Stacy's Place on Earth
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Wednesday, August 25, 2010:
Question: What do you look for in an author's website/blog?
(posted with boss permission *g*)

In my new role as an author's assistant, I've found myself really taking my job perhaps too seriously. Because not only am a huge fan of my author and want her to do well, I can also see it from the reader POV, and so I want to give readers what they want...within reason of course.

It's a fun part-time job, and I'm having a blast learning new things.Since working with her, she and I have had conversations, and Erin would also like to have more of a presence online, so you may see her in some familiar places. Though she tries to spend as much time as she can writing, she also wants readers to know how much she appreciates them, so she's dipping her toes in, and I've hopefully given her some good idea of where she might want to "hang out". Some sites you can currently find Erin:

I know this question gets asked a lot, but before, it never meant anything other than what my expectations are. So I want to hear what you want out the author/reader relationship.

What I really want to know, from you as readers, is what you look for in an author and their website:

What are your expectations of an author's site?

Do you like blogs?

How do you feel about social networking?

Should authors have more or less of any online presence?

Feel free to add anything else that comes to mind. I appreciate any and all feedback you can provide. This will give me a good idea of the pulse of what readers are looking for and I will pass it along to Erin. And please, be honest. That's why I'm asking - to get some insight into what readers like you want :)

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  1. The things I expect from author's web site are: easy navigation and up to date information. I also love blogs and like when authors write about their everyday life (from time to time). I think that good example is Jill Shalvis' blog: And, if author has blog it's very nice if he/she is present in comments also (answering visitors comments).

    These are my expectations :)
    Good luck with your new job!

  2. First congratulations Stacy, I didn't know :-)

    What I expect from an author's website is

    1) to reflect the author's books: when entering their online "home", I want to get a first feeling of what their books are like (colours, athmosphere, etc)

    2) to be easy to navigate

    3) have these must parts: Bio, Contact, NEWS!(I sadly miss these at so many author sites!), Books (there are so many lacking or incomplete or just not well put together book lists): it helps if there is a Released Books, New Releases, Soon to be released, current projects part

    I like it when an author has a blog where they can be more casual and closer to readers. It's always nice reading about an author's every day life, the behind the scenes of writing/publishing, etc. However, it is not for everyone, and I can accept that.

    Same goes with social media: some authors love to chat on Twitter and Facebook, while it is weird for others.

    I hope I was of help and good luck with your new job :-D

  3. I think Lauren Dane and Maya Banks do an excellent job with their website, blog, fb and twitter.

    I want to second everything that Stella and host said. An blog should be up to date and easy to navigate.

  4. I think as long as the author has all the important info on her site such as book cover, blurb and excerpt, that's fine. Twitter and Facebook are important to post links, but I don't think there is this need to worry if say Erin should go on Twitter to chat with everyone.

  5. Agree with all of the above...also, I like to be able to tell which books are part of a series and which are stand-alone. Since lots of times the books don't give the order the series is in, I often refer to the author's site. I don't want to have to click every book to figure out what series/order they're in.

  6. I agree with everything said. Easy to navigate, easy to read, not a lot of twirlies, bling, and moving crap.And yes to plotting books telling us which is stand alone & which in series. Plus, in order is nice.

  7. I agree with everything said. Easy to navigate, easy to read, not a lot of twirlies, bling, and moving crap.And yes to plotting books telling us which is stand alone & which in series. Plus, in order is nice.

  8. All books, organized in an easy-to-navigate fashion. If there are series books, please show them and identify order. If you write in different genres, then it's always nice to see a section for your paranormals, your contemps, your historicals (whatever). But it isn't necessary. However, I could care less who published them, so don't organize by publisher! Link to excerpts, show blurb & covers (covers do not need to be huge - I just want to be able to recognize it in the store!).

    Forthcoming books

    Simple, straightforward and easy to read & navigate. Use persistent primary navigation, so I always know where I am.

    The header should be just that - not take up the entire page.

    NO music on autoplay

    Don't overdo it with the book trailers. I could care less. I'm interested in the blurb and/or excerpt.

    Please no black background (or other dark color)

    Don't build your site in Flash. If I visit your site on my phone, I can't see it. Plus, it's obnoxious, since you can't copy and paste anything like a book description or title.

    I don't necessarily think it's important for an author to have a social presence everywhere if they have a good website; a blog is likely good enough. But only do a blog if you're willing and able to keep it updated. It doesn't matter if they don't have any social media presence if their website is up to date.

  9. My greatest disappointment when I visit an author's website is finding very little about the upcoming publications, where they can be purchased, are they in ebook or print form, and what is the gist/blurb of the story. Some websites that I have visited have been very informative while others have been just a very glitzy form of advertising(which I understand, but which, for reader/fans like me isn't very helpful). I also appreciate knowing more about the author and have appreciated short videos that explain the author's thinking behind a particular book or series or something about themselves.

  10. What I expect on an author's website:
    - release dates of upcoming books (with covers shown if available)
    - the order books should be read if they're part of a series or related in some way
    - excerpts for previous books, current books, as well as upcoming books
    - links to where books may be purchased (especially if it isn't in a big B&N/Wal-Mart like store)
    - professional looking (no blinking lights, music, etc.)

