M.J. Rose, best-selling author of 11 novels, made an interesting observation in "The Must-Have Online Marketing Plan" in the 2011 edition of Writer's Yearbook (Writer's Digest): that authors who use free templates to create their websites get the same number of visitors as authors who spend thousands of dollars to have a website created for them by a website designer.
The comment got my attention because I listened to a speaker spend a great many words on the premise that only professionally-designed websites are acceptable. I rejected the idea then, as did others in attendance, and now I feel vindicated.
My budget did not and does not allow for that kind of expenditure, so if I'm to have a website, it's going to be one of my own creation--and that's what I have. Personally, I like the freedom to make changes as I deem necessary. I did buy a domain name and email, but the cost was negligible (relatively speaking).
I digress. The author says that a strong writer's website is mandatory. However, she went on to say that a blog is optional. If the number of comments left on this blog is any indication, it doesn't get that many visitors. I do my best to visit/comment on other writers' blogs, but there are only so many hours in a day. Frankly, I enjoyed writing my personal blog more, but I ditched that to concentrate on a writing blog. Maybe I (we all) should do what I (we all) enjoy most.
Ms Rose's advice certainly lends credibility to the idea that 'one size does NOT fit all'. Yes, authors have to market their books, and there are some basic 'gotta-do's'. I'd recommend reading her article. It left me with a good feeling that I was doing something right, a feeling of relief that I didn't have to do everything 'they' say to do, and a feeling that there are more things I can do.
What do YOU think?
Writer's Yearbook 2011 is not part of the Writer's Digest subscription. Visit your nearest bookstore/newsstand and look for it there.