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Old 08-20-2011, 09:03 AM   #1
Nancy Fulda
I write stories.
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Author Web Sites

A few months ago saw a link for a book that looked interesting and stopped by the web site to learn more.

It was a nice web site overall... but I could not, for the life of me, find a purchase link. I even looked for the book on Amazon. Nothing. Not even a 'coming soon'.

I was, to put it mildly, irritated.

So what about you guys? What web site errors drive you batty? (And, to be fair, which web sites do you consider really, really well done?)
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Old 08-20-2011, 10:31 AM   #2
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Forcing me to run flash to see basic content. In most cases I'm in environments where I can't run flash. I'm not going to bother to try to come back when I'm at home and can run flash.
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Old 08-20-2011, 11:41 AM   #3
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flash - embedded sound - video that automatically loads in - unprofessional sites that go off on huge rants about politics or religion or some other topic that is sure to offend a good number of people. Sometimes authors don't seem to get that their author pages are their "professional image" and they need to act professionally. Visitors are not your friends to gossip to, they are your customers.

I saw one once where the post of the day was when the author was in a hospital waiting room and was a multi-paragraph rant on how all the other people sitting in chairs weren't dressed up pretty enough for her delicate senses.

I wince when I see those things - save that for personal blogs and personal facebook pages.

But by far my biggest pet peeve

Not being able to easily find listings of all books and series books in order - yes with easily click-able buy links.
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Old 08-20-2011, 11:48 AM   #4
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I absolutely hate embedded sound. I keep sound muted as default on my computer for that reason. Also, abookreader makes a good point regarding lists. The main reason that I visit an author's website is when I am trying to find a list of books by the author, especially the order of books in a series. I also like it when an author explains why the preferred order to read might be different than the published order.
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Old 08-20-2011, 01:34 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by abookreader View Post
flash - embedded sound - video that automatically loads in - unprofessional sites that go off on huge rants about politics or religion or some other topic that is sure to offend a good number of people. Sometimes authors don't seem to get that their author pages are their "professional image" and they need to act professionally. Visitors are not your friends to gossip to, they are your customers.

I saw one once where the post of the day was when the author was in a hospital waiting room and was a multi-paragraph rant on how all the other people sitting in chairs weren't dressed up pretty enough for her delicate senses.

I wince when I see those things - save that for personal blogs and personal facebook pages.

But by far my biggest pet peeve

Not being able to easily find listings of all books and series books in order - yes with easily click-able buy links.
I also don't like this in fiction books. Of course there are non-fiction books that are about politics or religion, I'm not talking about those. When you buy those you know what you are getting.

Carol
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Old 08-20-2011, 05:06 PM   #6
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I read (other than work related technical stuff) for recreation. When a web site I need to read to buy the book doesn't work right, I know I won't enjoy the book. Regardless of why it doesn't work right, be it poor design (can't find a buy link), use of flash (or worse, animated GIFs - they never work right) or other bling, or having to dig through mounds of unrelated rants to find the info I want. It's just now worth it.

But mostly, it's poor design choices. Color combinations that make my brain bleed, flash, lack of links to what I'm looking for, and so on. Sound actually doesn't bother me, because it always keep my speakers turned off, all the time, except when I know there's a reason to have it on.
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Old 08-20-2011, 06:41 PM   #7
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You kids get off my lawn!
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I personally don't care for authors telling me where to buy their books - unless they're not available from the mainstream sources (amazon, b&n, kobo, booksonboard)...

I hate it when they don't update their webistes in any kind of reasonable timeframe - so the "latest offering" is really two or three books ago!

I was stunned when I went to one author's website and her HOME page was her "about me" page, not her "about my books" page. Eek, but honestly, I really don't care to know that much about most of the authors I read, but I'd prefer to have a choice...seemed incredibly arrogant to me.

I'll add a +1 to the issue of not being able to find book lists (and reading order), of flash-based websites, of music blasting (especially if there's no way to turn it off).

I'd also say I'm always surprised (and a bit frustrated) when authors don't have descriptions of the books they're trying to convince you to try, or some kind of excerpt.
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Old 08-20-2011, 06:46 PM   #8
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I will add that the other reason why I might visit an author's website is to find out if the author has any "coming soon" books. If so, then I appreciate a brief description of the plot.

One thing I don't understand is trailers for books. Do people watch these? Are they poorly acted? Do they motivate you to buy the book? I usually skip these. I'm more interested in reading a description about the book than watching a trailer.
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Old 08-20-2011, 09:30 PM   #9
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agreed on the lack of series reading order. i'm not going to sit there trying to puzzle out which book goes where.

same goes for publishers:stick a series # on the book, both physical copies and when you post them on amazon (description AND title). i'm sick to death of trying to figure out the order by reading reviews or checking publication dates.
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Old 08-20-2011, 09:34 PM   #10
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agreed on the lack of series reading order. i'm not going to sit there trying to puzzle out which book goes where.

same goes for publishers:stick a series # on the book, both physical copies and when you post them on amazon (description AND title). i'm sick to death of trying to figure out the order by reading reviews or checking publication dates.
This is where Fantastic Fiction is a lifesaver. http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk
I use it all the time for series books. They're not infallible, but they're right a whole lot more often than they are wrong.
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Old 08-20-2011, 09:47 PM   #11
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This is where Fantastic Fiction is a lifesaver. http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk
I use it all the time for series books. They're not infallible, but they're right a whole lot more often than they are wrong.
That's a great website! Thanks for reminding me about it. I haven't visited it in awhile, and it looks like it's been expanded to offer even more information. I just set a bookmark for it so I remember to visit more often in the future.
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Old 08-21-2011, 06:26 AM   #12
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unprofessional sites that go off on huge rants about politics or religion or some other topic that is sure to offend a good number of people.
It's better to offend them before they buy, that way they know what they are getting so they're less likely to leave a bad review. It would also attract the "right" type of readers.
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Old 08-21-2011, 06:32 AM   #13
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Music on websites is an immediate turn-off. Not at all "work friendly".
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Old 08-21-2011, 06:35 AM   #14
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I would much rather have a tastefully Flash-ed website than one that is so basic HTML, it looks like it was designed by e high-school student.

Any time I see something like that, I can't take that site seriously. I know, I know, I shouldn't judge a book by the cover. But really, at least try to make your site seem professional.

Also, I second the but about embedded music.
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Old 08-21-2011, 06:52 AM   #15
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What really peeves me off is when an author writes a short story in a series I like and this short story is them put in a collection of other short stories by other authors that I am not interested in. So in order to get this one short story, I have to buy these other stories I an not going to be reading.

As for author websites, if they are going to link me to where the books can be purchased, don't just link me to Amazon and let me figure out where else I might get it. Link to every site it's at or don't bother.
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