Wednesday’s Author Website Wars: Tina Chang vs. Victoria Chang


perhaps you remembered that i reviewed this book (one of whose editors is tina chang) at rain taxi. ron silliman linked to my review here. beneath that link is a link to a fantastic talk with victoria chang.

so, i ended up googling tina & victoria since i am unfamiliar with their work (will someone send me copies of their books please). and wouldn’t you know it they both have websites. i’ve been thinking some about author websites and checking out other authors’ webpages–mainly since i don’t have one. and i def want to build one when/if my second book gets published.

thus, every wednesday on this blog i will be pitting two author websites against each other. your job: tell me which one you like better and why. or, if you are not into competitions, tell me one thing you like about each. or, if you havent had your morning coffee yet, tell me one thing you dont like about each. let the games begin!!!

TINA CHANG’s website here


VICTORIA CHANG’s website here


a related question: are blogs replacing author webpages? do i need a webpage if i have a blog?



12 thoughts on “Wednesday’s Author Website Wars: Tina Chang vs. Victoria Chang

  1. Hm, personally I'm not into the use of Flash, but both sites are clean enough. I think an author website can be more straight forward than this. I say I'm not into Flash for authors' websites because I think all you really need is writing samples and bio in clean text, an author photo (unless you are shy; Willie Perdomo's site doesn't have an author photo), list of pubs, links to where to buy pubs.

    I think a clean, good looking blog can serve as an adequate stand in for an author website. I think the URL/blog name should be straight forward (author's name or book title). It should also have pages (though Blogger doesn't allow it? WordPress does.) for bio, writing samples, links, etc.

  2. The flash animations on TC's site are kinda snazzy, forcing you to slow down and read the poems line by line, but there's something to be said for keeping the site more straightforward, as the above commenter suggests. The page loaded for me "with errors," according to my PC, and this is my work PC which is no piece of junk. Then again, this same error happens for me too when I visit this blog, and things still look okay on my screen! But maybe a lower tech site would help with greater accessibility.

    The photo thang is probably a matter of individual preference and philosophy. Some people have certain beliefs or superstitions about not broadcasting images of themselves, esp. on the Internet. And the notion of authorship itself is an elusive and debateable one (think of that proposal, alluded to by Foucault, that for one year all authors should publish their books without their names printed on them; the rebuttal, of course, is that readers would still be able to attach names to these works via style, voice, etc. and that would defeat the purpose of the experiment to publish and read sans persona; and begs the question, could this kind of publishing be done for more politically charged content?). The author photo seems philosophically related to this.

    One of the authors you mention below, Cathy Park Hong, seems to have a site that fulfills some of the minimalist standards mentioned above: clean, simple format and text, no techie stuff, no photo.

    I think the blog is different from the official author site. The author site signals a bid to have a presence in some official, not to say establishment, context. The blog is generally more anarchic and community-based than that. I think you could have both a blog and an official author page, they could broadcast different personas of the author, or different aspects of the same authorial persona. The blog is like a TV daily show, the author site is like a PR sheet or floating CV or discrete encyclopedia entry.

  3. thanks b for the comment–i dont mind flash, if it's short as i usually 'skip intro'. but most flash i've seen are kinda lame. ok, so clean and goodlooking. yeah, and i hear you on the blog url name.

  4. thanks anon! yeah that seems like one danger of having fancy animations–it may not work on some comps.

    ha! i like the idea of publishing without name…yeah, i need a good author photo. but what of us that are so ugly?

    we'll throw cathy's website into the battle at some point.

    agree what you say about the dif between blog & webpage…thinking about the idea of on being more 'official'.

  5. ha! you fugly author types just need to bite the bullet and assault us all with the full force of your official fugliness…

  6. haha but dont you think people are less likely to buy a book if the author in the author photo is fugly?


  7. that's a good point. maybe it depends on the kind of fugly. if you're talking rock-star fugly– like i dunno, mick jagger, neil young, you name it– sales could skyrocket! maybe this is the fine line between ugly and grunge-sexy.

    but i agree, the official poetry world seems to favor clean-cut and classic handsome/pretty. isn't this kinda boring? make that appointment with your stylist today!

    re: author photos, y'all should check out the truman capote portraits shot by richard avedon that are at the sfmoma right now. the ultimate fey in authorial self-presentation…

  8. haha rockstar fugly is a longshot. and yeah pretty/handsome is totally boring! my stylist is, apparently, exhausted.

    sfmoma–havent been there in forever–will try 😉


  9. You need a website! The masses want to know where you have read and where you are reading next! WordPress is great for website-like blogs. Flash is fun or maybe even essential if you are a visual/graphic artist, but, like Barbara, I'm not so sure I'm into flash on author sites. Or maybe I haven't seen it done well yet.

  10. thanks debbie! oh but you know how fickle the masses can be! it seems like wordpress is the place to be!


  11. I don't have a vote on Chang vs Chang but I think that in the steel cage match between Blogger and WordPress, WP wins.

    I've just imported all my old blog posts to the new & improved My host service is pretty cheap and the WordPress dashboard seems to be working fine.

    Let's talk more when we get together for our weekly "Let's take over the world" jam sessions at the Sexy Loft.


  12. yeah, i guess it's time to move on to wordpress…but i've already taken thee, blogger, as my beloved.

    haha your new website shall enter the death match very soon my friend!!!


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