Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Mistakes and Other Miseries

By Janis Patterson

My father always said, “When you make a mistake, make a big one.” Daddy would be so proud of me.

Back when I was new to the internet, I was told repeatedly to get a website, so I did – I was so proud - it was beautiful, in shades of gold with dark orange roses all over the place. (You do know I’m crazy about roses, don’t you?) A lovely lady designed it for me and for a smallish fee each month maintained it, as there is no possible way I knew enough about computers to arrange and put things in a website, let alone make it so beautiful.

Time passed and I started to write more mysteries. For branding and other reasons, I chose the name Janis Patterson for my mystery name and decided to get another website. There was no way I could afford design or maintenance for two websites, so through one of my writers’ organizations I got one for just a few dollars a quarter that was supposed to be do-it-yourself foolproof. It wasn’t, as least as far as I was concerned, and to the utter relief of their tech support team I finally did learn to do my own updates. That one was

Time passed, and I came to a point that I simply could not afford to pay a monthly maintenance fee – especially since I wasn’t doing much updating. I didn’t know what to do, until my darling friend Jane Akshar in Luxor offered to design me one for a price that was incredibly low – so low that I could afford it without my abused and overworked credit card going into spasms. Patiently she led me through every step of sending her information, advising me what to do and why.

Okay, here’s where the mistake comes in. Since I already had websites under both my names (both of which were supposed to go away) she advised me to choose a new name – something like Janis Susan May Patterson, which would show up in searches no matter which name was input. I didn’t want to do that – I wanted to keep my names separate, thinking that in the future I could have both names point to the new website, which I couldn’t do until the old sites were down, but the new site needed a name. So, in my infinite wisdom (snark mode overwhelmingly on) I used the name It does make a kind of sense – Sefkhat Awbi Books is the name of the company I started to bring out all my backlist during my publishing blitz last year. Unfortunately, no one knows to search for it, and worse, I have been getting all kinds of weird book submissions from people who want to be published by Sefkhat-Awbi. (Wouldn’t you think they’d notice that S-A Books only had one writer – me?)

I asked the support team at my writers’ organization to ‘park’ the name on top of the new website, but when I type that into a search engine all that shows up is S-A Books. Which, I guess, is okay.

I was alarmed, however, to find that when I put in, my old webmistress hasn’t taken the site down as requested, and that there’s no mention of the S-A Books site. Yes, the old site is still beautiful, but it hasn’t been touched in over two years by either one of us, and I haven’t been able to get in touch with her.

And it gets worse, because the change in website names means I can’t use the lovely business cards I designed, nor the spectacular bookmarks Dawn Charles made for me. Of course, I was running low and thinking about getting more, but being cheap I wanted to use all I had. Now I can’t. There is something to be said for starting fresh, but quite frankly I think it’s overrated. So does my poor, limping credit card.

Trust me - it doesn't make it easy to know that all these problems are my own fault. I know, they're just little things that need to be and can be done, and in the grand scheme of life are hardly worth mentioning, but - if I may wax philosophical - it isn't the mountain ahead that impedes your progress, it's the grain of sand in your shoe. 

I keep thinking that I need to call my hosting system and see what I can do about changing the address to something practical like (I can hear Jane laughing now) and really work on finding my old webmistress and having her take down the old site down, but let’s face it – there are only so many hours in a day, and with my obligations I need to spend every one of them humanly possible writing.

Sigh. Ain’t technology grand? 


  1. Susan (or JanisSusanMay, etc.), just reading this makes my non-techie head swim. I can't imagine having to sort it all out, but raise a glass (actually my teacup, since it's early in the a.m.) to you for trying. Good luck! Keep us posted.

    1. Sandy, my head swims too. There is now way in Heaven or any other place that I could do what needs to be done. My father always said 'do what you do well, and hire someone to do what you can't do well.' Something to which I intend to tend do soon. Who knows how it will turn out?

  2. Interesting post...we all make mistakes in this especially early on. My website is under pamelathibodeaux (dot) com.... my books are Pamela S Thibodeaux still works and I only write one category "Inspirational with an Edge!" so that helps....unless I decide to write under a pseudonym someday which I've considered... Oh well, cross that bridge when I get to it. Alas, I created my own website (and do so for others too!) so that part won't be a problem.

    Hang in there!

    Good luck and God's Blessings.

  3. It's so frustrating when your web site drifts beyond your control. On the up side, though typing either of your noms de plume into a search engine brings up loads of links, so people won't have 'too' much trouble finding you or your books. A thought provoking post. Thanks!

  4. Susan--
    You have my sympathy. I, too, lost contact with my web designer. My new designer was able able to go in and delete my old website and create a new one. Hoping it all works out for you.