Friday, April 9, 2010

An Analysis of the Writer Online: Maria Snyder's Online Presence

Have I convinced you to buy Maria Snyder's INSIDE OUT yet? And have you clicked on my contest on Monday for a chance to win a signed copy, or signed Maria Snyder bookmarks? DO IT!

Today, I'm going to focus on the internet presence of an author. I've been thinking a lot about this lately, including what kinds of things I want to do to change up my own website. So today, let's check out what Maria's doing online.

First things first: Maria's author page. An author page is important--I honestly don't know why any writer whose works is published or will be published doesn't already have a web page. Readers want to know what you write--and YOUR link should be the first thing that pops up on Google. If not, you risk losing a potential reader. It's that simple.

It's even more important if you're a multi-book author, like Maria. Now you need a webpage that gathers together all your work in one place--so if someone reads and loves INSIDE OUT, you now have a convenient way to find the author. Let's face it--as an author, it's your name that's the brand people look for.

Maria's got a great online presence already. Her personal homepage is easy to find and well laid out.
Now, I know some of you are going to look at that and go, "eh." It's not flashy. There's no graphics jumping out at you, no background music, there's not even a Flash intro.

Which is GREAT.

For an author page, information is key. Which means: don't hide your information with lots of bells and whistles! I see this all the time when I look for an author's email. Let's say I read and loved a book. You guys know this isn't a book blogger site, but if there's a book I truly love, then I want to feature it with a review and an interview. So, I've read Awesome Book, and look for Awesome Author's webpage. I click on Awesome Author's webpage...and can't find her contact info. Sometimes I'll click around, try a few of the randomly named pages ("musings" is common, as are other cutesy phrases that don't really tell you what the page actually is). If I can't find the email address in a matter of seconds, or if the page itself has so many bells and whistles that it doesn't load almost immediately...I don't feature that book on this blog. Period. There are too many other books out there that have what I need instantly. I don't want to have to dig through fancy graphics, cute-but-meaningless fluff, and Flash intros just to find what I'm looking for.

Take a look, also, at the kind of information Maria has. She's got the typical--contact info, reviews, etc., but she also very cleverly grouped all her book covers into one place, has a separate sections for writers (which I appreciate), and has a pretty unique contest page. Seriously. Go check that out. She includes a very clever idea for a referral program...and a way to get more readers to her website and her series.

So--all of that was what an AUTHOR webpage should look like. But what about a BOOK webpage? Recently, Harlequin Teen developed and launched a webpage specifically for INSIDE OUT

And it's loaded with bells and whistles. There's sound, jumping text, Flash, moving pictures, video. Everything.
Which is GREAT.

Look, a BOOK website is different from an AUTHOR website. A book website should be where all the cool effects are. It should have the fancy stuff, the eye-grabbing details that make you curious. 

It should be fun--there's games on the INSIDE OUT website that are just pure fluff, but fun. It should be interactive. I can click here, there, find new stuff, make discoveries. It should grab my attention: the sounds and video that automatically play when the page loads does just that.

It should also have the basic info readily available--which this page does.
The bar at the bottom of the page is easy to find, but doesn't obscure the fancy stuff. If all I want to do is order the book, the first link is right there at my fingertips. If I want to do more--follow on Facebook or Twitter, or anything like that--it's also easily findable and located.

And there you have it. Two examples of what an author should be doing online in her own webpage--easy to read, simple layout, obvious information--and in her book webpage--fun, exciting, and intriguing.

Basically, an AUTHOR website should answer all your questions, but a BOOK website should make you ask questions...questions that get answered when you buy the book.
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