This blog was featured on 07/20/2016
Best Author Websites: Let's Make A List!
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As I slowly begin to turn my ahead away from my manuscript and look out towards the horizon of my pub date (April 2015, which alternately seems ages from now and too soon for me to ever prepare for), one of the first things that clearly needs attending to as I freshen up my public face is...my author website. Please don't look at it right now. If you look at it right now, I will feel not so much like you have seen me naked, but like we were meeting in person for the first time and I had to show up at a trendy bar in Williamsburg wearing the outfit I wore to my eighth grade dance, and also wearing my eighth grade hair.

Actually my eighth grade dance outfit might be less embarrassing than my out of date website, so let me distract you from looking up kamywicoff.com with this party pic:

(Can you find me?) If you went to my website anyway, I forgive you. I certainly wouldn't have been able to resist. And I realize it's not that bad--I absolutely loved my site and its designer in 2005--it's just nearly a decade out of date, and it shows. (For one thing it appears very shrunken and teeny in my browser. What's up with that?)

I am a big believer in author websites, and that belief was further reinforced by some reading I did today, beginning with the excellent blogpost "Why Don't Publishers Believe In Author Websites?" by publishing expert Jane Friedman. Jane makes a convincing case that publishers, or at least authors, should not underestimate their importance. Darcy Pattison's follow-on post "Why Authors Should Believe in Their Websites" contained some convincing statistics regarding readers' strong preference for them. I wasn't surprised as I am one of those readers: I find it frustrating when an author I'm interested in doesn't have an author website and I am left trying to put the pieces together myself through Facebook, Twitter or a shoddy wikipedia entry, when what I really want to do is read a bio, buy books, and join an email list. 

But where to start? By looking at other author's websites, of course. But while I am perfectly capable of spending another three hours browsing author sites all by myself, without the bringing the collective wisdom of this community to bear, that seems stupid for two reasons: 1) I will fail to bring the collective wisdom of this community to bear; and 2) nobody else in the community will benefit from what I find, either. And the whole point of She Writes is to share what we know.

So let's make a list! Please add to the thread your FAVORITE author website, with a few words as to why. Please don't make it your own. (Sorry, the bias might trip us up here.) List two or three if you like, but do try to keep it short. I want this thread to be a valuable resource for all SheWriters, and easy to skim at any time.

I'll start:

Amy Krouse Rosenthal's site because it is simple, easy to use, beautifully designed, and heartfelt without being cloying.

Susan Conley's site for its elegance and how effortlessly it invites a visitor to immediately do the important things: buy the book, link up on Facebook and Twitter, and see video of Susan's talks.

Tiphanie Yanique's site for the crisp, convincing way it showcases her book--a great example for writers who only have one under their belts so far. (As a debut fiction author I kind of feel I am in that boat. Sites for prolific authors like Jennifer Weiner also function like mini-libraries.)

So? What's yours? I'm waiting!

Let's be friends

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Comments
  • Barbara Stark-Nemon

    Just saw this post, Kamy and my nomination is http://www.elizabethrosner.com.  It's artful, well-designed and sticks in my mind.  I have spent so much time designing and working on my website!  I never would have thought it would feel so much a part of me!  I send you positive energy 

  • Nina Gaby

    another one by a Vermont writer and coach

    http://suzannekingsbury.net

  • Valerie J. Brooks

    Lovely site, Katrina!

  • Katrina Kenison

    As an author with a website (and a blog), I'm always interested to see how others are staying engaged with their readers.  My site is: http://www.katrinakenison.com.  Please visit! I love Dani Shapiro's site, for its simplicity: http://danishapiro.com/category/blog/moments-of-being/

  • Thanks Nina and Valerie!

  • Valerie J. Brooks

    Wonderful links to great sites! Thanks everyone. Thought I'd mention the designer Will Amato who just designed a friends cover. This link is to the websites he's designed and you can see how gorgeous they are. Good for ideas on your own sites.

    http://www.willamato.com/websites/

  • Nina Gaby

    Good friend and writing comrade Alexis Paige has a dynamic and beautiful new website which makes me jealous and want to steal her web-guy.  www.alexispaigewrites.com  

  • Some great comments on Facebook that I wanted to add here: 

    From publicist Lauren Cerand, www.ronnawineberg.com, stillhousepress.org, and laurencerand.com, designed by Bud Parr... 

    From publicist Sarah Russo, http://www.juliafierro.com/author/ hooray for our own Julia F (she added that her designer was Lisa Brink, who she recommended as talented and affordable...

    From Emily Waters Shearer, "I like Katherine Center's website"...

    Keep 'em coming!

  • Avra Wing

    Can anyone recommend a not-too-expensive website designer, preferably in the NYC area? Thanks and Happy Summer!

