Edith, north of Boston
As most of you know, I now write under three names: my birth name, Edith Maxwell, which is on the Local Foods Mysteries and my short stories. My Lauren Rousseau Mysteries pseudonym, Tace Baker (who also has her own web site). And my Country Store Mysteries identity, Maddie Day. I have an historical series I want to sell, too.
I wanted to be sure my web site reflected all these identities and all these series, and my previous one wasn’t cutting it. The banner was made up of my book covers, but that meant it had to change every time a new book came out, and there were other issues. I started drafting a new site a couple of months ago, but wondered what I could use for a banner, for a common theme.
So, as often in the mystery world, I went looking to my friends for help. I checked out Sheila Connolly‘s new site, since she writes three series, although all under the same name. Doesn’t it have a great look?
I looked at Catriona McPherson‘s site – she writes one series and one line of standalones, but also all under a single name. I love those crows.
And I checked out Leslie Budewitz‘s site – she writes two series under one name. Isn’t that an evocative painting?
What I saw was a unifying graphic. In the latter two, the art doesn’t necessarily represent the settings of the book, but rather the author. In Sheila’s, there are pictures of the places where her series are set: Ireland, Philadelphia, and small-town Massachusetts.
I considered hiring an artist to create a banner for me, either with pictures or art. Then I looked at the wall in my office and realized I had it right there.
My dear friend Jennifer Yanco (a published non-fiction author) commissioned Boston-area artist Jackie Knight to paint a picture for my sixtieth birthday a couple of years ago. It’s titled “Edith’s World.” It’s mysterious and imaginative and gorgeous. It doesn’t look like any one of my series or names, but instead represents me and my work. Right?
So I took a horizontal slice of it and made it the banner for my web site. It shows up on every page. I also used it on my Facebook Author page.
And then, because I could, I made up business cards, note pads, and even a few mugs. So I have my brand, I have my new web site, and I have a lovely connection to the friend I have known and journeyed with for almost forty years!
The pen names are on the web site on each series’ page and on the business cards, in case anybody needs to find one of my selves.
Heck, maybe tee shirts are next…
Readers: Can you find other examples of multi-name multi-series web sites you like? Any suggestions for my new site? (Be brutal!)
Your new site looks great, Edith! Congrats!
Love this 🙂
I appreciate that, Gram.
Edith, I love the painting! What an incredible gift and a lovely addition to your page.
Isn’t it? I love it, too. Best thing is, I can turn my head to the left in my office and see it any time I want.
Your “image” is lovely, and true to you. That’s the key. A designer can find literally thousands of nice images, but for you to use something that means something to you is important. I’d been using the images on my header for quite a while before I decided to ask for professional help to combine them effectively, because each is directly connected to one of the series. Thanks for noticing it!
Thanks so much, Sheila. I think your pictures are combined very effectively. Your site really works.
I have to agree. I think your pics are intriguing to someone scanning quickly without time to spend reading everything. They made me want to stop and see what they were about. I’m not from LA so i don’t always watch all the movie credits but when i see a locale i like, i will sit and wait to see where it was filmed. Your site’s pics make me want to read your books because they make me want to travel there.
One multi-name author to another, I’ll make an admission: It never occured to me that I could multi-task with just one website. It would have been so much easier (and cheaper, to please my frugal New England soul). Of course, at the time Kaitlyn Dunnett came along, the editor thought that was going to be my secret identity. Hah! The very first review outed the pseudonym. Long story short, 3 websites equals 3 times the work keeping them current. You’re smart to have combined your identities.
Exactly, Kathy. Tace Baker does have her own web site, but it’s almost more of a placeholder.
I’m still struggling with a pseudonym. I think the name on the book says something and i also want my privacy. Is love to engage with either of you on how you settled on your pseudonyms and what you did about your website before you had one.
Diane, my Kensington Local Foods Mysteries contract stipulated I had to use a pen name for the Lauren Rousseau mysteries. And then my Kensington contract for the Country Store Mysteries stipulated I had to use yet a different pen name. I used this article when I was searching for Tace Baker: http://www.jamiehall.org/pename.htm There are other articles out there, too. I had the Edith Maxwell web site in place. Barking Rain Press set up the Tace Baker web site, but I link to the Edith Maxwell site from there. Good luck with yours!
Interesting. I’ve been trying to figure out how to go about branding too. I blog anonymously – well with the pseudonym Shakiyla, because I don’t want co-workers to find me in search engines. But I’m writing a memoir that I want published under my real name. Not sure how to connect the two endeavors under a brand.
