Archive for the ‘Blogging’ Category

I just want to write, Darn IT!

I’m so constantly trying to keep up with my weekly blogs (though I now have plenty of time to finish up some novels too while out on medical leave), that I figured I’d take a peek into Wattpad and Scribd. These are also places to promote your free writing. And it’s actually a fun place to be if you’re that type of author who just want to … WRITE STORIES!

Yeah.

How many times do you want to do just that–just write. Authors don’t want to market. Authors don’t want to sell. Authors don’t want to do the network socializing thing. Authors don’t want to market. Did I say that already? Yeah. Authors want to write, darn it! That’s what authors do. And if you’re determined to do just that after getting your book uploaded and your wonderful cover drawn, then you might want to look into marketing in a way that still have your creative juices flowing, and increase your fan base.

Wattpad and Scribd

These two places are THE perfect places to do just what an author want to do. Just write your dreams, your muse’s inspirations, you heart desires, your funny witticisms. Write it all out there. It’s a GREAT alternative to those who just don’t want to blog or Twitter or LinkedIn or Google+ or do the Facebook Page thingy. The reminded me of, Waaaayyyy back in the day (around 2000/2001) when there was a site called Themestream.com. It was a place where authors got paid by how many readers read their material. It was little pennies, but if you got a lot of views, you were able to make some decent money. Unfortunately, it went under, and a lot of writers were really upset about it, not because of the loss of money, but because it had a community that was unique and wonderful for writers to engage in. I think Wattpad and Scribd is creating that environment once again.

Wattpad is a place where a writer can share stories on the web and across mobile devices. You upload your stories in sections. Even short stories are uploaded in sections because the audience is mainly reading these stories from their cellular phones, and reading in parts is much more easier on a little screen.

Scribd is like a huge book club, somewhat like Goodreads, LibraryThing and Shelfari, accept what you read is actually on the site. It’s received a lot of bad publicity on the internet by authors who said this sight had their works, and was sharing them, without permission, but I believe the site has focused on that area and corrected it for the most part. It’s still a place where millions go to read. If you’ve already logged in with your Facebook account, please note that Scribd will automatically set you up an account based on your Facebook account.

So, those are two places an author could look into and keep writing and gain fans. I think they’re great possibility areas where authors can share their craft. As for me, I know I said I will be looking into these two things, but I just took a quick glance, and I’m currently really need to focus on getting more novels on my virtual book shelf. If I didn’t have my job and had more time to write, these are places I would seek out.

What do you all think? Are there any other areas where writers could just write to gain a fanbase? What have your experiences been on Wattpad and/or Scribd? Does anybody out there still even remember Themestream? LOL!



Pictures and Blogs

picspeakIf you started reading this blog site from the beginning, you’ll notice there weren’t any pictures for each subject I spoke about. Being that sometimes I’m late to the game, I didn’t realize, on the internet, how just “words” could be so boring. What made it dawn on me to starting posting up pictures? I looked at other author blogs and realized, as a reader, what I found appealing.

PICTURES!!

I mostly use the ClipArt in MicrosoftWord and modify them with Gimp or Paint. Then, when I did a little research and learned on some forums where I could get some pictures from, I included that as well. I mainly search on Flikr for “Creative Commons” images that have rights to modify and create derivative works. There’s also Stock.XCHNG that has photos. It was mentioned that you can find some fonts too, free fonts at FontMaster.com and 1001 Free Fonts. If you make your Book Covers yourself, these are good places to find stuff.

I wrote a blog on how to size your pictures for websites. That’s important to have the right size picture and wrap words around it.

The other thing I’m still debating on is how often to post on my blog. I really, really, really, don’t have much to say on self-publishing unless I run into something that triggers a topic. Posting three (3) times a week, the internet world states, is the key to getting an audience. Once a week, keeping a schedule on a specific day of the week, works too. I like the once a week thing, but that takes material, and, again, I don’t know what to provide that’s not already in one of the lists above already.

