Perils of a Writer

In the past, before internet marketing, I wrote often.  My mind was full of ideas and I made time to read as well – enjoyable reading, not technical books all the time.  I ended up writing, editing and having professional editors/critiques as well for each of my four completed novels.  When I received a rejection I normally shelved that novel and wrote another.  In the end I completed four novels – three historical romances and one contemporary romance with full editing. I have also completed two other historical romances in the draft stages.

Two years ago I tried publishing through Authorhouse.  Being somewhat lazy I realized one thing – most publishing houses are in the USA for fiction and most USA publishing companies won’t take international postage. So I wasn’t sending out my works to be rejected.  I was just writing another story.  Authorhouse was a disaster – strictly giving them money to – format, design a cover (All those things – being an office worker, I knew how to do) and put me onto a company to do my website – a company who did little, ignored me and consequently my website was ignored too. I had copious amount of intricate information that made no sense.  So I ignored it and started another story – which is my true calling isn’t it? Authorhouse then expected me to buy my own book (at a price I would feel guilty charging a customer) –  to market them myself.  Again loads of instructions – none making sense.  I couldn’t afford their marketing but ended up putting thousands into their programs and again – nothing.

So again ignoring them – I started to write another story.  Maybe I would drive down to the States and get a post-office box and their postage and really concentrate on trying to get a traditional publisher.  But first I should write my next story. I at least know how to do that.

Last fall, a few things fell into place.  I discovered WordPress, Create Space and Amazon. I could – having the ability – format my own books.  Having taking Adobe Photoshop courses at Washington University I could also design my own covers.  Then I discovered Linked-In – with their discussions – real author discussions with help I could understand.  But when I tried to set-up my own website I was still having problems and I first realized something – try as I might – I can’t do it all.  A website is an important part of setting up your business – I have already discovered that a website alone won’t help you.  Then I recruited the services of Harriet a WordPress specialist, Simply Divine Web Design and she became my life-line.  Her advice and help at a reasonable cost helps me so much – and I took my first important step – my own website.  She links everything for me and gives me advice on nearly every aspect of marketing – setting up a business.

I am well on the way to understanding ‘internet marketing’ but I advise writer’s especially – not to waste your time trying to do your website on your own.  I am a writer – and want to write my new story.  There are some things just too complicated to learn and write as well. For those things you don’t have the time to learn – search for a reasonably priced specialist.

I am hoping I can soon go back to writing my new story ‘Angels Among Us’ – a romance suspense.  This will be a new endeavor – loads of research as I am dealing with spousal abuse and grief – and want to offer hope as well.  All this weaved into a romance makes a challenge I can’t resist.

Time Consuming Website Design

Regardless of whether you are a published author or self-published – today you must learn how to ‘self-promote’.  ‘Self promotion’ for many writers can be very confusing, time consuming and irritating.  It was to me as I was only interested in telling stories and still am.

So as we must start somewhere – I would suggest a Website with a blog.  Since I didn’t know how to design a website – and certainly one that was easy to follow and simple – I hired a company at $30.00 a month and an annual fee to host it.  I could then post to my website – lay it out – but there were no instructions in lay-out – or making it the best it could be.  Needless to say it was a mess.  I had no idea how to attract followers and for my $30.00 a month, I wasn’t getting advice in this matter either.  Without followers – I was stuck out in cyber-space and didn’t know what to do.

One day I was ‘searching’ around and found WordPress – at no cost – with themes/appearance and self-maintained, I could get a webpage.  Of course it was a ‘work in progress’ – over many months and although I was posting things in a sporadic manner – it never seemed complete – it never seemed very effective, but at least it didn’t cost me I thought.

Then I thought of Harriet – who had web-design experience.  I wrote

Simply Divine Web Design

It was by far the best thing I’ve ever done.  Harriet – for reasonable hourly fees did everything for me.  There was no more concern or wasted time trying to figure out what I was doing.  Suddenly I could write and know that she would – link, deal with search engines, making suggestions on lay-out and always wait for my approval and all those other matters that still confuse me.  She created a beautiful, simple website for me.  She sent me simple ‘how-to’ instructions that even a child can follow.  But, being a writer with my head in the clouds I had copious amounts of questions.  Again – the speed she answered, the speed she corrected my site and the way she put my mind at ease are so amazing to me.  When I think of the hours, weeks and even months I have wasted my time trying to do a beautiful ‘website’ I can say without hesitation, that website designing on your own – although seemingly cost saving – is not if you are not in the website design business.

I suggest that even as an author – we must do a ‘business-plan’ and consider our costs accordingly.  I thought I was saving money – designing and doing my own website.  But if it isn’t effective – if the layout is wrong – if it doesn’t attract visitors – if the visitors become immediately confused – you have wasted so much time.  Unless you consider your time as ‘free’ and worth nothing – I would recommend the first thing any small business do is hire a web-site designer, leaving yourself time to pursue your own activities – those things you want to do.  A website is a must for anyone intending to promote their business in this time.

Thank you Harriet for being there for me and thank you for helping me through an extremely complicated process I would still be working on ineffectively and frustrated.