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Tag Archives: Austin

This Saturday in Austin, The Texas Observer is holding its second annual Writers’ Festival, which is free and open to the public. The event goes from 11:30 – 6:00 at the very funky and cool Pine Street Station (5th & Waller, just a block from good old WriteByNight). Six panels inside, and outside will be free beer and wine, tamales, book sales and sponsor tables (including good old WriteByNight).

Our headliner is local author Sarah Bird, Read More »


We’re only two weeks away from the WLT’s “YA A to Z Conference” in Austin. From the event website:

At the Writers’ League of Texas’ brand-new YA A to Z Conference, you can focus on the craft of writing for teens and young adults, as well as meet agents and editors and get up to speed on the latest trends in publishing for this hot market.

Registration includes more than twenty panels and lectures, as well as several receptions and parties where you can rub elbows with agents and editors in the Young Adult market. For a small fee, you can also sign up for one-on-one meetings with agents and editors.

Early bird registration ends March 31, so sign up now for a chance to save $70 on admission.

The conference will be held April 15 & 16 at the Hyatt Regency, 208 Barton Springs Road in Austin.

Today’s post on the importance to a writer of an Internet presence comes from Dan L. Hays, author of Freedom’s Just Another Word.


Author Website or Blog?


I read an article not long ago which indicated that traditional publishers are not willing to take on new authors who don’t have a blog. For an author who has published a book or intends to soon, a web presence is becoming more essential.  So what are the points to consider about setting up a website or blog?  I’m not talking about content, but about presence – gaining exposure for yourself as an author.

In June 2007 when I first went to the Agent’s and Editor’s Conference in Austin, I saw published authors who had business cards and websites, and did a mental gulp.  I hadn’t thought about that part of the publishing business, but as I heard a number of times in the conference, it was becoming more important.

In May 2008 when I was about to publish my first memoir, I set up a website. It allowed me to have a web presence, and the upside was since it was professionally hosted and administered, I could add content like archived radio interviews easily.  Over time I began to add and supplement the content on the site. The downside was that I had to submit changes to my website administrator.  That limitation started to intrude as I wanted to add fresh content more regularly.

By 2009 a blog was starting to look more vital to extending a web presence.  So I started a blog. The upside to a blog was that I could post content regularly without having to go through the website guy.  The only real downside I could see was that I couldn’t add content like archived radio segments.  But the amount of control was very nice.

There is of course a caveat to all of this.  How much technical expertise does the author have?  For me it was fun, because I used to manage a large network in Austin, and computer applications were just a new project and challenge.  So going to WordPress to set up a blog was fairly easy for me, and I have now set up sites for a couple of friends.   But it can be an overwhelming maze, and the assistance of a professional may be well worth the expense.

A quick word here.  Blogspot by Google is the blog option most people run across first.  But it is limited in functionality and effectiveness (I can’t post a comment on a Blogspot site half the time – it just doesn’t work).  WordPress is by far the superior platform and well worth using.  WordPress has tracking support that allows you to see who is visiting your site and what they are reading.  I’ve also noticed I get a lot more traffic because I’m on the WordPress network.

I do most of my regular posting on the blog, but having spent the money on the website, and having established a strong presence there, I have kept the website. What I do is connect everything.  I think of it as putting arrows on each page I develop, pointing at the other functions I have active.  On my website, there is a link to my blog.  On my blog is a link to my website.  On both pages are links to my radio show and inspirational radio segments.  I want people to be able to find the other things I’m doing from wherever they might happen to encounter me.

Am I glad I have a website?  Absolutely.  I feel the same way about my blog.  I consider the website my “business presence” and my essential identity as an author on the internet.  Yet I also like the convenience with the blog of having control and convenience when posting new entries.  The bottom line is that a web presence is an effective and essential element of developing a successful platform as an author.


Lost creativity and the effects of family alcoholism are just two of the elements of the story Dan L. Hays explores in his first published book, Freedom’s Just Another Word, which chronicles events around the time of his father’s death. It is the first of a cycle of seven books about healing old wounds with his father. That cycle will culminate with Nothing Left to Lose, written in 1993, about a critical turning point in his father’s life, depicted from a perspective of forgiveness and admiration.

Dan has been pursuing his craft for more than 25 years. His passion has always been writing, but he had a writing block that he could not understand for many years. He wrote two books that publishers were interested in, but he backed away and the books were never published.

Read more of Dan’s work on his blog and at Life as a Human, or follow his various radio features.  You can also catch him on Twitter and Facebook.

And while you’re at it, catch WriteByNight on Facebook and Twitter, too. We appreciate the support.

It’s Wideo Wednesday (What? What is that?) here at WBN, so below is our latest shoot for Austin’s PsycheTruth channel. In it (it = the video), Justine lays down some strategies for achieving success and accomplishing your goals, always keeping your eyes on the prize.

FYI, those backgrounds are real. Austin boasts an amazing sky, not to mention, um, the big blue ocean shimmering behind those Greek columns, and the surfside cityscape. And those ubiquitous, shady New England woods.

For more WBN vids (wids), subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Last week, Austin Shakespeare visited WBN HQ for an intimate rehearsal of The World’s Fastest Hamlet. Stage manager Justin Gordon and I swept aside all the furniture (very theatrically, I might add) to make a tidy little stage upon which Hamlet, Ophelia, et. al., did their best to be or not to be in ten minutes or less. Read More »