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Monday, February 16, 2009

How to build an author web site

1. Right out of college, get a job as a copyeditor for the Montgomery newspaper. Edit articles, write headlines, and design newspaper pages to your heart's desire. You love this job. The only problem is that they don't pay you much above minimum wage, AND the hours are 3 p.m. to midnight, AND your "weekends" are Tuesday and Wednesday, AND they never let you design the front page. Finally, your last day there, Labor Day, they let you design the front page because you are about to quit, and because no one else is there to design it. They all have Labor Day off. You design a beautiful page and you are so proud. Take it home and hang it above your toilet.

This experience does not really teach you much about designing web pages. It only makes you THINK you know what you're doing, which makes you dangerous. Read on...

2. Work on a PhD in English at a university that allows HTML to count as one of your required foreign languages, because code is probably more useful to you in this day and age than Latin. Teach yourself HTML in 24 hours.

3. SELL A NOVEL!!! Now you need an author web site. Never even consider paying a professional to build one for you. You got mad skillz yo.

4. Build an adorable web site that's just as happy as the cover of your first book, Major Crush. You are SO PROUD until wordcandy.net reviews your second book, The Boys Next Door. They say they love your books but your covers are whack and your web site is cheesy! Funny, if a reviewer doesn't like your books, you think they have bad taste, but if a reviewer doesn't like your web site, you change it immediately.

5. Try again.

6. Try again.

7. Try again. You must have been depressed this day.

8. Try again.

9. Try again.

10. Try again. There are actually a lot more versions that you haven't kept. Generally when you have redesigned the site, you have posted the link on your blog and asked for comments. If Barbara Caridad Ferrer says, "Oh, honey," as if you have swept into a dinner party wearing an evening gown with galoshes, you know you have gone wrong.

11. Go to the grocery store. Buy eggs. The expiration date on the eggs is March 19. OMG GOING TOO FAR WILL COME OUT ON MARCH 17, BEFORE THE EGGS EXPIRE!!! This is always the time when you get really excited about a book release: it will come out before the cheese expires! It will come out before the yogurt expires! Woot! Obviously you are very attached to your books, and to the dairy aisle. You need to redesign the web site again! When Going Too Far will come out before the milk expires, you will be too deep in blogging and mailing out books to mess with the web site! Ack! Give it one more go. Ta-da!


Natalie Hatch said...

Jennifer your website designs at the start were similar to ones I've tried to create. Now you've given me hope that if I just keep plugging away I can come up with something not so epileptic. Thanks for the laugh. And yes your final design is great.

Jennifer Echols said...

LOL! Natalie, thank you so much!

Barbara Caridad Ferrer said...

Oh honey.


(And really, who am I to criticize? You can MAKE your own website-- me? NSM.)

Stephanie Kuehnert said...

I love the design you ended up with, though gotta say loved the last two as well. *Cringes and waits for Barb to say "oh honey" to me too*

The handcuffs are perfect and give it just enough edge!

And you are talented doing it on your own. I've a got a friend who does mine for me and she totally rocks. I'm just wanted to get the final cover for Ballads so we can launch the new site design!

Catherine Chant said...

I didn't think your first site was cheesy at all. It was cute and went with the books. :-) C.