Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Be a Successful DIY Author Techie

Angela D. Meyer

Angela D. Meyer

Even if you didn’t watch the Lego Movie, you know there are two different types of Lego builders. The plansters and the pantsters. Kind of like us writers. When it comes to stories, either way can work. But when it comes to building our platforms, it’s best if we have a plan and the right tools. If you’re like me, it’s hard to muddle through the techie side of plans and tools when we really just want to connect with our readers. 

Three years ago I signed my first book contract. I was at ground zero with techie knowledge. I was an HTML-button-pushing- mess-making-phobic. But desperate times called for desperate measures. I asked my teenage son for help. You can imagine how that went. He rolled his eyes and said, “Mom, Google is your friend.”

I took him at his word. Between blog posts, tutorials and a lot of trial and error, I taught myself what I needed to know.  Because I realize how much hair pulling, nail biting and keyboard throwing can be involved in learning the techie side of marketing, I like to help other authors be successful DIY Techies. It all starts with the goals we set and tools we choose to use.

There are two different types of Lego builders.
The plansters and the pantsters. Kind of like us writers.
There are four basic goals each of us, as authors, need to have for our platform foundation. Once in place, they make the rest of our marketing easier. And using these basics as a sort of filter to guide our choice of projects can help stem the tide of overload that comes from trying to do too much at once. If a project doesn’t fit with current goals, we can bookmark it for later.

Build a welcoming home base. Our website is our home on the web. We need to build it so that when our readers stop by, they feel comfortable hanging out a while, find it easy to get around, discover information that is interesting to them, come back and bring their friends.

Build an email list. When people give us their email, they are giving us permission to contact them. This is our most valuable asset. Facebook might close your account, Twitter might crash, but if we have our reader’s emails, we can contact them from anywhere and share our writing. The best way to build our list is through a newsletter.

Make it easy for people to connect. We don’t need to be on every social media outlet there is, but we do need to find out where our readers are and establish a presence there. Then make sure to have links to all those places visible on our website and on each SM profile.

Make it easy for people to share our content. Word of mouth is the best advertising that money can’t buy! We want people to pass on our information. Share buttons, click to tweets, pin it hover buttons, and memes are ways to make it simple for our audience.

Goals in place, its time to choose our tools. Most of us probably have a few of these already in our tool kit, we just need to take them out and use them. There are 5 tools I have found to be critical in my DIY Techie life.

Attitude. Pace ourselves to avoid burn out. Don’t compare or we’ll easily get discouraged. Be fearless and try something new. If it doesn’t work or we don’t like it, delete and start over. Approach it like a professional. Do our best work. Believe in ourselves. We can do this.

Google. Look at what others have done on their website. If we like something and it fits with our now goals, look it up. There is a free tutorial or blog posts for just about anything we would want to do.  

Images/Graphics. These are a necessary part of our online presence. Keep the appearance consistent with your online personality, a cohesive look between SM profiles and always use quality images. My 4 favorite places to find images are: my own photos, Free Digital Images, Graphic Leftovers, and Dreamstime.

A quick note about images: Images are copyrighted just like an author’s writing. We can’t just copy and paste an image we find into our blog/project. There are some public domain spots, but typically you will need to pay for an image or at the very least post a photo credit. Check for attribution requirements when you find the picture you like. You can avoid these issues by using your own image.

Photo Editing. Whether designing a meme, blog posts, badge, button or book cover, the image will most likely need to be cropped, sized or adjusted in some way. While there are a lot of choices out there, here are a few options I like.

Gimp Free Photo Editing
Gimp. If you can’t afford Photo Shop but want to try your hand at it, check this software out. It’s freeware similar in scope to Photo Shop. Lots of tutorials are available for this.

Canva is a free online editing choice. Simple to use. Nothing to download to your computer except your project. Templates make it easy to size your project correctly. You can save your projects in Canva if you choose.

