Posted by : Sherri Cornelius Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The boy's home sick today, one of those borderline illnesses where he's not feeling terrible, but he's contagious too. Since today's the last day befor Fall Break, I decided to keep him home. You're welcome, classmates.

I'm working on bringing some maturity and professionalism to the blog. Not a lot, mind you, just enough so when editors come here they don't shriek and click away. I think I need to re-do my "about", including bio and contact info. I came across this post about author websites from the point of view of an unpaid intern, and it reminded me that professionals who visit my site looking for information about me as an author don't want to wade through posts about my sinuses, nor do they want to read my sad attempts at political diatribe. They want to know about my books, my experience, how to contact me, and how to contact my agent (though if they're here it's probably because she contacted them first).

I thought about creating two pages, one for editors and one for regular folks, the thought being that the info relevant to a visiting professional wouldn't be buried within the site, but visible on the front page. Under each page would be sub-pages, the editor page having the professional info--contact, book descriptions, links to relevant posts, etc--and the regular folks page having the talky traditional About Me, and all the social media contact stuff. There may be some overlap.

Another thought is to have one About Me that everyone would visit, and on that page have a link for editors to click if they want. The goal is to make it easy for everybody to find what they want.

What do you think? I haven't seen much besides the single About Me, with a vague outline of the blogger's interests and location. I'd be grateful for a link to examples of other types.

{ 10 comments... read them below or Comment }

  1. This is an interesting question. Most writers get a "professional" web page so they don't have this tangle. But you're converting a personal online journal format into a professional one, which is challenging. I'd almost recommend, if you are able, setting up a sub-domain for your professional bio and links, and use that as the site to which you refer editors and publishing people. Leave this one as it is.

    Then again, you take the chance on them perusing your site in full while they're here, and straying from the pro portion. That's going to be true whatever you do, unless you come up with another domain altogether.

    Hm. Tough decision. I'd suggest having your "About" page be professional and set it as the static landing page, but you might not be comfortable with that. Those of us who know you know your URL already and get notification somehow of new posts, so it's not going to impact us. New readers won't see the more "personal" Sherri page that way, though.

    Decisions, decisions.

    Let me know what you choose. This is one of the reasons (along with others of which you're painfully aware, I'm sure) why I don't have an author's web page yet. It's yet another tightrope of decisions to make and fine lines to walk. PITA, says I. But ... whattaya gonna do? You gotta have one.

  2. I'd be inlcined to have two separate sites, too, if I wanted one to be a professional one. It's some added work, but I don't know that it makes sense to have much personal information on a site designed to get professional information out.

  3. Sounds too complicated to me, Sherri!

  4. That's me, just making it as hard as I possibly can. lol

    With writers it seems to be perfectly acceptable to have a personal blog on their professional site, as a way to connect with readers. I probably won't need an actual professional website built until I have books to sell on it. And I guess it doesn't matter if I need it or not, because there's no money to hire somebody till then!

    I like the idea of having a static front page with a chatty "about" and links to other areas.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

  5. You could add another page and call it "professional info" or something like that, and list all your creds. I'm not sure if you make a static front page if feed readers will pick up any new blog posts though.

    You could also have a professional data box at the top of your sidebar too, if you didn't want to have a static post or another page. You could put a pic and whatever info you wanted, with contact info too.

  6. I'm sorry your boy is sick. I hope he feels better soon.

  7. I like the idea of putting your professional identity as a writer, front and center. I think it's important to take oneself seriously as a writer if we want others in the field to take us seriously as well. I have a website that serves as a kind of writing resume, and my blog is a link off of that. If someone comes across my blog first, there is a link back to my website. Both of my nonfiction books came about when editors first, read something I'd published, then visited my site, then contacted me about writing a book. They both commented on my site and were, I believe, encouraged by it, since it helped me appear serious, reliable, and dedicated to succeeding.
    As for blogs, agents and editors will find them and read them. I think it's understood that they will be friendlier, chattier, more personal than a professional resume. Only the writer can decide where to draw the line between personal and TMI!

    Also, although my site isn't top of the line and has some flaws, it does the job. I bought a template from a web design company and tweaked it some for my use, and I use Dreamweaver to update it. Believe me, I am no techie, but I did learn enough to do some basic stuff, and I don't have to pay anyone to design or maintain it. My husband is a techie, but I do the work myself, since he already has enough on his plate. I don't think publishers expect a site that compares to bestselling authors: just that the writer understands the importance of the web, knows something about the value of marketing, and is willing to do their part to establish a web presence. All in all, I believe that publishing folks want to know if you are likeable, professional, stable, and serious about writing- a website and a blog can do both of those things.

  8. He feels fine except he's cranky as hell. Oh my gosh, is he a bear.

  9. Ideally, I'd have had this all figured out by the time I signed with an agent, but there is a long learning curve for this business, and I guess I was learning other things instead. And then also, maybe I wasn't psychologically ready to be a real writer, and it came through in my attitude toward the blog. It started out being about growing as a person, then growing as a writer, and now I guess I'm ready to grow professionally.

    Thank you for your advice. Actually, I've had your website in mind while pondering this question. I like it a lot, so I'll take any other advice or critique you can give me.

  10. I think it would pick it up, the feed has a separate address, so it should be the same no matter where on your site it is....????? That professional data box is an interesting idea. I think I'd need to get a template with 2 sidebars, which I prefer anyway, to keep all the relevant info visible without scrolling. Thanks for the advice!


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