Sunday, June 13, 2010

Hiring it Done

from Emily Bryan ...

I'm in a quandry. I'm the sort who likes to paint my own house, mow my own lawn (when I had a lawn to mow!) and generally do things myself. I've laid tile, torn out walls and moved myself across the country multiple times. If I had time to cross-stitch, I'd do a pillow with DYI on it in big red letters. I cringe when I have to pay someone to do something I ought to be able to do.

I know what you're thinking. Cheap, cheap, cheap.

I prefer to think of myself as frugal (though my husband has complained that I squeeze a tube of toothpaste till it squeals!) That's why I've resisted hiring someone to design a website for me. I'm a reasonably intelligent person. I ought to be able to buy a template, customize it to suit my needs and slap it on the internet for a teeny fraction of the cost of a professional design.

Which is what I've done up till now. So far, my homegrown design at has served as a good web presence for me. The way it's set up, I can alter the pages whenever I want and add pages (which means the website grows like kudzu. Even I don't know how many pages there actually are!) Aspiring writers enjoy my Write Stuff pages and readers have let me know they enjoy the bonus pages associated with each book.

But now I'm getting ready for a pen name change with multiple titles coming out next year as Mia Marlowe. I'm writing for two publishing houses. I'm adding a pinch of magic to many of my new stories, a fresh element for my work. In many ways, this next year is going to be a sea change for me.

Which has me thinking that it may be time to call in the cavalry in the website department. If I want a vibrant cohesive site that's easy to use and presents my work in a way that readers find engaging, I think I need to hire someone to build a site for me.

So I've been surfing around the internet looking for the most innovative, fun author websites. I know who my favorites are. I hope you'll share the ones you return to time and again and why. What sorts of things do you like to see on author websites? What irritates you about them? I'd appreciate your input!

Reviewers Speak . . .

"Georgette Heyer with ripped bodices! Emily's latest story is simply charming - Crispin Hawke is awkward, dashing, self-assured, rude, everything you'd expect from Georgette Heyer, or even Jane Austen.

Emily Bryan is the mistress of saucy historical romances, and as ever, STROKE OF GENIUS is pure delight." BooksMonthly!

Visit to take the Stroke of Genius Quiz! What kind of Genius are YOU?


JennaVictoria June 13, 2010 at 4:08 PM  

I love author Lucy Monroe's site. I continually get lost in there! So many neat departments and things to click on!

EmilyBryan June 14, 2010 at 4:21 AM  

I love Lucy! She's totally awesome. I heard her speak back in 2003 when she'd first published and now she's had over 50 books out! Amazing.

I'll revisit her site. Thanks for the suggestions, Jenna!

Jennifer Ashley/ Allyson James / Ashley Gardner July 1, 2010 at 4:27 PM  

Emily: Answering you late, but what I as a reader most want in a site is clarity and navigability. I go to a site to see

1. What books the author has written

2. When they are coming out (or if they are out, are they still available?)

I want to see series listed in order, I want buy links to B&N or Amazon or an indie bookstore where I can order them. I'm a ruthlessly efficient shopper, and I want to find what I want and buy it, dang it!

I also like to read the author's bio to see what she's done, how she got started, etc. A short and sweet bio, not pages and pages.

If there are fun things like free reads, videos, artwork, contests--fine, but my main interest is in the books.

I like a clean look to the site (no graphics everywhere that take forever to load), and I like easy navigability. I have heard from others that my site has very good navigability, but judge that for yourself. I'm constantly trying to streamline it, because I think it's a little too convoluted (which is my fault, not my designer's).

Good luck! Having a site professionally done is worth it--it saves much time and vexation!

That said, I like having a site that I can update myself. I'm not the most patient person, and when I want a link changed, I want it changed NOW. So it's best I do it myself. :-)

Cindy Holby

Gerri Russell

Joy Nash

Bonnie Vanak

Emily Bryan

C.L. Wilson

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