Your website is so……….plain?

Actually, about the only one I’ve seen that has any pizzaz to it is J.K. Rowling’s. It’s got the FLASH intro and the cool little clickable random things that do other random things. JAVASCRIPT is fun. If you have the patience to sit and write if/when=action code all damn day.

Bugger that. I hate JAVA.

So, question. Why is Rowling’s the only one that actually looks like someone spent a decent amount of time on it?

Scott Westerfield’s is a blog/website (I’m betting he, or someone who works for him, used wordpress to make it), Anne Rice has the same thing going on with a Facebook feed to it, and George R. R. Martin’s was handmade by a good friend of his who has time to spare. Even Stephanie Meyer, the TWILIGHT lady for godsakes, has what looks like a WordPress blog. Next to Rowling she has to be the ultimate tweeny writer with legions of fans and enough money coming in that her great grandchildren won’t have to work. Not to say that these websites aren’t awesome. They are. But they’re….rough, to say the least. J.K. Rowling’s is polished, it has class, and it’s shiny. And I don’t mean that as “ooh look I can see my face in it” I mean “shiny new bright interesting..must have!” The kid in the candy store type thing.

So, what do the websites say about their respective authors?

Well, looking at George R. R. Martin (www.georgerrmartin.com) one would wonder how that guy could possibly write anything good. His website has the cramped look of someone who doesn’t give a damn and just has the thing because it’s expected of him. But the man is an international bestseller with HBO pretty much in his back pocket.

Stephanie Meyer (www.stephaniemeyer.com) Well, her website is nicer but it’s plain. Very, very plain. There’s nothing to it representing the fandom she has. No FLASH introduction featuring the characters of her books or something else that an artist or the author could come up with that says “hey, this is the home of Twilight” welcome to it. Nope. Plain. BOOM! Here’s my personal page.

Anne Rice (www.annerice.com) is the same way, but with a New Orleans flare. The woman is not about herself, save for the interviews and announcements about her upcoming books. Everything else is catered to what her interests are. The website is done up in reds and golds, everything you would expect from the woman who gave birth to the Brat Prince Lestat deLioncourt. But, somehow, it’s juvenile, as if someone just did it on a whim.

Scott Westerfeld (www.scottwesterfeld.com) a blog. Plain and simple. No FLASH, nothing snazzy save his really awesome book commercial for Leviathan. If I didn’t know any better I’d say it was a wordpress blog.  

I was taught as a kid that image is everything. What you present to the world is how people will see you. From your clothes, to your hair, to the way you carry yourself. People are very judgmental and will not hesitate to pick you apart. But, the websites, the ridiculously bestselling books. Wait! I’m confused! Websites should be professional, they should reflect the author in the best light possible! Then why the hell…. I think they do. I think, to be quite honest, each individual website reflects some part of the author’s personality. I don’t think George R. R. Martin is the sort of person to sit around and worry about what the hell goes on his website as long as:

1. It’s not slanderous

2. It shows his fans what’s going on with his books

3. What appearances he’s going to make and when

4. Features a blog.

I think Mr. Martin spends too much time in the Seven Kingdoms to really give a damn what his site looks like, and (I imagine) when a friend said he/she’d make one he was that much more grateful because the task was out of his hands. And really, HBO will take care of a Game of Thrones website for the show, what more can you ask?   That same kind of simplicity, I think, was in Mr. Westerfeld’s mind. He has a blog, and that serves him well for a website. It’s unobtrusive while being personal, professional while providing a more intimate area for his fans to send fanart and for him to post pictures and keep people updated. Again, the same with Anne Rice. She is a very personal woman, but at the same time she values others opinions on world events. If you don’t believe me, become a fan of hers on Facebook. Her website reflects that. Stephanie Meyer, despite the legions of fans and movie deals, she keeps it simple.  Even, in a way, J.K. Rowling’s website reflects her personality. She came up from nothing, through her website, she can show her fans that. The website features a ridiculously messy desk, one I imagine is akin to real life. Through the nice-ness of her site she’s shown what she’s become.  

Looks aren’t everything. Writers are not judged on what their websites look like, they’re judged on their writing. I do think the two can become confused. Why would a best selling author with revenue coming in right and left have such a bad website? Well, because I don’t think they care. Or, if they do, it’s only as far as to make sure the thing is working and their fans can have a heads up on what’s going on in their respective worlds. This day and age, we wait on the edge of our seats for a good book to come out (despite the waiting time being considerably longer than that of a movie or television show) no one gives a damn about flashy introductions. It’s time wasting. Just tell me when the book signing is (George R. R. Martin is coming to London in April 2012, my ass will be there) and let me move on.

Until next time!

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