So you want to be a published author? Congratulations! I expect you've been given lots of advice. Let me guess what you've been told...
Sit down and just do it! Write and write until you reach the end.
Edit and polish your manuscript until it shines.
Take care over the synopsis and submission letter.
Heard it all before? Yes, I thought so.
Here is one thing they may not have told you, but it is just as important...
Learn about creating a website and/or sidle up to someone who can work with you to sort out your website problems. If they have the skills to create one for you, without charging a fortune, so much the better! I have learnt, from experience, that you probably will have problems with your website at some point in the future and its always good to tackle them with someone who is on your side.
A few years ago, two days before a book launch, my website crashed (or got infected with a virus. I never did receive a good explanation). I was home alone at the time and quickly panicked, which resulted in me paying a faceless online technical support worker far too much to get it sorted! I suspect, thanks to my naivety, he reached his monthly sales target for selling the most expensive security package held by the hosting site at the time. I would have to sell an awful lot of books to recoup the extortionate fee and it left me with a mild distrust of anything to do with website building.
For the past two weeks, I've been attempting to battle this website nightmare. Why? I hear you ask. One day last year I finally admitted to myself that my current website was rather boring, so I made a New Year resolution (probably as a result of too much wine and being high on chocolate) to bring it kicking and screaming into the modern era... However there is a flaw in my plan. I forgot that my technical skills for building a website was not that... um... technical, skilled and had a habit of bringing me out in a cold sweat.
Fortunately, several decades ago, I had sidled up to someone who embraced the computer age quicker than most... and married him. Still wracked by guilt for not being able to help with my last website disaster, he's offered to help me create a new one so I understand it more... inside and out. So we've spent the last two weeks slowly building one - amidst copious mugs of coffee and empty sweet wrappers (mainly on my side of the desk). Fist step was to change our website host provider, then find a suitable template to build on.
Unfortunately our quest did not start smoothly, thanks to a corrupt template. The development team responsible, based somewhere in the depth of Vietnam, confirmed it was their fault and not mine and offered to repair it. I had lost faith in the product, so we moved on to another, but strangely the episode bolstered my confidence... perhaps I could get the hang of this lark after all.
When I decided to pursue a career in writing, did I envisage being obsessed with modules, plugins and bootstraps (and I don't mean the leather kind)? Absolutely not, but obsessed I have become. I had hoped to unveil my new baby this week, but alas the initial set back has delayed my ta-dah moment. But you know what they say... All good things come to those who wait.
Being a writer has a lot of unexpected sides to it, as most professions do. I guess all we can do is tackle each problem/issue we encounter in life with a positive attitude and motivation, hopefully made easier by having someone nearby who 'has your back'. Copious mugs of coffee and an unending supply of your favourite sweets can also help when the going gets tough!
Websites. Do you love them or hate them? What are your pet peeves when visiting a website? I would love to know...