Author websites that work

As promised (finally), I thought it’d be nice to see some examples of the goodauthor websites that work. So I’ll point out a few and why they work for me, and then I’ll turn the time over to you.

Note, too, that I’m not interested in how freaking awesome-bells-and-whistles a website is—I want to look at how well it works at conveying the author, promoting his or her books, and inviting us to read.

annette

Annette Lyon

Okay, yeah, so Annette’s my friend and we have some pretty obscure stuff in common (dads who were missionaries in Finland [and thus even knowing what the Kalevala is], linguistic obsessions, etc.). But even if that weren’t the case, I’d still like her website.

She’s the author of six published books, the four most recent of which are historical romances. I think her site does a good job of portraying literature and historical in its design.

I like that her front page is descriptive enough to let us know who she is and what she writes without being overly wordy or long (what you see above is pretty much everything on the front page). The site navigation is highlighted (and yes, there is some Flash animation on that—a bell/whistle, to be sure, but not one that really changes the way her site works).

That navigation works really well, too—in only six page titles, you know exactly what to expect in each section and where to go if you’re there looking for something specific. (If you’re not looking for anything specific, she encourages you to read an excerpt from her latest novel.)

At her Publications page, she features her most recent book prominently, with links to individual pages for each of her published books—featuring reviews, excerpts, author’s notes and historical notes.

Finally, she has a great blog hosted at http://blog.annettelyon.com (as I always recommend 😉 ).

kiersten

Kiersten White

Sadly, Kiersten and I are not so much friends as I try to convince her we are. However, we are the same age, married men from the same city, have the same number of children and have even worked in the same industries.

Hm. Another person I have a bunch in common with. This may be indicative of a trend.

Uh, anyway, Kiersten’s first book is due out in September. It’s YA paranormal, and I think her site hints at that visually. She also does a great job of conveying her personality and writing style in the text of her site.

As with Annette’s, the navigation is easy to follow: you can easily find what you’re looking for and know what to expect on each page. She has a little teaser preview of her forthcoming novel as well as a section for her frequently asked questions.

Most of all, I really like Kiersten’s site because she did it herself. As she explained in the comments to Seven Things an Aspiring Author Website Must Have,

[My website] is pretty basic, but I did it all myself through Yahoo! web hosting. I’m not at all tech-savvy and had no problem setting it all up and managing it. It’s only like fifteen dollars a year, and I don’t think it looks too bad.

So it’s possible to create a good-looking website that works all by yourself.

Nothing helps you learn more than analyzing a site yourself! Go find your favorite author’s website and see if it works for you—and why or why not. (And of course, share your findings in the comments!)

9 thoughts on “Author websites that work”

  1. Ah, shucks : ) And we’re totally friends, in an internet-running-across-each-other-at-random sort of way! But thanks. I’ve been stressing over my website lately, and this made me feel great tonight!

  2. @M—Awesome! Now that’s effective.

    @Kiersten—Woot! So is that not a hey-you’re-in-town,-I’m-in-town-let’s-hang-out-and-let-our-kids-entertain-one-another way? 😉 Glad to make you feel better!

    (I’m kidding about getting together. Unless you want to. No pressure.) (But it’d have to be tomorrow.) (Kidding.)

  3. Alas, tomorrow is booked solid : ) Plus, my husband gives me funny looks when I meet up with people I only know online. But no worries, he’s still cute even when giving me funny looks.

  4. Aw, too bad. But I know how it is when you’re visiting home. (My husband thinks it’s weird, too. Sounds like they need more Internet friends.)

  5. I didn’t put my website on because I’m not sure I want a critique, but I really like both these sites and it gives me some ideas on what I’d like to do with mine. I like crisp, which is sometimes hard to do but both these women have done it. Thanks for sharing, Jordan.

  6. You know, I haven’t really critiqued my own website like this, either. One day.

    Glad you got some ideas! Good luck!

  7. Annette & Kiersten, I visit both of their blogs regularly.

    I admire them both, although I have a bigger connection with Annette. She has personally taken time to help/mentor me a bit as a writer via blog comments and suggestions. And I appreciate that.

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