Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown

"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it."
~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Insecure about my Website and Blog

I almost forgot about the Insecure Writer Wednesday post this month until I saw all the posts from others showing up. This is my favorite day of the month to go bloghopping. I find these IWSG the most real and interesting posts, and I don't like to miss any of them. You can sign up here.


Lately I've been feeling unsettled about this blog and my author website layout. I can't seem to get my book covers consistent or laid out properly. I get emails about people willing to "fix" my professional website to "reflect" my author image blah blah blah, but I'm really hesitant to pay money to someone for things Blogger and Wordpress make fairly easy to do yourself.

I guess if I just spent the time at it, I could figure it out. Blogger I know needs the covers a certain size. With Wordpress, the more I work on a page, the weirder it gets, and I'm afraid to do too much or I'll mess up what I have. Clearly I don't have the skills required to make my author website look "professional."

One day I'll figure out what to do. But that day has not yet come, and meanwhile my book covers are all weird sized and out of order. If you have any advice for me, I'll be happy to listen, even if it confuses me even more.

42 comments:

  1. Your book page looks good - just need to move that one over to the left a bit. What platform are you using for your website?

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    1. Hi Alex, thanks for the feedback. I use WordPress, and I've tried moving the wonky one, Uncut Diamonds, over but it won't take. It looks fine on the edit but when I try to update it, it jogs back to the right.

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  2. Hi,
    I don't have any advice at the moment, but it sounds like you know what you are doing. I wouldn't give up and hire someone until I knew that I couldn't do it properly. So if I were you, I'd keep at.
    All the best.
    Shalom,
    Pat Garcia

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    1. Hi Pat, I'm stubborn that way and never quick to pay someone what I think I might be able to figure out myself.

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  3. I don't have too much on my blog. I try to keep it as simple as possible, partly because I like it that way, partly because I don't have the patience to fuss with it. :)

    Good luck with any changes you make!

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  4. I can spend hours trying to figure out the technical stuff to fix my website. I choose to tip toe past and hope for the best--maybe no one will notice?

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  5. Hi, Karen,

    Sorry to hear about your issues with your sites.... I'm not familiar with wordpress, so I have no helpful advice. Perhaps GOOGLE Wordpress troubleshooting and maybe they'll have some answers for you....

    Good luck!

    Nice to see you at my blog today.... I hope all is well in your neck of the woods...

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  6. When I put pictures on my sidebar on Blogger, I always downsize them to 200x300 pixels. Even though blogger says they'll shrink them, they never look right. Try it. (You can do this by using Paint. It comes with Word.) If you don't know how, send them to me. I'll do it for you and send them back.

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    1. Anne, this is so helpful, because my husband knows how to size photos with Paint. I'll just tell him the size you suggested and he can do it. That should solve my blogger issue, thanks!

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  7. I'm just starting to work with WordPress myself. My husband bought me a class on Udemy, a site that sells online courses on a variety of topics. I'm hoping it will help me figure it out.

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  8. I have a blogger site and a wordpress site. Never have figured out wordpress. Not much better with blogger. I need to read about them and see how they work.

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  9. Fixing my blog to make it look better is always on my list and yet I put if off again and again.

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  10. I'm always on the verge of figuring technology out; then it changes again.

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  11. Hi Karen - the techie stuff is not easy ... I want to try and alter my blogger site - but it always seems to do something different - I must spend a day working it out and go out for walks in between the muddles I'll find myself in.

    That note from Anne about the pixels .. is interesting to be aware of ... and I'm sure very helpful. The pic of Uncut Diamonds looks good .. I guess it's matching the two Diamonds up ... Good luck .. cheers Hilary

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  12. And to make things worse, different browsers will make the same page look different.

    I've only worked in Blogger but I've found giving it specific dimensions works best.

    As for author image, the main thing to remember is consistency. Choose one thing that reflects you as an author, be it personal, professional, or iconic and use that on every venue.

    For example, if you want to focus on where you live (personal), create a background, profile badge, or a banner with an image that reflects where you live. This way, no matter where people find you they can immediately identify you again if they see your Facebook page, web site, or blog.

    A professional designer will probably do more to make it a cohesive unit, but they all start out by choosing one thing to brand you across several platforms.

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    1. Maria, I'm way off track then because all my social media sites tend to have different themes.

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  13. I'm still learning and I've been at this so long I don't know how long its been! I'm sure with the help of people like Anne, that you'll get it figured out.

    Bish, your co-host

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  14. I feel your pain. These things are hard for me as well. I usually do hire out what I find so confusing.

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  15. Well, it wouldn't hurt to hire a professional web designer, or at least someone you know who is quite knowledgeable in web design and development. If it's just the varying sizes of the books that is the problem, maybe you can have them all adjusted to that photo size, hence making the sizes the same, so that our attention will be on the product and the content. Blogger is still a reliable tool for such things after all, since it’s quite easy to setup and customize.

