Chris Ball is a christian fiction author whose website mainly promotes the books he has written (with comments open and rate this / share this plugins used – not sure which ones they are). There is no blog to speak of. His first website I viewed was on the Andreas09 platform. I read an article he had written for Polka Dot Banner entitled “marketing ideas for Indie authors“. He changed themes to Pilcrow and uses alot of features. He has a 3 column layout, with the sidebars giving much useful information to authors: listing authors, message boards, review / promotional sites, and self publishing links. He also has a contact page, which some authors do not have. I am assuming with the extra features, website is hosted by wordpress.com and author pays a monthly fee.
Girlswithpens uses a recently added theme: iTheme2 - a very colorful theme. I did not see it on wordpress.org – not for selfhosting. I believe with the domain name, owners (Marcy Kennedy and Lisa Hall-Wilson) must pay a monthly fee for hosting. Theme is 2 column with a fixed width and very uniform in structure. Posts deal more with writing and publishing, which is why I find the blog interesting and am sure authors will feel the same. Website uses a facebook-like plugin and a “Connect with Us” text wiget (icon) box in lower sidebar (don’t quote me on that). Thumbs up for a well done website.
Aly Hughes is an unpublished author that talks about writing. I saw her website a week ago and her post on “first person vs second person vs third person PoV” interested me. She posts many thoughts on different aspects of writing. She uses the zBench theme and has an additional navigation bar that lists her categories (what she calls genres in sidebar). I believe she has the free wordpress.com hosting. I am reviewing her website because her posts would make an author think.