I really would have to dig around for some content…or get guest blogs; but I’m picky about novels because I don’t want to have an author on my pages who I’m not interested in their writing, or doesn’t have much of a fan base–such as myself.

So…. I’ll think about it….the once a week thing. We’ll see.

So what’s a Feedburner? Twitter, Facebook and such…

Okay, so I’m still learning more about websites and blogging, and I got a comment about “feedburner”. Huh? So what’s that?

Off to my favorite pal…google.

So I found out it the word “feed” was a way to provide “subscription” to a website so that people can keep up on the updates. I saw those types of things on website before, little buttons or links for Twitter, Facebook, RSS and you click on it to subscribe to the site so that you’ll know when there’s updates. I’ve never played around with that. And since I randomly post (trying my darnest to post at least once a month) that would be a very good feature so that people would know when I’ve added something new.

So I went to WordPress to find a Widget. I found “Fixed Social buttons”. Not sure if that’s going to do what I would like it to do, but it looked neat.
I selected RSS, Facebook and Twitter, since I know those sites. I also wanted to find out more on “feedburner” so google had something where I entered my site. I had to sign in with my gmail account, of course. So I created a Feedburner.

After all that, then I realized that I might just need a Facebook, Twitter and MySpace account. I already have a personal account with Facebook, but Unfortunately, DARN IT, facebook/zhollis is already taken! So I create a page off of my personal account. And then went back to Google Feedburner and clicked the “Publicize’ and then “Socialize” thingy on the side and added a Twitter account so that I can have Feedburner updated my Twitter with my blogs and then have Twitter update my Page on Facebook (using the “Smart Twitter for Pages” App in Facebook). Round Robin kind of thing.

Twitter Setup Issue
I was needing to get the confirmation email from Twitter…and that took a very long time! And, of course, I got like four (4) confirmation emails because I kept resending it. And in the mean time, my password for Twitter didn’t work! I tell ya! Trying to make a STRONG password and I messed up on something. Twitter didn’t have me retype my password to make sure I was typing it correctly. So, I tried to have Twitter send me an email, clicking the “forgot” link. I pressed it a couple of times and looked in my email. Hmmm. Of course, I should have waited the same long-time-period that it took to send me the confirmation email. Duh. So then, of course, I got four (4) password reset emails. But when I got the first one, I was able to reset my password and then I had to go back and pick one the confirmation emails to get the account up and running with all the access. Whew!

The things you do and learn.

And so now I’m officially on Twitter and have a Facebook Page to help with Marketing. Unfortunately, now I’ll have to remember to type just 140 characters of interesting first liners in my Word Press so that it will good in Twitter.

And once I submit and Publish this post, I’ll look at both sites and see if it gets updated (Feedburner only begin working on new posts). And so the testing begins…. And I had to make some adjustments. I had Feedburner send “Title and Body” to Twitter. I just need the body sent to meet my 140 character limit correctly. Unfortunately, when I did an update on the same post, it didn’t re-do my Twitter. Oh well. But my Facebook Page got updated! KEWL!!!! IT WORKED!

IT”S ALIVE!!! IT LIVES!! HURRAY!!! HURRAY!!!

Hours of work and got something accomplished. I think I deserve some popcorn….

Change…

The suspense is finally over and now we have to wait and see, and hope, what can be accomplished.

President-elect Barack Obama.

Man! It was quiet at the office today. Houston, Texas. I could feel the intensity of negative and positive swirling in the air. What can people say? What can people not say?

We shall see…for he will be our President…too.

Finding a Blog, Website, and other Online Stuff for Self Publishing

Soooo…
First I went hunting for a host and dug around the internet. There were tons of people with lists of (what people think were) the best Top 10 web hosting companies…and that list changed with every site I went to. So then I decided to search for any site that had issues or problems. I typed “reviews” after each hosting site that I researched.
Then I came across BestHostingRatings and really liked it! I had already reviewed other sites and this one had comments from people that seemed legit. Plus I had already looked at the one I was most interested in, and it had a lot of comments on it.

