Back To Basics

August 28th, 2006 · 5 Comments
by Booksquare

This past weekend, we were reminded that, well, oh how to say this?, that while the Internet as we know it is an unruly teenager — no, Yahoo!, you can’t borrow the car, Google? You’re far too young to know about those things. Netscape? It’s great that you’ve decided what you want to be when you grow up, but you still have to clean your room! — and many folks out there are puzzled about this magical world. Thus we going to do some basic training.

Very basic. This will be a sometimes, when the mood strikes us series.

Let us begin with our philosophy on this web thing: it’s a conversation. The cocktail party analogy is probably overused, but it’s apt. The Internet is all about creating connections. You get to control who you talk to…but you’re not necessarily controlling who’s talking about you. This last idea is creating headaches for major corporations because they not in charge of the discussion. The consumers are out of control.

We remain stunned (stunned!) by the number of authors out there who do not have even the most basic web presence. Let us just say that if you don’t have a website up and running on the day your first deal is announced in Publisher’s Lunch, then you are already too late. It is a rite of passage to have your deal announced and followed by a bunch of contacts from individuals wishing to represent you for film rights (note: check these folks out carefully. Thank you.). You can’t have the fun until you’re in the game.

So new rule number one: get thee a website.

We admit it — there’s going to be some work involved. After careful consideration*, we have decided that “I’m not technical” is not an excuse. It is, officially, a cop-out. You do not have to be technical. If you compare the number of websites out there (and we’re including blogs in this) to the number of “not technical” human beings, you realize that a lot of people without a clue from HTML are on the web. Your job — and have no doubt on this point, promotion is as much a part of an author’s job as writing — is to get yourself up-to-speed.

We suggest registering your domain name before you do anything else this morning. Yes, yes, we hear you now, “But,” sniff, “I haven’t decided on a pseudonym.” Use your real name then — if you haven’t decided on a pseudonym, you haven’t sold a book. And you don’t enter into contractual relationships under a pseudonym. Sorry. That stuff happens under your real name. Your legal name. Until you sell, your website is a resume.

So go to GoDaddy or Network Solutions or the place your friend the author uses and register your domain. Write down important information like your password. Print the pages that are important and put them somewhere safe. Just get the name. We’ll talk about what to do with the name later.

Oh, just a word of warning: don’t fall for the extras. You don’t need them right now. You really don’t need search engine optimization. Trust us on this. Basic name registration is fine. Lock your name up for a good long time.

Next: what to do with your name.

* – Thirty seconds, give or take

File Under: Square Pegs

5 responses so far ↓

  • Karen // Aug 28, 2006 at 10:00 am

    Uh-oh. Being sent to the Vice Principal’s office is so humiliating.

  • Booksquare // Aug 28, 2006 at 10:49 am

    Wait until I get all “…now that you have a domain, do something with it…” on you.

  • Christine Fletcher // Aug 28, 2006 at 12:07 pm

    Believe her, and tremble. After a stern talking-to from Booksquare, I got up at 6 the next morning and registered something like 7 different permutations of my name. And then I went hence and got a website. Fear of God ain’t nothin. Fear of Booksquare, though–that’ll get you moving.

  • Booksquare // Aug 29, 2006 at 7:35 am

    You all make me sound so tyrannical. Thank you.

  • Karen Scott // Aug 29, 2006 at 9:25 am

    It still amazes me that so many authors still don’t have websites.