The world was new and life was simple then.
The year, I think, was 1999. Facebook hadn’t yet been founded. The iPhone was a far-off gleam in Apple’s eye. People still had Rolodexes. Google existed, but hardly anybody knew how to use it other than to punch in really stupid questions and try to stump it. The Internet was a neighborhood in 1999; true, a vital, raucous, and quickly expanding neighborhood, but still, just one precinct in the much larger metropolis of human strivings and communication.
Sometime around then, a savvy and hard-working colleague of mine told me he was putting up a website. This struck me as bizarre. Tech firms put up websites. Corporate giants put up websites. Why would a mere writer bother with it? “Because,” my friend said, “pretty soon there’ll be two kinds of authors in the world: those with websites and those without, and those without will be regarded as small-time nobodies.” This colleague was not a guy who sugar-coated things.
I considered his advice and responded as I always do when confronted with a new challenge. I resisted. I stalled. I came up with good reasons to do nothing. A year or two went by. I kept hearing about authors putting up websites. Most of these authors weren’t even famous. Some were the exact opposite of famous, and yet they had blogs, readers’ comments, online presence! Was I missing out? Making myself a dinosaur? Too skeptical and lazy to have been an early adopter, I resolved at least not to be a total laggard. I put up a website. I think it was 2003 by then.
That first version of the site was, excuse me, really pretty cool. Very Key West. Lots of turquoise in the palette. Swaying palms. Dogs in sunglasses. Buy buttons! I liked the site so much that, for the first week or so, I noodled with it every day. Then maybe once a week. Then once a month. Then quarterly. You get the picture. It’s human nature. Besides, I had other work to do. Writing novels, for example.
Cut to early 2019. My site has fallen 27 updates behind. Still gorgeous on desktops, it looks like muddled crap on a phone. Which actually doesn’t matter much, since it doesn’t show up on Google searches anyway. If my first website was a car, it would now qualify for an Antique Vehicle license plate. Meanwhile, the Internet has metastasized so vigorously that, by 2019, everybody seems to have a website. People who’ve never accomplished anything in their lives have websites up and running just in case they ever do. The clutter is astonishing. The fight for eyeballs is brutal. The payoff is uncertain at best. A pretty decent case could be made that it’s no longer worth the time, trouble, and money to maintain an author website.
So what do I do? I decide to invest considerable time, trouble, and money into a completely updated, expanded, and mobile-friendly site. Why?
The Chihuahua made me do it.
Let me explain. Back in February, I published a little novel called Nacho Unleashed https://www.amazon.com/Nacho-Unleashed-West-Capers-Book-ebook/dp/B07MQB69NZ.
Getting the book written was a bit of a struggle, and I was surprised in the end by how much I liked it. It felt fresh. It felt free, liberating–and not only because the story is partly told by a talking dog! The whole novel, and the manner of its telling, felt like a new departure, and therefore the perfect opportunity to reach out to new readers and to assure people that they didn’t need to read the entire Key West Capers series to enjoy the heck out of this one book. These are stand-alone novels! Read them in any order! I’d scream it from the rooftops if I weren’t afraid of heights.
So I guess this new website is my rooftop. I’d like it to be a friendly and inclusive sort of place, a place where people like hanging out and are comfortable inviting friends. A place where conversation happens; so please feel free to comment, and let me know if you’d like to guest-blog sometime. Could be fun! If you’d like to hear from me occasionally—and I promise it won’t be too onerously often—please consider joining my mailing list to receive early notice of new releases and promotions.
In the meantime, let me extend a warm welcome to version 2.0 (or version 15.11.6, if you count the updates I skipped). I’d love to hear what you think of the new site. Thanks so much for your interest and your visit. Enjoy!Visit My New Book Store Browse the Collector's Corner