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Topic: Author websites - functional or flashy?

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Subject: Author websites - functional or flashy?
Date Posted: 8/22/2009 10:31 PM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2007
Posts: 808
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I'm beyond frustrated with one really great author. Her website is more like online gaming. With mysterious navigation and lotsa animation. The problem is a) trying to find the information I'm looking for and b) it is not updated as frequently as a simpler site might be.

So what do y'all think? (Go ahead and click. The sites will open in a new window.)

Cherry Adair's website or Lora Leigh's website

These are just two examples, though I haven't seen another as woo-woo as Cherry Adair's. Personally, I prefer Lora Leigh's functional site where I can quickly find up-to-date information. 'Cause I'm a reader, not a gamer.

ADDENDUM 8/24/2009: For the sake of comparing apples to apples, here's a link to Cindy Gerard's website. Her Bodyguards and Black Ops series are similar to Cherry Adair's T-FLAC series (teams of uber-alpha males saving the world, one woman at a time).


Last Edited on: 8/24/09 12:23 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/22/2009 11:29 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
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I'm with you I just want the facts.   Elizabeth Chadwick's site has a place to view the trailers if you wish to. With her I usually do because their like mini movies.

Date Posted: 8/22/2009 11:59 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
Posts: 2,164
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Functional please!  Most of the time I just want a backlist or the correct order in a series, so all I ask is that these are easy to find. 

Date Posted: 8/23/2009 12:16 AM ET
Member Since: 2/3/2009
Posts: 4,591
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Exactly...just give me a booklist (preferably one that shows series, in order) and a "what's up next" update. Adair's site gives me a headache.

Date Posted: 8/23/2009 12:55 AM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2006
Posts: 6,436
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I'm not even going to look, I know I'll hate it. Gimme the *info*!

Date Posted: 8/23/2009 1:12 AM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2007
Posts: 808
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My favorite authors are the ones who post ISBNs as soon as they are assigned... I've actually managed to start in the single digits in a few WL queues by visiting author websites!

Jerelyn, Lora Leigh does some coo-wul promo videos for her series, but they're dated. Alison Kent did a promo video for her Files of SG-5 series. Kent's is worth a peek for the music and the hunks. But first and foremost, their sites are functional!


Date Posted: 8/23/2009 1:20 AM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
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Hey thanks Colleen I'll check it out, you did say hunks right?  **G**

Date Posted: 8/23/2009 9:16 AM ET
Member Since: 8/30/2008
Posts: 2,207
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I posted on the "Dear........." thread a while back that I was frustrated with author websites - personally I'm not looking for bells and whistles, my sound is muted most of the time because some of their music was distracting. When I visit an author's site it's usually to find which books might be connected. I don't read blogs as a rule, don't read much of the narrative on author sites - what I look for is a well laid out book list, preferably with a printable-list page. I don't have a printer but with the printable list I can copy and paste to a Notepad document, or forward the information to myself at work.

One thing I never read on a site is a genealogical chart - the characters' family tree is irrevelent to me unless there is an actual LIST of the connected books, in the order they should be read. I will NOT search the family tree to find out which generation is in which book. If it's too cumbersome to find what I'm looking for at the author site, I'll get the information elsewhere.

I don't know if authors trust their web designers, or how much feedback/input they give their designers, but some sites are godawful dreadful. One of the worst sites I'd ever visited was Dara Joy's; it looked like it was designed by a 12-year old. Oh, maybe most 12-year olds are more sophisticated than that - maybe it was an adult with very, very bad taste. So I guess my personal bottom line is:

1. cut back on bells & whistles
2. tasteful, please
3. easy to navigate booklist pages
4. easy to read lists of connected books


Date Posted: 8/23/2009 10:18 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I like a tiny bit of flash but mostly functional. Some of them have websites that look like a child designed them adn they are way out of date.

But I don't like to see all the characters bio'd and given a face by actors and models. I don't usually like the little video promos.

Some of them have nice sites though with a little flash but not overwhelmin. LIke Alexander McCall Smiths websites playse African Music and has some little moving animals. That was ok.

Lisa Jackson and Stella Cameron have nice websites. Up to date and with nice graphics but nothing in your face or that you have constantlly skip or try to ignore. 

Date Posted: 8/23/2009 10:47 AM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2009
Posts: 6,035
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I like Julia Quinn's website. She has the printable book list, the series connections.  If you like more bells and whistles, you can find contests,  trailers and soundtracks if that's your thing, but they are buried in enough layers that they aren't in your face.  The thing I like the most are her book notes.  For each of her books, she points out little facts that you might not have noticed, like where minor characters appeared in more than one book, how she did the Russian translations in What Happens In London, and just other random stuff that I always find interesting.

Date Posted: 8/23/2009 11:30 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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I hate that artsy-fartsy stuff.  It's pretty sad, and I've had to do it several times myself, when you have to go to fantastic fiction to get an author's book list just because their website is too confusing to navigate.

Date Posted: 8/23/2009 11:47 AM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,594
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Definitely functional is better!  Oh, and update the damned thing too.  Drives me crazy when there's like one update a year.  Once or twice a month is fine.

I go with easy to navigate over flashy anytime.

Date Posted: 8/23/2009 6:35 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2009
Posts: 232
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I found Mary Balogh's website to be very helpful, including a printable list of her series' in order, plus a page devoted to books that were related, especially ones that aren't necessarily about a single family - more like a former villain in one book is the hero in another, or a best friend in one is a main character in another.



Date Posted: 8/23/2009 11:55 PM ET
Member Since: 1/15/2007
Posts: 880
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Last Edited on: 7/2/10 12:36 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/26/2009 1:21 PM ET
Member Since: 8/3/2005
Posts: 798
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both of my favorite author websites are polar opposite.  One is easy to navigate and find what I want, while the other one I have to look for the particular series to find the next book I need.  But I keep the particular page bookmarked so I just surf in and surf out.