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Alvin C. Romer

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Author Visibility - The Use Of Effective Websites
By Alvin C. Romer   
Not "rated" by the Author.
Last edited: Thursday, February 26, 2004
Posted: Thursday, February 26, 2004

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Literary commentary on the effective use of websites for high visibility for writers to showcase their work.


Author Visibility -- The Effective Use Of Websites

How important is author visibility? This question will always come to fore as it pertain to how products are being marketed. In the world of literature websites play an integral part of this process. What’s the first thing any company does with a new product? It advertises. By almost any means possible they try to get the viewing/listening public to recognize what they’re selling whether it’s by usage of a catchy jingle, or a memorable visual. How many times have you said “I like that commercial about…?” There was something in it that made you remember it, right? Authors need high visibility as well to make a difference with their craft. Websites are the coolest and fastest way to let readers know who they are, and what they’re doing. There should be excerpts from their books, current and past book reviews, effective event planning and information about book signings, along with a plethora of informational conduits from how-to-write a great story, to other helpful hints.

Tools for finding information have their input as Google search engine offers a data element whereby even if you misspell a name it will usual return data that states: DID YOU MEAN…. and it will usually give you the correct name of what you’re looking for. For instance, recently I’ve had to acquire quite a few authors’ names and book jackets for a conference responsibility I’d been assigned. It was easy as pie to enter the name of the author and go either right to their website, or another venue that offered the information I needed. The downside for me was that I was often lost in the intriguing information that almost all of them offered about these talented and prolific authors. I have another bit of news for you too. Agents, publishers, and reviewers all lurk on the web. Yes! They are unseen but become well informed as they scour through various websites to see which authors are promoting their work, if and how many awards they’ve won and what their plans are. How much should an author invest in his/her website? It all depends on how much information the author is willing to provide. Some authors want all their books included, while other requires only their most recent one.

How appealing should the website be?

Questions will always abound relative to the appeal of each website. This usually will depend on perception and how the progenitors want to portray what is to be showcased. In other words, the eye of the beholder will hold sway to any idealistic endeavors. While some of these sites are professionally engineered, others are homegrown and can be just as nice and allow for easy navigation. Authors understand that usually the first impression they make is the one that imprints itself upon the memory of the viewer/reader. There are times when the wherewithal to be turned off by small, lengthy script or too much data on a page is overwhelming in altering preferences. Paradoxically, one may be more apt to read information given in large, eye-catching verbiage and/or colorful photos as opposed to anything bland and unappealing. Not every website is of the author’s own making. Interview sites and web-rings are also viable and exceptionally good ways for high visibility. These sites usually offer pointed and high profile facts about the author and his/her work. It also provides a little peek inside the author’s psyche and inner personality. Included are a few imaginable websites that are easy on the eyes and make you want to revisit.

To wit, author Rochelle Alers felt a need to have her site redesigned and this is what she came up with: http://www.rochellealers.com/. This site is a perfect example of appeal. The soft colors and intimacy of the flash components give reference to something you certainly feel. “When they said new and improved, they didn't lie. They understated. That site is banging and must be mentioned in terms of its technical components. It has everything a website should have without all the bells and whistles…and it's so clean! Many sites are so busy with things ringing and shooting at you, but no real info. I was so impressed with it. I don't know who did it, but that's a person I will consider to do mine”, remarked author, Nathasha Brooks-Harris.

Two other sites that come to mind are authors’ Loure Bussey and Michelle McGriff websites that uses the element of water to illustrate icons of rain. And in the form of the latter she has took it upon herself to using marketing ploys by implementing the use of infomercials as a sign of visibility for added appeal. Alluring and eye-catching they tend to be usurping the idea of commanding time to pay attention to what’s visible or not.

Payback for the author

If websites are used adequately for their intended purpose, authors would want to be pleased for a good return on their investment. More often than not, they want to be as successful as the next person to make sure that readers are up on what they are trying to convey, they want their books to be prominently displayed, and most definitely they want to be known for what they bring to the table. Tracking website visitation is a way to gauge who is paying attention, what they are viewing, and how long they stay on the site. To this effect, authors usually include a counter on their sites to indicate how many hits they’ve gotten to their page. Also included is a guest book providing a way for fans and other authors to leave an appreciative note or just to say hello. I recommend that if you have a favorite author that you visit his/her page and sign the book. It makes them feel good to know that people really are interested in their work and willing to take the time to tell them so. Authors and fans are different horns on the same goat, while each can exist without the other, they’d much rather not. Some of our favorite sites that we think are appealing not only to the eye, but what they offer in quick and easily accessible information throughout this article is indicative of why websites are here for a reason.

Various other websites are available elsewhere on this site for your perusal for your perusal are included here and a few others we feel that are equally viable:

http://www.dsavoy.com/

http://www.brooklynmenus.com/finditem.cfm?itemid=3245

http://www.ivyquill.com/panache.htm

http://www.brandonmassey.com/home.htm

http://www.thesistahcircle.com/interview-wm.htm

http://www.randomhouse.com/features/elynnharris/

http://www.michaelbaisden.com/


Until next time, support your favorite authors and understand the importance of author visibility.



Web Site: The Romer Review



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