My good friend Lee Roland is having her mass market Urban Fantasy Romance debut, Viper Moon, this summer. Since I have a little more web graphics experience than she does, I have been helping her build her author website. That got me thinking about what I, as a reader, like to see on an author’s website.
I think, most importantly, the website needs to convey a tone consistent with the books, provide current information about availability of books and backlist, and—to borrow a phrase from the medical world—do no harm. In its mildest form, harm is simply an unprofessional site that makes the author look absent or amateurish. The nightmare scenario involves any sort of bad behavior on the site: a letter railing about the stupidity of modern readers, inappropriate pictures, etc… I do want to get to know the author a bit, blogs are a great way to do this, but there is a limit to what I want to know.
Some of my favorite things I’ve seen on websites have been character interviews. J.R. Ward did a good job with this on her site. Jess Granger did some great ones on her blog. Other stuff I’ve seen: puzzles, screen savers, story behind the story pages, character relationship charts, book chronologies, information on the story world, deleted scenes, forums, and the list goes on… Some of these I’ve found entertaining, others not so much. It can be a bit overwhelming sorting through all of the possibilities. So I turn to my fellow readers.
What things do you most enjoy finding on an author’s website? If you’ve seen some great stuff, please include links.