My website is launched! It can be found here: http://paulcarrollwriter.com
It's been a relatively long road. Well, six weeks. I decided, at the very end of July after finished Camp NaNoWriMo, to set up a website. The idea was simple: I would write articles on the website, I would post short stories and poems, and that would be that. I would run it through Wordpress.com.
That's how it started. I set up a Wordpress.com account, and I got things on the roll. Then I thought, I could run other things through this! And that's what I will be doing. I have ideas in place, some of which will appear sooner than others, that will be ad supported. I'm not a fan of ads on my own personal space, which is what this blog and the main part of the website will be, but when it comes to these other ideas, ads will be fine.
But that's way into the future (in one case, but not necessarily another). For now, I've got a set list of features on the website.
It functions like a blog, categorised and organised neatly so that it represents the two sides to how I work: with my head and with my heart. The "head" work is the articles under Writing Advice. The advice ranges from (very) basic legal advice to the basics of writing that I picked up over the years to a guide to what I call 50K in 30 Days, which is essentially NaNoWriMo. I've done it enough to know how to do it properly, and my "win" this summer in the Camp version was the final piece of encouragement I needed to try help people do it too. First drafts are important.
The "heart" work, then, is the Writing Samples section. This includes short stories, poems and Doctor Haik-Who. The last one is for a bit of fun and variety. I have specific niche talents and especially nerdy hobbies, and if I hide that fact from the world I'd be lying through my teeth (or fingers...).
Two ideas I have for expanding on what I offer the world - the ad based things I mentioned - also play on the "head" and "heart" of my writing. One will be an article site, the other a fiction based site, both attached directly to my website. For now, they will remain hidden (though I think some people can already guess the fiction based site!).
Combining the "head" and the "heart" is the Free Downloads section. I'll be adding downloadable pieces to the website through this section. Already there are opening chapters from a novella I wrote in Summer 2010, called Stepping Forward. I won't even attempt to explain it to you. The .PDF file features the opening five chapters, which should give you a pretty good idea of what the book is about, without giving away too much! It's short, of course, being a novella, but it's a fun book as far as I'm concerned! It didn't bore me in the editing process, anyway, and I normally can't stand to look back on things I've written!
There will be other things added to this section of the website, which you can find out about through my Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn pages (links in the sidebar!), as well by checking out the News section, part of About. This About section has an author bio (er... my bio), the News section and a Writing Progress section. That last one is just a short page on what I'm working on. It's generally for larger projects than, say, my latest article for The Phantom Zone.
Aside from that, though, the website is like any other, right? I mean, the Free Downloads section isn't on every website, but it's not unique. I wanted this to be a new type of experience. Yes, there are plenty of ways to get in touch with me that make me a little more accessible than some authors, but I wanted to personalise my website more. So I set up a Skype account.
In the sidebar of my website, you'll see three buttons. The first is to add me to your contacts list. I will generally accept all requests. The second button is to see my status - you'll know when I'm online just by looking at my website. The third button is to call me. It's as simple as that.
This enables people to meet the author! I'm not published, but I've seen lots of people who aren't published and who have websites and one thing you can't do is meet them unless you know them. I've spoken to dozens of authors online, but rarely face-to-face! I want to give people that option. My face is already on the website, so I don't have to worry about that aspect of it. And I only have to appear online when I'm free to talk. It's as simple as that.
One last thing about the downloads, though. They're free, but they're password protected. The passwords will be available on the website. The point isn't to stop people accessing the writing, but to stop spambots accessing it easily. I figured this was the best way to do it. Sorry for the inconvenience, but hopefully you think it's worth it!
So there it is, my website is launched and ready to go. I hope you enjoy it, and feedback is appreciated!