Friday, April 3, 2009

Website Design From a Personal Branding Perspective

by Caren Crane

'Tis Spring, when a writer's fancy turns to her website! Whether it's flaunting a Big Contest Final, a Monumental Contest Win or announcing the Hot New Release, when the grass grows tall writers itch to start, revamp or completely overhaul their websites. Fortunately, we Banditas are a resourceful lot. We have two savvy website and personal branding professionals with us today to kindle your spark of a website idea into a towering inferno of internet marketing goodness.

Jenn Stark brings a practical, accessible approach to branding to help authors at every level present themselves for maximum impact. A former vice president of marketing and communications with sixteen years' experience and a published freelance business writer, Jenn has served as president and publicity director of the Ohio Valley Romance Writers of America, and was the 2007 winner of the RWA Golden Heart in paranormal romance. She is an invited speaker and instructor on branding and public relations topics around the country and enjoys working with authors one-on-one to help develop their branding and publicity materials. Visit her online at

Liz Bemis has worked in the Graphic Design and Information Technology fields for more than fifteen years. She brings her passion for unique designs and customer-driven site personalities to her work as the Owner and Creative Director of Bemis Promotions. As a four-time Golden Heart finalist ( and regular speaker to authors nationwide, Liz provides the perfect combination of business savvy, author branding, and promotional experience to her clients.

Welcome, Jenn and Liz! Pull up a hammock, grab an umbrella drink and tell us a story. How about the one where you and Liz created your website, Jenn? It's my favorite website design story ever! Pretty please?

* * * * * * * * * * *

Jenn: As a Personal Branding expert who’s spoken to hundreds of authors about how to maximize their Brand in person and online, you’d think I’d have a truly easy time creating my perfect personal website the first time out.

Liz: (giggles to self)... They ALL think it’s gonna be a snap!

Jenn: Well… not so much (as Liz Bemis, my uber patient web designer will agree!) But the process that I took to create my site proved very instructive, and is hopefully one that can help you as well as you prepare to create—or update—your own website.

Essentially, my site development experience came down to three key steps: The Idea, The First Cut, and the Big Finish:

The Idea

This by far is the most important stage in the process—where YOU decide what YOU want in your website, and then communicate that to your designer. I can’t stress the decision element enough. I’ve had the pleasure of working on four different site designs with Liz. Two of them I said “just put something together that makes sense for me, maybe with a dragon… or something swirly…” and I got exactly what I asked for, which wasn’t at all what I wanted once I saw it. Why? Because I didn’t go into the process with a clear and focused image of what I REALLY wanted to do.


The many phases of

Liz: Those first two site designs were years ago... I now pretty much require that all of my clients come up with five sites that they truly love (and what they love about each site), and five sites that are professionally developed that just aren't for them (and what they don't like about each site). I would recommend having this kind of list no matter who you work with.

Jenn: The other two design processes—which resulted in my first site and then my upgrade—were much different. I followed Liz’s recommendation of finding sites that had the ‘look’ I was seeking, I planned out exactly what I wanted to convey image-wise with each site, and I had reasons for each of the early changes I made. In addition, I worked with Liz on formatting issues—how often did I want to update my site? Did I want to handle this myself or have Liz do it? Making these decisions up front cut down Liz’s design time by at least 50%--and while I was a bit more of a pain because I was so much more specific, I ended up with a First Cut that was dramatically closer to my dream site.

KEY TAKEAWAY: Take the time to go through your designer’s pre-planning process, and be as specific as possible in your design requests. Your designer doesn’t start until you say go—so use her time wisely by being as prepared as possible up front.

The First Cut

While Liz had already been hard at work for days at this point, I really started my portion of the work once she gave me her initial site design. At this stage I got to see her first execution of my vision—and make decisions about whether or not that execution would work. In my case, I knew immediately what I loved, and what wasn’t for me. But knowing wasn’t enough. I needed to then communicate my preferences as clearly as possible to Liz, and see where she could then take my ideas. Remember, your designer wants you to LOVE your site. They don’t want you to “settle” if your site isn’t absolutely perfect. So when it comes to giving feedback, don’t just say “this doesn’t work,” offer suggestions to your designer that are as concrete as you can make them. In my case, I was on a deadline to get the site up—and I recommend this to anyone developing a site. Don’t give yourself too much time to obsess over it, or you will never get it done!

