Linda McNabb

Fantasy Books for All Ages

Sunday 6th December 2020

The perils of author websites!

Linda McNabb

www.lindamcnabb.com

These days almost every person has a website, and maybe even two. It’s almost obligitary for an author to have one and to engage socially with the entire world, while still writing, usually-Indie-publishing, and trying to work out how and where to market their books.

All of these tasks, bar the actual writing, used to be done by the publisher. Now the author IS the publisher and life gets complicated. No wonder so many indie publishers struggle to make a living.


I would say I’m used to the juggle after many years but I don’t think anyone can really say they’ve mastered the art of doing it all well. The internet is changing so fast and when does anyone actually find time to do the creative writing that started it all? Let alone other life events that get in the way.


As I’ve said, we’ve all got websites. Do you remember to renew them on time? Hopefully I hear a resounding yes, of course! If not, beware for there are those out in the land of the interweb that are waiting to pounce.


How do I know this? I was busy, I was tired, I had sick family members. Surely just leaving the website for a couple of months wouldn’t matter. Did anyone even go there considering I didn’t have time to market it properly? That’s yet another can of worms and the subject of another post entirely. Where to spend money, and should I spend any… to draw traffic to my website? I will write such a blog for those who might be interested… when I’m not so busy!


But back to my busy life. I didn’t renew my website (and no, I’m not telling you what the website is because you’ll find out in a minute why!) and merrily went on with my busy life. I didn’t miss it too much. I figured that readers of my books would be bright enough to understand a ‘not found’ or ‘under construction’ message and come back later. Oh, did I mention I write books for children and fantasy-loving-adults?


A month or so later I decided I did miss playing with the mechanics of a website and basically pretending I was ‘working’ by doing so. An author will come up with almost any thin excuse to label what they’re doing as ‘writing’. Well, I will, and I stand by cloud-watching as a very relavent part of the writing process, as is people-watching. So, I decided to pick it up again and update it a little.


That’s where the problems started. I’ve got almost 30 books published and, inside and on the cover of every single one is my website. Also on a dozen library pages, reviews, newspaper links … well, you get the idea.


I went to renew my site. “Sorry, that URL is not available”


Pardon? What do you mean? I typed in my previous website address into my browser and was struck with a face full of very graphic adult images.


I must admit I stared at the page a little longer than any sane person would. I simply couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Now remember, I have literally thousands of links to this website and most of them are young children or mild-mannered-fantasy-loving-adults. Not ‘that’ type of fantasy!


So, what to do? How to fix this?

Those are two very good questions and I had no answers. Meanwhile my name and lifetime of hard work was leading unsuspecting people to this site.


To cut a very long story a little shorter (seriously, I can write shorter if I want) I couldn’t get my website back and had to create a new one. www.lindamcnabb.com

Then I had to unpublish everything I’ve done in the last 30 years and redo both the internals and covers before the massive job of uploading it all again. Not to mention contacting every website I could find with a forwarding link. Not an easy task and it took me the best part of three weeks. I’m still not sure I’ve got it all. I still don’t have a presence back on Facebook, but that’s coming - in time.


I console myself that any ebooks online should automatically update on the readers’ kindles or other devices, but there’s nothing I can do about the paperbacks out in the wilds. All I can do is keep an eye on the availability of the old website and snatch it back if they let it lapse. And no, I don’t have to visit it to check on that, thankfully!


The moral of my nightmare? It’s simple. If you have a website with links leading to it and you’ve done a good job salting them around the internet.


DO NOT LET YOUR WEBSITE RENEWAL LAPSE!!!


You have been warned what can happen and I don’t want it to happen to anyone else.


Please share this warning with anyone you know that has a website that they don’t want taken over like mine was.


Dragons Rule!


Linda (www.lindamcnabb.com)

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