Why I HATE Marketing Journal Entry #2: My Website and Jetlag

This morning I don’t hate marketing as much as I hate jetlag, but that’s a story for another post…

I got back from Hawaii Tuesday night around 11 p.m. after several months, okay, I meant to write weeks, but I’m letting the slip-up stay because it provides an accurate take on how well my brain is functioning this morning. But yeah, Hawaii was fantastic, and I’ve got photos galore and stories to tell, and maybe even a book or two out of the experience, but what does my vacation have to do with marketing outside of the fact that mentioning it makes me happy?

Well, while I was away, my website designer (the good folks at Limb Design in particular Mr. Corey Chow) was busy working on my website. So I wanted to share a few things you might find useful.

The first question though might be do you even need a website and what does an author’s website look like these days? Well, most of them are built with the blog approach. So, when I say website, think blog with extra pages:). For those of you (and you know who you are) who don’t have a blog or website, but want to create a blog/site, or are looking to make changes to an existing site, you may find some tips here you can use. Especially if you’re looking to get it done quickly, while controlling cost and quality. Also, many of you may have ‘marketing’ on your New Year’s resolutions list. Except it might read something like ‘learn to tweet’ or ‘post more regularly on my blog’ or ‘I’ve got to get a Facebook account’. And if you’ve got good news to share like you have a new book release, or a first book sale, or a new branding look to introduce, you need marketing.

I’m going to plug WordPress now, but I think it’s okay since the Waterworld Mermaids’ blog was created right here in WordPress – land (Thank you Mermaid Alethea and that’s Alethea Kontis, by the way, who has a great website using WordPress!)! And yes, I’m building my site in Wordpress, too. And duh, I didn’t know until a few months ago that WordPress had templates for websites but Corey, my designer, suggested it as a cost effective approach to launching my new author’s site.

Although I’ve been working on websites in my day job for years, I learned recently that there are companies (lots of them) who have created affordable website templates and per my designer, WordPress is the BEST right now for offering variety, ease-of-use and flexibility, especially when on a limited budget. How limited? The layout I’m using for my new site cost me $35 (see link below).


And it was one of 9 pages of website templates at mojo themes that can be customized any number of ways…see link below:


If you’d like to give me some feedback on the graphics that have been created by Corey for my new site, please stop by my blog today and let me know what you think.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering why I want a website since I’m still unpublished. Easy. I’m an optimist, and today’s marketplace is demanding that authors have a brand identity in place (and a following doesn’t hurt either, especially for first novels).

Now don’t be shy, ask questions, scoff, or share what you’ve learned about creating your blog and/or website. Yes, you’ve got to write the best book you can write and then get an editor, agent or self-publish, but the bottom line is you’ve still got to market it. So what do you think about blogs and/or websites for published and/or unpublished authors?

(And also, Happy New Year!)

18 thoughts on “Why I HATE Marketing Journal Entry #2: My Website and Jetlag

  1. Thanks for this info, Denny! Very useful. I suppose I’ll have to think about a website at some point… I’m sure I’ll be peppering you with more questions when that happens! I stopped by your blog, too, and the website(s) look awesome. I can’t wait to see it!

    1. Anytime you need anything please don’t hesitate to ask. What I’m finding as I look at book marketing and author branding these days is that there’s SO much information out there about ‘how to’ that I find it daunting and I’ve been in the business 30 years. But one thing is true – the Internet has made this so much easier in so many ways. And the dollars and sense of it are tremendous – a huge difference from the old days:)

      Hope you and your family had great holidays! See you soon.

  2. I have a blogsite through blogspot.com in which I created a while before I had heard of WordPress. I did learn to use WordPress while taking an on-line class with RWA last year and made a simple blog with them under one of my pen names.

    Because we use WordPress for this site, I’ve learned to work with it a bit more but still like to dabble with my blogspot site: www. lonilynne.blogspot.com if any one is interested.

    Still, I agree with you, Denny–we as ‘pre-published’ authors need to make ourselves known in the market for when the time comes. It is all about marketing now days and with the internet (blogging, websites, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) at our fingers for a nominal fee (or free) it’s easier than ever to get out there.

    Hope you enjoyed your vacation in Hawaii. We used to live there (was stationed there back in the early 90’s at Pearl). Loved the opportunity to go island hopping on long weekends. You’ll have to tell us all about it! Happy New Year to you, too.

