Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Writer's Life - New Website Coming Soon ~




I am excited, worried, and curious about the new website that I will have up and running soon. I'm working with a former student who is also a creative writer to bring my virtual self into the 21st Century. It feels a little like throwing out an entire closet of old clothes in order to bring in a new wardrobe. This is not something I have done in my life. I'm learning that I have very specific tastes. Once the site is up and running, I will be in charge of adding events and news, but I wanted help figuring out a basic look. We are meeting this morning to hopefully get this sorted.

What have other writers done to update existing sites or is it easier to start from scratch? I love color (as is clear from the old site that needs to disappear soon) but the new trends in websites seem to be all crisp and clean as a starched tuxedo shirt. I would love to hear ideas from other writers how they handle their virtual lives.

9 comments:

  1. I like color! Clean and crisp, yes, but not all stark in black and white. My website is the original one I created several years ago, though I recently updated my About page to include a News box. And I finally figured out how to add images to my Calendar page. I've done some tweaking here and there, but the color scheme and basic design have remained the same. I did, however, recently create a totally new look for my blog. Two suggestions: don't bother with a list of links to other poets--keep visitors on your page--and don't post an excessive number of your own poems. Whet the appetite; don't satiate it.

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  2. Good luck with your new website! I've used lots of red and not changed it much. My blog is another story: easier to change.

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  3. Hi Susan! I'm planning to launch my very first web site in the next several weeks (after years of dithering) and found a designer through a poet friend. I appreciate the clean, uncluttered look and user friendliness of many sites I've visited of late. I'd like a more muted palette for my own site, with some Japanese and botanical touches (I'm thinking at this early stage). Like you, I want to be able to update events and news on my own. Also, I'd like to promote other poets' work/blogs when and as I can, as you have done here - doing so cultivates community, and what goes around comes around.

    Am looking forward to your new virtual look! Have fun with the planning...

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  4. Thanks, Mari! I am pretty happy with it - but need to add a few things. I want a place for folks to sign-up for news of my readings -- although I'm not sure anyone really needs to know. As Daniel and I worked on this (it helps to work with a poet who also knows html) I kept saying aloud, "Does anyone really care to know all this?" I remember thinking anyone with a website -- let alone a blog -- must be vain beyond belief! Now it just seems an easy way to provide people with information. And yes, I do believe that blogs can culitvate community. I'm happy to chat with you about site planning, for example!

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  5. Thanks, Susan - the thing with information is that visitors can take what they need and ignore the rest. What you're giving them is options. Vanity is one way to describe it, but as you yourself have told me, if we aren't promoting our own work, who will? There's a limit, of course - some folks are over the top with the self-promotion - but it's important to get our work out there and not wait in the shadows for someone to stumble upon it by chance, as I myself have done in the past. A healthy degree of pro-activity is necessary. This would be a great topic for a panel on women poets and self-promotion... the lingering taboo of the latter.

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  6. Yes, a great idea for an AWP Panel. Might you suggest it? I've been planning/hoping to go to AWP in DC next year. Let me know if you want to work on this. I've also started a group in Seattle called "Book Lifters." We are poets, essayists, and fiction writers who have books about to come out - or that have come out. We are all women (though not by mandate) and one of the things we have told each other -- which was surprisingly powerful -- is that we need to ask each other for what we need. I should actually write about it here ...Maybe you need to do a reading in Seattle so we could actually meet!

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  7. Susan, I'm flattered, and will keep DC in mind, although I'm not sure at this point if I'll attend. In the meantime, regarding a panel, I say go for it! I wrote to both Elliot Bay and Open Books when my book came out, but didn't hear back from either one about a reading (and I don't know anyone in Seattle). Would love to read there (with you or otherwise) one day - I haven't been back since my Hedgebrook residency...

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  8. Hi Mari,
    You keep giving me ideas for new posts! I am pretty sure that phone calls to book stores are the best way to get a busy bookseller's attention. I know of one case when I felt sure the person was ignoring me, but a friend said to try calling -- and the result is a reading and more. I would call both EB and Open Books -- EB is perhaps a better chance as they have more readings each week. The connection to Hedgebrook is something I would definitely mention! Hedgebrook will be happy (or has in the past) to co-sponsor the reading.

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  9. Thanks for the tip, Susan. When I have more new work, I'll give them a try... Looking forward to your new and improved web site!

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