Friday, September 16, 2005

Author Websites and my 2 Cents - for what that's worth

I know this has been done before, but I thought I would add my 2¢ worth. Because the system was down at work today, I had an excruciatingly boring day at work. To alleviate some of the boredom, I did a bit of surfing of some upcoming books I’m looking forward too. After checking them out at Chapters and Amazon, I skipped over to the authors’ websites looking for a little more info.
Now I know authors are busy people too. A lot of them have jobs in addition to their writing. Plus they have lives. Maybe some of them don’t maintain their own web sites and are waiting for the web-master/mistress to update, but please – make that a priority for us readers! Wendy Lindstrom is a perfect example of an author missing the boat.

Lips That Touch Mine is one of my top faves so far this year. I loved the book, I loved the cover and it was her very short back list that I HAD TO GET – that helped prompt me into asking about a book trading group (which by the way I did receive – really liked one – so so on the other – although LTTM is still my fave)
She has a fourth book coming out in October. It’s listed at the Chapters website. It’s listed at Amazon. I have a picture on my sidebar under Eagerly Anticipating, so you would think that she would be broadcasting the book on her website. Not so! It’s not even mentioned and it’s coming out next month. I want details! I want the anticipation to build. It makes no sense to me that if you are an author and you have a website, why you don’t do your damndest to create buzz.
It doesn't look like her website has been updated much since the end of November. She’s 2 books behind now.

Morag McKedrick Pippin is another example of an author who could do better.

Blood Moon over Bengal her debut, is a book I thought was most excellent. She has another one coming out – sometime (?) Blood Moon over Britain, but there is very little info about it on her website. There is an excerpt but that’s all I could find. Is there a cover yet? When is it coming out? Details authors, us readers want details.

Even if you don’t have much to say, say something. I checked out Pamela Clare’s website. I didn’t care as much for her latest RS, but I’m sure everyone is aware of how much I loved, loved, loved Ride the Fire.

Looks like she has another historical series coming out. There aren’t many details on her site because there isn’t much to tell, but there is enough to intrigue me and keep me checking back for more.

Nicole Camden is an author who seems to understand. It doesn’t appear that there is much happening with her at the moment – and what a shame is that!!! I haven’t read her short story in Big Guns out of Uniform, but I will be buying it when it comes out in mass PP. I hear her story is phenomenal. But she is letting readers know what is going on/not going on with her

Now to balance, a couple of authors who are getting it right.

Jill Shalvis makes it very easy to see her backlist, what she has out recently, what she has coming out shortly, and what she has planned after that. She gets a gold star. Bonus is she has lots of book giveaways. I should know. I won one

Liz Carlyle is another author who gets a better than passing grade on keeping us readers informed. We know what book is coming out this month and what her next two books are, when they are coming out and an excerpt.

A final word of advice from a reader who spends a fortune on books - websites are one of your best ways to promote. Be proud. Boast. Make them a priority and use them to their full advantage!


Tara Marie said...

I'm probably an oddity, but I rarely go to author websites. I can't explain it. Even when I'm looking for a backlist I ususally go to B&N, I will go to an author site to find the order of a series, that's if I can't figure it out by publishing dates. I really need to change this.

Kristie said...

I can't imagine not visiting them anymore, specially if it's a new to me author I like. I can spend hours - depending on the website checking different things out, backlists, excerpts, etc. And some of them are very well done.

Rosario said...

My own pet peeve with author sites is when they have just a plain list of books, no other info, in their backlist section. How hard can it be to copy the back cover blurbs, even when you have a big backlist?

Avid Reader said...

Thanks for this post. You made some excellent observations. It's a pet peeve of mine as well. I was so peeved to learn that Diana Norman didn't have a website. The worse is not having one and then having one and not updating it. Bad, bad,bad. --Keishon

Kristie said...

Rosario: I agree. A printable list is nice, but also include a more detailed list too, with covers and a blurb. It can really make a difference in whether this is a book you want to try and find.

Keishon: I know. If I were an author, that is the first thing I would do these days, is set one up. I feel the same about Linda Howard. Why oh why doesn't she have a website.

Janet W. said...

Three wonderful websites: the ones by Mary Balogh, Jo Beverley and Suzanne Brockmann (who has the world's liveliest bb). Janet

Robin said...

"I feel the same about Linda Howard. Why oh why doesn't she have a website."

Kristie, I understand it has to do with a very nasty stalker situation a number of years ago. Don't know all the details, but everyone I've heard talk about it claims that her lack of net presence is related to that incident.

I very much agree with you about author websites, especially for mid-list or up and coming authors who don't have rumors of their next work or comments on their backlists floating around the Internet. I don't necessarily want details of the author's personal life, but I adore it when authors talk about their books, about the inspirations behind certain works (one of the reasons I love Jo Goodman's site), and upcoming books. Well-crafted and inviting author websites can generate significant excitement and anticipation in me.

Rosario said...

Re: Linda Howard, I've heard the same, but I don't really think it makes much sense. She does have her photo in the back of her books (even her latest releases), which I would assume would be more problematic for someone worried about a stalker than having a website! I mean, no one's asking for her to be really "out there" in a website, if she doesn't feel comfortable with it. Just info about her books (backlist, info on related books, upcoming releases, reissue information) would be enough.

Kristie said...

I agree Rosario. I've heard that too about the stalker and it doesn't really make sense to me either. I don't think Linda Howard is her real name - it's just a pen name so why would having a stalker keep her from having a web-site. And you're right. She doesn't have to have a lot of info on it, e-mail address or message board - just book related stuff if that's what she chooses - but something at least would be nice.
And I love Jo Goodman's site too for the same reason Robin - the little details that went into her books. I love the story of how she came about writing the Compass Club series. Karen Ranney and Susan Kay Law also have interesting stories about their books on their websites.
Sandra, I haven't really visited either Jo Beverly or Mary Balogh's websites because I don't really read their books anymore. I will check them out though, but you're right about Suzanne Brockman's BB being a busy place.

Marg said...

It really peeves me when authors have a blog that they then only post to once every couple of months. If you're going to blog, blog! If you don't really want to, don't!!

The first thing I do when I discover a new author (even before I have read a book sometimes!) is go to their website and check things out!

Julia London does a great job of keeping her website up to date.

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