    Author blogs are nice, especially if they have little excerpts of their work in progress or upcoming release that isn't on their website. It's also a nice way to get a better feel of what the author enjoys doing when they're not writing or what they find interesting day-to-day. Same with social networking. Interaction (aka answering questions or at least acknowledging comments) is much appreciated.

  11. What are your expectations of an author's site?

    I expect a author's site to be easy to navigate. I expect it to have a bibliography of all their work. It should have new about any upcoming releases and a little bit about the author as well. Usually if I am looking at an author's site those are the pieces of information I am looking for. Any extras like a blog by the author, a message board or links to articles about the author is always a nice bonus too.

    Do you like blogs?

    Love blogs! That's why I am here. :)

    How do you feel about social networking?

    It's part of society now. You pretty much have to embrace it to some extent especially if you have something you want people to know about and get into. Personally I am not as involved as social networking as a lot of people. I do think there is such thing as going overboard. However, it would definitely be beneficial for an author to at least have a Facebook page and a Twitter account and be active on it. But be careful not to cross the line of too active.

    Should authors have more or less of any online presence?

    I think they should have as much of an online presence as they feel comfortable with.

  12. Usually the only thing I want to know is what their next book is going to be and when is it coming out.

    Congrats on the job, btw!

  13. I love blogs and expect to read about authors, books, and their lives. Oh, and the contests.


  14. There are a few things I want to find from author's site:

    -book cover & good long back blurbs (the original synopsis that it has in the back cover, not some one or two sentence, shortened version of it)
    -what books are coming in the near future
    -if a book is part of some series

    And I like those black blurbs to be found quite easily. Not being impressed if I press the cover or "more info about the book" and end up to a page where there is only an excerpt.

  15. Oh... *thinks*

    I'm going to echo everyone else. I like an author's site to be easy to navigate, with information on books clearly laid out. This information has to be up-to-date...there is nothing worse that realizing an author hasn't updated her website.

    Yes. I think Nalini Singh has a great blog. It has the personal touch (but not overly so) and keeps readers up-to-date with book titles and summaries, release dates and website updates (very useful :) She also occasionally posts snippets! But..and this is very important, she doesn't push her books. Her touch is very subtle. I understand an author has to market, but forceful marketing drives me nuts (but that's just me :)

    I avoid social networking, so I can't help you on that one sorry.

    WRT online presence...I think there's a fine line. It should work for them - I don't think they should feel obliged to do more if that doesn't work for them.

    Hope that helps :)

  16. Oh. Forgot to mention. I don't understand the members only section that some authors have. You want to withhold site content from me? Fine. I'll buy someone else's books. There are a few folks who do this (just came across one that reminded me about this pet peeve).

  17. What are your expectations of an author's site?
    When I visit an author's site I want to be able to find details of their books - including which books belong to a series and the order the books are in. I do like having a link to an excerpt on each book since it tends to give me an insight into whether I'll actually read the book. When I'm not sure whether its worth me buying a book and I can't find an excerpt it does tend to result in me choosing not to make a purchase.
    I recognize that it can be difficult to balance having excerpts with the the need to keep the bandwidth of the website sensible, but at very least the back cover blurb of the older books is useful so that as a reader I can see if those books are ones I want to read.
    Other than that I agree with most of what's already been said.

    Do you like blogs?
    I like blogs, although I do tend to be a reader who doesn't comment much - but blogs are only worthwhile if they are updated.

    How do you feel about social networking?
    I think that authors should only do what they feel comfortable with - but if they are using Facebook, etc that there should be (unbroken) links on their website as some people don't have good search skill.

    Should authors have more or less of any online presence?
    I think its important for an author to have a website at the very least - since I will go looking for one if I like an author. Beyond that, I think it is very much a case of what they feel comfortable with.

  18. What are your expectations of an author's site?
    I want to know book list, series lists, book information (publication dates, summaries) and upcoming books. I like contact forms/information. I enjoy if they provide information about themselves. I like to know of upcoming events (like book signings) and any contest information.

    Do you like blogs?

    How do you feel about social networking?
    I enjoy using blogs and twitter as a method to meet and chat with other like-minded (book) people. I have also gotten to know authors via twitter and learn about new (to me) books and series.

    Should authors have more or less of any online presence?
    I think that is a personal choice. If an author is willing to open themselves up to their fans, then "online" is a great way to do it. But not all authors feel comfortable being so exposed. If that's the case - they should stick to blogging and not use twitter!

  19. The main thing I look for is that the information is up to date. It annoys the hell out of me when I go to check an author's website to see if there is another book coming out in a series only to see that the site hasn't been touched since the last book came out.

  20. I don't need an author to have a fancy website. I'm a minimalist at heart! What I do expect is up-to-date information and a site which is easy to navigate. I like blurbs and excerpts of upcoming books. I've come across several author websites where they provide excerpts but no blurbs. This drives me crazy. If I'm just browsing, I don't want to be forced to read through the excerpt to find out what the book is about.

    Enjoy your new job! It sounds like a lot of fun.

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