Low-Cost, User-Friendly Author Web Sites Offered by Authors Guild

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Published writers who don't know HTML from a hole in the wall can now set up their own multi-service Web sites in a day or two at minimal cost under the auspices of the Authors Guild, according to Paul Aiken, the Guild's executive director.

Aiken told BTW that many authors are responding to the Guild's offer of individual Web sites with the capacity to feature up to 50 titles with links to online booksellers, to post book excerpts, to host discussions, and to send and manage e-newsletters.

Pricing varies, depending on options, but maintaining a single Web page costs $3 per month and maintaining the largest available, $9 per month. The Authors Guild will also register new Web site addresses for $18 per year and will provide free e-mail forwarding for those with Authors Guild sites. The Guild is waiving the $75 setup fee for sites activated by August 31.

The site building-and-hosting package is part of the collection of Web tools the Authors Guild is offering through AuthorsGuild.net. The Guild will submit all registered sites to the major Internet search engines and resubmit them quarterly over the next year to keep the information fresh. The service is free to qualifying writers who register their sites at AuthorsGuild.net by August 31.

Both Guild members and non-members can use the program but all participants must have been published by an established U.S. book publisher or have at least three freelance articles published in major periodicals in the past two years. The service is only for sites directly related to the registrant's work as a writer.

Aiken noted that this is "an easy and affordable way for authors to quickly build sites without having to hire programmers or Web designers. The pricing is pretty hard to beat. Authors can update their pages and make changes at anytime. Events can be added within minutes." Links to booksellers are based entirely on individual author's preferences, but, said Aiken, "We've made it clear that the Guild feels it is not in our members' interest to link to Amazon. In our e-mails to members we have suggested that members hook up with booksellers that don't undermine new book sales with used books [promoted with links placed directly under the listing for the new copy price]." In previous communications to members, Aiken told BTW, the Guild has suggested to authors that they link their Web sites to barnesandnoble.com and "especially" BookSense.com.

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