This week I had a good idea, a dilemma, and a rethink.
First the good idea. The package I have for my website comes with the ability to set up an online store. There are a few issues with this—I can’t have postage or tax calculated during the order process as my plan doesn’t reach that far. I could upgrade—for about US$300, but I can’t quite come at that. I’m not that keen to have a fully functioning store. I could set my prices to include postage and only sell to Aussies, but what if someone wants to purchase more than one book? The postage would be cheaper for that, but there’s no ability to deal with it. Good idea, but what to do with it?
(Stick with me, there is a point to all of this)
Then there was the dilemma of web hosting and emails. I currently use a different company to host my website (HostGo) than the one I use to create it (Weebly). I could change the hosting over, but then I would have to move my emails over and to be honest, there were a few people on the community board who were having issues with the email package offered. I imagine there are many, many more who aren’t, but I’m wary of problems. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! So why did I want to move the hosting over? Because of SSL, the security side of my website. I needed it enabled (and thought it was, but no) and switching the hosting over would make that an easy process. It’s a long story and I won’t bore you.
Time to rethink. I had a look at my current orders page and it seems to offer and say all I need it to. I don’t get a lot of my sales via my webpage, so why change it? I was, and still am, considering offering other things such as coffee mugs and library/tote bags. Perhaps I will still use the store that’s in my package. All of this can be thought over and decided later.
The SSL can’t wait though.
One of the great things about Weebly are the instructions they have available. There was an option to get your hosting people to change some settings and enable the SSL. I thought I’d done that—I’m not that tech savvy, so maybe it was something else I did. So, I decided to work it out myself. The instructions were clear about what I needed to do, so I took a deep breath, logged into my control panel, and gave it a go. I had to change the DNS settings (actually, I had to find them first!) and add a couple of A records (no, I don’t know what that all means) and then wait up to 48 hours to see if it worked.
My point in all of this? I had to go way out of my comfort zone and have faith in myself to do something to resolve an issue. I didn’t rely on anyone else, I didn’t ask my webhosting company (or my tech savvy son) for help. I read the instructions and nutted it out. And was successful.
And all it took was belief and a bit of confidence.
Is there something you want to do, or need to do, but haven’t because you’re lacking faith in your abilities? Maybe you should give it a go. Believe in yourself!
Book covers are one of the things I spend a lot of time thinking about. All of the advice out there says you should never design your own cover, and its great advice. Even those who have graphic design skills are advised to leave cover design to others. And yet I do my own. The decision is generally a financial one. Enough cost goes into producing my books as it is without adding cover design costs on top—it’s not something I’m willing to add onto my publication budget. Okay, so if my books had nicer covers perhaps they’d sell better. My cover for Secrets Within recently scored me an equal first place in a popular vote, so I’m going to keep doing my own designs—for now, anyway. At least I have only myself to blame if it doesn’t work.
One of the ways I get ideas for covers is to search book cover images for the genre of my books. This is where I come across my biggest issue. A large number of romance suspense novels feature sexy men and women, ripped abs, etc, but I can’t put that on my covers. Not because I’m a prude, but because it would be false advertising. I don’t put sex scenes in my stories, so covers like that would be misleading to the reader. I also worry that the people on the cover may influence the reader’s imagination. I want my readers to be able to picture the characters in their own way. As my books also fall into the romantic thriller description, I tend to go with the more thriller type of cover. More representative of my books than the abs! They can still feature the couples, etc, but more of them focus on setting. Where is the book set? What is one of the pivotal scenes and where is that set? Much easier to do—until you try to find the right image! It is generally easier than trying to find the right looking person/couple in the correct pose. And when you’re an amateur like me, setting is easier to work with. Colours can be adjusted to set the right atmosphere and simple Photoshop tweaks can change things in an image that aren’t quite correct.
I’ve recently done a short course through the Australian Writer’s Centre on cover design. It was very helpful and reinforced some of the things I’d worked out for myself (and they didn’t use any of my covers as examples of ‘poor’ design – phew!). On the whole, I’m happy enough with the covers I have for now. I have no plans to change them anytime soon and will continue to enjoy putting them together.
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