Writing Excuses Season 2 Episode 17: Website Marketing for Authors

Our producer Jordan Sanderson joins us for this week’s installment, in which we likely make all kinds of enemies among the authorial community by exposing the many things they’re doing wrong with their websites.

The fact that you, fair listener, are here reading content on our website shows that you have fine taste in these things, and trust us to lead you right. And we will! We’ll do you proper on blogging, domain names, hosting, connecting with fans and editors, and taking care regarding your rants.

Writing Prompt: Write a story about the worst website ever.

Liner Notes: It should be pointed out that John Ringo‘s website has come a long way since Howard last looked at it. Good work, John!  We also mentioned websites from George R.R. Martin, David Farland, John Scalzi, and of course Brandon Sanderson. Brandon also mentioned holaservers.com. Congratulations, Earl!


34 thoughts on “Writing Excuses Season 2 Episode 17: Website Marketing for Authors”

  1. I’m not a blogger. I keep up with Howard and Brandon’s blogs, but seriously doubt that I would ever have one of my own. Most of my opinions I wouldn’t want the world to know (I hear world domination is easier if no one sees it coming).

  2. You guys are full of awesome. I vote for “20 minutes long, because you’ve learned to slow down a little and we think we’re a little smarter.”

  3. I thought this episode covered everything you could about website marketing in 15 minutes. I just have one question. Should you post sneak peaks on the site of the book you are aiming to get published? By sneak peaks I mean like the first few chapters.

  4. Websites? Bah, this “Internet” thing will never catch on. It’s just a fad, people prefer books and live interaction I tell you!

  5. Now if everyone will excuse me I have to go and oil the axle of my carriage. My horse gets tired when the wheels run out of grease.

  6. Jake you are totally wrong. Websites for books are great. I remember when I first got into reading when I was younger there were no real websites except fan made ones and they were great but now authors have their own site. What really makes a site good though is when it has things up on it that are not like needed. An example is Brandon’s site with all those essays he has on it. They are all really good.

  7. I keep a writing blog on LiveJournal, but its mostly to keep me writing. I have to post an update on it once a week or I know I haven’t been writing enough.

  8. @Raethe — well, in fact, while there may be many nets, there can be only one Internet. Now whether or not some minute part of it is on your lawn . . . that’s between you and the kids. But with WiFi and whatnot, you’re likely to find parts of it almost anywhere.

  9. I’m with Jake.
    What ever happened to walking up to people with a baseball bat and saying “Buy My Book! Or else…”
    Nobody respects the classics anymore.

  10. @WEKM. I respect classics but I also enjoy having websites for the books. You can do both it does not have to be just one.

  11. I would watch out Alex. That baseball threat sounded serious…and with the internet, h3 knwz wherez u liv3!!

  12. Apart from having to lug the bat with you wherever you go, that notion isn’t half bad. :) And if one happened to have to put the threat into action – well, no doubt there are nice jails where one can get good, quiet writing-time. Quite a few books have been written in jail after all – didn’t Mallory write Morte d’Arthur (which I haven’t read, by the way) in jail – or should that be gaol? – or am I mistaken? (Perhaps that was how he ended up in gaol in the first place – ah, the sufferings of authors for their craft in the dark days before the internet – sigh.) :)

  13. Good point about the jail writing time. O’Henry wrote several of his short stories while in jail. Pick up some good stories from your jailmates…
    yeah, they’ll all respect you when its time to swap stories. “What are you in for?”
    “Oh, I beat up some punk because he wouldn’t buy my book…”
    shocked silence.

  14. But doing both, wouldn’t that dilute the threats of violence?
    Oh wait! I can print my web address on the bat. Yes, that could work, carve it in nice and deep in reverse so it leaves a raised welt or the URL. BRILLIANT!

    Someone should have never taught me about IP tracking software and Google Earth. Some people are just better off not knowing those kinds of things.
    It’s not that I want to be an Evil Overlord, I just have too much training to do anything else.

