Do You Need a Website Before You’re Published?

imagesThe short answer: no.

The longer answer? Well, do you want to do everything you can to help yourself get published? I mean, it’s not imperative. Nobody’s going to say, “Well, she doesn’t have a website, so forget it.” But I like to think of a website as a virtual business card. It’s an online someplace to send folks who want to know more about you. And when you’re submitting queries to agents, or your agent is submitting your manuscript to editors, if the agent or editor is the tiniest bit interested, 9 times out of 10 you’ll get Googled. It’s nice when that happens for the agent or editor to find a professional website with a bit of info.

I put out a request on Twitter for folks to point me in the direction of websites by unpublished authors, so I could show some good examples. Thank you to everyone who pointed me in the direction of some of those websites. To those of you who sent me to websites of published authors, wtf?! Can’t you follow directions? Sheesh. Unfortunately, none of the websites you guys sent me to exemplified the things that I think are important for an unpublished author’s website to include (although there were some good blogs). Because I’m picky, because I’m a control freak, because I have a fantastic intern (hi Tara!), because I want what I want, because I’ve had the flu for the past week, because I can, I just had Tara (of fantastic-ness), make one for me. Her task was to not spend more than about 2 hours on it, and these are the things that I told her should be included:

  • a home page with a picture and short bio

  • a “my work” page with a short description of the author’s work in progress and descriptions of other manuscripts

  • a “favorite books” page with 5-10 fave books 

  • a contact page with how to get in touch

Here’s a link to the page.

You’ll notice it’s not a blog. I don’t think every author needs to blog. Only people who like to blog should blog. There’s nothing worse than checking someone out online, going to their blog, and seeing they haven’t posted anything since a long, rambly, rant on July 11, 2012, when they were bitching and moaning about how hard it is to be a writer and they’d rather just go to the beach. Or the bloggers who don’t really want to blog and have nothing really to say, so they reach, and end up telling you dumb stuff about their lives that nobody really cares about, or start posting pictures of their pugs or their kids or whatever (not that there’s anything wrong with pugs). ;-)

Tara said she spent 2, 2 1/2 hours on it, tops. She said it was “fun” to do. And look at it! It’s professional, easy to read (no teeny tiny fonts that my old eyes can’t see), upbeat (nice color choices), and it made me smile in a couple of places. It didn’t cost her anything besides taking the time to do it. She used a cheery template and didn’t need any “special knowledge” about website building or code or whatever. Is it perfect? Nah. There are a couple of things I’d change about it, if it were mine. But basically, it does the job.

So, unpublished authors, do you have a website? Why or why not? And what about pugs? Do you have a pug?

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10 Comments

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10 responses to “Do You Need a Website Before You’re Published?

  1. Carol Bryant, it takes the internet crawlers awhile to find new websites, typically about a month. Your site also might need to be optimized for the popular search engines like google.

    My website is http://michalea.com/.

    I need a favorite books page :-)

    • Carol Bryant

      Michalea, your website is so easy to remember. Mine is carol5703.wix.com/carol-Bryant-author. I think the only time anyone will find it is when I include it with my email address. I created a favorite books page and now I can’t open it. I was definitely born into the wrong century. :(

  2. Carol Bryant

    I just created a website but the only way I find it when I search is on my facebook page. I think I must be missing something?

  3. Want to see a great author website for before that manuscript gets published?! Check out what my client R.L. Saunders whipped up today, after reading this blog post: http://www.rlsaundersauthor.com/

  4. So basically an online resume for agents, etc.

  5. Should an author who blogs, have both a blog and a website?

  6. Ooh, what a beautiful site! Nice job.

  7. Okay, now I’ve got to have one of these. It may take a while, and my kids may need to be involved in making it. But it will happen! (Thank you!)