Once upon a time, there was an author who suffered from a terrible curse.
To wit, her dread archfoe, the Technology Fiend, despised her with all passion. He got his kicks by tainting anything she touched requiring a battery, plug, or modem, and was particularly tickled by thwarting her attempts to become computer savvy.
Our poor author grew understandably fearful of treading in enemy territory. Every click of a button authorizing yet another account or threatening one more upgrade sent spasms of anticipatory horror through her heart. But much as she would have liked to stay far, far away from all terrors technological, she was, as I said, an author – and a self-publishing author, at that. In this day and age, an author is expected to blog, have a website, show her face on social media. And a mostly self-pubbing author with no other employment doesn’t have enough cash to hire someone else to do all the scary Internet stuff for her.
So when the day came that our author – who also happened to be something of a perfectionist – looked upon the “My Books” page of her website and thought, “I suppose this serves its purpose well enough, but it’s not all that I want it to be,” she had no recourse but to suck up her anxiety and figure out how to work a little web sorcery.
And that author… *solemn nods* …was me.
Opinions will vary on what’s needed to make a website look “professional” (which I feel is a kind of snotty term, in general, since when you’re good at what you do, you can do it your own way and make it amazing, never mind some arbitrary standard clung to by the masses. But I digress into artistic anarchy…). My personal minimum requirements/preferences are that it be clean (because I don’t deal well with clutter) and simple to navigate (because isn’t the whole point that visitors be able to find the information they’re looking for?).
What nagged at me about my site’s original “My Books” page is that it wasn’t immediate enough. You started at the top with the cover and info for my first published book (“The Swan Prince”), then scrolled down to get to my next book, and the next, and so on chronologically, through the whole of my Wilderhark Tales (to date), my first professional anthology (“One More Day”), and my debut novel (“Inspired”), until you reached the current position on my publishing road and the page’s end simultaneously. All very well, but why couldn’t I have that deal where the covers of all the available books are presented at once in a neat little gallery, and clicking on one will take you to another page dedicated to that one book (or perchance the whole of its series) only?
Because I didn’t know how to make it happen, that’s why. And I was scared to try to learn. But if being scared were enough to stop me from doing things, I wouldn’t have any published books to show off on a website in the first place.
So I went to my site’s dashboard thing. And I stared at it, looking for some kind of hint or guidepost. I’d seen other Weebly-powered sites pull the trick I wanted, so there had to be a way…
Aha! Down there, what’d that say? “Tip: Drag pages up/down to reorder and left/right to create subpages.”
Subpages! That sounded like exactly what I wanted!
Now came the true test of courage: Sacrificing the sure thing I had in order to reach for what I knew, if gained, would be better.
There’s a great, honking life metaphor, for you.
After much stressful experimentation, uploading pics, copy/pasting text, fiddling with format, and careful linkage, I had a brand new at-a-glance “My Books” page, complete with subpages for each and every title. Like. A. Boss.
Sure, I screwed up a bunch of times. Yes, I crashed the browser once. Never mind how many hours later it pushed my already ridiculously late breakfast. I got my heart set on a goal, put my mind to the task and came out with one more tally mark next to my name on the Danielle vs. Tech Fiend scoreboard.
And oh, hey, would you look at that: My new page’s gallery of covers includes the face of “Legends and Lore: An Anthology of Mythic Proportions” – the Xchyler Publishing paranormal collection set to release on Wednesday (party over here!). If I do say so myself, it does look mighty fine. ^_^