Tuesday, July 23, 2019

21st Century author promotion -or- What could possibly go wrong?

By Rick Blechta

Unlike Aline, I’m a more self-promotion type of person. I built an author website very early on* (1999) when this promotional tool was The Next Great Thing. In those days one had to pay a lot money to have a pro do a website, or take the bull by the horns and do it yourself. I’m pretty good with computers for some unknown reason, but learning HTML coding was like learning a language where the rules of grammar and spelling keep changing.

I eventually got it up and running and was very proud of myself. I had a website!

Then the trouble began. About the time websites came along, spammers did too, and these modern devils figured out early on that they could harvest website-oriented email address to spread their odious evil. My rick@rickblechta.com email (catchy, no?) was swiped probably the week I inaugurated my site. It has been used widely ever since to tell the world about the latest scam and get private information to use for the spammer’s criminal enterprises. It’s easy now to keep email addresses out of spammer’s greasy clutches, but that horse left the barn years ago. In fact, I just checked and they snatched the barn too!

My website is currently black-holed for the fifth or sixth time, so I’ve taken it down while I figure out what to do. The way it looks at the moment, I’m going to be forced to come up with a new website name — which is never a good thing — and hope that people can find it. I can put a “pointer” to direct people using the old website to connect to the new one, but with rickblechta.com on the “Do Not Use” list, it’s probably not going to work very well. There’s also the matter of designing a whole new website. At least now there are templates and web-hosting sites galore to make that somewhat easier. Still, it’s a daunting task.

Last year, I was told I should get on Instagram. Good idea, I thought.*

Trouble is I pissed those fine people off in a big hurry! By the time I was almost finished setting up my account, they informed me that I was banned for something I’d done. Try finding out why. You can’t talk to a human being, and the reason I received from their online help section basically boiled down to “because”. There’s no recourse, no way to get real help.

So does anyone think I’m in a hurry to start tweeting my fool head off?

I’m sure glad I don’t have the same publisher Aline has!
*And promptly got myself into a world of trouble.


Thomas Kies said...

Rick, I can sympathize. I've been banned on Instagram as well. Apparently, I liked too many photos and the damned platform thought I was a 'bot'.

Anonymous said...

Since Twitter seems to attract the lowest forms of human life these days, especially in the United States, I think you are wise to avoid it. Even though I've worked in various editorial capacities for several publishers over the years, I don't think it's right for a publisher to demand that an author use that platform.