"The notion that such persons are gay of heart and carefree is curiously untrue. They lead, as a matter of fact, an existence of jumpiness and apprehension. They sit on the edge of the chair of Literature. In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats."
- James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Oh what a tangled website we weave

You need a website.

If you are a writer, an artist, or a business owner, this has become a physical law. I was given this pearl of wisdom years ago, perhaps in the Jurassic Era, when I was just starting out, writing articles for Riding Magazine.

So I went looking for a website tool, and found one where my email account was - on Yahoo. They had something called PageBuilder, which was pretty easy to use, and more importantly, pretty easy to update.

I confess, I'm a tweaker. Just as I like to tweak my manuscripts before I send them out to agents/publishers, I also like to tweak my website as I think of cooler things to do with it. So I built my site with PageBuilder and played with it constantly, until...

Yahoo came out with a new, improved tool called SiteBuilder and stopped supporting PageBuilder. This meant, if I wanted to continue to fiddle around in my webpages, I had to convert to SiteBuilder, which was only a little less complicated than converting to, say, Islam.

Still, once I learned SiteBuilder, it was again easy to manipulate and I was happy in my playground, until...

Yahoo came out with a new, improved tool and stopped supporting SiteBuilder. You'll notice I'm not naming this tool, mostly because at that point, I snapped and refused to rehost anything to a new platform. I dug in my heels and continued to play in SiteBuilder, even though I had to reinstall it every time I wanted to edit anything, which is at least once a week, due to updating my newspaper column pages. I still enjoyed SiteBuilder, but I constantly worried about the day when I couldn't make it work anymore and my website was frozen forever, just like that face I used to make that Mom warned me about.

Enter Jeremy Lee James, riding to my rescue on Write Click Web Hosting. I've known Jeremy for a long time, from the Southern California Writer's Conferences, and knew he was a webmaster extraordinaire. I also knew 1) he charged, quite rightly, a fee for designing a website, and 2) I needed more control of my website than he might be able to grant me.

However, Jeremy's newest invention, Write Click Web Hosting, allows a user to create their own site using Wordpress. Now, you can do this yourself by just going to Wordpress, but he gives your website a more hack-proof security system and provides daily backups, all for a small monthly fee. Yahoo was already charging me a small monthly fee for all the work I was doing for them, so I thought I'd try it out.

Working with Jeremy was a very good experience, in that he was ever-so-patient with my occasional lapses into idiocy. He has a bunch of video tutorials explaining how to do things, and I'd kind of watch them, then try things on my own and screw up. It's how I roll. Jeremy was always on the other end of an email, explaining calmly how to back myself out of the latest mess.

Things were smooth until we got to the part where I'm almost ready to go online with the new site. I had pared down my pages, cleaned things up, but my new site looks very similar to my old site. Here's the thing: Jeremy is a very elegant, classy guy who thinks that websites should look elegant and classy. And mostly, I think he's right. So when he sent me the email saying, geez, did I really want my new website to look so much like my old one, meaning kinda goofy and casual and distinctly NOT elegant, my first response was, wow, maybe not...

Then I looked in the mirror and said, "Who are we kidding?"

I explained to him that, while I agree in theory, in practice I am not elegant. I am a humor writer, even in my mysteries. I need to be a little goofy and irreverent and casual. My website needs to reflect that sense of whimsy.

God love him, he understood my point, and agreed.

My new website is now up (http://gaylecarline.com) and ready to be picked apart by the rest of the world. I'm always looking for comments as to how I can make it better, so don't just placate me with kindness. But don't slap me, either.

I'm going to end this post with links to websites of a few of the many authors I like, so you can see how their sites support their genres.

Andrew Peterson - thriller writer. His site points you exactly where you need to be at all times, kind of like you're the sniper's bullet.

Michele Scott - mysteries, women's lit, let's just say multi-genre. Her website is being redone, but even the temporary page gives you an idea of who she is.

Alexandra Sokoloff - horror, suspense, paranormal, creepy (her books, not her). You know you're not getting "light and fluffy" when you click on this link.

Christina Dodd - romance. Okay, I've never read a single thing she's written, but I love this website. I want to live there. Don't kvetch at me, I'm not a romance reader, unless you count DeAnna Cameron's The Belly Dancer, which is mostly historical fiction and really cool.

**OH, and for the record, I am NOT being paid or recompensed in ANY way for recommending Write Click Web Hosting. It's just something I'm using with a great deal of satisfaction. And none of the authors mentioned have ever done a darn thing for me in exchange for mentioning their books and websites. I'm just a giver.


Jeremy Lee James said...

Not sure how I missed this. But thank you oh-so-much, Gayle. You want a class act? You are it! Great writer, great friend, Gayle, you rock!

Jeremy Lee James said...
This comment has been removed by the author.

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