KEY TAKEAWAY: Be prepared to give fast, thorough feedback, with a timeline for implementation. Deliver your changes all at once, versus forcing your designer to change one thing on the first iteration, and another thing on the second iteration, etc.

Liz: That's really great advice. First, piecemeal input will drive your designer to Bedlam very quickly. Second, you'll get a much better sense of the changes if they all happen at once!

The Big Finish

Jenn: Once we went through a few rounds of design changes, we were almost ready to launch my new site. I wanted my site to “live” in its current version for at least 6 months, hopefully much longer, so it was important to ensure that everything in the site was where I wanted it to be. This was the time to sweat the small details and keep the lines of communication open! In my case, I tested the site out with a number of friends, getting their feedback and making incidental changes for clarity. This is also when I tested all of the cool features Liz incorporated into my site—the self-editing features, the blog, the contest, etc. We didn’t launch until I was sure I could manage the day-to-day updating with a minimum of difficulty, and then we launched with a bang, as I included a contest and promoted the site to all of my various groups and list-servs.

KEY TAKEAWAY: Test-drive your site with others, incorporating their feedback to ensure your site is as “perfect” as possible before launch. And don’t launch until you’re ready to start the maintenance for your site or blog, whether you handle the updating or your designer does.

And that’s what the site process looked like to me! Liz’s experience, however, may be a little different…

* * * * * * * * * * *

Thank you, ladies. That's one of my favorite website stories ever, complete with a Happy Ever After! And so, gentle readers, you see how much sweat and lather goes into the seemingly effortless and lovely designs of your favorite author websites. If you're itching to pull a site together (you know you should already have one!) or have questions about where to start, when to stop or what you should fill up all that blank space with, ask away! Both our experts will be popping in today to answer your website and branding-related questions.


Virginia said...


limecello said...

Great post - and congratulations on the GR, Virginia!
Websites are hard to put together, but so helpful for readers!

Virginia said...

Great post! I don't have a website, although I do enjoy visiting the authors websites. I think my son messes around with ssome website design. He love messing with anything when it comes to a computer. He is going to college now for computer science.

Treethyme said...

Hey -- familiar faces!

Treethyme said...

Jenn and Liz are both in my RWA chapter, and Liz designed my website and MySpace page:


Helen said...

Congrats Virginia have fun with him

Some great information there I don't have a website but I do love visiting author web pages I like one that is easy to get around and love reading about the author and of course their books, in what order they come if in a series and what is coming soon.

Have Fun

Tawny said...

Hey hey - two of my favorite people ;-) Waving hi to Jenn and Liz - I love your work, ladies (love Becke's site, too - I just looked at it. So fun!)

Hmm,okay, here's a question. I have a site I am really happy with. Everything about it works for me. I update it myself, I keep the content updated, etc... But I've had the same site for 2 1/2 years... Is there a point that a current site becomes passe and it's time for something new?

Virginia, congrats on your rooster guest ;-) Hope the two of you have a fun Friday.

Natalie Hatch said...

How did you know that I've been trying unsuccessfully to design a website? Wow just what I needed to read. Have Hubby going to a college web design course at nights so he can help out.

Anna Lucia said...

Fascinating stuff, ladies - one quick question: In your opinion, once you've got that look and brand sorted, do you refresh/redesign on a regular basis, keeping the general theme, or just stick with what you know works?

Caren Crane said...

Virginia, a triumph for you! Now, if only you can get the Golden Rooster to share his Qantas miles with you. *eg*

How handy for you to have a handy resource in your son! You should definitely play the mommy card on that one and get him to spiff your site up when it needs it. Enjoy your day!

Caren Crane said...

Limecello, thanks for coming by, BB! Do you have favorite author sites you'd like to share? They may be helpful to those looking to build their own.

Caren Crane said...

Becke, I love the yellow on your site. I always think it's sunny, just like you! I am SO bummed that you won't be at the monthly OVRWA meeting when I'm there in June! We could do all our chatting in person for once. :-(

Caren Crane said...

Helen, do you think the Books page is the most important one to readers? We writers are always at a bit of a loss as to what readers want to see on the site or know about the books or the author. Do you care to know about the author or is it all about the books?

Caren Crane said...

