Sites” by Marie Force, in the July, 2009 issue of Romance Writers Report is a must-read for a web novice. It’s available online in the Member Resources section of the national RWA website. I’ve re-read that article several times; it is spot-on helpful.
In thinking about what I needed, I knew I wanted custom work from a top-flight web designer. I’ve seen nice templates, and I know blogs can be put together very economically, but I wanted a site that could not ever be mistaken for anyone else’s. I wanted to work with people who understood the book business, who could take my input and translate it into something remarkable, and who could grow and expand the blog as it developed into a published author’s website over the years.
I spent hours poring over dozens of author websites, taking notes and scribbling color schemes with felt-tip markers. I was looking mostly at visuals, but my first goal was to have a design that would capture people’s attention in a positive way. I wanted to write interesting pieces about the Early Medieval period, and include links that would lead readers to fascinating material I’ve found in my research. I also planned to post my writing career milestones—contests won, manuscripts requested, NaNoWriMos survived.
All roads seemed to lead to Waxcreative Design, a California company specializing in custom websites for writers, artists, and musicians. I simply fell in love with their work, and did not want any other design team. They are not cheap, but I did not want cheap—I wanted gorgeous, at a reasonable price—and I am thrilled with my Waxcreative Mini product. I think of it as a blog on amphetamines—not yet a true website, but it can easily be expanded to one when I sell.
The team at Wax was warm and professional from the start—knowledgeable when I was clueless, patient when I was naive, tech-savvy and always ready to teach and support me as I learned. The design process was a true collaboration, as they filtered and refined my ideas into a stunning masthead and pages that were all I had hoped for and more.
To blog or not to blog: The answer is yes! I would be honored if you would stop by and take a look: elizabethknowles.net/blog ♥
Elizabeth Knowles Palladino lives in Kingston, New York, and is the proud owner of a beautiful new blog.