Sell Yourself with a WebsiteThursday, July 31st, 2008
Websites are extremely beneficial to authors. Say you’re shopping your novel. Give agents and editors your web address, and they can easily find you online, read your bio, view your previous work and awards, and learn more about you. You can only put so much in that query letter, and your website can sell you a lot better than a one-paragraph bio.
Agents and editors are looking for writers with marketability. A professional website shows them that you are serious. It says that you know how to connect with people, that you are a go-getter and won’t sit back and expect someone to do it for you.
Laura Benedict, author of Isabella Moon (Ballantine Books, 2007), wasted no time in creating an online presence. Within two weeks of signing a two-book contract, she hired a designer to create her website, https://www.laurabenedict.com.
“There is a mythology built up among writers that a big publishing house will do all kinds of promotions for its authors,” says Benedict. “While that may be true for some very big names, it is not true for the vast majority of a house’s authors.”
“I do not regret one dime I’ve spent on web promotion,” she says. “My website is unique, and it presents a professional, public face for me that a publishing house could not give me if it tried.”
And publishers know this.
For the freelance magazine writer, having a website is a great place to market yourself and your work to potential editors. It also makes the querying process a lot less messy. No more attachments. Simply query with a link to your samples.
In early 2007, I decided to build my own website to display my magazine feature samples, my resume, and my bio. The challenge was to create a site that was professional, easy to navigate, and captured my personality. I figured the last thing an editor wants to see is a boring writer.
And I was right. But the results weren’t what I expected; the benefits of building a website surpassed my expectations. Not only did I sell more magazine jobs, but editors also started to call me. Yes, you read that correctly. Editors looking for solid, experienced writers in the Charleston area googled “freelance writer Charleston” and up popped my website. I even had a small publishing house call and hire me to write a coffee-table book on Charleston.
**The above is an excerpt from the article “Why an Online Presence Is Vital to Your Writing Career,” which was published recently in the Missouri Writers’ Guild newsletter.