Saturday, January 23, 2010

Author Websites

A question was recently posed to me that made me think. What does your writer website do for you? Is it worth the expense?

I'd never really considered why I'd made my personal website ( for the curious) just got a connection to build it back in the 90s when I started publishing quite a bit of my own work. Being asked the question now made me think.

Why do I have a website? What does it do for me?

Here's some of the stuff I came up with:
  • central location for your online work
  • freely accessible "collection"
  • bio and pix there for easy cut/paste when sending out new work
  • press clips are nice, but hard to offer people via email

but the number one thing that it does I think is raise a writer's profile. If you have a nice site and a prospective client or boss clicks on it and is impressed, it's like having a nice portfolio or an excellent business card. It shows you are organized, gives a glimpse into your personality, lets people browse for what is of interest to them. I'm grateful for having an elegant website. I have gotten a lot of compliments from editors who browsed after agreeing to publish my stories, and even from random acquaintances who googled me and wanted to tell me they were impressed.

so if you're just starting out, do you need a website? not in the least. But it wouldn't hurt to keep a list of author sites whose form or layout you really like just in case you eventually want to create one. A tip: look for the name of the designer somewhere on the site. Chances are when you're ready to make your website, that designer will be looking for a new client too.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

For thine is the power...

More in the new laptop annals: so I was in a coffeeshop (remember? I was a desktop user until two weeks ago) and again I proved my fossilhood. I was the only PC in a sea of macs. I tried not to let it get to me, and after about ten minutes, was fully 'into' the writing. Everyone disappeared. Their trendy armwarmers. Their sexy bed head hair. Their Facebook screens that I could just make out if I squinted...gone. I found myself picking at strands of my hair, twisting it as if I could wring the right words from it, same as I do at home--then shuddering awake like I used to do in early morning classes in college. Whoops. Am I in public? But soon I was deep in the story again, and not paying attention to my actions.

Until the cursor jumped up into some word in a paragraph I'd been done with for forty seconds. I didn't notice until I'd already typed half a dozen more words. Now I had to figure out cut/paste using the touchpad. Argh! There it went again, just as I was pasting, some heat my palm was generating activated the touch pad and everything went wonky. Not cool. I was cursing like a sailor, hardly even under my breath. In a coffee shop full of mac users who knew how to raise single eyebrows--something like an Ethyl Merman synchronized swimming routine, but over steaming lattes.

Then!! I must have created this with my own desperate need, like in The Secret or The Compass or whatever the latest "you won't believe how strong your mind is" shelf-help (I think I just coined a word with my typo--a book you read once then leave out to prove you read it) book....I look down at the touchpad that is causing me grief and there, tiny, never before seen. Smaller than the @ symbol is a tiny toggle. I touch it and an icon tells me my touchpad is off.

This is easy. Life is good. I only wish I could say I finished my novel...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Writing Tools

This is a random post, just asking, because I got a new laptop for Christmas and instead of being furiously productive in my own work, as I'd hoped, I have found myself spending literally hours "acclimating" to the whole process of writing on a laptop (yea, I was a desktop dinosaur before).... but here's the really odd thing: despite my complete idiocy in using this sexy little technobeast (I keep hitting the touchpad with some random invisible part of my palm and moving the cursor while typing, or creating fascinating events by accidentally hitting two or three keys together) I have found that any new writing I am doing (and granted there is a lot less of it thanks to tutorials my friend the laptop wants me to take and so forth) -- anyway, any new writing I am doing is fresh, vibrant, in a word, hot. What's that about? Is it possible that simply changing writing tools makes your writing fresh? why are we writers such creatures of habit if that is the case? Comments, anyone?