Tag Archives: WordPress

How I built a beautiful website in TWO days (with NO programming skills)

What a difference a week makes! Last week, I was completely miserable because I’d downloaded the Thesis theme to create a new site using WordPress open source software, and was struggling mightily with the code. My level of programming skills (basic) ensured that it was going to be weeks before my website was up and running, because I was literally able to do only one thing at a time, before getting onto the forum and asking a question.

I disabled the Thesis theme, asked for a refund, and set about building the best website I could using WordPress.com (the free site) as a platform.

For those of you who don’t know, WordPress.com is famous for being both easy to use and powerful. If you want to add a tab to the navbar (the thingy that runs across the tops of your posts, which usually says things like “Welcome” “About Cynthia” or “Contact”, you just go to add pages, type the title you want, and voila, it magically appears.

Why did I need a new website? What I specifically needed was something that would be more friendly to web spiders and crawlers, because that would make me visible.  I worked on the title of my site, being sure to include my name. (My site now reads Spun Stories, home of Cynthia Sally Haggard, Historical Novelist). A mouthful, to be sure. But it’s full of keywords, which is what you need to get a webcrawler’s attention.

I spent hours choosing a theme that was flexible and easy to use, and had lots of widgets. Why do I need widgets?  To make my site more interactive for the reader. I need a widget so that people can sign up for email notifications of my post. And I wanted a widget so that people can sign up for my newsletter.

If you are one of those authors who know they should have a website, but haven’t yet taken the plunge, take my advice. Sign up for an account on WordPress.com. It’s free. And you don’t have to blog if you don’t want to. Just don’t choose pages that have blog functionality. Let yourself play, and I think you’ll be delighted. I had great fun creating my website, which you are now on!

If you have any questions or comments, or want more information about how to start a website, just leave a comment, and I’ll get back to you.

–Cynthia Haggard writes historical novels.  She has two completed manuscripts that will be published in the coming year. THWARTED QUEEN  is a portrait of a woman trapped by power, a marriage undone by betrayal, and a King brought down by fear.FAMILY SPLINTERS is  a novel about identity, forbidden love and family secrets. For more on her creative writing, go to spunstories. (c) 2011. All rights reserved.

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Filed under About Cynthia, How to Publish Your Novel, Promoting Yourself

Jane Friedman’s blog THERE ARE NO RULES

This Friday, I’m going to try something different. I’m going to start a series of Friday posts that will highlight a blog or website that I think is particularly interesting.

Today, I’m going to talk about THERE ARE NO RULES, a blog owned and operated by Jane Friedman. Jane is the former publisher and editorial director of Writer’s Digest. She is currently visiting professor of e-media at the University of Cincinnati and contributing editor to Writer’s Digest. Jane is very generous in passing on information via free webinars and blog posts, and I have learned a great deal from her on the changing nature of the publishing industry.

On Wednesday, Jane posted a blog from guest blogger John Rember, who wrote on the relationship between authors, agents and publishers.  Here is an excerpt from his blog:

But my troubles with my agent were never her fault. They were inherent to the relationship between agents and writers, which is a predator-prey kind of deal. Agents are not hoping to find, in you the writer, a diamond in the rough, a talent to be nurtured, a friend to be encouraged. They’re looking for the next John Grisham and they’re looking for 15% of a multi-million dollar advance. They are cold and hard businesspeople—if they aren’t, they end up living under bridges, and not the bridges in the Hamptons—so your talent or niceness is not their first consideration.

Many writers assume that with the big houses, a few bestsellers subsidize midlist writers. That’s the way it used to work. Now the CFOs of publishing houses demand that every book be a money-maker. In practice, this means editors are told to look for the next bestseller, and they, not being psychic, think that it looks like the last bestseller. Hence John Grisham, James Patterson, Dan Brown, and the dead Swedish guy.

To read more, click here.

To read Jane Friedman’s blog, THERE ARE NO RULES, click here.

–Cynthia Haggard writes novels.  She is currently seeking representation for HE MUST BE SOMEONE,  a novel about identity, forbidden love and family secrets. For more on her creative writing, go to spunstories. (c) 2011. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Blogs and websites to watch, How to Publish Your Novel