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  1. Cecil
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    Cecil Member

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    Making up a website...

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Cecil, Oct 14, 2010.

    My short story is heavily involved with a totally made up website. In my original draft, I just wrote in the URL (and confirmed that it doesn't actually exist).

    From a "getting published" perspective, would it be smarter to just dance around the URL and never name it? It seems like some publishers would avoid it due to some policy that would force them to buy it (a la Conan's infamous horny manatee website) or something.
     
  2. AutumnsFall
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    AutumnsFall New Member

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    It would be cool to use I think.

    If your readers saw the URL, they would be curious and want to find out what it is all about!
     
  3. Annûniel
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    Annûniel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Does the URL need to be included in the writing? Can you not just refer to a vague homepage like, 'Mike's Awesome Site,' or something?
     
  4. Lee Shelly
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    Lee Shelly Member

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    Agreed! It would be totally awesome to use the actual website that you made up. Make it an interactive story, reward the people that visit by giving them an inside joke, something to take with them. If that's not an option, I would give it a vague name. Unless the URL itself is an important plot point, do you have to name it?
     
  5. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    Buy the name yourself, and save a lot of worry :p
     
  6. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I was going to suggest what Mel said - make it your author website and use it for pubicity.
     
  7. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    My dad did that with a short story he wrote with a web address - got my brother to mock up a front page, but then all the links just directed to his own website. :p
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    1. the odds are heavily against this story ever being published
    2. to buy the domain name will cost you money you will probably never get back
    3. even if a magazine takes it, you'll most likely be paid much less than you spent
     
  9. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Depending on the URL, you may be able to get it for next to nothing.

    One thing to keep in mind - sometimes people monitor searches for available domain names, and then register domains that people are searching for. If you are interested in it, you might check again to see if it is still available and buy it right away.
     
  10. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Like Steerpike says they can come very cheap - and if you are intending to be a writer or author then having a website seems to be something many have.
     
  11. makdadsb
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    makdadsb Member

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    What you would want to avoid is having the story get popular and then someone else buying the site and profiting from it.
     
  12. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    Being that we are talking about a short story here, I wound not lay-out any money on buying a website.

    If however, we were talking about a novel and if and when you had an agent or publisher interested in the novel, then that would be the time to consider taking on a website.
     
  13. Cecil
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    Cecil Member

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    Thanks for the advice everyone. I'm thinking I'm just going to vague it up (maybe give the website a name, but never name a URL).

    I think it's a little soon to be thinking about (and investing in) a publicity site.
     
  14. The Working man
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    The Working man New Member

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    I've got to say I do think you are making a serous misjudgment by not purchasing the the url now.

    A web address could cost pennies if its obscure enough for no one to want. For instance, [NOPARSE]www.greyoldman-with-weekbladder.net[/NOPARSE] would be around £4 for 2 years. It would be almost useless in regards to SEO but you would not want google to find it. Your reasons for owning it would be for a place people would find after seeing it in print in your book. Once you own the URL you can do with it what you like whether it be point it at a web server or just leave it dormant.

    Once the www. appears in print I would almost bet my breakfast on every reader with a browser clicking on it, and if you don't own it the 1st person with any sense would buy it. Or if its searches frequently in the relevant search engines the price would go through the roof.

    I do think from a readers point of view a vague www. would not make for convincing reading and it is a tool you could use to your benefit in the long run if your book makes print.

    Hay I'd even build and host you a web site for free if you like.
     
  15. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Books stay in print for many years, assuming they ever make it to print. How long are you planning to keep the site alive?

    For this reason alone, I'd advise against putting a url in your story. Readers are bound to try it out, and you never know WHAT kind of advertising may take over your site. Assume the worst.
     
  16. Annûniel
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    Annûniel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think that's for the best. There's no reason to list a specific URL to a site. Just reference it by title or some other means.
     
  17. sereda008
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    sereda008 Senior Member

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    well I would just say what he searched for and the number of the link (First, second etc.) If I would see some URL in a novel, I would be really interested in checking it out.
     
  18. cmcpress
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    cmcpress Senior Member

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    I'm actually going to come down on the side of buying it. Buying a domain and showcasing excerpts (not the full story) of a book is OK and certainly shouldn't dissuade a publisher.

    It isn't expensive - most of my hosting for my 3 music orientated domains is very cheap. I use a company where i pay around £86 every 14 months for upwards of 750GB of webspace - plus the domain name's are about £10 every 2 years.

    If you're planning a viral marketing campaign then these can be very, very useful - particularly if you want to build an extended world such as Trent Reznor did with Year Zero, or J.J. Abrams did with Cloverfield (oblique references to lost - slusho.com - etc..).

    Anything like this is value added when it comes to marketing. And in the modern world of publishing - where publishers themselves are beginning to become increasingly redundant (check out the recent guardian articles where agents are now offering 360 deals with amazon and apple) - having control of these value added elements is particularly valuable.

    All of these things could potentially be very attractive to a publisher - particularly if you can turn around and say you already have 3 million hits a day and a number of people chomping at the bit to read more of your story.

    Don't be afraid of self publishing either. The most a publisher can bring to the table nowadays is marketing muscle and in return they take an enormous wodge of cash before it even gets to your agent who'll take a further 20%.

    Publishers like Random House et al. aren't accepting unsolicited submissions so you'll need an agent before they'll even look at your work. Gone are the days of 6 figure advances and champagne book launches.

    Self publishing with a well executed viral marketing strategy and access to a platform locked distribution method can be extremely lucrative.

    Even if you self publish the whole thing you can always strike a licensing deal with a publisher at a later date as long as you work to ensure that your IP is correctly protected (ie no pdf downloads, nothing that's easily reproducible - ideally platform specific eg ipad, kindle etc.).

    With the ipad for example you can embed links within the text so that the URL could then branch out into an entire additional world that can only be accessed via an electronic copy of your book. This creates exceptional additional value.

    On the other hand, it depends on how popular your book becomes. If it doesn't sell as well as hoped then the costs of maintaining a website against the income generated from the book could make it a loss making activity...
     

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