Tawny, I know what you mean about site fatigue. I'm so tired of my "author pic" I could scream! I love the colors and design of my site (thank you, Liz!), but I would love to change my site as often as my hair - and you KNOW how often that is! Hopefully our experts will have some answers for us!

Caren Crane said...

Natalie, how smart are you, sending your dh off to learn website design! Mine could do it...but I would be waiting for updates even longer than I wait for the back of the back yard to be mown (i.e. forever!). It was easier for me to learn a smidgen of HTML and do it myself! Of course, Liz often has to rescue me when I goof stuff up...

Caren Crane said...

Anna, great branding question! I know Jenn will have a STRONG opinion about that one!

Jenn Stark said...

Tawny, hello!!

From a Branding perspective, as boring as this sounds, the longer you can keep a given site's overall look--the better, as LONG as that look best presents you and your work. If you started out with a very basic site and have the opportunity to upgrade, I would do so. If your site is far behind the rest of the internet world in terms of sophistication and style, then I would also consider a change.

However, if you have an overall look that you love, and you keep it updated, and it is creating positive buzz for you, then KEEP it -- consider it your base look, and then add fun new bits of pizzazz to keep the experience fresh and exciting for your visitors. Nothing too crazy (like jumping frogs), of course. :) But a bright, bold burst of color (say to offset your latest cover??) will give the impression of "wow! something new!" without forcing you to lose the Brand you've worked so long to build.

Thanks for your question and glad to see you here!! :) and btw, CONGRATULATIONS on your Recent RT top pick and for being a finalist in the Colorado Romance Writers 2009 Award of Excellence Contest. Monster applause!


Jenn Stark said...


Hello, and thanks for your question as well!! My response will be similar to what I provided to Tawny -- from a Branding perspective, the more often a person can hit your site and get essentially the same takeaway in terms of color, tone, content style and user experience, the more it will reinforce the Brand you and your web designer have worked tirelessly to achieve.

That said, let's say you're itching for a change--is that wrong? If your site has lived at LEAST 6 months in its current incarnation, and your new look is completely in line with your Brand (in other words, you're not going to go from dark moody goth to day-glo tinkerbell all in one fell swoop), then you should feel free to consider changing it up. The focus should always be on the reader experience -- giving them something fresh and fun while maintaining consistency with your overall Brand. If you have a fabulous site to begin with, you will often find that you can make small changes to the site that add zing, vs. doing a total revision. However, if your Brand is all about what's fresh and new, then perhaps a change every so often would be very appropriate for you!

Another option is what Liz did for Erin McCarthy's site at If you click on one of the "mix it up" buttons, you'll get a whole new look! (LOVE this feature!). So it's all in what you want to do, and what your designer can provide.

Thanks again for your question!

Liz Bemis said...

Congrats Virginia. Have a grand ol' golden rooster day!

Thanks for joining us limecello.

Becke -- Indeed, it is good to see familiar faces!

Helen -- what are some of your favorite author sites and WHY? (The WHY is always twice as interesting to me as which sites!)

Tawny (and Anna), I'm going to agree with Jenn on this one. Once you publish and establish a brand, it's important to hang on to that brand until something major changes in your career. (e.g. working with a new publisher, in a new subgenre, etc) But there's nothing that says you can't spice things up from time to time.

Natalie - Before you put your hubby on the case, I would find as many examples of sites that you love (and specify what you love about them -- and equally important, the things about them that you don't care for). This will give YOU a really good idea of what your style is, as well as your designer.

Donna MacMeans said...

Hi Liz & Jenn -

Just wanted to stop by and wave. (where's the emoticon when I need it!)

Also wanted to add that the best time to go through the process of website design is before one sells because it's the last chance one has to be sane. *g*

Treethyme said...

Caren -- I'm also bummed that I'm going to miss your visit.

Anything else, I'd bail on it, but since it's my son's college graduation (NO MORE TUITION PAYMENTS!!!), I'll have to wait to meet you (and the rest of the Banditas) until National.

It's funny, I NEVER wear yellow, but I knew I wanted it on my site. Liz asked me to check out 100 websites of romance authors (I mixed in a few other genres) and take notes about what I liked and didn't like, and which ones I liked best.

Two that stuck with me were Sophie Kinsella's, Kristan Higgins' and Lori Foster's, all of which featured colorful flowers. Since I'm also a garden writer, flowers were a must. The tiny cherries were a shout-out to Jenny Crusie's Cherries, who encouraged me to in my first efforts at fiction.

