Why I Work on My Own Website

Web Designer: I’ll create a knockout site for your books for only $50,000.

Me: Will it sell $50,000 worth of books?

Web Designer: Probably not.

Me: Then what good is it?

Web Designer: It will get me more work from the people who see it.

Me: Where does that leave me?

Web Designer: Where you are now with a website that looks like the inside of the kitchen junk drawer.

I run that conversation through my head every time I redesign my website and realize that redesigning it didn’t do any good. In fact, I run a similar conversation through my head any time somebody proposes a great marketing deal for authors: basically, I ask, will this promotion, ad, or publicity package sell more books than it costs me?

If not, then I’m going to be running at a loss in a way that I can’t, as the old joke goes, make up on volume.

The home page of my website has a dark picture of a forbidding forest. Seriously, that tells you more about me than thousands of words. Also, it weeds out the kind of people who are scared of walking into such a forest. If they are, they won’t like my books.

Will it sell any books? Probably not. Writing gurus say every writer needs a website, preferably one they can charge $50,000 to design. So what’s it for? Presence. However, you’ll see just how much presence you’re getting by noting that the average length of your site’s visits is less than a second. Wow: bots and speed readers.

And yet, magazine and book publishers won’t look at you unless you have a website that they probably won’t look at. They just need to see that you have it.

Bookselling is really quite humorous if you last long enough to see how it works.