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September 9, 2010

In Which I Bribe You For Help

Kate Hart

Although my official day job title is "publicist," I spend most of my work hours doing design. This week, I've been frantically finishing up posters and programs for a major event on Saturday, which reminded me of two things:

1) My powers of visualization = nil. Zero. Zilch. If there's not an inspiration piece in front of me, we're hosed.

2) I promised myself that when I got an agent, I'd build myself a real website. Please see point one for the problem.

So! Once this work event is over, I'll be trolling the internet looking for inspiration, but I'm hoping you'll help me out.
  • What are your favorite writer websites or blogs, both in appearance and in content? 
  • What do you think every writer's website should have? 
  • Stick with Sphere of Domesticity? I feel like it makes me sound old. Which I kind of am. But not that old.
  • What about FAQs? Do I need those? If so, will you ask me some so I can pretend like they're frequent?

In other words, please leave me links, suggestions, questions and other advice in the comments.

And because I'm not above bribery:
I'll randomly choose one comment to  
win a $15 gift card to the online bookseller of your choice.  

thank you!


  1. Stephanie Perkins' website is one of my favorites. I think a FAQ, info about your books/works in progress, info about yourself, including a bio, a link to your blog, and some sort of contact information are all important.

    As for FAQ questions, you should probably answer the basics, that way if anyone asks, you can point them to your FAQ (where do you get your inspiration?, where do you get your ideas?, how do you find time to write?, etc., etc.).

  2. i'm a huge fan of those flash websites, but they are super hard to do yourself.

    i'm actually a huge fan of Rachel Bateman's website: it's bright, personal, extensive but contained.

    With 'Sphere of Domesticity,' you have a lot of room to play and pun! I see the homepage as a circle with little links all around it, and little round icons... Am I getting too crazy detailed? The tabs on your blog are great, so you have good ideas to work with already. Good luck! :]

  3. I agree with Abby, I think the header on Stephanie's website is just adorable and has great content for an author site. It's pretty much exactly what I think an author's website should be. I actually sent it to my GA friend (along with a few others) who is eventually going to fix up my site for me. But since she's doing it for free I'm way at the end of the line. In general, I like to just connect with other writers, hear their stories and learn about them. And if they have something to teach/share about their life experience, then I want to hear that, too.

  4. I was going to vote for Stephanie Perkin's website, too. Also, Carrie Harris has an awesome one which was done by the same person who did Steph's.

    I think something simple yet striking so it sticks in your head, but isn't overwhelming to navigate through.

    As for FAQ, I always like to find out how a writer found their agent and got their pub deal. I'd start off with a few things like that and just add to it as people start asking you more questions.

    Hope that's helpful.

  5. I was totally going to say Stephanie Perkins, thinking I had a *brilliant* idea no one would have thought of, but I see others have the same idea too! ;) I absolutely LOVE her design.

    As for the blog title, being agented and all, I'm not sure it sends a "writerly" message. If that's what your blog/website is going to be about, then I think maybe the title should be changed. If it's about your life in general, then you can play on those words and make everything tie in.

    Facts wise, I think fun tidbits in a short bio are great. And a picture or two of you as well.;)

  6. There are several authors with really beautiful websites. I tend towards simplicity, though, and my favorites are: Courtney Summers, Cindy Pon, Shannon Hale, and another vote for Stephanie Perkins' site. :)

    Some tabs that I find necessary for authors' websites are Bio, Books, Contact, FAQs, and, if the author has one, Blog. I often visit authors' FAQ pages, and am always curious about their publication process, how they came up with their current novel, etc.

  7. Not a YA website, but I like the way that Jody Hedlund integrated her blog with her website. One thing that kind of irritates me about a lot of author websites is that I can't get instant updates when they post something new. You have to keep checking back, but if you have your blog integrated then it makes it much easier to follow what they're up to.

  8. 1. I like Maureen Johnson's site, personally.

    2. The three Bs: Bio, Books, Blog

    3. I think I'd toss it and just go with your name at this point. OR OR OR! If you want to keep blogging about crafty-type projects and such, make it a tab.

    4. This is a matter of personal preference, but I've never been much for FAQs, mostly because they feel fake to me. Really? Do people frequently ask you those questions? I much prefer it when an author has a "Fun facts about me" section instead.

  9. One more thing! I really like blogs that have most popular post-type links, so definitely keep that feature!

  10. I like Lauren Strasnick's site. Simple, and I like the little mixed tape feature, which I am stealing

  11. What I love most about your current site is it is simple and really uses white space and color. I would try to keep that element-- it makes it easier to read, and really makes those IHAZCHEESEBURGER Twilight spoofs pop.
    Other sites in that same vein that I LOVE include TH Mafi. Her site is a joy to look at. (yes I am nerdy.)

    When I go to your site, I just type in Kate Hart. I think you've got as much if not more recognition for your name as "Sphere," so I'd drop the blog title thing and go with the name. (says the girl that obnoxiously throws her two names out there constantly.)

    I really love how you have each book as a tab, complete with original inspired artwork and playlist. Please keep that!! Genius. (and I totes copied it on my blog. that's the sincerest form of flattery right?)

    I will end this LONG LONG comment by saying: I heart FAQs! I would include questions like: where did the idea for these books come from; what is my writing process; how did I get my agent; what do I do besides write... and include links to relevant posts you've already written.
    phew! /out

  12. I love Maureen Johnson's site which was done by:

    And Stehpanie Perkins's site, which was done by:

    I plan to talk to both of them when I'm ready!

  13. Unbelievable. I wrote up this huge comment and blogger ate it!!!!!

    Okay trying to recall what I said: Meg Cabot's website is my fave. Professional, polished, but fun and very easy to navigate. I think every writer's website needs a good bio because it gives you a connection to the author. Dunno about Sphere of Domesticity because it doesn't scream "writer", but if you're comfortable with it that's what matters. I think you'll probably know when you need a FAQ because there will be questions that you are frequently asked.

    Hope this helps!!! *grumbles about blogger*

  14. I like that Perkins' website background matches her twitter background. They both flow together so nicely that it instantly ups the professional look for me.

    I agree that TH Mafi has an awesome-looking site too.

    My fav site is It's fresh and clean, beautiful and simplistic, and it just screams YA! at you when you see it.

    I don't understand why blogs have to have names. You want your name to be recognizable, don't you? So why not call your site "Kate Hart"? or "Kate Hart/Hearts YA" or something else that's clever but includes your name?

    I'm going to go with Meredith's suggestion for "fun facts about me" instead of a FAQ. The more personality you can stick in there, the better.

  15. Ha ha, I'll never forget how mad I got at my husband when he pointed out that my FAQs were not FA. So I changed it to Q&A... And then the day I decided they'd all been asked frequently, I triumphantly changed it back!

  16. I'm not subscribed to very many writer-blogs, but one of my absolute favorites as far as design + content is Gayle Forman's website ( I love the colors scheme and the simplicity. When I hit the home page my eyes know exactly where to go. I'm not bombarded by music. There isn't a pre-loader. There aren't sound effects. I don't have to dig and dig. 10,000 bonus points.

    What every writer's website should have (agree with Meredith) - bio, books & blog

    Not sure about Sphere of Domesticity. I think you could go with something more simple.

    I think FAQs are fine. Why did you decide to write? Who are your favorite authors? What was your favorite book as a teen?

  17. I LOVE Lauren Strasnick's website. I love the simplicity/cleanness with just a touch of color. It's also easy to navigate and has all the info needed. Very concise.

    And yes please, FAQs! Here's one: where's your favorite writing spot? :)


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