Photobucket is also a free tool. There are some basic editing tools, though not as extensive as Canva. This is a great spot for hosting images when you need to do so for buttons and badges.

Fotoflexer is a free online tool. Very basic but quick and easy for simple projects. Nothing to store on your computer and the site does not store your projects either.

MailChimp.  Free for up to 2000 subscribers, it’s a great place to start building an email list. They have tutorials that are easy to follow and implement. Once your email list is created and your newsletter designed, create your sign up forms and make them extremely easy to find. You can build your form in Mail Chimp or go to SumoMe and try your hand at something a bit more eye catching. It’s free and the tutorial makes it look super easy.   

Someday, I do plan to set aside my DIY techie hat and pay someone to do it. Once I’ve sold enough books. Until then, I’m keeping my goals in mind and my tools sharp and encouraging others on this DIY marketing journey. While I keep working on my next story, of course. 

My gift to each of you:
DIY Project List with Clickable Links -includes links to all the places I mentioned in the post and more. PDF: http://bit.ly/1FmJKdy

For those of you just getting started: 52 Platform Foundation Laying Prompts PDF: http://bit.ly/1M4Z5oD

Where Hope Starts

What have been some of your DIY techie challenges? 

What tips and tools have you found useful? 

Join the conversation for a chance to win a copy of my book

Where Hope Starts
In a city full of dreams, Karen Marino’s life is a nightmare. The New York City restaurant manager is a professional success, but her marriage is in shambles. When her husband, Barry shows up drunk at her restaurant, she loses both. She flees The Big Apple and returns to her Midwestern home to sort through her options. But instead of answers, she finds an old boyfriend ready to rekindle romance, a family full of secrets and an angry brother bent on revenge.
Still in New York, Barry fights his own demons. He knows he messed up, but is powerless to stop his rage and addictions. A fistfight on the streets of the city lands him in jail and forces him to face the possibility of a future behind bars.
Karen knows holding onto her bitterness won’t repair her marriage. But how do you forgive someone when you don’t feel like it? As she searches for the answer, she uncovers the family secret that threatens to tear them all apart. Can she find her way back to the place Where Hope Starts?

Find Where Hope Starts on Amazon 
Angela D. Meyer is the author of Where Hope Starts, a finalist in the 2013 Grace awards and the first in the Applewood Hill Series. The second book in the series, Where Healing Starts will be released early 2016. She is also a contributor to the devotional collection The Benefit Package. You can catch Angela on social media encouraging women in their faith journey. She is active in Wordsowers, her local Christian writers group.  

Angela lives in Nebraska with her husband and has homeschooled both of her kids most of the way through school. She enjoys the ocean, good stories, connecting with friends, taking pictures, quiet evenings and a good laugh. On her someday-to-do list, she wants to vacation by the sea and ride in a hot air balloon.

Social Media:

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  1. Angela!!!! My airport buddy! So great to "see" you. Did someone bring breakfast? French gallettes for all today courtesy of Sandra Leesmith!

    Thank you so much for all the links I am totally jazzed.

    Biggest problem is the learning curve for me. I am a slow out the gate starter and need visuals. Then once I GET it, I am good.

    I love picmonkey.com.

    I need extra Excel training. Any suggestions. Haven't had time to check it out.

    I learned from hub to always ASK GOOGLE THE QUESTION.

    Amazing, huh?

    114 in Phoenix today...throwing in iced tea too.

  2. Angela, I think I fainted there for a moment. I thought I was a little tech savvy. Had my swagger on. But your post may cause me to crawl in the closet and suck my thumb. I. had. no. idea. I'm saving this in a special file so I can take each point one at a time. I still don't know what a meme is. Sigh.

  3. Angela,

    What a great post. Thanks for all the tips. I also have sons. When my youngest went to college, I remember him shaking his head (from yet another computer/internet question) and saying, "I don't know how you and Dad are going to make it without me." Still makes me smile, and I still ask him questions from time to time.

