Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Website Design for the ADHD... er, Multigenre Author

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.  



At 6:21 PM, June 20, 2012, OpenID sempaied said...

I really do like your para-normal series......but I did enjoy your new series 1st book "Mother's Day Out" (I didn't think I would).

So my opinion is-------anything with your name on it is worth checking out, so I would like to see everything you have written on a website.

At 7:11 PM, June 20, 2012, Blogger Karen MacInerney said...

Thanks, Ed. :) Really glad to hear you liked Mother's Day Out!

At 11:33 PM, June 21, 2012, Blogger raj kumar said...

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At 3:46 PM, June 27, 2012, Anonymous RL Jackson said...

I like a clean, uncluttered design. I hate distractions. I've always been interested in writing. I wanted to write fiction, but at the time, our college had no creative writing courses, so I took English, literature, many film classes, went into tv prod., then became a tech writer. Had I had any way to take fiction, I would've studied that. I am thrilled when I get to hear any author speak about writing. Ex: The writer of The Secret Life of Bees," Sue Monk Kidd, filled an auditorium here, with the help of/marketing of Nancy Olsen and Quail Ride Books. So, when I go to a website, it's to find out what that author's up to, read about her processes, her ideas, and it's nice to be able to click to see different books or series. I look to blogs for ideas. Thanks.

At 3:49 PM, June 27, 2012, Anonymous RL Jackson said...

Sorry, that was meant to say, Quail Rudge Books, Raleigh, NC. Nancy brings in tons of authors to speak. My hero of tye Independent bookstores.

At 12:48 PM, July 01, 2012, Blogger Karen MacInerney said...

Thanks, RL! Trying to make it clean, but have all the links on the home page. This whole website thing can be a challenge, can't it? Appreciate your feedback!

At 6:11 PM, July 07, 2012, Blogger Cara Beth McLeod said...

I have read all but one of your books (and that is just because I haven't finished it yet) so I would agree with your first comment on this topic. If you like reading one of your books, you will most likely enjoy any of your books. Mother's Day Out might be my favorite. I also agree that simple and uncluttered is the way to go. Some of the authors you are shopping, I have considered reading some of their books, but honestly, their book covers and web design has steered me away, so don't discount design. I speaks louder than words in some cases.

At 2:10 PM, July 23, 2012, Anonymous Samantha said...

I like the way your website is laid out and wouldn't change anything. It is easy to navigate, clean, uncluttered, and appealing.
I loved " Mother's Day Out" and all of the Gray Whale Inn books!! Looking forward to reading more

At 10:37 PM, October 05, 2012, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, i love both series (although my mom will only share the grey whale ones).

I think the most important things are that your readers can find what they are looking for, and a clean site is better than a fancy confusing one.

At 8:16 AM, October 24, 2012, Anonymous Sage Aumick said...

I think what you did with your online art portfolio is quite impressive. The website is quick to load, and the transition between the artworks is pretty smooth. Also, the quality of the images is crisp and clear, allowing the visitors to clearly take in all the details without straining too much. That’s what I call a well-balanced website.

At 12:10 AM, November 03, 2012, Blogger SYREN77 said...

I am a huge fan of Tales of an Urban Werewolf!! I have all 3 books and have gotten my mother as well as 4 gal pals reading them as well. I was wondering though if you planned on writing anymore books to this series? I would be real excited to read them if you do. Thanks for the great times I have verytime I read them.

At 1:40 PM, January 24, 2013, Anonymous Sharonda Head said...

Hi, Karen! How are you doing? Well, I would advise you to first create a sniper site. This technique will allow you to gain visitors or potential readers. Next, you must categorize your stories. And, if there are lots of genres, don't just use one website. Try to create more, and link them with one another to create a network. Another thing is you must have some links anchored to certain keywords.

At 3:51 AM, February 03, 2014, Blogger large print said...

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