Posted in Business Side of Writing, Writing Life

Preparing to Build a Brand-New Author or Illustrator Website

Whether you are hiring a website built or are doing-it-yourself, do your prep work first.

Preparing to Setup Your Site

I’ve recently setup a website for a friend, and I asked her questions such as:

  • What pages do you want to include on your site and what do you want them called? Authors often have a number of the following: About Me, Books, Events, School Visits, Blog, Just for Kids, FAQs, Contacts. Or perhaps you want a page called Appearances with Events and School Visits as subpages. Press Kit could be an option on School Visits or Appearances or be on its own page. Illustrators in addition to the above might have a Portfolio and a Sketch page. Some people have a one-page website. Others have pages such as Writer’s Help or Favorite Links. Decide what works for you.
  • What are your favorite colors? Especially ones that work well together. Choose at least one dark and one light.
  • What backgrounds on websites appeal to you? Black, dark, white, tan, or some other color? Or do you like a colored border with a contrast color for the text? Or do you like a texture or image background? (Can be a border with a complementary color.) Do you like white text or black text? (If using a very dark background, white text is usually easiest to read. Black works well on light colors and white.)
  • What are some websites that appeal to you visually? Choose 4 or 5 and think about what you specifically like on each. Make notes.
  • Do you like simple, whimsical, serious, modern, retro, silly, or ? Here’s a great article analyzing 33 author websites.

Think about Content and Images.

  • Your Home page. What do you want to say? And where do you want to say it? Your Home page is your welcome mat—your invitation into your office. Text might include: a brief introduction or bio, why you write for children, a tag line, how to pronounce your name, and an image of you or book cover(s) or both. Other options include: a video, your recent blog posts a subscribe form or button, social media links, Twitter or Instagram or Goodreads feed, awards, etc. Often these are in a sidebar. If you can dream of it, it can probably be done.
  • Book page. Do you want all books on one page or do you want a main page with the covers and brief descriptions and subpages? What will you include: publisher, year published, awards, excerpts, reviews, buy link(s), background info, other photos or images (place, people, etc.), activities, etc.
  • About page. If you want lots of info here, I suggest you have a short bio first with more info following. Plan for at least one headshot of you. You may also want some photos of you as a child.

If you need ideas for your other pages, look at other websites for inspiration.

This is a lot of prework, but thinking about it first will help you as you go through the next steps.

Look for a new post on Prepping Your Website Content next week.

Posted in So Many Good Books, YA Novels

Outrun the Moon

Wow! Outrun the Moon (G.P Putnam’s Sons, 2016) by Stacey Lee is an outstanding read. Set in San Francisco during the 1906 earthquake, it’s hard to put down. (And such a gorgeous cover.)

Fifteen-year-old Mercy Wong is determined to go to high school at St. Clare’s School for Girls, but who would ever let a Chinese girl in? The Chinese have their own school–never mind that it ends at 8th grade. Her ingenuity and resourcefulness gets Mercy in, but she’s not accepted by her classmates and even many of the staff. Then the whole community is stricken by the earthquake. Mercy, not only survives, but with the help of some classmates makes a difference to many involved in the disaster.

Stacey Lee is a founding member of the We Need Diverse Books movement. Here’s her website. Check out all her books here.

Previously I recommended her The Secret of a Heart Note and I should have recommended the wonderful The Downstairs Girl.

Posted in #Giveaway, PB, So Many Good Books

Powwow Day

Perfect Picture Book Friday

Powwow Day (Charlesbridge, 2022) by Traci Sorell and illustrated by Madelyn Goodnight is a great book to celebrate the upcoming 10th Anniversary of Multicultural Children’s Book Day on January 26th.

River is usually excited about Powwow Day, but this year she can’t dance like she did before she got sick. She doesn’t even enjoy the scents of sage and sweetgrass when they arrive on the grounds. Everyone dances except River and she can’t even feel the drumbeat. She’s too tired. But when her friends and family do the girls’ jingle dance, a healing dance, River can feel the drums and knows she’ll dance again.

This is a sweet story of hope. It also has good backmatter that explains powwows, talks about the tribes, the drums, and the dances. I really enjoyed the information of how the jingle dance originated with the 100 year ago flu pandemic.

Author Traci Sorell is a member of the Cherokee Nation. Visit Traci’s website to learn more about her and read about her other current and forthcoming books.

I loved the illustrations by Madelyn Goodnight, who is a member of the Chickasaw Nation. On Madelyn’s website, you can read about her, look at some of her art, and check out her books.

I was given one copy for review from Charlesbridge and will pass it on to one lucky commenter drawn at random. (USA only) Comment by January 27th for a chance to win.

Posted in So Many Good Books, YA Novels

The Left-Handed Booksellers of London

I expected to like The Left-Handed Booksellers of London (Katherine Tegen Books, 2020) by Garth Nix, and I wasn’t wrong. What’s better than fantasy mixed with booksellers? I’m so happy it is a series and that book two is already out.

Set in an alternative 1983, eighteen-year-old Susan Arkshaw goes to London early for college, but also plans to find out more about her father–a man she’s never met. She doesn’t expect to run into magic. But then she meets Merlin, a left-handed bookseller, in the very upsetting occasion of him killing “Uncle Frank” with a prick of a pin. When he protects her from a horse-sized bug, and says “we’ll both be dead if we stay,” she follows him out the window. It turns out her quest and his overlap. Will they both get the answers they are searching for?

I like the humor, mysteries, and of course the magical parts of this adventure. More than any of the author’s other books, I’d love to see this one made into a movie.

This bestselling author has a number of fantasy titles plus some stand alone books–check them out on his website. Read about Garth Nix here. And, yes, as his FAQ answers, Garth Nix is his real name.