I’ve recently been out and among a number of writers, all of whom want to sell more books. To each and all I ask, Do you have a website? Answers range from “I’m working on one” to “No.” We authors all need a website presence, but I contend it must be interesting, innovative and original, drawing visitors to become interested in you and your writing. Your website is your literary home where you welcome people to your books. Make it one you’re really proud of.
I have two websites to accomplish this. One is my author site, JackBoston.com, and the other is BridgeAcrossTheOcean.com, my latest book site. My author site is where I interact with my visitors and those who follow me, and who have signed up for these weekly blogs. Bridge is a site where visitors can have a variety of multimedia experiences with the story and characters in the novel.
Once I began writing novels, I began working more frequently with graphic artists and cover designers, such as Melanie Marston, who designed the covers for Anarchy and Bridge Across the Ocean. Melanie (who doesn’t mind being called Mel) runs Marston Creative, where she builds and maintains websites for customers. She and I have worked together on my websites for longer than my email messages can count. Her previous tour de force was JackBoston, a virtual tour of my writing experiences in Boston, and now she’s topped that—boy oh boy has she ever—with the Bridge Across the Ocean website.
The initial website design (above) was created by Tori Merkle, my associate editor at Joshua Tree Interactive. Tori and I discussed the content and purpose, and how best to convey both to interest people in reading the book. Tori set to work with a pencil to make the website map, then Mel, Tori and I conferred on Zoom several times, intent on making the website as distinctive as the book itself.
When you open the link, the first thing you’ll see is a video of the Penghu Great Bridge, shot for me by Isabel Peat, because most of this novel takes place on the island of Taiwan as well as the adjacent Penghu Islands. And since this is a novel about bicycling, almost immediately you’ll see a cyclist ride through the arch. Way to go, Isabel!
The next mouse click takes you to the home page where you’ll see photos, styled after Polaroids pinned on a corkboard, to convey travel pictures; most are scenes in Taiwan. Explore them to learn more about my novel, but don’t miss clicking on “Look Inside” where you’ll be able to read some excerpts and watch some accompanying very cool vectorized black-and-white videos. They were rendered from actual videos and stills I shot (I’ve been to Taiwan five times). These animations (and the one of me on “About Jack”) were created by Washim Seeraaz and his team at The Sketchy Business in Kolkata, India (I found them on Fiverr).
I was exceedingly fortunate to have seventeen authors, editors and subject matter experts read the book and write book reviews—each finding something of interest in particular, all of the complimentary. Several said reading about Taiwan stimulated an interest in traveling there! You can read all these editorial reviews on the “What They’re Sayin” page (and in short form on the book’s Amazon page). Although it’s only been three weeks since publication, I’ve received messages from three people who liked the website enough to buy the book.
I loved working with these talented creative people, each of whom made a significant contribution to building this extraordinary website. I appreciate the reviewers’ kind and thoughtful comments more than I can adequately express. Thank you, one and all.