As for the rest, knowing what I wanted was good in one way, but I'm sure it drove Liz nuts. She's fixed it so I can go in and edit it myself now, which may extend my life since she won't have to kill me now. (I'm high maintenance, unfortunately, even though I try not to be.)

I'm going to be picking Jenn's brain dry soon, too, but first I have to finish the endless revisions. Otherwise, as Jenn (or someone) said, the rest is just glitter.

Treethyme said...

Make that THREE websites that stuck with me.

Treethyme said...

Just checked out Erin McCarthy's site and the cool "Mix It Up" buttons: I vote for the red one!

Louisa Cornell said...

Cool! Website designers! I'm in awe of what you do. If I didn't have an incredibly computer savvy critique partner I would have NO website at all.

Mine is a rather simple website that covers all the basics as I'm not published yet. We went for the elegant English Regency look as that is what I write. My first book is a Regency set romantic comedy. However, my second book is a darker Regency Gothic historical. My third book is a bit darker too.

Question : Do I need to have separate website pages for the lighter books and the darker books?

We said that once I sell we would revamp the site, but I do like the look of it now and don't want to change it too radically. I mean my website matches my business cards and even the Thank You notes I send out.

Liz Bemis said...


I just checked out your site, and I'd say it does a very good job of walking the line between serious but not too serious. I don't think, given that both your lighter and darker books are Regencies that you would need to have separate sites.

I've been wrestling with this myself, as I have a series of fairly dark, gritty Romantic Suspense books, (see as well as my lighter contemporaries (see

Since I just double finaled in the Golden Heart (WARNING: SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION), I've been trying to figure out how to combine the two... and there's really no good way. I LOVE my Gracie Chase site... though it's very light on the content currently, so the New will look much like the site... but the Romantic Suspense pages will be in a different color scheme. (COMING SOON!)

Liz Bemis said...

Becke, I never once even considered killing you. ;) [Running away and hiding in in the Caribbean for a while, perhaps... but NEVER killing you :D]

Liz Bemis said...

*Waves hello to Donna!*

Jenn Stark said...

Hello again to all!

Just tagging on a note here as well regarding shifting dark to light in a website. If you are actively marketing both types of work, then subtle color shifts can definitely do the job for you.

In Liz's case, with her recent final she REALLY needs a site that covers both, since she already has her romantic suspense under submission. As an uber web designer, she will doubtlessly pull that off!

However, I know that when I opted for a "blended" site to feature both my contemporary and paranormal work, I never was quite happy with it, because I really *felt* more of the paranormal pull. That's why I now have an all-para, all-the-time site now. If I decide to dust off those contemporary scripts (or some other genre!) I will market those under a pen name. That just is the right solution for me, your mileage may vary!! :)


M. said...

*busily bookmarking post for future reference*

my biggest challenge about these kinds of things is not to give up from the outset, feeling suffocated with lack of techie know-how

Cassondra said...

Hi Liz and Jenn!

Thanks for visiting with us in the lair. Your advice and knowledge are always great to hear.

I do have a question about designers and working with them. Say you have a designer whose personality is kind of light and sunny and fun, but the feel of your writing is dark, moody, and angsty (me). It seems to me that a a web designer, being an artist, is going to have his/her own style like any other artist, and sometimes it's hard to get them to go the other direction--to get them to "cross over to the dark side" or, if they're the dark one and you're the "light" one--to get them to lighten up a bit. Is this the time to can the relationship and go find a designer who is more like you? Or is there anything in particular you can do if you're having trouble with getting across the feel you want? And where do you suggest starting to look at sites to compile your "five of each?"

Here's my trouble....I don't normally spend a lot of time surfing the web. I go to a site for a reason, then I leave. And I admit, I've seen maybe one or two sites in my lifetime that I absolutely went crazy for and said, "dang I wish this was my site." I can find lots I don't like, but ones I really like? Not so much.

Any thoughts on compiling a virtual scrapbook--finding examples of looks you like, etc?

Liz Bemis said...

Cassondra -- My advice is to look at the "portfolio" pages of as many designers as you can. (Even if you think that designer is way out of your price range, or that you won't like her)... It's a good place to find a LOT of author sites in one place. It's also a good way to get a feel for the style of particular designer. Some have a vast array of "styles", so that each site is very custom-tailored to the author.

