25 February 2009

Mini-Blog: Embracing Recommendations

I want/need/covet a good author Web site. 

As I'm becoming more active in the writing community, and redoubling my "getting published" efforts, I'm giving serious thoughts to creating my own site. I think it's a good idea. And I've even got a design team on board.

The question now becomes: What should it look like?

Since I have no idea, I'm going to shamelessly use you all as my research minions...uh, that is... I value the input of others and would like to know what you think.

So, let me have 'em! 

What are your favorites author sites? Or Web sites in general?

What works? What doesn't?

What would you like to see?

PS - Stay tuned for more on the ANJIDIA front tomorrow, and a special guest star here at Wuthering Life on Friday! It's been a busy week for Miss Sam.


Ian said...

Hi Samantha!

I find sites loaded with Flash to be distracting (as well as inaccessible from many mobile browsers). I think it's important to update regularly, if not frequently. Have some special things for people who visit your site (like a Members area) where they can see things you wouldn't normally share (like excerpts or unpublished shorts or something). Make sure you publish a feed so people can get updates in their reader.

Anyway, those are some of my suggestions.

Anonymous said...

Ok, so I'm a bad bad fan of anything that I love and adore... Meaning, I don't really frequent web-sites dedicated to one particular thing... That said, most of the ones I do are web-comics...

However, since you asked so nicely, and all, I dug through my bookmarks and found some examples for you.

First: http://www.gabriellefaust.com/ It's one of two "author" web-sites I have bookmarked, the other being Neil Gaiman, but this is a close resemblance to his, and I felt it fair to give her more exposure. Ms. Faust has a series of books following the vampire genre in the horror and gore tradition of Stephen King.

My opinion on her web-site: It's a blog with her name as the url, really. And, if that's what you want from a web-site, then it certainly does the trick. But, I'm practical above all else, and really, I don't see why she couldn't get a similar result from livejournal, or blogger, or myspace, only for much less money than a domain name must cost. The blog area, itself, if very cluttered, all those links and tags running along the border doing more to distract from the blog entries than add to the page. However, the title image and menu, at the top of the page, are functional and what I, as a perspective reader and buyer, am looking for. Information on the books, the author, and how to buy it. That's all I really want. Throw in an image gallery, and I'm all yours. I'm glad she put these sections at the top of the page where their easy to access so I can just ignore the cluttered mess of the rest of it...

Second: http://electric-manga.com/ Home to one of my favorite web-comics of all time, Kagerou, this website is spartan in it's simplicity. Everything has a purpose. I appreciate a utilitarian approach to a web-site; flashy colors, animation, music, they all do very little to add to the site, itself, while creating a large burden on slower systems and distracting from the main point of the site. Kagerou's site, however, is so spartan that it's bordering on anti-social. There's not really any feeling of connection with the audience, and I don't see much to entice someone who's just happened upon the site to stick around to explore (if you don't count the beautiful art, of course). In all honesty, I don't go to the site very often, preferring to read the updates on the author's livejournal where she makes comments and communicates much more openly with us, the audience, and where all it takes is a click of the mouse to give her my words of worship and adoration (Luka owns my soul. O.O).

Third: http://two-rooks.com/ My newest all-consuming love, this site is a very good example of the type of web-site (for web-comics, at least) that I find the most appealing on all levels. It's easy to find what you're looking for; the latest update is figured prominently on the front page. It's personalized; the author has a short comment regarding the latest update that often minimally broaches the personal. There is a new poll with the new updates that is at times silly, at others relevant to the recent plots and pages, and at others serious attempts to gauge what her audience is seeking from her. An especially nice touch - there are several different layouts you can choose to view the site in, though this is something uniquely well-suited to her site that is probably not meant for other ventures. You have the easy to access menu options, plus a remarkably easy to locate way to purchase the first volume in print. The only thing I don't like about this site is the way the comments for the pages and journal entries are set up. It's difficult to follow, and doesn't show enough of the comment, making you have to actually open up the messages to read them. Other than that, I absolutely love this site.

So, yeah. That's my blog entry for the week, I guess. ^^;; Hope it helped.

Samantha Elliott said...

Thanks, Ian. I hear you about Flash and regular updating. But, I hadn't thought about a members only section. That's a great way to get people involved. Love it.

Do you know of any sites that use that effectively?

Kage, I'll definitely peruse those sites. Thanks for providing such a thorough critique of what worked for you and what didn't.

Anonymous said...


this is the personal site for an author that I have been following for a year now. Because she wrote "Offbeat Bride". So yeah, i think her site is nice and clean, and well its a blog, so maybe it doesnt count.

Miss you,

Samantha Elliott said...

Thanks for the rec, B! While I am looking for something more than a blog, I did find that blog useful. I hadn't thought about structuring my archives like that. It was very organized and helpful.

Miss you too!

Anonymous said...


The site is under construction right now, but I love his site. It's clear-cut. It has a few menus...clearly organized...and he tries to talk about writing.

I think it's a great site (and he's one of my favorite authors). I don't really like the J.K. Rowling website. It has too many unknown areas to it and you have to guess on some of the stuff.

The Tolkien Estate is working on an offical Tolkien website (late I know, huh?) to help promote some of the other books about Middle-Earth and provide accurate info about the author.

So check them out. Hopefully they help you figure out what looks good and what doesn't. Pretty much though...simple is great!


Samantha Elliott said...

I completely agree about Ms. Rowling's site. Too much flash going on over there.

I'll definitely keep my eye on Pullman's site, though. Thanks for the rec!