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Why Do I Need a Website If Im Not Famous?
by Kathryn Lay
Within a few months of getting online about 6
years ago, I started working on a crude Internet site. It wasnt amazing, but it
was better than nothing. I didnt have any books published yet, I wasnt
teaching online classes or speaking to groups, and I didnt have many online
clips to include in the site. But all that was to come and I thought it might be
a good idea to prepare early.
And it was.
As my writing credits increased, especially
those online that I could link to, as I began teaching online writing courses
and hoping for opportunities to speak to local writers groups at their
conferences or workshops, I found that having my own website was invaluable for
getting that information out to people.
I began putting my website link on all my
correspondence to editors. I included it whenever I could in my bios for both
print and online writing. As the Regional Advisor for a local Society of
Childrens Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI) chapter, I included my
personal website link at the chapter site.
Did it help?
Yes. An editor for a Guideposts
anthology saw an essay I had in Chicken Soup for the Mothers Soul that
she wanted to reprint. Although the phone number was old and my bio in the book
was pre-Internet time, she Googled* my name and found my website and my email
A conference chairman looking for someone to
speak about writing for children looked at our local SCBWI site, saw my name as
advisor, went to my website and saw that I was published and a speaker. I got
invited to speak in a beautiful East Texas town, stay in a lovely country home,
get paid for my time and attend the conference for free.
Not long after my childrens book sold, I was
offered the opportunity to have my website redone more professionally in barter
for writing services.
My new website has given me lots of
opportunities to be noticed as a writer, a speaker, and a writing teacher.
I include my website address on my bookmarks for
my new childrens book. At the website there is information about the book and
about the school programs I can do. I include my website in my newly printed
writer book. Visitors to the site can check out my the online writing courses I
teach as well as order a brochure concerning my various talks I can give to
writers clubs, workshops and conferences.
Links that go to articles printed online have
given me opportunities to be offered reprint rights, column opportunities, and
requests for a complete writing resume for possible projects.
You may be a new writer, only a few credits
under your belt, but think about the future. How will people be able to check
out your writing experience when needing a writer or speaker?
While speaking at a recent book festival, I gave
out a handful of business cards listing my website to parents, librarians, and
teachers. At a hectic festival when everyone is busy looking at a lot of booths
or meeting many writers, they wont remember every lengthy bit of information
that each writer tells them. But with a business card in hand that lists a
website filled with information, the possibility of being contacted will be
Make sure to buy your domain name for your
website. If someone remembers my name, theyll know how to find my website.
Dont worry if your website starts small, it can
grow as you grow as a writer and speaker. Keep adding information. Include
helpful links for those who come to your website. Because my childrens novel
has to do with politics and medieval fun, Ive included links for kids and
teachers. To help fellow writers, Ive included links to my writing articles
that are published online as well as information on how to take my online
Simple is better. Ive seen some pretty fancy
websites and some of them have beautiful graphics and hundreds of clickable
areas. But if it is difficult to decipher, busy visitors may move on.
My website is a continual work-in-progress,
moving forward as my career moves forward. Im thankful for the opportunities
that have come because someone has found my site, my books, my classes, my
articles, my speaking offerings.
Will not having a website ruin your career?
Probably not. Will having one take it to new levels of opportunity? Most
So what are you waiting for? Check out other
authors websites, both big names and beginners, and start planning yours. Ill
be seeing you online.
© Copyright 2004, Kathryn Lay
Kathryn Lay is the author of 26 books for children, over 2000 articles, essays and stories for children and adults and the book from AWOC.COM Publishing, The Organized Writer is a Selling Writer. Check out her website at www.kathrynlay.com and email through firstname.lastname@example.org
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