On the ohter hand, there are a few designers (and I won't name names) that I can tell WHO did a site before the page fully loads... which is kind of a pet peeve of mine. I'd want any site of mine to be the style of Liz Bemis, not the style of Joe Designer.

I would consider myself a fairly bubbly sort of person, but I've done several darker sites. Jenn's for one... Sandra Barkevich for a second... and my romantic suspense site. And many others that are fun and light... And others that fall in between.

Find a designer that has done sites that "feel" like you. That's probably the one you want to hire.

jo robertson said...

Welcome to the Lair, Jenn and Liz. What great information!

My SIL put my website together, and I really like it, but he doesn't have the time to keep up with the changes, so it's woefully out of date.

I'm ready to hire someone to start all over, but I really like some of what he's done. Any suggestions?

Nancy said...

Virginia, congratulations! Have fun with him.

Liz, that makes me feel so much better over the phases of my site! (In the interests of full disclosure, I'm admitting that Liz is my webmistress also, but the lack of updates recently is my bad).

What do y'all think are the components that go into successful branding of an author's site and other materials?

Nancy said...

Caren, I had to laugh at your comment. I have changed my hair, fairly significantly, but my picture doesn't reflect that.

Beth said...

Welcome to the lair, Liz and Jenn! Thanks for the great post :-)

Tawny already beat me to my question (we often think alike, it's scary) *g*

Any tips on the best ways to drive traffic to a website?

Congrats on your double GH final, Liz!

Helen said...

I love learning facts about the author what they are reading those sorts of things I feel a bit closer to them but of course I love knowing about their books when they are being released, excerpts and if they are part of a series or linked to other books they have written. If I pick up a book of the shelves here in the shops (and that is often up to a year or more since they were released in the States) and they are a new to me author I go to their webpage to see if it is part of a series because if it is I need to get the first ones that is just me I like to read books in order LOL. To me the books page and getting to "know" the author are both important to me.

One of my favourite webpages is Anna Campbell's it is very easy to get around and she always updates it once a month and I can check out the latest news look at pictures that she has put up lets me know what she is reading etc lots of great information.

Most of the webpages I visit are pretty good as long as I can get around it I like a webpage that is updated so as I know about new books coming out perhaps books being re released and as I have said to Caren getting to "know" the author. I do enjoy it too when an author has a blog on their webpage that can be very interesting as well. I tend to visit a few and although time consuming I do love chatting with the authors.

Have Fun

Jenn Stark said...


If there are elements of your current site that you love, by all means let your designer know! Most designers can work from an existing "look" or incorporate graphics/colors from your existing site into the new design. That said, be sure to give your designer some rein to create new design elements as well. You might decide that their ideas really fit with the look you're trying to achieve!

Thanks for the post!!

Jenn Stark said...

Nancy, hello!

In my opinion, successful Branding elements for both your website and other marketing materials come down to 4 key points: Color, "look" (whether a logo, icon/image, or overall feel--moody, fun & light, gritty, etc.), Writing Brand, Writing Slogan. Your Writing Brand is literally the answer to the question "so, what is it that you write?" and your slogan is any fun one liner, phrase, or series of words that captures the spirit of your work. For me, for example, it breaks down as follows:

Color: Black, deep reds, electric blue as a highlight color
Tone/Look: Dark, urban, but not spooky so much as edgy (or that's the goal!)
Writing Brand: Dark, Romantic Urban Fantasy
Writing Slogan: "Where anything is possible...For a Price"

If I were to order pens, for example, I'd go with a black pen, with red and/or blue lettering, which would have my name, my site URL and my writing Brand (b/c my slogan is a little long... and honestly, could be illegal in some states ;) ). I don't have an icon/graphical element, really, so I would need to carry my look thru in my branded materials with urban nightscape imagery.

Does that help? Thanks for the question!

Jenn Stark said...

Hey there, Beth!

Liz will no doubt have more cool ideas than I do on this, but for me, the number one way I've driven traffic to my site is via guest blogging, followed by some sort of outreach effort, such as teaching a class or posting an article out on the internet. When I launch a contest, I do have a spike, but not as much as I would have expected, so keep that in mind if you're sweating the contest route. They're a great value-add, but you shouldn't build your marketing plan around them.

Note, I HIGHLY recommend utilizing social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, etc. to increase your reach -- so that when you do have something to celebrate, you can get the word out fast!

