I may or may not have mentioned this (and you may or may not have gathered it by now), but I am an eclectic writer. Which makes sense, because I like reading all kinds of stories. So why wouldn't I want to write all kinds of stories?
But readers who fall in love with a book generally want to read more of that type of story from that author. (And I am right there with you, incidentally.) The problem is, when putting together a website for readers, how does an author handle her readers' -- and her own -- divergent interests? As I approach the redesign of my website, this question has come up a lot.
Obviously, limiting myself to one type of story isn't going to work. I've written cozies, soft-boiled mysteries, paranormal romance, and even an epic fantasy (more on that soon). I considered taking a pen name for the fantasy, but when I realized that J.A. Konrath
has several of his books under both his original name AND his pen name so that readers know he's the same person, it made me wonder if I might be making things too hard on my readers (and myself). On the other hand, not all readers of the Gray Whale Inn mysteries are going to gravitate toward Tales of an Urban Werewolf, and vice versa. (Although if you look at the covers, it's fairly obvious that they're very different books -- there should be no surprises there.)
I cruised around and took a look at some sites to get ideas. Fellow writer Julie Ortolon
writes "heartwarming romance," and you can tell that from her site immediately. Friend Ellery Adams
writes cozy mysteries; again, the look and feel of the site reflects that. But how should an ADHD... er, multifaceted writer like me design a site that covers multiple genres? It's hard asking a designer to integrate werewolves and coffee cakes.
I'm exploring options right now, but I'm beginning to think that a relatively neutral but attractive base with lots of information and series-specific links for fans of each series may be the way to go. I've committed to blogging again, and like my books, I'm sure my posts will be eclectic. (I'm open to questions!) I'm meeting with a friend who's a marketing guru to ask about all of this tomorrow morning, and I'll be curious to see what he says.
But what's more important is my readers. What do you as a reader want out of a website from a multi-genre author? Do you like a clean, simple design, or lots of links to lots of info? Does a neutral but attractive template with links to pages dedicated to each series work for you? Or do you prefer an entire site to reflect the look and feel of your favorite book?
Inquiring authors -- okay, an inquiring author, if we're being honest here -- wants to know.