Thursday, September 24, 2015

Authors and Web Sites and Platform, Oh My!

As I mentioned earlier (Dehosted and Rehosted), I had to find a new virtual home for my small amount of personal web site content. The move has given me the opportunity to rethink the content of that site. Up until now, it's been a haphazard collection of widgets and links to my haphazard collection of (so-called) social media outlets: Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Goodreads and BlogSpot (but not yet Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Flickr and Google+), along with a sort of personal profile in bullet-list form.

It turns out, I had already been thinking about what I should be doing with my web site to prepare for promoting my authorly activities, assuming I would buckle down and turn one of my projects into something publishable in the not too distant future. I wanted to at least polish up my bio and weed out the less pertinent tidbits and links.

That still leaves some questions to answer. How does someone who has not published a book create an 'author' web site? What should a writer who has written at least eight unfinished novels (for National Novel Writing Month and in-between) say about their creations? Should I list them? Describe them? Should I be teasing about projects that are in-progress or the worlds I have created for them? Or just wait until I have something finished and at least submitted before doing that? I know I should (and want to) spend more time writing and finishing the stories than producing 'extra' content about them.

Of course, there are plenty of folks out there with opinions on what such a web site should include. I found this one on Creating a Website as an Unpublished Author by Amanda Luedeke pretty insightful. I guess I'll keep it focused on who I am and what might make my work interesting. I'll leave a few clues about the sort of stories I've been writing (maybe super short blurbs about my NaNoWriMo work). Keep the social media links intact. And work harder to keep the blogs active.

Meanwhile, until I get my site settled and a book published, have a look at the web sites (and books!) of some my favorite authors. They give me something to aim at and I'm amazed to actually call several of them friends.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Dehosted and Rehosted

I haven't put much effort into my personal web site in quite a while. There was not much point. I'm not selling anything. I'm horrible at blogging (I have a couple of infrequently updated channels). It was fun to play around with HTML and some layouts and graphics, back in the day. But it was easy to just ignore it. There were plenty of other ways to spend my time and effort (or not).

Then Comcast forced my hand.

Since I use them as my Internet provider, I have been hosting what little content I did have on their free service. It had a somewhat ugly URL (, but that was easily dealt with by simply forwarding my much easier to type domain ( there. They recently decided to discontinue the free hosting. I had to find a new place to host my stuff.

My options:
  1. As a consolation for discontinuing the web hosting service, Comcast gave their subscribers two years of a Pro subscription to Weebly offers drag-and-drop web site construction and a spectrum of features and services.
  2. Add hosting to one of my GoDaddy domain registrations. This would allow me to either upload my existing, but lame, web content or use their web site constructor to create something more interesting. Either way would cost me a little more each month.
  3. Research and find another way to get free, or almost free, hosting. Been there, done that. I'd probably wind up and someplace like (a Weebly competitor) or back at GoDaddy.
For now, I'm going with option #1. Why not? It's paid for (for two years). The functionality seems fairly reasonable. It even takes care of making the site compatible with the smartphone form factor and I can use one of my existing domains for it. The only thing is, I can't just upload my existing site content (just a bunch of HTML). I need to recreate it. I might as well take the opportunity to update what I have and make it more attractive.

More on that in a subsequent post. For now, you can find my new web site (in progress, under construction and all that) at