I’ve noticed that writers who are published with HarperCollins don’t seem to have their own websites. All they have is an official HarperCollins page. Is this a contractual requirement? If my book ends up at Harpercollins, will I have to shut down my writer website?
Not at all! Look at Neil Gaiman and Meg Cabot, just to name two of my favorite HarperCollins authors. I don’t know specifically whose sites you were looking at, but perhaps you found a couple of authors who aren’t the genius bloggers that Neil and Meg are. Harper wisely put up a portal for their fans on the web, even when the authors themselves didn’t want the responsibility of keeping them up.
For the most part, I’m not aware of any publisher who would ask you to take down your website in order to put up one that they write and control. We love your websites! And honestly? Most publishers are busy enough publishing books — they don’t want to have to worry about keeping your blog up to date as well!
Now, I have heard of cases where an editor may work closely with an author about a specific blog posting, and I have, on occasion, given a look-see to one of my client’s posts before they put it up, if there was anything they were writing that they thought might be inappropriate. Usually, I find writers are their own best censors — if you think something might be taken out of context, and you’re already thinking twice about it, that’s a good sign you might want to find another way of saying it.