Earlier in the year, I asked you guys your opinions on writers having professional (non-blog) websites before they have an agent and/or book deal. I was debating with myself over putting one together. Most of you said you didn't think it was something to worry about yet, so I just reserved my domain name and left it at that. Then I went to a talk at my local RWA meeting on branding and changed my mind because of some of the points they made.
So I set up a simple website for myself. You can check it out here. It only costs a few bucks a month and it was point-and-click technology using a template--therefore easy to put together with no HTML knowledge needed. I didn't really think anyone was going to actually look at, but I liked having it done and up there.
Then I started the querying process. I didn't even include the address, I just included my blog. But when Sara contacted me to request my full after reading the partial, she mentioned that she'd gone to my blog and website and really liked them. (She also promised that she wasn't stalking me, just doing her homework, lol. To which I replied, stalk away!)
Then when we had THE CALL, she mentioned the importance of promotion and online branding. She said a website shows that the writer is already taking that portion of the career seriously. (And having no online presence at all is getting to the point of being a deal breaker for her.) She also sends her clients' website information with their submissions to publishers to show that the author is already out there building a name.
Now this is her opinion and if you search around the net, you'll find agents with complete opposite opinions. And if online stuff is getting in the way of you writing the best book possible--then obviously you have to focus on that first because the best blog/website in the world isn't going to make up for sub par writing. But I think it's something to think about for sure.
I think it goes back to that old adage of "dress for the job you want, not the one you have." No, we may not have a publishing deal or an agent or whatever it is we're seeking yet. BUT we need to act like this is already our career (even if we can only dedicate a small amount of time to our writing.)
You don't have to be insane like me and have a website, blog, twitter, facebook, and goodreads A website can be static, so once you have that up, it's not any work. And then if you like to blog--blog. If not, then just do twitter or facebook (I'd recommend Twitter over Facebook if you're only going to do one--it's more effective IMHO). But do whatever works for you.
All I have to say is I'm happy I got these things off the ground before this point. Otherwise, I'd be scrambling right now, lol. (Although, I'll be changing my last name soon for a pseudonym--when I choose it--so I'll have to go through and adjust domains and such.)
So what's your opinion? Do you have an author website? Do you feel pressure to be out there doing all these thing now or would you rather wait until the agent/deal comes?