  • Lots of inspiring and gorgeous websites.  But I'm a big fan of websites that are not display windows, but rather interactive and multi-use  (for teaching, sharing resources, etc.).

    For people who want to do-it-yourself, what suggestions are out there for programs and software to build a website, preferably for free, and be able to make additions and changes easily?  A lot of people use Wordpress and Blogger, and I've taught myself enough to use Adobe Dreamweaver in a limited way (butI don't recommend it because of the price), and my brother-in-law uses the similar but free Blue Griffon). 

    What else is out there?  

  • Elizabeth Enslin

    I've been redesigning my website to gear up for my book launch: www.elizabethenslin.com. I use a customized theme from wordpress.org. I'd like to get back to doing a regular blog but struggle with the slowness and bandwidth restrictions of a satellite connection in my remote location.

  • Margaret A. Davis

    http://www.lemodesittjr.com/ I'm usually the most interested in "What I'm Writing" because I can't wait for the next book by this author!

    http://www.mercedeslackey.com/ This is a prolific author, indeed, and she tries to make it easy to find out which books are in which series

    http://www.marthawells.com/ This one is not fancy but it gets the job done. Easy to see what new books/short stories/etc. are coming out soon in different formats.

  • L. Anne Carrington

    My web site is www.lannecarrington.com, with my books, press list, latest news, and more. The site is updated on a regular basis, and includes a blog. I also profile books by other authors every Monday!

  • Hi Kamy,

    Meg Waite Clayton has a great website.  It is sort of mainstream - not too artsy.  What I love is that the website feels as generous as she is.  

    www.megwaiteclayton.com

    1st Books

  • Awesome, keep them coming!

  • I am pleased and proud of my website  www.etheleemiller.com crafted by me and designed to showcase personal and professional information, graphics and downloads, events, and blog. The designers and colleagues at Groundwork Promotions www.groundworkpromotions.com work with your personal goals and your vision in mind. I can maintain all parts- blog, webpages, and graphics. It's organized, crisp, and appealing.

    I totally agree with Kathi Stevenson -you need an online presence. I would piggyback on that with it's best to have more than one social media approach. 

    My personal reminder that writers often forget/ignore/avoid is that public speaking adds to the flavor of new readers becoming loyal readers. Don't leave out personal appearance book events with groups, organizations, and just the old 30 second elevator speech when someone asks, "So what's your book about?"

  • Avril Somerville

    Sue Monk Kidd also has a nice one. A bit simple and cookie-cutter-ish, but easy to navigate and compartmentalized. 

  • Avril Somerville

    Great post. Thanks for the invitation to share. :) I enjoy the streamlined look of Isabel Allende's website. Some find it almost too aesthetic (I know because I've asked for others' opinions), but I think it's a matter of personal preference. Having said that, I think the site is easy to navigate, professional yet somewhat intimate and personal (as I feel when I read her work). www.isabelallende.com 

  • These are great everyone, thank you! And keep them coming!

  • Lisa Thomson

    What a great idea Kamy! I will definitely check out these sites and the comments section.  :)  I enjoy Chrys Fey's site because she offers up fantastic writing tips and engages with her community so well. She's a thriller writer and in a different genre than me but I just love her advice.  Write With Fey

  • Deborah Clearman

    I'll give a shout-out for my web designer and maven at xuni.com. Her websites are visually arresting and she's wonderful to work with--makes changes and sends out email blasts at the speed of light. You can visit her lengthy list of clients' websites at her site and get a sense of her style.

    I also love Goldie Goldbloom's website--unique and artistic.

  • Sophie Glazer

    http://mt-anderson.com/

    This is the website for M. T. Anderson, who won the National Book Award for Octavian Nothing, and has written some very striking YA and children's novels.

  • Hema Nair

    I read this blog almost daily: this itch of writing by Emma Darwin. She talks about writing, editing, plotting, and how to navigate the pitfalls that can block your progress. It's like having a knowledgable creative writing teacher at your fingertips.

    Hema Nair, a writer in wonderland.

  • Since we can't include our own websites, I'd like to say why your website is for YOU and well as for your public. It isn't that my website is so elegant or gorgeous or even professional-- in fact, I make it myself.  It is, however, extremely useful for me, and I think for other writers and students and readers.

    I update it almost every day; I use CSS to change the banner and colors frequently.  I have pages for classes I teach with updated syllabi; I have pages on my books, of course; a page of resources for writers; a page for my newsletter on books and writing; a page of free writing prompts.  I refer to it frequently myself for articles I've linked to and small magazines I might submit to.  I hope my website is good for selling my books, but I'd keep it even if it never sold books.  It works for me.  And it's fun.

  • B. Lynn Goodwin

    There are lots of great sites out there, but I'm going to recommend my own, www.writeradvice.com. It's a website to help writers rather than an author site, but maybe you'll find something there that inspires you. =)