Website update, and why do I have one anyway?

Yesterday, I gave my website a much-needed overhaul. There are still a few things I’d like to adjust (updating some links, changing some colors to green, testing the LiveJournal crossposter as soon as I hit publish on this post, etc.), but the important bits are done.

I’m now using WordPress 3’s default theme. My old theme was nice, but this one is widget-ready and makes it simple to change some things I wanted to change, like the header image. (That’s one of the many trees in my backyard.)

So while I was sprucing things up, I was musing on aspiring author websites and why I think they’re silly.

I mean, I know we’re all supposed to have hundreds of blog subscribers and at least 1,547 twitter followers and/or facebook friends before we publish so much as a drabble, or agents will discard our queries unread.

But aspiring author websites still seem weird. (Even though I apparently have one. (Though I had a website before I started writing, so I’d probably have a website even if I weren’t writing. It would be about my vegetable garden and books I’ve read.))

I think it’s my inherent dislike of self-promotion, combined with feeling that unpublished writers have nothing to promote. Obviously I can only speak for myself, but I’m not a brand and I don’t have a platform. I blog for my friends and family. And anyone who cares how my vegetables are doing, like my future self.

So, other unpublished writers (and recently published writers), enlighten me. What’s the value in having a website? With book blurbs and sample chapters? What about blurbs for multiple books in multiple series – does it imply you’re serious about writing, or that you haven’t sold despite trying for a long time (because I’ve seen this one a lot, and it strikes me as the latter, but I’m not really the audience for that)?

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