For any writers reading this, I thought it might be useful to post my progress in getting my promotional and marketing tools configured, so it might be a jumping off point for your own website creation.
Before I was published, I didn't worry about selecting a pseudonym or creating a website. Not only did I not want to jinx myself, I figured when I got published, I would worry about the administrative stuff that comes along with being a writer and setting up a business (more on this later).
When I first started looking into creating a website, I was a bit overwhelmed and unsure where to start. I'm going to break the process down into pieces and maybe I can save someone else confusion.
After grappling with several name choices, I decided to pick a pseudonym that is a variation of my legal name. Because my last name is pretty common (Miller), I wasn't too worried about privacy issues. I wanted a name I would respond to, and a name I could easily sign without thinking at book signings when conversation and signatures might happen at the same time. Also, from a legal perspective, I wouldn't have to worry about which name to sign on contracts, etc.
I selected a domain name and purchased it from 1and1. The domain came with one free email account. The email address was important to me because I think receiving an email from firstname.lastname@example.org speaks to their professionalism. Setting up the email address to work with outlook was a snap. 1and1 had instructions posted online - a 5 minute job and two test emails, and I am ready to send and receive messages from cj AT cj-miller DOT com.
The domain name also came with private domain name registration. This means I can register my address cj-miller.com under 1and1's contact information, so that my home address remains confidential. I write romantic suspense so my imagination is filled with stalkers and crazy people... So let's call my insistence on this one being careful.
Once I had my domain name, I needed a place to host my website. My home office isn't equipped to host the site myself, nor did I want to deal with that overhead. I could have signed up for hosting at 1and1, but I found their templates and GUI options limited and difficult to use.
I played with several tools on the internet, and decided Weebly was the easiest to configure and still get the layout and features I wanted.
If I have more time, or if I want my website to be more complex in the future, I might chose to host with 1and1 and use the WordPress application. This had a lot of really cool tools, but I didn't think I had the time to work with it.
I have a masters in Computer Science. I do not fear code or computer tools in general. However, setting up a website that looks cohesive and flows with the right colors is more graphic design than computer science. I decided to use Weebly.com because of the large number of templates to choose. As an added bonus, they'll host my site for free (see above).
If I had known about Weebly when I was pre-published, I would have created a site, hosted it with Weebly, and used their domain extension (the web address would have been something like cj-miller.weebly.com). The domain could have been changed later.
I, in no way, explored all the options available on the www.
Are there other suggestions? If anything is unclear, please post in the comments and I'll try to help!