New Blog and Aesthetics

Hello all!

New post and a shiny-new blog to go with it.

For my first post at my new home, I’d like to talk about to present yourself on the internet.  I’m not going the comments-and-behavior route with this one.  I’d specifically like to discuss aesthetics. 

First, if you’ve never been there before (but chances are you just came from there), here’s what my old blog looks like (and here’s a link http://marinajlostetter.blogspot.com/): 

Now, is there anything there that suggests–visually–that I am a science fiction and fantasy author and illustrator? 

Hell no.  It is not sleek.  It is not whimsical.  It isn’t even eye-catching.  It is about at pedestrian as you can get.

Bad spec-fic artist, bad.

I believe that a blog or website should be treated as a book-cover.  Its appearance should immediately give an impression of what you or your business is all about.  And it should be explicitly designed to “sell.”  As in, just like a book cover, it needs to be as professional as you are capable of making it.

Poorly designed websites turn people off.  It’s sad, but true.  Just like with bad book covers.  Though in reality the quality of the book rarely has anything to do with the quality of the cover (other than signaling what kind of investment the publishers were willing to make), people do judge books that way. 

So, even if it’s subconscious, people often see a bad website as a sign of unprofessionalism.  Doesn’t matter if you are a great small business doing well for yourself and your employees–if your online presence is ugly, your online business probably will be to.

This works differently for authors than it does for illustrators.  Luckily for authors, your website isn’t typically aimed at the people you are directly selling your product to: publishers.  It’s aimed at readers.  If you’ve got enough of a back-log out there that you’ve developed a real fan base, you’re probably good to go no matter what your site looks like.  The only people you might loose are newbies looking to find out who you are for the first time.  And even then your sales won’t suffer, you’ll just probably have fewer visitors to your site.

Artists, on the other hand, have a lot invested in their online presentation.  For one, as a monger of visual medium, if you have an underdeveloped website it will lose you customers.  Because not only fans visit, but also people who can lease your work, and buy prints, and commission new works.  And the first thing they notice probably won’t be your latest piece of art, even if it’s on the front page.  They’ll notice your layout.

And if you can’t come up with a well composed web page, what’s to make them think you can come up with a well composed painting?

Sure, they’ll see your work.  They’ll click through to the gallery.  But that initial momentum is gone.  Why do we put paintings in nice frames?  To show the work off better.  Your web site layout is the frame for your entire gallery.  It is important.

Now, this is not to say that what I’ve got now is fantastic.  But this blog is loads better than my previous one.  Not only is it more attractive, but it feels more representative of what I do.

Similarly, if you want to advertise your cake company you don’t start out with lots of barbed-wire and nuclear explosions on the first page, do you?  If you write westerns you don’t want to go with a Grecian motif, right?  Likewise, a speculative fiction author or artist should probably shy away from the obviously mundane. I’ll be changing the banner in the future to further reflect the theme of my work (right now that piece only really has a touch of the spec).  And I chose black and white because it’s classic, simple, and sleek.

I will be expanding in the future, to a full on web site and gallery, but for now it’s just a new blog and a few links to a new Deviant Art page.  Hope you’ll keep checking back to see how it all develops.

~Marina

P.S.  Let me know what you think: How much should artists and writers worry about their online presentation? 

56/100

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11 thoughts on “New Blog and Aesthetics

  1. I think online presentation is key. What separates some people from others, is a quality in layout + design. Nobody is going to take a generic layout seriously. Especially if it’s one of the templates that has never been augmented.

    An invested artist is a serious artist.

    Simple as that.

  2. I didn’t know you were an artist in addition to a writer! I look forward to seeing some of your work!

    Nice new blog. One other thing to watch for is readability. In my blog’s early days it was a darker background and light print, and some readers complained it was hard to read. I’m not having any trouble reading yours, but then, I never had trouble reading my own either. Just a thought.

    But I do like the new one (even though you’re making me modify my Fellow Writers Blogroll (ppbth.)

    • Oh, yes, readability is actually more important than all of those things I listed, lol. After all, doesn’t matter how pretty it is if no one can access the information. And sorry about switching things up on you. Which reminds me, I’ve been really bad in the blogroll department. That needs to be my next order of business.

      • The blogroll probably helps me more than anyone else (though I do like to give a link to fellow writers, in case anyone else is blog hopping) because it tells me when there are new posts. Yes, I suppose I could use a blog reader, but I check my own every day to see if there are comments anyway.

  3. Red Kearney says:

    I like the new site Marina!

    Is it okay if I have a link to it on my site? (Cause I already did, but if you want me to remove. . . .)

  4. D.M. Bonanno says:

    Spiffy! Love the color scheme. 🙂

  5. Tom Wells says:

    This certainly is no longer pedestrian. It’s more of a sit a while and enjoy the scenery kind of place. Good work.

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