    Pete Summers @ Elite Market Links

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  16. Oh no. I'm not very gifted when it comes to technology myself. I do hope you find a solution that works for you soon.

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  17. I've been blogging for about ten years and my blog has transformed SO much in that time. I used to put different backgrounds on it to reflect the seasons, then went with different themes for awhile, etc. I guess I like to change it up! I've stuck with my current layout for awhile now, and until I get bored with it, I guess it will stay as is for now. :D

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  18. I don't know, some of those emails sound like they could be scams. In any case, good luck to you.

    God, Entertainment, & Annoying Things

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    1. Or high priced entities taking advantage of low earning authors.

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  19. I actually like that the covers are different sizes. They're different books.
    The only thing I would change is put the two Diamond books next to each other, horizontally, and make their covers the same size. Somehow they should be viewed as a couple, even as they are different in many ways.
    P.S. Waiting for number #3 in the saga... (Hint)

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    1. Mirka, I have #3 in draft form waiting its turn with #4 to follow soon after. This brings the McGill family to Utah, with the children growing up and leaving home. There the saga will end. I really appreciate the encouragement, it helps!

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  20. I wouldn't worry too much about the people who want to "fix" your website; they probably send those types of e-mails out to a lot of people, no matter what the website looks like.

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  21. Your blog looks fine to me, and I'm fussy. I enjoy it. But what a feeling - as though if you don't fix things right now, all creation will laugh at you and Wordpress and Blogger will give you the cold shoulder. Just keep doing what you do, which I enjoy. And have a wonderful weekend!

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  22. I think your blog looks nice. Your time is much better spent writing than messing w/ website formats.

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    1. Nicki, You know, I really agree with you. When it comes down to it there's little we can do as writers to achieve greater success that doesn't involve the actual writing of books.

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  23. This blog looks fine to me. I tried different things in the beginning, then settled on a simple white background. I got a little creative with the look and color of the fonts and decided to have nothing to distract from the post at the top. So I placed everything else down below. But I really like the simplicity of your blog.

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  24. I used Wix to develop my website...it's drag and drop. But to get the Wix banner off the bottom you have to pay a yearly fee and a lot of writers don't want to do that. There are other options, too--SquareSpace, I think? WordPress has some cool themes. My sister develops websites for businesses and she always starts with at WordPress theme.

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  25. Nothing wrong with your blog. I keep changing mine. I'm never happy. But WP to me is unchartered territory. Signed up 3 times and find it so user unfriendly compared to good ole blogger. I wonder if authors actually need a website. It's just another step on the way to your blog. ?

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  26. Now see, Denise Covey, I agree. Karen, your blog is wonderful. My favorite part is that beautiful photograph at the top and the writing quotes. The blog's restful, thought-provoking. While I understand the importance of presentation, I believe what's inside the book is more important. But in today's busy world, images may take precedence. I'm sorry to say, Karen, that I'm not the best at technology. I'm mining your blog comments for information myself.

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  27. Now see, Denise Covey, I agree. Karen, your blog is wonderful. My favorite part is that beautiful photograph at the top and the writing quotes. The blog's restful, thought-provoking. While I understand the importance of presentation, I believe what's inside the book is more important. But in today's busy world, images may take precedence. I'm sorry to say, Karen, that I'm not the best at technology. I'm mining your blog comments for information myself.

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  28. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  29. Sadly I have no idea about how to help. I hope you figure it out! :-)

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  30. I wouldn't pay a dime, Karen ~ loads of scammers out there.

    Wish I had the knowledge to help.

    Eddie x

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  31. My son got married on Saturday and little Peter has written an account of the wedding day . . lol. :)

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  32. Isn't Wordpress something else though? I use Blogger for my blog, but I use Wordpress for some volunteer work I do at the library. If they can make it a challenge they will--not the library, Wordpress. Just writing about it makes me go ungrammatical.

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  33. Isn't Wordpress something else though? I use Blogger for my blog, but I use Wordpress for some volunteer work I do at the library. If they can make it a challenge they will--not the library, Wordpress. Just writing about it makes me go ungrammatical.

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  34. Hey, sorry I'm late to the party but still wanted to weigh in. Your blog is fine - easy to get around, attractive and full of YOUR personality. All good. Just got and read Afraid of Everything. Good read! I will dive into the others soon as possible.

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  35. Karen, I've said it before and I'll say it again. I totally enjoyed Afraid of Everything. Great story! [Nuts! I'm a fan of exclamation points, too.] I love the poem about writers on your website. Your website is pure and accessible. I liked the page. Hope all is well.

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