Finding a Web Designer

Anyone reading this blog will notice changes to the format. Some of you may say, “About time.”

When I set up this website over a year ago, I had a hard time finding a web designer. I needed a one time service since I would do the follow up posting and maintenance. I guess the web designers I contacted wanted more long-term work and declined. So, I did my own webpage.

I should have kept trying to find a web designer. I also should have gone a simpler route. Instead, I wanted flexibility to design a unique website and I had to learn a lot about WordPress. The last time I created a webpage, html was popular.

Eventually, I got my website up and running and have posted for over a year. Yet, I knew I was missing a lot on the webpage. I decided to do an update.

However, I would have to start over learning WordPress after forgetting what I learned before. Starting over was not appealing. This time, however, I went a different route to find a web designer.

At first, I tried the method I used before without luck. So, I decided to look at the web designs of other bloggers and who they used.

Anne R. Allen is a popular and famous blogger who posts about writing and blogging. She uses Bakerview Consulting who I contacted. This web designer not only was a great help, but was inexpensive.

Anyone having trouble with their blog and unable to find a web designer could use my method. Go to a blog you like and see who they use as a web designer. It worked for me.

Should a writer read only in the genre they write in?

I’ve read about and talked to many writers who read mostly in the genre they write in. Actually, most people read primarily in one genre where they find the reading comfortable and enjoyable. They know what to expect.

People should read what they want (although I would challenge them to read different types of stories). I try to read in different genres. I enjoy the diversity of style and form found in stories written for audiences with opposite tastes than mine. Such as romance, horror, and other genres I normally do not seek out and read (nothing racist, dehumanizing, overly violent, etc.). I may not write in these other genres, but I think it helps with my writing.

I feel more capable at providing contrasting viewpoints to my plots and characters. To me, I add depth and strength to what I write after reading a novel outside the genre I’m writing in. As an example, if I’m writing a science fiction story, I read a romance book. How many people know that romance books have happy endings?

This can also be a good technique for grant writers. Sometimes, it’s good to stop writing the proposal and read a horror book. After all, I feel I’m in a horror show when trying to complete a long, detailed grant request.

A creative writer or grant writer should experience reading outside their comfort zone to add variety to what they are trying to write. Sometimes this change can mean publication or funding for a nonprofit.

Grant Reporting (part 2)

This deserves another blog post to emphasize the need for grant reporting. I’ve discovered many nonprofits overlook or ignore this important part of the grant writing process.

Nonprofits fail to report on grant money they receive mostly because of disorganization. An easy solution is to use either an Excel spreadsheet or Word document as record keeping tools. Other software programs will cost money and must be learned. It’s best to keep things simple. Even simpler is to get a journal or ledger book and write down the grant information.

Most foundations provide a letter of acceptance and send the check about a month or so later. Guidelines, instructions, and the deadline for reporting on grant money usually comes with the check. This is when nonprofits fail.

They do not have a process, procedure, or place to record the reporting requirements and when they are due. Happy with the money, the rest is forgotten.

Reports are usually due six months to a year later. Yet, a nonprofit might realize a report is due when they apply for another grant and must report on the previous funding first.

I’m asked, “What’s the harm? The report gets done.” The problem is the report, at this time, is usually late. Foundations do not like a late report or no report.

There are some foundations who do not provide guidelines or even a deadline for a report. However, a report is still due.

Of course, some foundations are familiar with the nonprofit enough, or the relationship is strong enough, that late or nonreporting is overlooked. Nonprofits should not take that chance. Eventually, someone in the foundation stops overlooking the lack of reports.

Nonprofits need to always report on grant money received. After all, foundations want to know what happened to the money they gave out.

Stepping into self-publishing (so far)

I’m on a path to self-publish. I would have gone the traditional route, but the agents I asked to represent me told me no. Most of the time, I didn’t get past the intern.

As of now, this is the path I’ve taken:

  • I wrote a novel.
  • I did my own editing, several times, which meant I rewrote the novel several times. (When people ask how many novels I wrote, should I include the number of rewrites?)
  • I joined a small critique group where we meet in person. This took some doing since I live in a small town, but I think it was important. I tried online critiquing where I did much more critiquing than I received.
  • I sent my (again) rewritten novel to a professional editor who I paid.
  • I’m accepting or rejecting each comment by the editor. Soon, I’ll have a final novel (final because I’ve got to move on with life).

Getting to this point was easy because I knew where to go. The next steps include relying more on interacting with people, processes, and software where the details are unfamiliar and unclear. Like learning how to swim while drowning.

Here are the next steps (as far as I know):

  • Get a book cover and inside design. I know what I want, but I need a trustful designer and exactly how to use a cover and book design.
  • I want to go “wide” making my book accessible on several platforms meaning different companies and their software. I know what platforms, but not the details on how to use them. That room is dark.
  • Marketing is a whole other thing, menacing and also dark. Very dark.

I’ll push on looking for the light switch or a flood light.