Good luck with that, and thanks for stopping by the blog.
Thanks. I’ll have to find a branding workshop
It’s all gorgeous! And of course the office supply fun is the best.
I need a redo of mine. Time to call my graphic artist and get things moving. You’ve inspired me.
You’re welcome! And thank you.
Edith, I love that painting — how wonderful that it was painted for you! That truly makes it your image. Glad you like the birch grove on my site — that’s my own painting, and while it represents me, it also represents the part of Montana where my Food Lovers’ Village mysteries are set. Like you, I’ve also get a second site, for my nonfiction — http://www.LawandFiction.com — but I’m about to merge it into http://www.LeslieBudewitz.com and add my new Seattle-based series, so this is a timely topic for me, too.
Leslie, I didn’t realize that was your own art! It’s lovely. Glad this was a timely topic. I’ll look forward to seeing what you do with the merged site. So much easier to have it all in one place.
Edith, a suggestion of two office supplies I’ve found very useful: folded note cards featuring the painting — I ordered mine from Snapfish — to use primarily as thank you notes; I’ve also used packs of 6 as giveaways. And flat cards with my name across the top and web address on the bottom, in a font and color synced to the website, which I print myself; I write a note and tuck them in to packages when I mail books to contest winners or people who’ve asked for signed books, and sent them — along with bookmarks — to my publisher to tuck into books given away on Goodreads. I like your idea of using the painting on a mug instead of a book cover — I may borrow that!
I’ve found the notepads very useful, for the reasons you outline (you don’t have to say too much), but I like the idea of more formal cards (even less to write!).
Yes, I suppose the note paper serves a similar function. You wrote me a note when you sent something, and it caught my eye!
Wow, Leslie you can paint too! That is so cool!
Thanks, Sherry! “Birch Grove” is French dye on silk, very similar to watercolor.
I noticed that painting recently and love it.
Since my idea of creating a web page is to go to Blogger and set something up there, no suggestions, but I like have an author with multiple identities all listed in one easy to find place. Saves me time when I’m searching for the next signing.
Edith, I love your use of that beautiful painting. This is great advice, especially since I’ll be facing the same dilemma soon with my Foxwood Hall Mystery series. At least I’ll be writing under the same name, but I will need to expand my website to include both series. I wish I had a talented artist friend like yours!
Thanks, Alyssa (your book is on my TBR pile, by the way – right after Louise Penny’s latest!). Hey, Jackie might paint something for you if you ask. Congrats on getting two series – make sure you let us know when you’ve put it on your web site.
Edith, what a gorgeous painting! It works so well as a banner. The only suggestion I have is that the block with your name partly obscures the image of the writer (you) at her desk. Perhaps if that was just a teeny bit smaller? This is a timely post for me, too, because I write in several subgenres, although I have yet to find a publisher for my books, and I know I need to update my home page before starting to query my latest, so thanks for the many good ideas!
Leslie, I had no idea that you painted, too. It is such a lovely image and so nice that you are able to showcase it on your banner.
Thanks, Nancy. I know – will see if I can reduce the name block. Good luck with yours!
Thanks, Nancy! Painting has definitely taken a back seat the last couple of years, but it brings me great joy — and so does sharing my work. Good luck with your mss.
It looks great, Edith! Excellent blog post!
Clever idea to choose an image that represents you and use it everywhere. It’s looks great on your website, your business card, mugs, etc. Let me know when you make a T-shirt with the image. Such wonderful colors.
Hmmm. T-shirt ideas brewing, Maya. Thanks!
Love the website’s new look. Except on my iPad, your caption “Edith Maxwell…” Covers up the head of the writer. Or maybe that’s just a Halloween effect – “headless” writer? Haven’t looked at website on my PC yet so maybe it’s an iPad thing?
No problem, Linda. Take a look at it now – I just reduced the width of the title. Better?
Sorry, I see that others have noticed the same thing. In too much of a hurry to comment. I should have read all the comments- not just random ones. 🙂
Wonderful image, Edith, and what a gift Jennifer painted for you. You honor her by using it this way.
Wonderful site, wonderful idea. Thank you for sharing a marvelous way to incorporate all the facets of a writer!
I love the artwork, Edith – perfect! And it’s a timely topic as I plan a website/blog remake. I’m even harder to “brand” because I write mysteries, literary nonfiction & fiction, and poetry. But there are common threads….Thanks for the inspiration!
Edith, here’s the website URL of Sandra Tooley who writes under the names S.D. Tooley and Lee Driver. Her banner depicts a little about both series in a very unique way. http://www.sdtooley.com/
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