Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Conferences and Web Sites

I'm busy with one of my least favourite jobs, the annual accounts. They have to be done , I'm late already, so it's a matter of getting my head down and concentrating . I'm almost there and it's always a wonderful feeling when I'm finished so that's today's task. . .

But while I'm concentrating on that, perhaps you could help me by contributing to a discussion I'm having with various other authors, and will be talking about in public very soon.

It's coming up to the Conference Season. The Romantic Novelists' Association will gathering in Chichester for the weekend of July 4th-7th. I'll be there and if anyone reading this blog will be there too, please come up and say hello.

And then the Romance Writers' Of America will be holding their National Conference in San Francisco July 30th - August 2nd. I'll be there too - and if you'll be in SF either at the Conference or just attending the Literacy Signing on the Wednesday afternoon, please come and say Hi. I'd love to meet some of my 'blogfriends'.

I'm also giving a talk at the RNA Conference. And that's where you can help me. You see I've been bullied - ahem - persuaded - cajoled - into leading a discussion on why web sites are useful/important for authors. I've looked at this from the author's point of view, by running a survey and asking writer friends what their approach is, what they find works well, what they like and dislike . . .

But now I'd like to find out more from the readers' perspective. And this is where you can help me. I'd love to know what you like and dislike about authors' web sites.

What do you most want to see on an author's web site?

What are the most important /vital elements for you?
What do you rarely see that you think would be useful?
What information do you want to get from a web site?

Is a blog important?

Is it important to update a web site regularly? How often?

What brings you back to a site again and again?

Do promotions/contests matter?

Have you ever bought books directly from a web site - via Amazon/eHarlequin etc in a link?

How do you find authors' sites - what search engines/fiction/romancxe focused sites do you use?

Which authors’ sites do you visit/enjoy?

Which authors’ sites do you admire ?


Are there any web sites you dislike/find difficult to use/wouldn’t revisit?

What puts you off a web site?

Any help on this would be so useful and I'd really appreciate it. Feel free to answer as many or as few questions as you like - you can either post in the Comments section or email me privately (please put Web Site Survey) in the heading.

And as a thank you I'll put all the names in a hat - no - sorry - you know what I mean - I'll put them all on the floor with a crunchie cat treat on top and let Sid the Cat pick a couple of names from all of those who answer and the winners will get signed copies of my special Centenary Collection book - The Duke's Secret Wife.

Any non UK author friends reading this who haven't been asked to join in the survey - if you'd like to help with that too, you'd be only too welcome. Please email me for the survey questions.
Thank you!


Ellen said...

Gosh Kate that's a lot of questions but I'll answer as many as I can.
1. On an author's website I like to see information about the author, excerpts from books, titles of books,and a way to contact the author.
2. important elements and information I want to get is the same as above
3. I think a blog is important because I like to know what an author is doing and to be able to have a conversation with them.
4. I would like to see a web site updated at least once a month.
5. new information will bring me back to a web site instead of always seeing the same things month after month.
6. yes promotions and contests matter because they are fun and a way to keep readers interested in the website/blog
7. no I have not bought books directly from a web site--I usually go directly to the eHarlequin/Amazon site.
8. I usually use google to find a site or another authors list of websites.
9. too many to really list but a few are Julie Cohen, Kay Stockham,Kara Lennox, yours, Intrigue Authors, Harlequin American Romance just to name a few
(altho these are really blogs)
10.Every once in a while I find site I don't revisit usually because the information is static and there are several I don't return to because they are difficult to read due to the color of the background as contrasted to the color of the print.
11. Things that put me off a website are basically things I've mentioned above.
Don't know if this is helpful but here it is for what it's worth.

lidia said...

Ellen listed key points that are positive about an author's website -- some negatives as well.

My big turn-off is when the website really offers no information about new releases, upcoming books etc... It may list the title and a link to Amazon to purchase the book, but no blurbs, no excerpts. I expect the author's website to include those -- or at least the author's version of a synopsis of the story.

The sites that haven't been updated for a long period of time are a turn off. It seems to me if the author is too busy, or whatever reason can't maintain, or have someone maintain a website for her, then she shouldn't have one. It is a huge turnoff to go to a website and find that the most release is two years old.

Kate Walker said...

Ellen - thank you so very much for your help with this. Your answers have been a big help to me - thank you for taking the time and trouble to respond in such detail

And Lidia- thank you to you too. Your comments confirm things that I have suspected myself so it was great to hear from you

Thanks again!

Dina said...

I like when an author offers as much info they can about their books and why they like to write.

Some authors stes don't keep you as interested because they don't "invite" you back for more.

I enjoy blogs, they were new to me, but it's a great way to "meet" an author and others who have similar interests.

It would be nice to update at least montlhy, I've seen some authors sites, where last yr or longer was their last update, maybe they have nothing new to offer.

I make a site/blog my fav and visit daily if the author has fun and interesting stuff to share.

I think promotions/contests do matter sometimes. That's how I found new authors that I might have known about and this is a great way to try their books.

I find authors site either by a search engine for anothers site.

I know that authors get extremely busy at times, but I might not visit again, because they don't take sometime to update their sites, so that their readers seem important and can get the info they need.

Ellen said...

Glad to help Kate.


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