Saturday, June 11, 2011

Navigating the internet--with difficulty

People who talk glibly of various online programs that I don't understand frustrate me--now I can't even think of the names of those programs, but they are myriad. I have trouble mastering simple things, though I do okay on Facebook and Twitter (the latter is to me a bit boring). But tonight I semi-conquered two problems.
The first was my web page--well, I haven't conquered it but I made one small step. Some time ago, I submitted it to a blog that periodically evaluates web pages and came back with not a good score. The critic pointed out that it's an old picture--and it is, probably twenty-five years old. Then there was the complaint that no links make it easy for readers to click and order my books--most of my books are out of print and can only be ordered from individual sellers, but I guess I could put Amazon links. I hadn't gotten to putting old titles on Amazon and Kindle yet. And,  hey, I thought I was doing well to have a web page, let alone all that fancy stuff.
A colleague at TCU designed the page for me and did what I thought was a great job, though the critic called it simplistic. Well, I'd rather have simplistic than some of those web pages that are so fancy and intricate you don't know what you're looking at. I don't need bells and whistles--but I do need to update the page from time to time and my colleague, now an independent designer, charged every time as well she should. It's just that I need a page that is not in html and that I can upgrade--change a recipe, add a new event, etc. Besides, I have a new book coming out--have I mentioned that? oh, yes, I'm sure I have--and I need a whole new web page featuring that book, the new picture of me, etc. Not being smart about this, I assumed that the host I had required html and so I cancelled the account. Fortunately, there was a grace period, because someone from pointed out to me that I still needed a host, even if I posted my page through Wordpress. So tonight I renewed the domain, just to be sure, even though it didn't expire until July 2012. Money wasted, but I was told if I let it cancel, I couldn't renew the name for 90 days, according to FCC regulations. So now that's done, and I assume all is well.
Then there's the food blog. For some reason, last night I couldn't figure out how to create a second blog on Tonight, I breezed through it. And there's now a page called Potluck with Judy (notice I changed the title from Judy's Potluck, figuring that could too easily get mixed up with Judy's Stew). I think it can be found at but one can never be sure. And I pretty much got it set up--a picture of me that's way too big, and I wrote an "about me" that didn't show up on the page. Figured I'd done enough for one night. I'll quit.
Occasionally--only occasionally--I'm ahead of my kids. When we went to Scotland, Colin said his brother wanted him to put pictures in Dropbox and he had no idea what that is. I do! I have Dropbox, but I mostly forget to use it. There was an exchange on one of the listservs tonight about whether or not you should revise in Dropbox or revise in Word and drag each new version to Dropbox. Please! When do these people write?
Some authors check their sales at Amazon and Smashwords three or four times a day--I would find that so discouraging I'd probably never write another word. I check, oh, maybe every two weeks. In recent months, I've gotten two checks from Amazon and they came as delightful surprises.
I want writing to be fun. I don't want to feel about it as I did whenever I faced the spreadsheets of monthly reports at the press. So I'll keep reading with awe and envy about the people who sell hundreds of copies online daily . . . and I'll just toddle along with my few copies. Ten? Hey, that's a big day.

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