The idea of this post originated while I was surfing through various author site looking for some useful stuff. I felt most official Web sites of celebrities are devoid of any substance. They are almost always mundane, put up as a promotional exercise or a money-making enterprise. While some make a beutiful web site with little content. Here is a Web site review of few mainstream authors.
This billionaire writer, who has recently been news more for the controversies she evoked than the books she wrote, has a amazingly designed Web site. However, it can be bit slow to download on slow connections. It also provides you five other language options (which were of no use to me, though 🙂 ).
This site does not seem to be updated very often. You can find a brief biography of J. K. Rowling with her pictures in an animated diary. Butterflies, spiders and bugs move occasionally on the web site, making the design interesting. 🙂 And you bet, there is a member’s section called W.O.M.B.I.T.
Her site has some extra stuff like brief edits, thoughts on development of her characters, and some F.A.Qs. where she answers some questions about her books, plots and characters. But she pleads that even if she stops eating and starts signing books, it would not be possible for her to meet all signing requests! Hmm, …mammoth problem for a mammoth author. 🙂
By the way, she does respond to the law suit on durga puja pandal resembling a Hogwarths in Rubbish section. 😉 (She has also categorized news about her as toxic rubbish, stinking rubbish etc.) There is a animated bookshelf on the site that has links to her publisher and charities she supports. I learnt about cage beds used in Czech social care institutions. I didn’t know anything like that existed. But going by Salman in movie Tere Naam, a worse form of it exists in India too.
Rating: 3.5/5 (2.5 for animated design and 1 for the content)
Brazilian Author Paulo Cohelo’s web site is offered in various languages. The web site has small fonts. Yet it has some specific highlights. It has a decently updated blog. His latest book The Witch of Portobello is provided free on his blog. The blog also journals his journey on Road to Santiago, an experience that would later be recorded in his book The Pilgrimage. You can read interesting tidbits (For example, the first publisher of his celebrated book, The Alchemist, had refused to reprint as it was not selling!), downloading a illustrated PDF file of his biography from the site. There are more free goodies as his book Maktub, collection of his short stories in the Free Downloads section. You can send free ecards as these from his blog:
His web site has a personal photo gallery that has good number of his pictures. It would interest only a hardcore Cohelo fan. Or, am I wrong?
Rating: 3/5 (1 for design and 2 for the content)
I almost didn’t think it was his official Web site. It more looked like a promotional Web site put together for his second fiction book, For One More Day. (He has three other official book sites and a interview/radio web site). The Web site proclaims that if you liked Five People You Met in Heaven, you will like For One More Day. It goes without saying that you can read a excerpt from the book on the Web site. His Facebook and MySpace memberships are glaringly displayed on his otherwise small-fonted Web site.
The site also provides links to his columns and articles. He was a sports columnist at Detroit Free Press. There is a controversy associated with his tenure as columnist. Something his web site does not tell you, but was in news. He once printed a false story about the sports event that never happened. You can read it here. I particularly thought that it was deceitful, fudging the facts while reporting a story.
Back to his Web site, you can find usual promotional stuff (interview, video, catalogue of work, two brief blogs) on his Web site, but there is not any content. Lastly, worth noting is Charities tab. There is a link for Time to Help, where they run a project every month for underprivileged. This part of the site is diligently updated with details.
Rating: 2/5 (1for design with too small font and 1 for the content)
His is a usual Web site with passable design (with that yuck small font) and usual links to publishers and store. His picture on the home page reminds of a familiar villain I might have encountered in a Hollywood movie. And no, I am not saying it because he has served in prison for two years on charges of perjury. I downloaded PDf file of his colourful bigraphy. Other worthwhile thing that I found on this Web site was Jeffery Archer’s blog. The recent entry is about his trip to India. He writes about Osho’s ashram, meeting R. K. Laxman, other fans and much more. His blog, keeps updating, so it will be in my reader for sometime. 🙂
Rating: 2.5/5 (1for design with too small font and 1.5 for the content, read worthwhile blog)
I first awakened to Richard Dawkins when I was at school and deep into organizing and participating in quizzes. I heard about his book, The Selfish Gene. To be honest, I am a fiction lover, so I never read it. But I did notice when this guy kept churning our more bestseller books like The Blind Watchmaker and A David’s chaplain.
The first impression about his web site is that it is HUGELY CLUTTERED. I almost had a headache. But if you explore patiently, overlooking the clutter, you will find a repository of articles on reason and science on his Web site. There is a separate tab, under Archives section, for articles written by Richard Dawkins himself. One article that caught my attention was if science is killing our souls. I looked eagerly in Maths section and there was nothing. Coming Soon!
You can read the first chapter of almost all his books for free in the sidebar. The site has huge load of information including videos, podcasts, interviews, catalogue of upcoming events. Last but not the least, his web site has a link to store where you can buy his book and also a Donate tab meant for Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science.
Rating: 3.5/5 (.5 for cluttered design and 3 for the content)
A really delightful web site that is easy on your computer. The best section is the one about Roald Dahl himself: it has his last interview, slideshow of his pictures, his biography, an engaging quiz about the author, and teaching resources.
Site also has a activities section called Treats for members and a brief daily telegraph blog that updates you about events/news related to Roald Dahl. Roald Dahl store and book search is also delightfully done. Site is a must watch for graphic designer.
Rating: 4.5/5 (2.5 for delightful and simple design and 2 for the interesting presentation of content. You want to know more. ) Winner!!
I will review other commercial authors, some lesser known, later.