To Website or Not to Website


Something I didn’t do, and now feel to be so important for anyone serious about becoming a known writer, is to get some sort of website up in the beginning, a ‘gathering place’ where those interested can get to know you. Simple is fine. You can always fancy it up down the road when you’ve made lots of money selling your books and have more that you want to share than you have room for. My first website went live last week. That’s the story. I thought I knew and had not done enough homework.

Before committing, do the homework. Go to Amazon and look at the top selling picture books, then check out the author’s website. What grabs you? You’ll find that not only is this not work, it can be quite fun. Though sometimes a bit overwhelming. Remember, these authors have most likely been in the business for years. Baby steps. Step by consistent step, at a pace that fits *us* is the only way we will ever reach our goal.  And, from what I hear, you can build your own website, if you want to.

I’m pretty sure I could have built my own, but I found myself too wrapped up in learning the indie process, so I looked around and hired one of the biggest website builders in the industry. I thought it would be quicker. Wrong!  I should have done more homework. Just because it’s big doesn’t mean it gives a fig about you or promoting picture books. Three months later my website was ‘done’ with lots of place holders.  I hated everything about it. With all those place holders I felt I was basically building my own site while throwing big bucks down the toilet. Oh, the guilt! That being said, I blame no one but me.

Actually, I blame my award-winning, writer friend Kirby. Why didn’t she think to update her site earlier? It would have saved me a bundle. A few months ago, Kirby decided to upgrade her website and chose Be careful of envy. I loved her new site so much I ended up flushing the toilet and there went my misspent $$$. Am I sorry? Not one bit. Or so I keep telling myself. The good news is I got to spend the past week working back and forth with Jenny, who I felt cared about (even though she had to have had trouble translating what I was trying to say) what I was aiming for.

Here’s another MAJOR thing to keep in mind. How many books will you have to sell to cover the cost when you do this sort of thing?

Here, again, is where more homework comes in. You need to shop around. Think of it as more fun. Search the internet for web-builders. There are a zillion out there. In all price-ranges. Be choosy. Many book designers also build websites. Find the right one for you. And be careful of those who come to you. Check these out especially well.

The main reason I feel an early website is so important is so you don’t end up like me, feeling unfinished. Not wanting to share much about my books, not wanting to dive into social media, not having a place to gather addresses for a mailing list and not having the site address everyone seems to ask for.  Stay tuned. I now have the website I coveted. It remains to be seen if my thinking was right. Watch out world, here I come.

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