Tag - series

Building Your Author Website - Part 1: Getting Started

website building1Hello all! When I decided to blog about author websites and blogs, I realized there was no way I could fit everything into one post. Not if I wanted to go into detail. So I decided to turn it into a series. Today is part one and we’re talking about getting started.

I’ve been creating my own websites since the 90s. Anyone remember Geocities, Tripod, Angelfire? Yep, I used them all. Back then, I created everything in Dreamweaver and uploaded via ftp. Keep in mind, I knew next to nothing about html. But where there’s a will, there’s a way. I played around with site building on and off, creating graphics, trying new styles and platforms.

And then came the time to put those skills to use. I had just signed my first contract with a publisher and I needed an author platform. Before I could think about Facebook or any other social media, I had to establish an author homebase.

At the time, I had no idea what a blog was or what it entailed. A friend told me about Blogger, so I shopped around a little and went with Blogger. Slowly I started customizing, looking for themes outside of what was offered which would fit my needs. After that, I started playing with widgets and html. Google became my best bud. Anything I wanted to do but didn’t know how, I Googled. Everything I did with Blogger prepared me for the upgrade to Wordpress, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

With today’s technology, building your own website is much easier than it used to be, with website builders doing most, if not all, the coding for you. You don’t have to spend hundreds or thousands on a website. I know I certainly couldn’t afford to pay someone to build a site for me, and as I was just starting out, I couldn’t justify the expense. Though it’s far less expensive these days to get a really nice site designed for you. But this series is for authors who want to do it themselves.

Tip: It’s never too early to start your author platform.

Once you get published, you’re going to be busy with a billion other things: edits, galleys, production forms, marketing, promotion, and everything else. The more you have already done, the more you can concentrate on your release and your writing. It’s much easier to update your website once you’re published, than it is to build it up from scratch.  There’s a great deal of information you can include regarding your work in progress, your journey as an unpublished author, etc.

So where do you start? There are plenty of free website builders out there. I highly recommend having a website with a built in blog. If you already have a blog, let’s say with blogger, and you’re going to build your website in Wordpress, I would recommend linking your blog to your Wordpress site via your menu. I’ll be getting into that when we get to the design portion of the series.

When I decided to move on from Blogger to a website builder that was both easy to use and allowed me the freedom I wanted to customize, I tried out a few different builders: Weebly, Winx, Web.com, and a few others I can’t remember at the moment. They weren’t the right fit for me. Don’t be afraid to sign up with these free web builders and play around with the building tools. If they don’t work for you, delete or close the account.  Obviously you don’t want to link a domain name or start sharing links before you’ve decided whether the builder you chose is right for you.

worspressAfter trying several builders, I went with Wordpress. Now, there’s a big difference between Wordpress.com and Wordpress.org. Wordpress.com is rather limited in what you can customize, but again it depends on what you need and how much you want to change or be in control of. With Wordpress.com, if it’s not available in the theme you choose, there’s not much you can do, and certain types of coding won’t be permitted in your widgets. It also doesn’t allow plug-ins.

Wordpress.org allows you to upload plug-ins, customize html, and use scripts in your widgets. It’s not self-hosted like Wordpress.com which means you’ll have to have web host. If you go this route, make sure you do a good deal of research before choosing your host. The problem with cheap web-hosting is that the space is shared (unless you opt for the more expensive dedicated servers), so if your site uses up a lot of memory and causes spikes in their CPU, it will be shut down until you sort it out, and let me tell you, your blood pressure will skyrocket while you try to sort it out. With the amount of websites growing, companies providing shared web-hosting are overselling space on their servers. You don’t want to have the constant hassle of your site going down, so ask around and find a trusted web host. I’ve been told Dreamhost, Hawkhost, and Stablehost are good places to start.

