Saturday, August 2, 2014

The website challenge is making me trepidatious.

“If you think math is hard—try web design.”

Trish Parr

“Websites promote you 24/7: No employee will do that.”

Paul Cookson

“What separates design from art is that design is meant to be... functional.
Cameron Moll

A website is as necessary to an author today as breathing—nearly—yet  currently I don’t have one. I feel very bad about that. It is not an area where I have covered myself with glory. I won’t bore you with the reasons. Suffice to say, I took my eye off the ball. I could explain the reasons, but fundamentally the failure has been mine.

I am ashamed of that fact.

I am now about to attempt to build my new website myself. The text has been written. The graphics have been assembled. I have evolved a graphic look which is quite striking. In fact, I have even had a new photo taken. All that remains is to assemble the whole thing—not a minor task given the amount of material involved.

Will I be able to do it? On the one hand I have minimal computer skills. On the other hand, based upon what I read, DIY website build software has improved enormously over the last couple of years to the point where it is now possible to build a complete website without any coding whatsoever.

Well, that is what they say. I’ll believe it when I have done it.

If necessary, I will bring in some help—I’m under time pressure here—but I have now reached the stage where I want to be able to design and build a complete website myself. It has become a necessary skill for an author who publishes outside traditional publishing—or even inside in many cases. Traditional publishers have shifted much of the marketing burden onto the author.

So what does a traditional publisher bring to the game? That’s another conversation.

I will report in this blog how all of this progresses. Though I don’t particularly want to air my inadequacies, such a case history may help some other struggling soul.

Challenge is a curious thing. I am both as nervous as hell—and looking forward to it. In fact, I’m quite excited. Am I confident? Not exactly. I’m too conscious of my lack of computer skills to feel that—but I am deeply motivated—and interested. This will be a game-changer as far as I am concerned. Practically all my plans involve websites—which I want to be able to produce at speed. I expect to build a number each year.

Damned if I expected to have to do this sort of thing when I started to write—but I love the idea of being able to communicate directly without an intermediary. Bliss!

I will regard success as being able to build and upload a complete website—even if I have to seek advice on some of the details. If I decide to use someone else’s design eventually, that will be fine too. I figure that being able to do the basic job will help me with communicating to a designer.

This is a huge deal as far as I am concerned. If I succeed, it will be awesome. If I fail, I’ll make myself succeed. Failure, short of a heart attack or some such, is not an option.

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