As a general note, though, all of these networking efforts take time. So it's important to guard your writing time like it's the only thing that can truly ensure your success (since, well... it is, in the end)!

Thanks for stopping by and for your post!

Jenn Stark said...

Helen, thanks for your post and your site recommendation! I'd love to hear anyone's comments on their favorite sites -- and why they work for you. It's always great to see what really sparks your interest in a truly well done site.

Thanks again!

Christine Wells said...

Caren, thanks for a great post! Hi Jenn and Liz, welcome to the lair! Mega congrats on the DOUBLE GOLDEN HEART FINAL, Liz. We were jumping up and down for you when we heard!

I loved your story and sort of relived all of my doubts and woes with the couple of websites I've commissioned. Both my designers did a fantastic job, but I'm such a control freak, it's really hard for me to sit back and go with someone else's vision. I'm one of those people who can't visualize something but I know what doesn't work for me when I see it. As you can imagine, that's not the easiest client for a web designer to have! I wanted to see what my choices were, rather than trying to keep guessing at what might be possible. But we managed to create something I'm really happy with.

I'm curious--what are your top three favourite (non-client) author sites?

Virginia, congrats on getting the bird!

Christine Wells said...

One of my favourite sites is Susan Holloway Scott's. It's just gorgeous, perfect for historical fiction.

Treethyme said...

Oh, Christine, that's a beautiful website! Love the old fashioned flowers!

Tawny said...

Thanks for your question and glad to see you here!! :) and btw, CONGRATULATIONS on your Recent RT top pick and for being a finalist in the Colorado Romance Writers 2009 Award of Excellence Contest. Monster applause!

*g* I knew I loved you, Jenn LOL. Thank you!!!

Shelley Munro said...

Thanks for the really interesting post. Like Tawny, I wondered about how often a website look should be changed or updated, and your answer made sense.

Are there any colors that are particularly bad for websites? I know I like sites that are easy to read, and the sites that have adjustable font are always good if I'm particularly tired.

And another question - are there any new trends you're seeing in websites that you're particularly excited about?

I'm off to check out Erin's site. It sounds quite different.

jo robertson said...

Thanks, Jenn and Liz, this has been an incredibly valuable and informative post today!

Nancy said...

Jenn, I wouldn't have thought about pens. That's a great point.

Liz designed my business cards in the same colors and font as the site, and they always get a great reaction when I pass them out. That was entirely her idea.

BTW, Liz, congrats on your double final! Good luck in DC.

Jenn Stark said...

Thanks to everyone for your wonderful questions and posts--yesterday was a blast!

Christine, I loved the website you suggested--GORGEOUS for a historical site, and light and easy to read.

I'm a big fan of It has a clean, literary look while being whimsical. I had a YA author in a previous class with a really darling site for YA-- fit her Brand perfectly as well. And finally, I find myself to Holly Black's site, at For the right kind of books, this sharply defined, literary look is a winner!

Shelley--I think as long as you stick with colors that translate well to many different monitors, you're in good shape. The more basic the color, the safer you are. I don't mind reversed out text (clearly, since my site is light text on a dark background!) as long as there are wide borders and plenty of empty space. I do mind wildly busy backgrounds that you then put text over... that makes me crazy.

As to trends, Liz would know more than I would, but I am seeing more flash applications (which I'm not a huge fan of as a main/entry page, but I like in small doses), and, of course, book videos! I also am seeing more incorporation of multiple social media apps into the main site, which I think we'll see more of (twitter/facebook updates on your main website, etc.). GREAT question, though! The internet is constantly changing!

Thanks again to everyone! I enjoyed visiting with you very much!


Liz Bemis said...

Jo -- I think jenn said it very well. Be very up front with your new designer and tell him/her which elements you want to keep in some form or another.

A good designer will be able to give you something that's entirely new and does everything you want it to, while still preserving the elements you love.

Liz Bemis said...

Beth -- Thanks! Contests do drive traffic, but there's no guarantee that your contest is driving READER traffic (which is an important distinction). Guest blogging, multi-author-online events, mentions through twitter, myspace, facebook, etc will go a long way.

Liz Bemis said...

Christine--Thanks! My top three (non-client) sites: Julia Quinn, Anna Campbell, and (It's a little busy but it's memorable and it makes me giggle)