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When to start an Author Site

Snikt5

Scribe
It is hard to strike the balance. I began a blog once I knew I was in the final stages of drafting my first novel. I wanted to document the process and looking back it was rewarding to see just how much time and effort the process was. However, I also knew I needed to maintain interest in the blog and so I posted several reviews of the books I had been reading. Four years on I had reviewed over 200 books, each review ranging from 500 to 1,000 words long.

My site had been visited over 40,000 times, but I had become known more for my reviews than my writing. It is difficult to know how many of those visitors went on to buy my books but I do know, the effort I spent on those reviews (whilst enjoyable) could have been spent on writing another book.

My advice would be to start an author site as soon as you can, but don't spend all your time and effort on it. The important thing is the book.
 

piperofyork

Scribe
I'd wager many a platinum that this has been discussed at length in other threads, so I apologize for any redundancies here. I have plenty of academic publications from my day job, but nary a tale in print (although my first novel is, as Orwell might say, within measurable distance of its end). I understand the importance of having an author website, but without a single fiction publication to my name (yet!), is there any point in publishing an author website now? To be clear, I can see the point of working on my website now. I'm just uncertain about the usefulness/prudence/point of publishing it before I have at least one publication to mention and one forthcoming publication, or something like that. I'd love to hear any advice you have!

P.S. I can't see myself getting into blogging, at least not yet. (But who knows? Perhaps my thinking about blogging is too limited.)
 
I’d say there is minimal value to it until you are ready to do… something. Whether that is approaching agents or readers or whatever. That said, building it early is a good plan. Blogs, I am on the side of casual blogging, meaning update whenever the hell you feel like it, because you’re better off spending that time writing. Unless, of course, you just have nothing but time. Unlike me.
 

pmmg

Vala
Another old one, but I started building this in my mind over the last several weeks, and last week began to write out the content. I dont the right answer to this, but I feel publication is coming sooner rather than later, and I have the skill, and I know its does really cost much. I would like to have it ready as a marketing tool when I launch. So, for any still asking a question like this, my answer is try to have it up on or around the same time as your publication hits.

For anyone interested, three beta readers currently on book 1, one beta reader on book two, waiting for them to return with comments. Book 3 is at 48,000 words, which is an amazing pace for me. Still low on $$$, but getting there.
 
If your website is free (there are plenty of places that'll offer you a free website), there's no reason not to build it as soon as possible. Even if you're not using it much now, it'll give you experience in making and managing it. It works as a hub to put all your work in one place where readers can find it, and a convenient place to link people where they can find all of your information (that is, the information you choose to tell them).

If you're looking to pay for web hosting, that's a bit different; I wouldn't recommend making that investment until you have a reason to. I write web serials, and I didn't start paying for my web site for about 3 years. It wasn't worth it until then.
 

skip.knox

toujours gai, archie
Moderator
>Even if you're not using it much now, it'll give you experience in making and managing it.
Yes, this.
You do not want to be learning how to manage and extend your web site while your readers suffer through your mistakes. Better to fumble about, get your feet under you, and *then* announce.
 

Puck

Minstrel
Never too early. If you have good content on it and an audience building up that is. Publishers like that. If you have some interesting bits and bobs and maybe a short story or two to put on it from time to time, it will help sell a few more books by the time you publish one.

I started a medieval history blog, mainly for my own personal entertainment, for writing practise and as a bit of a showcase.

9 nine months in a Publisher approached me for a proposal and commissioned me to write a book on the back of that thing! So, it obviously can work. (I just have to write the book now....!)

So, I guess that shows - "if you build it, they will come."
 

Ned Marcus

Inkling
Okay, I'll reenter the resurrected thread.

I once came across a writer who spent a lot of time building a social media presence (I can't remember whether he had a website, but I think so). He generated interest while he was writing his fantasy novel. The only problem was—he never actually finished his novel. I guess he may have done so many years later, but I followed him for about two or three years, and slowly the people who were interested just drifted away. He stopped posting, too.

I think this is the danger of starting a website too soon. If you're not yet confident that you can actually write a novel, it may be too soon. And it WILL take time away from writing your story.
 

pmmg

Vala
I should probably be making this now. I have content prepared and a good idea of how I would want it to look, but I am still in writing mode. I dont really want to stop to create something new. I dont think I will really be rolling along until this third book is finished, and then only if I dont push on into Book four. Course my cat continues to vex. Every night he wants to lay on the keyboard and every night I have to push him off. He really does not like my writing. ATM, he is staring at me, trying to make me feel guilty.
 

Puck

Minstrel
I once came across a writer who spent a lot of time building a social media presence (I can't remember whether he had a website, but I think so). He generated interest while he was writing his fantasy novel. The only problem was—he never actually finished his novel.

I think it is important to be disciplined about it, otherwise there is a real risk that something like that will happen. Once you start doing both, you need to draw up a publishing schedule for yourself, or at least develop some rules in terms of how much time you will devote to which task.
 
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