A few weeks ago, I debated on here whether or not I should start up an official (non-blog) website before I've sold a book. Opinions were mixed, but most people seemed to agree that it really wasn't something to worry about until you got "the call." So, I decided to reserve my domain name and then put the idea of a website on hold until later.
However, this weekend I attended my NTRWA meeting and the topic was marketing and promotion. And although most of the talk was on how to market and promote yourself once you have sold your manuscript, there was also information for the not yet published. And lucky for me, the authors who were giving the talk, Nikki Duncan and Misa Ramirez, provided just the answers I was looking for.
They interviewed marketing and publicity people from a number of different publishers (both print and ebook publishers) and asked them the pros and cons of pre-branding yourself as an author.
On the pro side, each person seemed to say the same things:
--It is not necessary to have an online presence before selling the book BUT "there is little advantage to waiting."
--Having an established presence/professional website shows the editors you are serious about your career because you have put forth time, effort, and a little money to put together a website. It also in an indication that you "understand the importance of branding yourself" and are committed to helping in your own promotion.
The cons these professionals outlined were ones we have complete control over:
--Don't put things out there that will hurt your image. We talked about that here.
--And don't let it interfere with your writing because obviously the most important thing is that you write the best book.
So after the talk, I made my decision. I went ahead and created a basic website for myself. I was a little intimidated by the thought. My technical savvy is relegated to putting widgets in my sidebar, but I went to homestead.com and found the site very user friendly. I was able to find a template I liked, then replaced the pics and info with mine. Everything is drag and drop; you don't have to mess with html if you don't want to. The only thing I have left to do is transfer my domain there. But I'm waiting on that to make sure I like homestead for my format (I'm on a free trial right now.) So for now, www.ronigriffin.com will get you there, but isn't the official address.
In addition to my basic info, I have my queries up for both my completed novels. So, go check it out and let me know what you think. I truly value your opinions.
So what do you think about what the industry professionals said about pre-branding? If you have your own website outside of your blog, feel free to leave the link in the comments.