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Discussion Starter #1
Hi Everyone,
I've only recently launched my author site and at the moment it's loking a bit generic so i've had a few ideas and would love some feedback from kboarders with their own author sites.
I'm a horror/thriller writer so I've been toying with the idea of making my site a little more creepier, for example here are some ideas I had
* A header image of the grim reaper, writing on parchment with a quill, illuminated by a candle with the line "Michael J Elliott, writing stories from the dark realm"
* A dark background featuring a full moon or some other sinister look.
* A photo of me holding a skull (plastic of course) with a knowing smile.
These are just a couple of my ideas but since I'm new to talking about myself, I'm just wondering whether my ideas are too OTT or whether my readers (and those who check me out) may appreciate the sinister tie in with my books.
Any feedback would be great, also if noone finds my "scarey" theme appropriate, could you please provide some ideas about how to make the site look less bland?
Thank you
KBoarders rock! :D
 

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While it's fine to make your design fit your style, keep in mind that most people come to a website looking for information--so whatever you do, don't make the information difficult to find or read. (For example, a dark background is fine, but where the text is should be a lighter background with dark text--far easier to read.)
 

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I don't think you need to go overboard, but right now it does look like a generic wordpress template. Have you looked at other horror author sites to see what they do? Steal from the best, I say. Find author sites that you like and rip them off shamelessly.

One thing I advise against is a black background with white writing. I used to think those stories about it being hard to read were BS, but now I find myself squinting whenever I hit one of those sites.
 

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Whatever you do, don't do one of those things where a scary face pops out at you after thirty seconds, because I will die.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Well I've just checked out the sites of Dean Koontz, Stephen King, Clive Barker and David C Cassidy and I can't believe how different they all are. Dean Koontz's site has a black/purple background with a half silloueted portrait of himself then a list of books. Clive's is very plain but Stephen King's has a slider header full of gruesome images, so I'm wondering if I should strike a happy medium and go for something in between?
 

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A little bit of atmosphere wouldn't hurt. A visual cue as to what people are getting themselves into.  :)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Z. Rider said:
Readability and navigation are the two most important things. Beyond that, it's striking a balance between your genre (and books' tone) and your personality--you know: they come for the horror, but they come back for the Michael J. Elliott.
thank you!
Even though I write some gory stuff I'm actually known for my sense of humour so I'd definitely try to get my personality across in the info and writing, perhaps just an atmospheric header and let my book covers do the rest?
 

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Michael J Elliott said:
perhaps just an atmospheric header and let my book covers do the rest?
I'm too lazy to figure out how to make my header look atmospheric. I just settle for it being as black as my heart.

Perhaps you could make a header out of part of the background of your book cover? You've got the smoke and the wrecked buildings...
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Z. Rider said:
I'm too lazy to figure out how to make my header look atmospheric. I just settle for it being as black as my heart.

Perhaps you could make a header out of part of the background of your book cover? You've got the smoke and the wrecked buildings...
Great idea Z!
I hadn't even considered that, I'll give it a try and see what it looks like :)
 

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Michael J Elliott said:
Great idea Z!
I hadn't even considered that, I'll give it a try and see what it looks like :)
It's a credit to my laziness--I'm all "why figure out a whole new image if I already have images someone else did for me?" Plus it reinforces the brand. As you get more books, you maybe have to find an image that ties the brand together a bit (I've gone with an atmospheric dark road because two books have roads on the covers and the third has a concrete floor with a texture similar to the gravely texture of the road image...plus my imprint is called Dark Ride Publishing), but with one book it's easy.
 

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Z. Rider said:
It's a credit to my laziness--I'm all "why figure out a whole new image if I already have images someone else did for me?" Plus it reinforces the brand. As you get more books, you maybe have to find an image that ties the brand together a bit (I've gone with an atmospheric dark road because two books have roads on the covers and the third has a concrete floor with a texture similar to the gravely texture of the road image...plus my imprint is called Dark Ride Publishing), but with one book it's easy.
To add to that, some cover designers offer the option (or you can ask) of getting a layered PSD of your cover(s). With that, you can do all sorts of manipulation with those sorts of images to fit your needs.
 
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Your site must be functional and readable. Please, in the name of all that is good and holy (or, in the case of my fellow horror writers, evil and unholy), don't go with a black background and red type. Contrast, contrast, contrast is the key. If I can't read the type, I'm not staying on the page. That is the biggest problem I see with most horror sites. They are practically unreadable.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I've just changed (temporarily) my header to the cropped version of my book cover, I've also got a couple of other images I can use, one is of a door with a bloodied handprint the other is of a ghostly horse and carriage, can anyone give me some feedback about the "book" version? :D
 

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Rick Gualtieri said:
To add to that, some cover designers offer the option (or you can ask) of getting a layered PSD of your cover(s). With that, you can do all sorts of manipulation with those sorts of images to fit your needs.
I always get the layered files from my designer. It comes in extremely handy when making ads and banners and bookmarks.

Michael J Elliott said:
I've just changed (temporarily) my header to the cropped version of my book cover
I think it looks good. You might want to shorten "Current Author News" to "Author News" or even just "News" to pull it up onto the same line as the other menu items.
 
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