Monday, July 27, 2015

What is a Website to You?

Everyone knows what a website is. It is different things to different people, but mostly you are trying to sell something to someone. I try to sell my books from my website as well as my writing services. But really, what kind of information should you have on your website? That too depends on the purpose of you site.

To put it simply, you website is your on-like face. It is a representation of you and your business. Every business is different, but your customers need to be able to go there and have any of their questions answered.

There's no guarantee they will read the information offered, but it still needs to be there. If your customers call and asks a question, the answer needs to be on your website - especially if more than one customer happens to ask some version of the same question.

I have a dream of one day running my own little lodge. It is only a dream, but I've devoted some time to the concept and I've created another weebly website for the idea. Though I've never advertised it in any way, it still gets a hit or two now and then. I copied some of the information from the lodge website where I used to work - things like pricing and such, but I wanted it to tell my wishful-thinking customer everything he or she might want to know. What will I offer - what you might be able to expect at certain times of the year - and most importantly, how much will whatever cost. There's also a list of recommended things to pack. I'm a realist; I'm no spring chicken so it's fairly certain that this dream will never come to fruition, but it's an exercise in pleasure. Every once in a while I'll stop in there and make sure it still says everything I think it should.

Does your website represent you? Have you answered all your customers questions there? If not, you should, and the sooner the better.


Saturday, May 23, 2015

Getting into the Groove

It's hard to get into the groove. Lately all I seem to want to do is read. Of course editing is a perfect opportunity to do that, as long as I don't let my desire to read get in the way of the editing process. Lately, that's been kind of hard cause the stories really were very good.

Getting back into my own story has been really hard lately. At this point I can't tell if it's just because I'm so far behind on it, or if I'm getting tired of it. Both issues are very frustrating; add to that the fact that I go back to work in a week, which is another delay, makes it kinda hard to pick up the groove. The last couple days has been the hardest of all. I don't seem to be in the mood for anything - not even Facebook. Aaaahhh

Anyway - I think I'm due for a break. This blog will take a summer vacation, unless I rally by next week. Don't worry. Nothing holds me down for long. At best, I'll be back next week like usual. At worst, I'll be back by September. I certainly won't be off for long. I remember before I started blogging - I didn't have a clue what I'd write about. I've grown to love it, even if only a handful of people ever stop by. This, and my other blogs have all become something of a chronicle of my writing journey as well as my life.

So - no worries. I'll be back. I have more books to publish.


Saturday, May 16, 2015

Do you communicate with your readers?

Do you communicate with your readers? Those who are other than Facebook friends that is?

I remember when I was a kid, I'd read some book and there was an address in the back. As I recall, it was something like 'you can contact the author through the publisher'. Being impressed I guess, I fired off a letter. I don't even remember what I wrote - probably some kind of gushy fan thing. Anyway, I have no idea if the letter ever got through - I never got any kind of reply. For all I know, the publisher chucked it in the trash.

When I first got internet out here, I put some thought into what kind of online presence I wanted. Since we got internet primarily so I could make a stab at marketing my own book, my goal was to promote myself as a writer/author. And since I fully believe in helping other writers like me, I went to great lengths to find and share important writing tips and tricks. I also vowed to be as communicative with my readers and fans as I possibly could.

I have always believed that honesty really is the best policy, and I put a good deal of effort into trying to be diplomatic about it. I won't blurt out the truth, knowing it will hurt someone's feelings. However, I learned early on that telling a writer their work had mistakes, hurt some feelings. I also learned early on - it is big advice out there - that a writer needs to grow a thick skin for that very reason. Their baby just might not be the gem they envisioned it being - not yet anyway.

Not long ago, I got an email from a writer, asking me to read and review their book. Early on, it sounded like the main characters were gradeschoolers, but I suspect someone told him that he would sell more books if the characters were older. So, pretty much the only change he made to the book was the age of his characters. He made a few more changes that were age-appropriate like one of the characters could drive. The biggest mistake he made with this story was not changing any of the behavior of his characters. Ten-year-olds just act different - like kids, and where twenty-year-olds might make some of the same decisions - a few might even act like they were still ten, but on the whole, they have outgrown the adolescent behavior. Not so with these characters. The story read like he'd made a quick alteration and then threw the book out there. Needless to say, I sent him an email saying as much long before I was even half way through - I mean, really, the book was very annoying, though really there didn't seem to be anything wrong with the story premise.

Did I hear back from him? Not a peep. Were his feelings hurt? Probably. But it was better he hear this from me in an email rather than have me post what would have been a rather scathing review, not that I would have listed a bunch of details, but like I said, I believe in the truth - I would have said as much.

Most recently, I contacted two different authors to inform them of mistakes I'd found in their kindle edition books. One was an entire scene repeat of two or three pages, as if the scene had been copied twice in a row. The other was a hyphenated word that happened to fall at the end of a page and the second half was just gone. I didn't know if the word was the end of the paragraph or not, and I wasn't sure what the whole word was - for this one, I went to Amazon and looked inside the sample available there. It was the last word of the paragraph too, and apparently it didn't occur in the paperback edition.

Just so you know, if you ever spot a mistake in one of my books - LET ME KNOW. I want to go fix it as fast as at all possible. Frankly, I'm surprised no one ever contacted me about anything in my first book, though I did get one review that told me the writing was rather rough - Thanks for that. When I read back through it, I could only cringe - I'd learned a thing or two since publishing that book, mostly since we got internet here.

Over the years, I've gotten a handful of emails concerning my books. So far, those notes have all been good, and to show that I am approachable, I replied to every one. I fully intend to continue in that vein. You will get an honest review from me, and if it's going to be a bad review, I'll let you know in an email, or if I can't do that, I won't post anything. I have no desire to hurt another writer's sales. I also generally don't review a book that already has hundreds of review. What's the point?

What do you do? Do you talk to your readers? Do you hear from any?