Next Monday: Author branding. I’ll also list those free online image editors, since it’s relevant to coming up with your author/website brand.

rosedivider

Have any questions? Just leave them in the comment box below. 

rosedivider photo credit: NathanaelB via photopin cc photo credit: ghwpix via photopin cc

Writerly Things & THIRDS Update

Hello all! I know blogging has been a little slow lately, but that's down to the THIRDS, and the way in which these guys have totally TAKEN OVER MY LIFE. I've received first edits for Hell & High Water (Book 1). Blood & Thunder (Book 2) is with my publisher and I hope to hear back soon. Rack & Ruin (Book 3) I'm currently working on, along with Rise & Fall (Book 4).

I've set myself some tough deadlines, but I'm really enjoying it. These fellas have crawled under my skin pretty quickly. After the 4 initial books,  there will be side stories with other pairings--the first, second, and third of which I've already added to my schedule, but I hope to write more Dex & Sloane, because their relationship should continue to grow beyond the 4 books. I've done artwork for the website which will launch as soon as I'm done with that, and have more solid info on Hell & High Water, like blurb and such. I created three logos which are the THIRDS organization logo (below), and the two patches the team wears on their uniforms, one being their squad's patch: Destructive Delta, and one being their law enforcement patch for their division, New York City. There will be plenty of swag with the logos. I'll be revealing the other two logos soon.

THIRDS logo 500px

So that's the THIRDS main logo displaying the organization's full name, motto, and in the center the representation of the unity between Therians and Humans. The motto itself translates to: With United Powers, which is what the THIRDS is all about: seeking justice for all, no matter the species, through the union of Human and Therian.

If you're not sure what Therians are, they're the shifters in the THIRDS series. In this world, shifters are not referred to as such, and instead they're a different species referred to as Therians-- which comes from Therianthropy: the change from human into animal.

For the THIRDS, I wanted to keep it as realistic as possible (for shifters anyway), and so the birth of this species is scientific rather than fantasy. And the THIRDS is an organization that was put in place to enforce the law, seek justice, and protect this new species, leaving Human law enforcement to deal with Human crimes, though since the two species aren't segregated, it means the THIRDS often have to deal with Human perpetrators if said Human commits a crime against a Therian citizen.

I'll be going more into the THIRDS, what it is, how they operate soon, but I loved putting this organization together, and it leaves loads of room for all kinds of stories, since there are three departments within the organization: Defense, Recon, and Intel. Each one has a different type of agent working for it, and these agents work in small squads with teams of two where a Human agent and Therian agent are paired up. Although the organization enforces the law, they're a military organization for the government, so it operates a little different to the Human police force. I'm happy to answer any questions related to the series, though if it's a spoiler, my answer may be somewhat vague.

Now onto other things. For anyone who doesn't know, I'll be attending RainbowCon at the end of April, and taking part in two panels: Thursday, April 17th 1 PM Marketing 101 Thursday, April 17th 4 - 4.30 PM Author Q&A Friday, April 18th 3 PM Roundtable Discussion  on Historicals

I have some wonderful folks with me for both these panels, and I'm really looking forward to it. If you're attending, make sure you say hello! If you're looking for a detailed schedule of events, you can find it here: http://rainbowconference.org/schedule.aspx

The M/M Romance group's writing event has arrived, and although I took part in the last two, I'm afraid I won't be able to this year as it falls during the wrapping up of Rise & Fall, and conflicts with my writing schedule for Vixen's Valor: Book 3 in the North Pole City Tales. I really want to make the North Pole City Tales a yearly Christmas thing, so I didn't want to skip this year, especially with quite a few folks looking forward to the next installment. Hopefully I can make the event next year, though I can't wait for all the great stories that are sure to come out of it this year!

And for those wondering when the heck I'm going to get to Hunter's book. He's on my writing schedule for this year, though it will mean the earliest the book will be released is early next year. Hunter's books is going to be a full length novel since we have quite a few characters, plus a couple of new ones. It'll be longer than An Intrepid Trip to Love, and I hope to release it through my lovely publisher so hopefully, it'll be worth the wait. I'm super grateful to everyone and their patience. <3

x Charlie


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