I chose ICDSoft, and then got my domain at NameCheap since it offered to place their company information in front of my personal information to keep my address and info private in WhoIs. ICDSoft didn’t offer that, but that’s okay. NameCheap calls it the WhoIsGuard. Though I’m sure there are probably other ways for people to get your information, I figure the more deterrents you have, the better. Everything was completed and done on September 12, 2008.

Soooo
I’m learning html and a bit of css while trying to design a website without paying someone else to do it for me. I was going to use a webdesigner for my webiste (Deana Zhollis) but got pointed to some templates. And I found one for like $30.00 and it was fairly easy to play around with at TheTemplateStore. The other thing is that I have a friend who I could borrow software to help me out with all of the design, otherwise the software to configure a website like this template would have cost me over $1,000 to buy them all. But updating the template was lots of hours and hours of fun. No. Really. I enjoyed figuring out GIMP, Dreamweaver (for FREE html software, try out Nvu. I downloaded it and it works great!–but not with this template site. Just with basic html from scratch, or simple templates), Swish and Adobe Fireworks. Lots of fun. But what I didn’t like, and what was NOT fun, was Movable Type!

I wanted to have a blog, even though I barely write online, but I’ve heard time and again, that it would help generate people to your site.
Which is what I want to do for my self-published book.

So on to researching free blog sites, and I came across Movable Type, which some people really loved. What I didn’t know was that those people who love it so much were Web Designers.

I worked hours and days trying to upload that sucker onto my host site, even with the help of my host IT at ICDSoft, who basically told me (after I tried to fix something they had already fixed out of the kindness of their hearts) that I was on my own and to start over. I don’t blame them. The stupid thing was horrible! A nightmare!
And then…HURRAY!…it was working. So then, to play around with it. The fun part, right? Wrong! You basically need to be a Web Designer (which, like I said before, I didn’t know) just to maneuver around in that thing! I can’t do a simply thing like move my columns around, cause I need to know more css than I do!

So I decided to scratch the Movable Type project and find another software where I can have a blog. I looked into WordPress, but before trying to install a “very easy” program as so many have already suggested, I still didn’t see if it would be as easy as it was designing my website with the template I bought from TheTemplateStore.com for $30 bucks.

On to looking at Blogger. Can I put in on my host site? Yes, they say. I can FTP the page. But they didn’t tell you it had to be a STANDARD TEMPLATE! What if I wanted to add some neat things to my blog site, to make it look pretty and different? Nope. Standard. And If I wanted to tweak the darn thing, I would need to know more of HTML than I do. PLUS I can’t delete my account, but I can put in bogus information in it and decide to never sign on to it again. So there’s another Blogger profile out there, no website, but just sitting on a server.

Sigh…

WhatToDo..WhatToDo..WhatToDo..WhatToDo..???

I went back online and did more research and found out that Word Press has things called “themes.” And then found a youtube presentation on how easy it was to implement one. Will it work? Back to downloading…

This time, downloading wasn’t so bad. It claims 5 minutes to do everything, but it still took some doing…about 15-20 minutes for me. If I hadn’t done the Movable Type, I would have never known how to setup my database. Then on to themes. Did some research and found one that I liked, and played around with it. It wouldn’t work with my widgets and columns, so I guess it wasn’t designed right. On to more templates/skins. Found another one. Not as fun as the first one, but it worked. Now to editting it to fit my needs. Very nice! Just like using the Dreamweaver template. Fun. Easy to figure out. A FUN to figure out, which is most important, and now I have to go along with everyone else who simply enjoyes Word Press!

However, I did read that because it’s popular, it’s subjected to lots of spam and hacks and bad people who just want to spoil the fun. So I went on to finding security stuff for it which told me about .htaccess files. Some of them worked, others just got in the way. Again. I’m not that familiar with web design and stuff, so the few things I was able to add and update, I only can hope they’re deterrents.
So, I’ll just cross my fingers and hope for the best on that.

Back to learning more on Word Press

…And having fun! 🙂

My First Blog

Here I am testing out my first blog. I picked out a theme and on I go…

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