Do Writers Need Web Sites?Written by C.S. Paquin
Do writers need Web sites. In my opinion, if you're searching for work on Internet then yes. But why, I hear you ask?
When I decided to get serious about my freelance career, I spent considerable time researching Internet resources while planning my marketing strategy. Would there be enough work on Internet to sustain my existence? Or would I have to resort to a print marketing campaign to get word out? Given that e-mail is cheaper than paper and postage, Internet seemed a good option. So, I built a Web site, which, I expect to work for me on three levels.
First of all, it 'looks' good to have a Web address. And they're as commonplace as telephone and fax numbers in Author Interviews these days. Therefore, in terms of projecting a savvy image, a Web site is invaluable for providing another way for a potential client to reach you.
Secondly, a Web site can be a showcase. If you have clips then uploading them to your site is a quick way for clients to see what you're capable of. If you're just beginning, it's a chance to present some material. Yes clients look for published work, but they also appreciate good writing.
Depending on your HTML skills, a Web page can let you show off photography you may have taken. Being able to take a photo if needed is a great skill for intrepid reporter. I have a few photos in my clip file I'm particularly proud of - one being a rather fetching close-up of a Highland cow, featuring front page of a Sunday supplement. Said cow now features in Clips section on my Web site.
Another aspect to 'showmanship' is employers often request clips as text only. No attachments, nothing fancy. It's rather sad to see your official newspaper clips reduced to bare text, with no formatting. I'm often tempted, as are others, to attach a little jpeg or pdf file to show how my work 'really looked'. Nevertheless, you have to respect potential employers' wishes. So, with text, I paste URL of better-presented piece, knowing that employer may also want to see a better layout. It's easier for client to click a hotlink to a Web page than to open another program to see my work (Big hint: Make it easy for client).
Inspiration -- The Writer’s 'Aha' MomentWritten by C.S. Paquin
It's my dad's fault I've spent more money on notebooks than I've earned from words written in them. From age I could hold a crayon -- and comprehend I shouldn't scribble on walls -- stationery was in plentiful supply. During my formative years, a paper-mill firm employed my father.
He brought home reams of product -- quality control rejects. I eyed them with enthusiasm, itching to scrawl my hieroglyphics. As my mastery of three R's improved, I was only 7-year-old on block with leather-bound notebooks (albeit defective). I admired my paper hoard, believing it meant only one thing: I was destined to be a writer. But when a new notepad appeared, I would start a new story regardless of whether I had finished last -- I liked my tablets dog-ear free.
A quarter-century later, paper-mill converted to a boutique mall and my dad fond of saying, "You live beyond your means," I still dreamed of being a famous writer. My vocabulary had grown age-appropriately (and my cursive). My self-discipline and output, however, remained that of a child. Perhaps less -- I was a prolific 7-year-old, after all.
Still, dream stuck. A calfskin-bound journal with linen-finished pages shrieked, "Buy me," begging to be filled with my prose. I would reverently begin a piece, with help of a carefully selected pen. But when coffee-cup rings stained book and it lost its leather smell; my writing was as stale and uninteresting.