So, our assigned topic this week is: AUTHOR WEBSITES!
But enough about me because I really HATE writing about me. I am boring. Blah. Blech.
Instead, I'm looking at two websites that totally rock by two young adult novelists who make me all weak-kneed. Seriously, I don't know them. I wish I know them, but I feel like I do.
Why is this?
Because of their made-of-awesome websites.
Both Meg Cabot and Maureen Johnson have websites that make you feel like you know them; like they're your friend. Sure, Meg's home page is full of links to buy the books and things like that, but it's her personality and energy that comes through everywhere.
Hi, I'm Meg Cabot! I am beautiful, brilliant, and fun to hang out with. Don't I look like someone you want to go to a football game with and complain about the cold while simultaneously scoping the world for hotties?
On Meg's site she's got purple and pink and pictures everywhere. She gossips. She has contests. She talks about her kitties. I am emotionally invested in her kitties. This is sad, but it's true.
She updates her blog pretty regularly. She (or some web guru person) updates her site. AND IT ALL WORKS!
Why does it work?
Because she's got the Meg Cabot brand going down: Funny, Kind, Kitty-loving, Occasionally Snarky in a Best Friend Whispering at a Slumber Party Kind of Way. She rocks it.
And I think a lot of it has to do with her blog.
Maureen Johnson? Same thing. Her blog is funny, lively, full of pictures, pink, and personality.
Hi, I am Maureen Johnson, don't I look like the cool high school girl you totally wanted to be friends with?
Maureen's blog changes often and gives funny glimpses into her life and often has really powerful discussion about the writing craft and industry. Her wit and intelligence and passion always come through. That's the Maureen Johnson brand.
So, what does this mean for the rest of us? It means that we need to think about our blogs and our websites and how we brand ourselves to the people out there. I talk about this behind the cut, okay? If you're interested, follow me. - Carrie Jones
Tips on Creating a Web Presence Before You’ve Actually Sold a Book or After... :)
1. Write a blog.
2. Do not tell your mother about your blog so that you can actually blog about fun things. My mother reads my blog. This is not good.
3. Do not think that blog is a good place to talk about your marriage failing or your medical problems unless you can do that in a way that is really poignant or really funny.
4. Do not talk about your mother on your blog if she reads your blog. Have I said this already? It's an important point. Believe me.
5. To build a community you should comment on other people’s blogs and say NICE things, Do not say, “You are a stupid idiot and nobody cares about your toe nails. STOP WHINING ALREADY.” This does not win friends and fans.
6. Create a website.
7. Have that website be MORE than just your bio and a list of your books. Update it often. Create the public persona you want to create. Do you want to be M.T. Anderson brilliant? Neurotic like me, Carrie Jones? Sexy? Witty? Sweet?
8. Have your blog be part of your website so that the information is constantly changing.
9. Be kind to the people reading your things especially if they email you or comment. Unless you are super famous do NOT ignore people's emails and comments.
10. Be honest and stick to the web persona you are. If you are always snarky people expect snarky. If you are always funny people will expect funny. Do not suddenly talk about Dafur if you usually only talk about toenails and Gilmore Girls. You can do both, but you want to be a little consistent even in your consistencies.
11. It’s okay to celebrate good book news but don’t be a big bragger head. I absolutely ignore one of my friend’s blogs because she does this ALL THE TIME. And that is all she does. She's great in person but on the net she drives me nuts.
12. Remember you are a writer and you are also a person. Use the best parts of you as both writer and person to create your blog and your websites.
13. Don’t be afraid to be a dork
POPULAR AUTHOR BLOGS
Meg Cabot - http://www.megcabot.com/diary
Maureen Johnson -- http://maureenjohnson.blogspot.com/
Sarah Dessen – http://writergrl.livejournal.com/
John Green -- http://www.sparksflyup.com/weblog.php
Neil Gaiman -- http://journal.neilgaiman.com/
Come email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll help you get started.
Remember that your website and your blog brand you as an author and as a public persona. Try to have images that repeat. This could be your face, your dog, a princess crown (Meg Cabot) or your book cover. You want to have people think of you as a friend, root for you, buy your books, but don't just use them. Take care of them, too. Writers need to love their readers just as much as their readers love them. Both Meg and Maureen's websites really do that. That's why I love them. That's why I always root for them and hope their books do well.