If you’ve read the very helpful “How-to” indie author promotion guides out there they all say, in no uncertain terms —
You have to have a website.
Ok, then. Let’s get to it.
I did what I thought was good detective work and went to the websites of some of the world’s most famous authors. Stephen King, James Patterson, Danielle Steel. I mean, seriously, these are three ridiculously successful contemporary authors. Surely their websites will inspire me in my quest to build the perfect online presence for myself?
These folks are so famous they don’t need a great website. As a matter of fact I’m quite certain some of these sites haven’t had their designs updated since they first went up. While they aren’t quite as bad as Yvette’s Bridal Formal, they are pretty darn dated.
Stephen King. Other than Philip K Dick, I cannot think of another author whose books have been made into so many successful movies. I mean HUGE movies. Shawshank Redemption, The Shining, Green Mile, Carrie, Running Man, Stand By Me. And tons more. I mean, Come on!, it’s an embarrassment of riches.
From an author as prolific as Stephen King I kind of want an overwhelmingly spooky or just plain cool experience when I click on StephenKing.com. Ok, maybe not overwhelmingly, but some amount of whelm should happen for me as a fan. [And really, I’m a big fan. I recently joined GoodReads and started clicking “Read” (that’s past tense btw) on all the King books I’ve read. Turns out I’ve read a lot of them. More than I even realized.] But no spookiness or cool experiences are to be found on his site. Gray and grayer. Dated font in the header. I found no inspiration there. Disappointment and loneliness is all that awaited me at StephenKing.com.
James Patterson. From his wikipedia page:
Seven hundred million dollars!? Now an author like that has to have an amazing website, right? With all that cash from his bazillion novels he has to have put aside a few hundred bucks to make sure that thing is a beacon of hope and promise for his fans and a testament to his success to anyone who may visit.
Danielle Steel. Who among us hasn’t read this woman’s romance novels?
She is the best selling author alive and the fourth bestselling fiction author of all time, with over 800 million copies sold. She has written 165 books, including 141 novels. — Wikipedia
I used to get so psyched when a TV movie from a Danielle Steel novel was going to air. It was always going to be good and there almost always was one of Charlie’s Angels starring in it. Alas, her site is not nearly as exciting or inspiring as her many novels.
I don’t blame the authors of course. Not only are they tremendously busy writing their next best seller, but they are also at such a high level of fame that there has to be someone somewhere who is in charge of maintaining their websites. That someone somewhere is totally to blame. They should be ashamed.
They aren’t alone. Clive Cussler, James Frey, John Grisham. None of their sites match the creativity of their stories.
Almost every indie author website I’ve visited through clicking here and there on GoodReads is much better than any of the fine folks’ sites listed above. It’s clear they put thought and time into the presentation and content.
My site is perpetually under construction. For now, it is what it is, but it will change and change again until I’m satisfied it’s the best it can be.
If you know of a great author’s website, please do let me know. I truly do need some inspiration.