Years ago when I was working for a publishing house that specialises in popular culture books, there was a story doing the rounds about one particular celebrity.
This singer, who was well past his pop prime (hence had time on his hands, we suspected), apparently ran his own fan club, and guarded his image so keenly that he wouldn’t license any content for inclusion in a bumper pop compendium.
At the time, his actions seemed odd (what self-respecting celeb didn’t have a PA to manage their fans at arm’s length?), mean spirited (why not allow us to print a biog?) and not a little self-obsessed. But actually, he was almost certainly on to something.
You can bet that this popstar is today running his own website - and the best websites are those where the subject goes to the trouble to have some personal input.
You must have felt that magic when the web puts you in close proximity of someone who you’d never normally have a chance to meet in the usual course of things. Sometimes that might mean you feel in contact with them emotionally (like when Marian Keyes went public with her depression), but more often it’s creatively.
The kind of author website I like is one that gives me an extra dimension, something that supplements my experience of reading their book. If you look at Armistead Maupin’s site for instance, you can go to an interactive San Francisco map that allows you to find the locations in his Tales of the City novels.
Or over at Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s site, you can read Top Tens of random things that cheer him up, and see if those things do the same for you.
Is there an author website that you especially like? If so, mention whose it is in the Comments below. I’d also like to hear what you would put on your own author website if time and money were no object, so be as creative as you like.