Victoria Advocate, A Different Perspective
Every serious writer needs a website. It’s the primary vehicle readers use to connect with an author. When my first short story published in 2015, Jennifer Preyss-Mathlouthi covered the story for the Advocate, then helped me set up my first website. Not sure how I would have gotten started without her generous help.
I regularly wrote devotionals and learned how to post them as blogs, then upgraded to a monthly newsletter, but that was the extent of my website interaction. Several years passed as I tackled lengthier writing projects. I became emersed in the learning curve of fiction writing and stopped writing devotionals. My monthly newsletters also halted as I continued to wrestle with story arcs, characters, and the revision process.
With the advent of the pandemic, websites were no longer optional—they became an essential tool for marketing. However, by that time, my website was dated. Technology had also gained ground, and the challenge of an upgrade was daunting. I’d conquered a few technical issues, but building a new website was akin to rocket science.
One writing guru is fond of saying anyone can build a website. I suppose that’s true on some level. Unfortunately, even if I could watch enough YouTube videos to understand the many different elements, the clock was ticking faster than my ability to make it happen.
Stymied, I prayed about it and searched for virtual assistant help. Then I received a recommendation for a new business that specializes in helping authors cross the finish line with all the technological requirements.
I hired the newly minted team of four women, better known as The Author’s Write Hand. They were excited to fix the technical issues that gave me a headache. The tasks they accomplished were: 1) Resurrecting my newsletter and connecting it to an email server. 2) Adding the free ebook to my website. 3) Outsourcing the website changes and security issues. 4) Provide ongoing help with social media posts to drive interested readers to my website. These things needed to be in place and running smoothly before marketing my first book.
Though challenging for all, we worked hard to meet a time-sensitive deadline.
Before we knew it, Labor Day weekend rolled into our lives. I wasn’t sure until the night before if I would make our family gathering in New Braunfels, but my contact person and I worked out a plan so we could both take advantage of the holiday.
It was a wonderful break. Our family indulged in cheeseburgers and tried out different snack-type desserts. The young cousins, ages 3-9, were delighted to see each other and played together non-stop. I drank hot tea with my daughter and daughter-in-law and caught up on the latest news. The men engaged in rounds of chess, and the dogs wrestled. Later, the adults tried to touch their toes while the kids took turns doing handstands and cartwheels in the middle of the living room floor. Our time together was relaxing and peaceful. My email faithfully waited until late that evening.
Two nerve-wracking days later, my website was finished, and my first newsletter rolled out after a two-year hiatus. If you want to hear more book news, check out my website at marypatjohns.com. Sign up for my newsletter and get a free ebook. It’s a short story about our son’s deployment in Afghanistan and was first published by Chicken Soup for the Soul. It eventually became the inspiration behind the series of books I’m writing.
My hands and feet get wobbly when it comes to the book publishing process, but “Behold, God is my helper: He is the sustainer of my soul.” (Psalms 54:4, NAS)