In part 1 of this series, we looked at how children’s author Cath Mayo decided to bring her cover designer Nicole Onslow and her web designer together to create her author website. If you missed that post, it covers 5 design and technical tips, along with a few words of advice from both Cath and Nicole.
The story of Edwina and Lucia
Children’s book author Edwina Wyatt, recently launched her professional author website. During the planning stage, Edwina discussed the design’s possibilities with her book’s illustrator Lucia Masciullo.
“I got in touch with Lucia to see whether she might permit me to use some of the illustrations from our picture book, ‘Together Always’, for my website. Lucia was happy to accept a commission to create some new artwork for the site and liaise with the web designer.”
From illustration to interface
Once a book designer has completed the visual design, it’s time for the web designer to ‘cut up’ the still graphics.
Then by writing code, each intricate part of the design is made editable by the author in the Content Management System being used.
Allowing authors to self-manage their website
Put simply, a Content Management System or CMS, is web based software, designed to make it easy for non-technical people, to add, edit and manage website pages. The most popular CMS around is Wordpress.
Using Wordpress reduces the need for authors to constantly contact their web designer for any minor changes. Giving authors creative control and reducing ongoing expenses.
When multiple designers from different studios collaborate on a project, it’s important to pay special attention to the management of the project.
5-Point Project Management Checklist
- Plan the website backwards. Start with how the content functions, then work backward to plan the visual decoration.
- Clearly identify who is responsible for completing each part of the project.
- Get your web designer to break the project into small chunks of work, and set deadlines for each.
- Have your book designer communicate and work directly with your web designer, not through you.
- Ask for the copyright to all work produced upon project completion.
So what does the author get when the creativity and skills of illustrators and web designers come together?
“Fortunately, Lucia and Jin held my ‘technologically stunted’ hands throughout the process and I was impressed by their intuitive and professional approach. It’s been fun - thanks team!”
“Jin & Co. provided me with all the information about the layout I needed to complete my artwork, and were quick to answer my emails. It has been a nice experience to collaborate with them.”
For authors who are looking to achieve the same result as Edwina, here’s some advice straight from the source.
“This may appear obvious to some but to avoid misunderstandings, it is helpful to nut out who is responsible for what and to avoid making any assumptions about the design process.”
“Two tips for authors? I would suggest authors consult a web-designer before thinking about the look and feel of their website; and, simpler the better.”
- In the same way that all authors need a distinct writing ‘voice’, authors need a distinct ‘look’ online to promote their work.
- Wordpress is a super easy-to-use CMS, and can be installed on your own, self-hosted website.
- Plan your website project starting with the end result, and work backwards.
- Choose to work with a professional illustrator and web designer that you feel understands your goals.
Do you have any specific questions not covered in this post or in part 1? I’d love to answer any questions in the comment section below.
Are you in the planning stage of your author website? Have you considered getting your book and web designer to work together? Get in touch to talk about the possibilities.