The one where I built an author website…and then didn’t upload it.

This weekend, we had The Preschooler’s 4th birthday party (he officially turns four next week) and, honestly, I’m exhausted.  He decided he wanted a strawberry birthday cake and, in what seemed like a good idea at the time, I let him pick what cake picture he liked on Pinterest for his cake.  He picked a vanilla pound cake with strawberry cream cheese frosting, with chopped strawberries in the center layers.  The cake itself had three cups of sugar, seven eggs, and a cup of sour cream in it.  We won’t talk about what went into the frosting.

Unfortunately, the strawberries never got chopped and put in between the cake layers, because when I went to wash them, I discovered we had no water pressure.  This then turned into me discovering that somehow, the valve on our well pump had loosened and subsequently opened, emptying the contents of our well onto the ground.  So we had no water.

Awesome.

The Hubs and my father-in-law were able to fix it (stupid well) and then, later in the evening, The Hubs and I had a well deserved date night.  We ended up going to a Chinese buffet/sushi bar and then, in our oldness, went to the mall and tested out mattresses.  I wish I could tell you that it was some kind of steamy euphemism, but we literally were just sitting on mattresses at the local Sears.  Too soft.  Too hard.  Too weird.

It was another day of snow and gross cold weather today, so while The Rowdy Boys fought over building blocks and fired Nerf rockets at each other, I thought to myself, “Maybe I’ll make a webpage.  That will be fun!”

We explored this topic here.  A lot of my author-type friends have websites.  A lot of author-type people have websites.  But I, I do not have a website.  Until now.

This is not my first website rodeo.  In fact, back in the mid-1990s, back when the Internets were a new fangled realm my preteen brain was starting to obsess over, I had a website.  My very own, AOLPress website, with all kinds of tie dye backgrounds I downloaded from somewhere and uploaded somehow with zero HTML knowledge.  It was a Monkees fan site that I titled Can You Dig It? because I was, from the ages of thirteen to seventeen (when I discovered late 90s boy bands), I was obsessed with the Monkees.  My fifteenth birthday was Monkees themed.  I made my own beaded curtain.

Anyway.

I found a snazzy little website builder site that met my criteria for just about anything these days: 1) Easy, 2) Fast and 3) Free.  Free was what sealed the deal because, look, I’ve been using a computer since I was three years old.  I can pretty much figure anything out.  I’ll *.* and cd/ and d:/runprogram.exe all day long.  I have my own blog, gosh darn it.

So, there I was: dragging and dropping and putting effects on my pictures so they looked all sepia and old timey.  “This is my author website.”  I proclaimed to The Hubs.  “Look how cool it is!”

“This is different from your blog how?”  He asked.

“I’m not sure.  I think it’s more professional.”

“You spelled your name wrong.”

Damn it.

So, I fixed that.  Then I wrote a little biography, put in an excerpt from With My Face to the Enemy and even made a gallery with pictures from reenactments, living history events, and Mayan Ruins.  And I looked at my shiny new author website….

….clicked save, shut down the computer, fetched some Doritos/rum and diet coke, and turned on BBC America.

I still haven’t uploaded the darn thing.

Here’s what’s stopping me: On one hand, the website is really cool.  It looks clean and to the point.  It has spaced for my future book covers and places where people could click to buy.  But it’s not me.  I mean, well yeah, it is me, but it’s the boring, responsible me who goes to work everyday and pays the bills.  This was the problem I ran into when I wrote my “official” about the author when I signed my publishing contract: professional me isn’t nearly as interesting as rest-of-the-time me.

Has anyone else run into this problem?  How do you still make “professional author website” as engaging and fun as, oh, I don’t know, your blog/how you hope to really be in real life?  The Rambling Jour is pretty much how I am in the real world.  I’m sarcastic.  Sassy.  Easily distracted.  It’s the cream and sugar of Author Heather, whereas my site seems more like the dried coffee beans.  Important, but boring.  How do you find a happy balance?  Or, do you just spell it out for people: She’s far more interesting on her blog, so click here.

The other issue with my site is that my book isn’t ready to buy yet.  So, really, what I’ve got is a sepia toned advertisement for The Rambling Jour, illustrated with some of my favorite pictures of myself.  Looks cool, but serves little purpose.  Kind of like my Facebook Fan Page.

I suppose, in the end, uploading the site changes nothing.  No harm, no foul.  In the long run, that mystical far off future where I’ve dyed my hair red and am on another cruise, the site will be an important marketing tool.  People can look up my books.  Buy them.  Look up book signings/living histories I’ll be at?  My blog is my mainstay, but I guess I do need a site….even if it’s just to advertise my book and point people here.

In the meantime, I’ll sit and ponder uploading my blog and drinking hot tea.  I’ve been making progress on Random Contemporary, which is always exciting, so I guess I’ll do that while the site stews in the deep recesses of my brain.  So, more to come on that.  Ah, author websites.  You vile temptress, you.

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4 thoughts on “The one where I built an author website…and then didn’t upload it.

  1. Since the website is free and you already made it, I vote to go ahead and upload it! The sooner you get your name out there, even if your book’s not out yet, the better. People will come to your site anyway just like they come to your blog to see who this Heather person is all about. I see websites as evolving creatures–when you have stuff to put on them, you can!

    Maybe put a welcome note on the site that’s not so stiff-sounding as your bio? You could do what I did and have a short professional bio and then a long rambley one that shows your personality. But definitely link to your blog!

    1. Isn’t it weird that this whole production is so intimidating to me? I like the long rambling bio because, I too, am long and rambly (spellcheck says rambly is not a word). I have the stuffy, boring one under the bio page. I think you’re right–I need a welcome note. Because…frankly, it’s just a shrine to my face right now. Sigh.

  2. I work as a developer making sites all day and it took me forever to get a site together. And even though I could make something custom that had all the bells and whistles, I still went with cheap and easy WordPress. Because it was cheap and easy.

    As for the bio, I barely even have one myself so I don’t really have much in the way of suggestions. I’d probably go for the sarcastic bio anyway for the site because it’s your site and people will want to know what they’re getting into. In the good way.

    1. I think one of the best comments I’ve gotten in real life was meeting someone AFTER they’d read my blog. They said, “You sound exactly like your blog reads.” It’s a good point for the bio to be more how I am because, frankly, sometimes I think I’m kind of weird in real life as opposed to serious historical fiction author. In the long run, I’d rather have readers thing I was cool instead of stuffy!

      As my dad would say, “If it’s free, it’s for me.” I looked up web developers in the past for my site, but there’s no way my budget can work that in at this point. Maybe someday. That’s a similar timeframe to what I give for my student loans being pain off.

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