Monday, October 10, 2016

New Workshop Coming to TWC: Build Your Own Author Website

By Meg Eden Kuyatt

A question writers often ask is: “When do I need an author’s website?” The answer I tell my students is that no matter where they are currently in their writing careers, it’s important to have one.  
It sounds like a daunting task to make an author’s website—I procrastinated making mine, afraid of all the work that might be involved. But website creation doesn’t have to be terrifying—I was able to make my website in just one sitting. In fact, this single-session website work inspired me to lead the “Build Your Own Author Website” workshop at The Writer’s Center.

In the author’s website workshop, we’ll begin by looking at some examples of strong websites, and then brainstorm material that you can display on yours. We’ll talk about strategies for pointing people to your site, and also how to use social media to promote it. Most importantly, I’ll walk you through an easy and affordable website creator and then open up the rest of the time for you to begin exploring and building on your own. 

Meg's author website

What’s so important about having your author’s website, also known as an author platform, is that it can be used to present your work in exactly the way you want it to be known in the writing community. If you’re submitting to agents and editors, they will probably Google you—and you want to be in control of what they see. Your website is a starting point where anyone interested in your work will go. There, potential readers can find your social media links, your contact information, previous examples of your work (this can be links to previously published work or examples of your current work), and any other information you want them to find. Even if you don’t have a book out, there’s still a great amount of information you can put on a website—and beginning to encourage traffic to your site pre-book can increase your book’s popularity when it is released.  Finally, it’s also great to have a website if you attend open mikes and readings. If your listeners are interested in getting to know you and your work, you can easily point them to it. 

The efficient part of designing a website in a workshop space is that you’ll be able to ask questions and get help immediately. I feel very strongly that this time should be used for you to accomplish your website design goals. For example, you’ll be able to get feedback from your peers on what’s working well, on what can be improved, and on what can be made clearer. By the end of the session, you’ll feel comfortable with the interface, and you may even finish the basics of your website! Once your website is finished, you will be able to email your fellow students for post-workshop feedback. 

If you’re clueless about where to start with building a website or are not sure how to set aside the time to do it, I strongly encourage you to attend this workshop. I think you’ll find that making a website doesn’t have to be hard, and that it can actually be an enjoyable part of promoting your book! 

"The Build Your Own Author Website" workshop will take place on December 3, 2016 from 1:00-4:00 p.m. You may click here or call The Writer's Center to register. 

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