Wise women know that sometimes the best thing that can happen in life is to be a little unpopular as a young girl—if only because the teasing and ostracizing that often goes with that can also give you the time to develop a thick skin, other interests, and one of the most valuable skills on this planet: the ability to be alone and happy.
The young girl who doesn’t need applause or approval becomes the teen-age girl who has the backbone to stand up for others … and the courage to blaze her own trail, no matter what others think.
It can work the same way in business.
I don’t need to tell you that while women’s fiction and romance bring in loads of the revenue for big publishing houses, the accolades and perks are often reserved for “serious literature”—even as some authors have pointed out, when that is simply code for “written by a guy.”
But as the lesson of the unpopular young girl shows, being unpopular because you’re too kind to others or too studious or too in-any-other-way-not-like-the-cool-kids can be freeing.
And that is exactly how it worked for romance authors back when websites were first becoming a thing six or seven years ago: left to their own devices, these women embraced new technology, and as a result some of the best websites to come out of the box as websites were taking off in the U.S. were not from big corporations or even techies but from authors … websites created by and for romance and women’s fiction authors.
Whether it was New York Times bestselling historical romance author Sabrina Jeffries with her regency motifs and clever period trivia or #1 New York Times bestselling women’s fiction author Debbie Macomber with her warm and friendly Pacific Northwest-themed website complete with over-the-top reader contest prizes and a map of the imaginary Cedar Cove or New York Times romantic suspense author Deanna Raybourn with her stunning vintage photography collages and fashionista blog or #1 New York Times bestselling western romance author Linda Lael Miller and her McKettrick family tree — these women authors were among many of their peers who gave their readers inviting, original websites long before authors in other genres appreciated the importance of a one-of-a-kind author website.
Now times change. Authors get bigger. Publishers take more notice. Websites change (not always for the better).
But I still believe readers appreciate authors who create websites full of both content unique to them and their books and with designs that harken to the kinds of books they write and what kind of author they are—no one wants a website tricked out like a space ship just because someone had $30,000 to spend, just like no one wants a website that takes five minutes to upload. But I also don’t want my favorite author websites to look like they could double as a barbecue website; do you?
Let me know who you think is doing it right these days . . . I know the authors would like to know just as much as I would.