  15. @WEKM Sounds perfect – but remember! Hit hard enough – but not too hard; you don’t want your free advertisement buried underground, after all…

    @ S.M. And the shocked silence in jail would be inspired by fear – what else would you be capable of? Also perfect; after all, the idea is to be left alone to write, not spend your time being bullied and such time-consuming nonsense!

  16. Yes they do, and if the topic is not enough to fill a whole episode, they will throw it into one of the question and answer sessions.
    Yes your topic could be featured at the next live Con recording.

  17. Marco Polo also wrote his book whilst in prison, heck even our national anthem was written in by a man in the pokey…

  18. In regards to the idea of sharing a progress bar widget for people to post on their sites; there is in fact a cheap and trivially easy way to do that.

    Put a small GIF image up on your site and let people reference it in their img tags.
    Whenever you update that image, you need only wait for caches to expire before the updated image appears on all the other sites.

    It could even be an animation of yourself writing pages and placing them in a pile, with the pile of paper acting as the bar. Copy paste a new page on the stack for every 5%, say.

  19. Let’s not forget the great man who when asked why he was in prison looked at his interlocutor and responded, “The question is not what I am doing in here, but why are you out there?”

    Who was that, anyway?

  20. Thanks to the help of google . . . Henry David Thoreau, talking to Emerson when Thoreau had been arrested for tax rebellion.

  21. I absolutely love your podcasts. There’s been quite a bit of good and useful information shared with us hopefuls. I am one of the poor souls who took part in NaNoWriMo. I have been tossing around the idea of creating a site to chronicle my progress and what I learn while working on the second draft. To that end I have been researching author sites that grab and keep my interest and I have to agree with most of what you guys mentioned.

    Author sites should be an equal amount of marketing and audience interaction. Keeping current is important for any site and especially important for writers since most of their projects are at least a year in the making.

    I love that the topics are relatively broad yet relevant and are more than just telling us to use Strunk & White. Plus the podcasts are just entertaining. We can tell that you guys are having fun all the while. Just wanted to thank you guys for some good information and a fun time.

    Btw, if any of you guys are looking for help with your own sites let me know. It’s what I do to pay the bills while I steal away the nighttime hours fiddling with my manuscript. And since I am being laid off from said job, I may have some time to fill if anyone would like some help.

  22. Okay, so the Net is convenient and fun and reaches a wide audience. However, if it weren’t for “face time” and Brandon and Dave (Farland) being so cool and personable and my fiancee talking me up to them, I would have just ranted on a webpage somewhere. Not gotten back into writing or in a writing group, or been able to attend my first professional writing seminar! (Thanks, Dave)! Nor would I have been able to make ammends for poor publicity last time with a smaller, more enthusiastic store to visit.

    I don’t work in front of a computer, so I guess its not as big a deal. I don’t know.

    Face time is still way more cool! :) Thanks guys!

  23. This topic is super important. I think that before a writer actually publishes a novel, they need to have a website with their name as the URL.

    It also makes it much easier to tell someone your site, for example, brandon can just say “go to brandonsanderson.com” and people will find it easily because its easy to remember and its easy to get first on the search results for “brandon sanderson”.

    Readers could have a harder time finding Dan because “danwells.com” is already taken. In my opinion, if he had published as “Dan Butcher” for the horror genre for example, that would have been pretty cool.

    If you have a super common name like “John Smith” and johnsmith.com is not an available domain name, you might want to really seriously consider using a pen-name so that when people search for you on the internet, they will easily identify your website and easily find you. So much better if your pen-name evokes the genre.

    For howard, schlockmercenary.com is probably pretty good since a lot of writers may be more farmiliar with the name of the comic than the name of the author. Howard should probably register howardtayler.com though, which he could just redirect to the schlock site. It doesn’t look like anyone owns it now.

Comments are closed.