Please welcome guest Stuart Horwitz, founder and principal of Book Architecture, a firm of independent editors based in Providence. Book Architecture’s clients have reached the best-seller list in both fiction and non-fiction and have appeared on Oprah!, The Today Show, The Tonight Show, and in the most prestigious journals in their respective fields. Stuart’s first book Blueprint Your Bestseller: Organize and Revise Any Manuscript with the Book Architecture Method (Penguin/Perigee) was named one of 2013’s best books about writing by The Writer magazine. His second book, Book Architecture: How to Plot and Outline Without Using a Formula, was released earlier this month.
I believe that all of the effort and some of the expense that writers used to put into their collateral: brochures, business cards, even client-facing offices, should now go into websites instead because we live online. It’s that simple!
How to Create a Website as a Writer (Without it Costing You Both One Arm and One Leg)
Your writer’s website is one of the most profound ways you can secure fans and attract soon-to-be fans. Readers can congregate to learn more about you: your related projects, your products, your influences and your personality, as well as connect with you directly. All the effort and some of the expense that writers put into their collateral for brochures, business cards, even client-facing offices, should now go into your website—because we live online. It’s that simple!
For this post, I’d like to invite in megawatt web designer, Andrew Boardman, of Manoverboard. Manoverboard is the most awesome web partner I could imagine, I just want to make sure to say that. Andrew’s looking over my shoulder as we write this, but if you take issue with a point below it’s likely my fault.
[pullquote]Don’t do your own design. Nobody told me to say this. I mean it. Maybe you don’t want to spend an arm and a leg but to get one of the best websites, one of the cool websites, you might have to spend an arm. I’m here to say I think it’s worth it.[/pullquote]
Make it scannable. We’re writers, you know? We like to write long sentences, and deploy our favorite punctuation that enables us to create dense paragraphs packed with meaning. Not on the web. On the web people read in a clockwise fashion, and they skip a lot, landing on the bolded or enlarged or italicized features to see what interests them. And they look at pictures – lots of pictures. Don’t let this alarm you: assured and competent writing is very welcome. You just need to learn a different form and play by the rules. I don’t know, maybe you can pretend you’re learning a villanelle in college or something?
SEO the crap out of it. Writing a good blog post for the web without going to Google AdWords to find out what keywords are actually being searched, is like writing a short story in Syriac (insert other favorite dead language here). If you can, see what keywords are useful to your audience. My site is currently full of carefully crafted articles about writing that no search engine can find. We’re having to change all of that right now, creating proper title tags and headings that are not hopelessly obscure. [Read more…]