Websites are now as important for establishing identity as a birth certificate or a driver's license. Yet, I've noticed that once an author puts one up, the site is often forgotten and neglected.
I research authors when they send me query letters in my capacity as acquisitions editor for Oak Tree Press. I like to know who I'm dealing with and, short of doing a background check, websites are all I have to give me an inkling of their accomplishments up to this stage in their careers.
When all of us tentatively dipped our toes in the Internet waters, websites had to be done by techy people who knew the bells and whistles. Their expertise came with a price tag. The evolution of do-it-yourself sites taught us all what a domain name was and put self-made websites within reach. They became the way we reached out to the world.
What prompted me to blog about this is the realization that my own website construction didn't in any way reflect who I am today. I had evolved but my website was stagnant.
Of course, the bio info hadn't changed. The past is what it is, I can't recreate it. The second page was updated to show the covers of both my Christy Bristol mysteries. But, where was any indication of my current status of scouting for authors and creating careers? There was nothing showing this progression.
What I saw were pages that no longer had any use. My links page didn't attract any attention; in fact, other authors were doing it better with a line-up on the perimeters of their sites. I was more interested in their links and using them for my benefit. I scrapped Links and substituted a page showing off covers of books I'd midwifed into print. I included a video of publisher Billie Johnson and I giving our mission statement for Oak Tree Press. I titled the page “Mission: Acquisitions.” Catchy, right?
“On the Road” wasn't relevant now because kidney failure curtails future public appearances. The nifty idea I had called “The Murder Circle” to promote authors had given away to another nifty idea: “Posse Posts.” The Posse is a marketing group I lead by sending them to websites that expand their knowledge of promotion. Why not make the links available to everyone?
I encourage everyone to examine what your website says about you to the world and try to keep it current with your growth. After all, the idea is to reflect not just who you are but where you're going in your career.