Letters from the Real World: Me. Dot com.

By Cait Reynolds

Have you ever seen a movie where there’s a monotone voiceover for a prisoner in a lonely dungeon? That’s what was going through my head as I tried to set up my new website.

"Hour two and a half. I have befriended a small creature in my suffering. He quacks and seems to like peanut butter."

“Hour two and a half. I have befriended a small creature in my suffering. He quacks and seems to like peanut butter.”

“Hour one. Found GoDaddy.com. Typed name and found it available. I am suspicious of how easy this is. I am in constant fear of making a mistake and somehow ending up owner of Thumbtumblies.com or other nonsense.”

“Hour two. Have secured caitreynolds.com after intense debate over how many years of ownership to buy. Have not secured .net, .us or any other dot. Fear that someday I will be famous enough that someone will try to squat those domain names, and I will have to order my lackeys to spend inordinate amounts of money to buy them back. Fear is my constant companion.”

“Hour three. Am having existential crisis about hosting packages. Doubt consumes me. I think I have signed up for the GoDaddy hosting package by accident when I wanted WordPress. My inner child watches a seagull fly off into the infinite and wonders if refunds are possible this world.”

“Hour four. I have a domain name and a hosting package, therefore I exist.”

I might be dramatizing a little bit here. Maybe. However, there are some really confusing points of the process for people like me who don’t do this on a regular basis. Here’s a quick list of things I found.

  • Buying your actual domain name is really that easy.
  • Making sure you’re just buying your domain name is much more confusing. I felt like the way the packages were presented on GoDaddy and other sites made it seem like you needed to buy their domain name services and their hosting package before you got WordPress. You don’t.
  • Double and triple check your cart. Took me a few tries to find my actual cart contents instead of the list of suggested services. In the end, I finally managed to get my domain name and my hosting package the way I wanted.

So, why have I done this? It’s not like rock-climbing where your answer is always: “Because it’s there, and I have website setup rage to work off.”

I did it because when I decided to be a full-time writer, I took it on as a career. It’s not about writing a book. It’s not about getting published. It’s about being a building a trajectory for yourself over time, whether it’s to make more money, change genres, explore new styles, etc.

In my former life, I was a career counselor, and first and foremost, I insisted that it’s not about finding a job. It’s about finding a job that is a stepping stone in a career, even if that stepping stone is a lateral move to keep you afloat until the next opportunity comes along. I’m practicing what I preach.

So far, and like any good business plan this is a work in progress, I see myself building a solid base as an erotica author and then moving to include more mainstream romance. I have a couple of ideas for some literary fiction, but I’ve put those on the horizon until I have a readership base to support expanding into a tricky genre for sales. I also have a couple of non-fiction pieces in the works, but those are longer, more intense and more scholarly projects that I need to  develop specific writing skills for. That’s going to take some time, but will be a good side piece while I work on the main focus of my career.

Bringing this all back to websites, I took Lori’s advice and decided to own my content and own my name. I’ve done the free blogs before. I’ve done the pen name blogs before. I’ve done the cutesy names before (though my nerdy side still loves “Artifex Amor” or “creation of love”). But now, it’s time to step up to the plate, put on my big girl panties, and put my name out there as my brand.

For the best, most human-friendly guide I’ve seen to setting up your website, check out Lori’s post: http://www.bookpromotion.com/author-websites-name/ 

And, as always, you can follow my inadvertent adventures and rants about weird catalog products at: http://caitreynolds.com 

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