The contest I'm taking part in (link at the bottom of the page for the curious) asks me to make a post to the blog about what I would do with dedicated server space online. It's an interesting post for me to write, because it touches on another important question...what should a web space be to an author, and more specifically, a fiction author?
To seek the answer to that question, it's interesting to look at other authors' web pages. Stephen King's site, stephenking.com, is a full-fledged e-commerce site devoted to the commercial aspects of King's career. You can read his bio, snag a picture or two of him, view his FAQ on all sorts of subjects related to his career, search for his books by name or by keyword, view trailers of various movies based on his books, and even order a t-shirt. It seems a logical set of commercial content.
Clive Cussler, another mega-author, has roughly the same at his site, clive-cussler-books.com. It's organized a little differently, and I'm not a big fan of the floating menus he uses, but overall it follows the same pattern. Newbie N.K. Jemisin seems to be building similar content on her own site, nkjemisin.com. She's only got one book out so far, of course, so having a search option for her books by title or by keyword is rather unneeded.
More interesting is what Christopher Paolini, author of the Eragon series, did with his site, alagaesia.com. He's only got the one series, so it makes sense at this point to have his site, down to and including his domain name, devoted entirely to that work. The question that poses, of course, is what happens later in his career? Is he planning to only have the four books published and then move on to something more mundane? Or is he going to create a separate domain name for each effort? At what point does Paolini become the brand name, rather than Alagaesia or Eragon? Considering the author's age, I can't help but think that he hasn't really thought that far ahead.
All that said, Paolini's site is the most interesting, at least insofar as what is offered. Clearly, he's very focused in on content surrounding his (only) work, but he's got a bit of creative genius tumbled up in there. At his site, you can actually download maps of his world as well as pictures, you can learn a bit of the language, and you can even download a computer game. Creative is great, especially in this case since the last book is a couple of years late...keeps the fans involved.
So...what will I do? I already have a small space hacked out of the ether, at evankoenig.com, and currently it has exactly one link...to this blog. Eventually, if and when I get the sense that anybody really cares, I see myself putting up the same information everybody else has...my bio, my pictures, even maybe a crazy t-shirt or two. From a commercial standpoint, though, what Paolini has done makes a lot of sense. I don't have the technical wizardry to program a game, but I know those who do.
And...to bring this post full-circle...if I do that sort of technical magic, a dedicated server will be important...even vital, if the game catches on. World of Warcraft, to take the extreme example, has many dedicated servers that, I presume, they own and maintain. I'm probably fairly unique among authors in that I actually do know how to maintain my own server...but why would I, when I make more money doing other things than it costs me to pay someone else to manage the server?
All things considered, then, I guess having a dedicated server is hopefully in my future.
And now, back to the regularly scheduled writing....
Word Count: 50,124