    Hugs and :%

    1. I am so torn – my blog has been at blogspot for a long time – changing to this new provider will definitely be different for me and my blog – but while I have the time I wanted to get this done. Inspiration for the New Year – and also, it’s going to be a showcase for my photography – which I’ve been dabbling in for years. So multi-tasking…

      And yeah, Hawaii – I loved it, but don’t think I could live there (which was a question mark that I was contemplating (part of the reason for the three week stay)…But I think I need to be able to drive straight for at least 300 miles – don’t ask why, but I just do.

  3. Congrats to you, I love the choices you have for the new site. Can’t wait to see which one you go with.

    I use WordPress too and love it. Many of the free templates are customizable too so that your site doesn’t look exactly like every other site.

    1. I’ve been so busy I just hadn’t noticed how well WordPress can work. In my day job, my designers are starting to freak out. The Internet used to be prime territory for making big bucks on website design/development. Almost like publishing industry, they are realizing there’s slim pick’ens in them there hills these days.

  4. Denny – I have a website and I built it myself in WordPress and it is free. It doesn’t have tons of bells and whistles but it works for me and for what I want to do right now with my career as an unpublished author. For those readers who are RWA-PRO members, we did a free class on using WordPress to build your website that I believe is in the archives. I am not a techy but tthis class taught me everything I needed to know about building it and maintaining it myself.

    When I get published, I’ll invest in a webdesigner and upgrade it.

    1. Your site and your ‘brand’ presence is outstanding. I just don’t know how you get it all done – seriously. But you do, and congrats.

      I don’t disagree at all about ‘investing’ in the designer, but I am pulling a little clout here so I know my budget upfront as does my designer (who works with me on other jobs for several years).

      I also want to showcase some other ‘things’ that I do – TV show reviews, book reviews, and my photography. So it’s a an outlet I intend to use for a couple of things, but of course primarily, the author me.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting.

  5. Oh, please, don’t hate marketing. It’s fun. It’s useful. It works. If you find you really hate marketing, please let me help or see my article in Jan’s issue of the RWR page 49.

    1. Oh, I’m just playing… I love marketing. I’d better. In my day job I’ve been in the business for 30 years. I just like sensationalized headlines:)…but I will certainly check out your article and the January issue. Looking forward to it. Thanks for stopping by.

  6. Thank you Denny for such an informative post. I was over at the new site and can’t wait to see what you finally decide on.
    I have wavered back and forth on setting up a website and am currently in a holding pattern. I figure I’ll take the plunge in that pond when I am either agented or have a contract in the works, but I can definitely see how it could be a beneficial promotion tool for a pre-published author. Congratulations on your new site! It’s going to be beautiful.

    1. If I wasn’t a marketing diva (wow, cleaned that up I must say) I might have stayed out of the pool a bit longer, but it’s what I do and since I also have some other projects I’d like to get some visibility I thought it was time. Thanks for dropping by and I appreciate the feedback.

  7. Denny, I love all four of those “looks” for your new website! My fave is the first one. Very cool. I went back through recently to the RWA-PRO forum class messages about creating your site with Word Press and I have to say it was very user friendly, even without having taken the class “live”. I love the site I’ve created but my fear now is how bad it looks that I haven’t posted anything new on it since November!!! If I’m gonna have it, I better use it, right?

    1. November isn’t all that bad:)…seriously, I’ve visited sites that haven’t been updated in a year and I just wander away. But what keeps me updating my current blog is participating in things like Six Sentence Sunday pairing what I write here at WWM with a post on my own blog. It helps keep me updated:)! Thanks for the feedback on the website. It’s really appreciated.

  8. Love the new look, Denny! And I can’t wait to see which version you choose. I played around with Word Press a few times, but always run into a lack-of-knowledge wall. Blogger seems easiest (though much glitchier). I do LOVE how customizable Word Press is.

    1. Thanks Yvonne. Really appreciate your stopping by. Keep playing around with WordPress it gets easier and easier – plus you don’t have to know everything all at once (very good news for me!).

  9. Great post, Denny-Mermaid! Your website is looking awesome too!!! Can’t wait to see more on it. I’m still going to wait a bit before starting my own site but just you wait – I will be bugging you on a daily basis. Smoochies! 😉

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