I have a new book coming out in the UK next spring. So it’s time to start looking around to see what new web gadgets and gismos authors are expected to shell out for from their meager advances to keep their “web profile” current.

It’s a new arms race. Just as the Soviets bankrupted their (morally bankrupt) regime trying to keep up with US developments in mass destruction, writers have to divert their attention from the writing of books and trawl the (morally questionable) web, wondering if people will think they’re bad writers just because they didn’t hire the most expensive web designer.

Many top writers still have websites whose homepages are essentially just tacky ads for their latest book. Those are sites you’ll never return to. You go there, read the author bio, and maybe click on “BUY THE BOOK!!!” Ha, as if.

So web designers are trying to figure out ways to get you to come back to a site which, by definition, ought only to be worth visiting every year or so, when the author actually publishes a new book.

Hence, you may download the Haruki Murakami screensaver, or Bret Easton Ellis “wallpaper,” or play a Huckleberry Finn “vocabulary game” to entice you to visit the site of Jon Clinch, author of “Finn.”

And here I thought writing my own blog and this blog and maintaining a Facebook page and tweeting and...

Read the rest of this post on my blog The Man of Twists and Turns.

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Comment by Benjamin Sobieck on September 29, 2010 at 12:15am
It's only going to get worse. And I fear I'm doing everything to perpetuate it.
Comment by I. J. Parker on September 27, 2010 at 8:05am
Web sites are very useful for any reader who may have picked up one's book by accident (wishful thinking) or heard it mentioned by someone else (more wishful thinking), or happened across it while looking for something else via Google. Such people can go check me out out as an author: i.e. "Is I.J. Parker male or female?" "How many books did she manage to get published?" "What did the critics have to say about them?" "What sorts of books are they?" and "Why in the name of God would someone write mysteries set in eleventh century Japan?"

Now I do have a handful of fans. They like to come to the web site to write to me or to look at the pictures, or to learn a little about the time, or when the next book or story will appear.

As I said, web sites are very good things. I don't know about all that other crap, like trailers and facebook pages.

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