For writers, the rule is ironclad. All the experts tell us we absolutely, positively must have a website. So you do it. You register “yourauthorname.com,” fire up WordPress and you’re in business. But it’s the next step that can give you pause. It has to do with basic website strategy. And that boils down to a simple question.
“What do I write about?”
There’s the rub. What do you write about on your site? I think this question is key for two important reasons.
The first reason deals with the purpose of your site. Chances are, you’re not writing your site/blog purely because you love it to death. As a writer, you’re blogging to support your real writing. You know, the writing you pour your heart and soul (and maybe even a little more) into and which you sell with varying degrees of success. Of course, some writers love to blog and work very hard at it. But for many of us, the blog is there to support our other writing – the stories, novellas, novels, trilogies and mega-volumed epics and doorstops for sale at Amazon, B&N and Smashwords. As such, we need a blog that entices potential readers and returning readers to take a chance on buying our writing. We also need to provide information about where to find our stories and books, about appearances we might be making, on special deals we’re running, etc., etc.
The second reason has to do with perseverance. You’ve better write about something that interests, beguiles, and inspires you, or the blog posts will always be a chore. If there’s no spark there, you won’t feel it and your readers will know it. In word: deadly.
So, you’re sitting there and politely reading all of this but you’re, like, wondering, “When’s he gonna give up the super secret answer to the question of what I should write about? And will I get a decoder ring in the mail?”
Well, here’s the honest part: I don’t know what you should write! I’m no expert on this stuff! In fact, I’m in the process of pulling the old switcheroo with my own web strategy.
I started with the idea that I wanted to draw readers interested in humor. This made sense because the first book I put up for sale was a humorous historical romp called George in London. Young George Washington in London, sowing his wild oats, drinking, screwing, wrestling the Prince of Wales, that sort of thing. The site I built to support this is called Height of Eye and it traffics in news satire. You know, taking a nugget of real news and spinning into absurdity. You may have seen a site named after a weep-inducing vegetable that does the same thing. Well, some people have heard of it..
Anyway, soon after George in London, I released another genre of book entirely. Called The SHIVA Compression, this is a technothriller with no jokes at all, not even a bad pun. So the incomparably hilarious Height of Eye site was not the best support for SHIVA.
The solution? I have finally gotten around to doing what many writers have already done: Set up a site that caters to all my various books and provides info about them and where to get them. An author-centric rather than a theme-centric site. (Internet sages would probably say something here about a nexus of interests or creating stickiness or drilling down into my endemic. And I would probably nod like I knew what the hell they were talking about. ‘Cept I would definitely keep them from getting anywhere near my endemic — no way I let a drill down there.)
This, of course, raises a question: What do I write about on my blog? (Keeps popping up like Mormons at the front door, right?) Since I’m just getting started with the switch, I don’t know exactly. But I suspect the material will lean heavily towards thriller subjects, as I have another thriller, The Atlas Fracture, in the works. But some hilarity may sneak in on cat feet, who knows? It’s a new adventure. Just like self-publishing.
Oh, and your decoder ring? It’s in the mail.
A magazine editor and writer, Tim Queeney lives in Maine with his wife and three sons and the family pooch, a black lab who is always on the wrong side of the door! His house is a stone’s throw from the ocean. When the mist rolls in or on snowy winter nights, he can hear the fog horns from three lighthouses bleating their warnings. His website is, appropriately, http://www.timqueeney.com. His books are available at Amazon via his author site http://www.amazon.com/Tim-Queeney/e/B005ITX48S/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1.