As promised (finally), I thought it’d be nice to see some examples of the good—author 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.
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 😉 ).
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.
[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!)