So many pieces, it’s easy to get lost
I recently moved my domains (I’ve got two: meredithbond.com and anessabooks.com, which points back to the first one) and web hosting to a new company. I wanted them both together and I knew I was probably overpaying. Technically, both of these things are supposed to be very easy, straight forward processes. Naturally, in reality, they’re not.
After trying for a whole day to get my website to transfer over to my new website (same url, different host), I finally gave up and hired someone to do it. I felt vindicated when he ran into exactly the same problems I had, only he knew how to fix them and I hadn’t. (If you need the name of a tech guy who specializes in author websites and their maintenance, contact me!)
But the whole impetus for all of this hassle was, ultimately, to save money. What I hadn’t realized was that the place where my domains were (they started out at Yahoo Small Business, but that has been bought a couple of times and is now Turbify) was fine, if costly. But it included email addresses for both of my domains. The new company only gave me one free email address. So, tack on the cost of getting another email address.
And, naturally, I must have privacy with a domain so no one can just look it up and see that I own it and discover my home address. That’s an additional cost (it was at Turbify as well).
The previous company that hosted my website allowed me to back it up and then download the files. This company doesn’t and tried to sell me a backup service at $20/month! to do this. It would also back up my computer if I set it up, but I already use BackBlaze to do this. I don’t need a second one, and BackBlaze is less expensive. Now, the $20/month plan included 2TB of data storage, way more than I need, and there were lower priced plans, but they were still about the same price or more than what I’m already using for automated backups. And I’ve got JetPack backing up my website. I just needed to make sure I could restore my site from them if anything should happen.
The long and short of this is that I’m beginning to think that this is something like what the airlines have done recently. You can get a ticket for a really low price, but then you have to pay for a seat, to check your bags, even for a drink on board. It all adds up and suddenly you realize that you’ve spent more money on the budget ticket than you would have on a regularly priced ticket.
I have added up how much this new hosting site is going to cost me, and it will be less than the one I used before, but I’m getting really tired of being told I need to add one more thing in order to get my site and emails to work as they had before. Oh, and I’ve had to add six new usernames and passwords to my password manager—one for each different piece of this puzzle.
In publishing, I can see that it would be very easy to feel the same way. When you write a book, you may need to hire a coach to help you get through to the end with a well-written, engaging novel (full disclosure, I’m a book coach). Once you’re done, you need the book to be edited—not by the coach, but by someone else who’s never seen it before. It may then need to be proofread by someone who will catch all those typos, missing words, any grammatical mistakes the editor missed. You may need to hire a formatter (I do this too) to turn your masterpiece into an ebook and a PDF for print-on-demand. And don’t forget the cover designer (I have one who works with a lot of my clients) to create a professional-looking cover to entice readers to look at it further (your cover is your first and best piece of marketing). Some authors even go so far as to hire someone to upload their book for them (so silly! It’s incredibly easy to do, but if someone wants to trust me with their passwords and throw money at me to do this, I will!). Whew!
So. Many. Pieces!
It’s overwhelming sometimes.
It’s really easy to miss a step or think you don’t need to do something (most frequently it’s the proofreading that gets skipped) and then those lovely reviewers on Amazon will be more than happy to tell the world that the book is riddled with stupid errors. So it’s really important to go through and do each one—but, at least, no one is trying to sell you something you may or may not need. It is up to you to reach out and hire the people you’ll need, after you find them by asking every author you know for recommendations.
How do we deal? How do you deal with all this?
Do you make a list of all you need to do? Do you have one company you work with which will see to all of these pieces?
I can tell you my new website hosting company was more than happy to be that for me. And there are a number of authors who come to me looking precisely for such a service (which is a lot better than them going to those vanity presses which will do it for you and charge as much as $10,000 for something that would otherwise cost you about $1000). But, while I can provide all of those services (now that I have my cover designer and proofreader—the same person oddly enough), I encourage people to look elsewhere, to work with a number of people and I will happily recommend them. The more eyes on your work before you publish, the fewer mistakes there’ll be.
So, please, please, please, stop and think before you say yes to all the shiny little bits and baubles pushed at you. Know what you need and what you don’t, and hire people you can trust.