If you want to be taken seriously as an author, you have to invest in a decent website. This is what I told myself as I clicked ‘purchase’ on a £70 yearly subscription to upgrade my hosting. Yeah, £70 ain’t a bad price, but as someone who has yet to earn a penny from her writing, it’s a statement. A commitment.
I neglected my blog for about a year. It just wasn’t pleasing me. I was no longer satisfied with just a blog. I wanted a website. I wanted it to look swish and aesthetically fabulous; a site I could be proud of, the face of my ‘business’. I tried multiple times to make the best of the free WordPress themes; I cannot tell you how many hours I spent wrestling with its appearance. Nothing was good enough. Nothing made me happy. Still, I didn’t upgrade. A custom domain name and access to themes beyond my wildest dreams, all available for me to code devoutly and make entirely my own. All within my grasp, but no. Why pay for something when you can get a watered-down version for free, right? I can’t justify £70 just to make something look nicer, I thought.
Nah, I’ve changed my mind.
There’s a reason so many people have a career in web-design. By now, every business is aware that a website is the face of the company. It’s especially important for businesses that operate online, who don’t have a high-street retail store for example. People won’t buy from you if you don’t appear to be legit. People won’t buy from you if you don’t take pride in your appearance, if you don’t take the time to craft yourself a brand to be proud of. And anyone who is serious about a career in writing needs to prepare themselves to put a lot of energy into putting your name out there in the most appealing and eye-catching light.
But the newly designed tessburton.com is more than just my website. It’s one part of a larger online presence, one I have been slowly growing for the past few years, one that I finally want to dedicate a lot more time to. It’s hard to explain the importance of social media to the kind of businesses whose only metric for value is monetary. But authors and creatives living in the social media century completely get it. The world has never been so connected as it is now, and it’s fabulous for consumers of art. I love the fact that I can read a brilliant book, then hop onto Twitter to directly tell the author how much I loved it. Not only that, I can share the love and recommend the book to potentially thousands of people, all from one tweet, Instagram post, or review. Humans love art, and I have never seen more passion that the passion I see for stories. The power of social media’s connectivity adds a whole new dimension to how we experience the stories we consume, and we’re still only at the beginning. Social media has only been around for the last decade; what will it be like another decade from now? I want to be there to find out. You know what else I want? I want to know about my readers’ journeys. If someone, someday, purchases a copy of ‘The Young Volcanoes of Tenemere‘ and really enjoys it, I would be so honoured to hear that from them. I would be honoured to cultivate a readership, strangers from around the globe coming back to each book in my series, a series that right now exists only in my head, because they like it. I love chatting to authors online about their books – it makes me remarkably happy. I do hope to be on the other side of that one day.
That’s why I’ve updated my blog. That’s why I’m taking the time for my social media. I’m building an online presence as me: an author, a blogger, a book reviewer and a person. And I hope to be here for a long time, and I’ll chat to anyone I can along the way.
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