"The notion that such persons are gay of heart and carefree is curiously untrue. They lead, as a matter of fact, an existence of jumpiness and apprehension. They sit on the edge of the chair of Literature. In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats."
- James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times

Monday, February 23, 2009

Oh, what a tangled web we weave

It's funny how the same topic will be on so many people's minds. I had been thinking all week that as soon as I could, I wanted to blog about my website, and LJ Sellers' latest blog is about - drumroll, please - websites and blogs and whether you need both. Great minds...

In the beginning, I had a website. I got one because some expert somewhere told me I needed one if I was going to be taken seriously as a writer and get the word out about my wordsmithing prowess. Even though I'm a software engineer by training, I decided to go with a kind of 'plug-and-play' site builder because I didn't want to take the time away from my new career as a writer just to learn html. I used Yahoo's Small Business Web Hosting to pick a template and fill in the blanks. I named it www.gaylecarline.com. Genius, huh?

It took me a little while to get the content right, mostly due to the fact that I didn't know what I was doing. At the time, I was writing journalistic articles for Riding Magazine and humor columns for the Placentia News-Times. You could say I felt divided, and my website reflected it. Finally, I got it all sorted out, and added buttons to lead you to whatever half of my writing personality you wanted to hire. In an attempt to garner more interest in my humor, I also put some funny pictures with funny captions, to show people that I'm funny.

Fast forward to now: I'm being published! Freezer Burn will be out in September 2009, I have a story in Missing, which is now available, and I've started writing the second book of Peri's escapades. I still want to write my humor column. I no longer write my Riding column, but if my editor called and asked me to cover a show or interview a trainer, I'd do it in a heartbeat, just because they gave me my publishing start.

So what I'm asking is, what should my website look like now? Please take a look-see, if you've got the time and tell me: Where should I focus? What's working? What needs to go away?

Even if you don't want to give me specific suggestions for my site, how do you think your website reflects who you want people to think you are?


L.J. Sellers said...

Great minds, indeed! I like the colors on your website and its clean bright look. But it does come off as divided. You might consider having your fiction and nonfiction on separate pages with big button-style links to each other.

Helen Ginger said...

I'm not a good person to ask. My site is pretty bland. But here are my thoughts. Your website seems scattered. A lot of stuff on the front page but they don't fit together to create an image of you the writer.

Here's what I would suggest...go to xuni.com and look at the websites listed there. You'll find the client list at:

Now, I don't even know the name of the woman (I believe) who does these sites for a lot of well-known authors, but she does a great job. My guess is she's expensive, but it doesn't cost anything to browse through the sites she's done and get ideas.

Gayle Carline said...

Thank you oh, so much, Helen. The web designer you sent me to gave me lots of good ideas!

Diana Black said...

Well, I can SO relate! I had the same problem, and finally came up with a very simple home page that has links (defined by both text & graphics) that will lead the viewer to all my many personalities and interests!

It's important, however, when creating those links (be it on a blog or website), to add this code to the html (or if working with a template, where noted): target="new"

This will keep the viewer on your site even when they link away. In other words, when they "X" out of the site they linked to, where they will end up is right back on your home page...Guess what I'm trying to say is, we don't want to lose our viewers because they keep "clicking" further away and forgetting where they started! They will end up back on your site and it could possibly mean a book or other type of sale or contact.

For an example, if you feel like it, check out:

Hope this was helpful!


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