    Tina, 114? Makes me glad I'm in KY today. Stay cool!

  4. I'm eating nuts in lieu of the galettes, and I need this post like the desert needs rain.

    My lack of finesse annoys me, I would love to be good at this stuff!!!!

    Sadly, I am not, so Angela, I'm going to re-examine my priorities.

    As soon as there's time! :)

    Honestly, we're not supposed to fumble our way through social media and websites and blogs????

    Please tell me that "fumble" is the new "finesse".

    I'm leaving salted caramel peanuts for fiber-rich deliciousness!

  5. Barbara, make room in the closet!!!! I'm joining you. Whimpering.

  6. Google and Youtube teach me on a need-to-know basis. I'm not afraid to teach myself, but I also realize I don't try to pre-teach myself anything because when I need it in six months, everything is different. I tend to stick to basics, which isn't right.... Grrr, I know that! But it's getting me through.

    A sorry commentary, but I did bring COFFEE!!!!!

  7. The older I get, the less I know! LOL I'm going to check out MailChimp. That's on my to-do list.
    Thank you for the links! Technical stuff is pretty overwhelming to me. I can figure it out, but I resent the time it takes from other stuff I'm doing. lol

  8. Hi Angela,
    I am so tech-unsavy when I got my kindle HD 3 yr ago, my then 7 yr old granddaughter showed me how to use it, embarrassingly funny. Fortunately as a reader I don't have to worry about the website stuff and like RUTHY I try to teach myself as I go.

    Dying laughing at JACKIE'S sons comment about not knowing how she and his dad were going to make it without him, hilarious. When I ask my daughter for help, her fingers fly over the keys so fast I have to ask her to do it again in slow motion, haha. Good thing I'm able to laugh at myself.

    Still, I may check out some of these site's, just to try to stay ahead of the curve. Thanks for the the much needed tutorial.

  9. Angela, how did you know some of us are not technie-ready?? LOL! Your most timely post comes on the hot heels of my newsletter issue where -- heaven only knows why -- the end product looked much different than the issue I thought was going to my subscribers when I clicked SEND. Fixed the issues and sent out a revised copy the next day, but wow, it's nerve-wracking when you're not confident in your tech skills and then you botch it.

    Oh well, chalk it up to lessons learned. And hopefully, I gave my subscribers a good laugh : )

    I so appreciate the pdfs you included in your post. You are awesome, my friend!!!

    I'm off to Amazon to check out your book...

  10. Barbara, move over in that closet!! Folks toss around phrases like "I'll make a badge for that..." How in the world do you do that??

    All I want to do is write romantic stories with HEA...

  11. Jackie, my kids are my biggest techie assest. Sometimes I get the look of shame from them when I ask the same question too many times. Usually though, my son just pats me on the head and says "gee you're pretty."


    I'll show him someday!!

  12. Great tips, Angela! I especially love your advice about pacing yourself. I need to remember to do that. I have a tendency to sprint then stop, spring then stop (meanings, schedule a massive amount of guest blogs in a month or two, then go into recovery mode for a month or two. haha). I'd do better to maintain a steady jog. :)

  13. Jessica, that's me, too.

    I'd rather write.

    (bows head and sobs quietly....)

  14. Ruthy and Audra, there's plenty of room in the closet. Bring chocolate.

  15. Oh Angela, I'm like the rest of the folks here--just loving all this info and hoping it will be as easy as you make it sound. sigh.

    Thanks for joining us today in Seekerville and bringing all these great links. Even on a savable page. Great thinking and thank you again.

    Have fun today. I'll take some galettes and try not to notice the salted caramel peanuts Ruthy brought. She brought those to the retreat and they were way too yummy.

  16. Barbara, so glad there is still room because I need to crawl in there with the rest of you.

    I will bring some Sees chocolate if you promise to eat it all before I get a piece. I'm trying to stay away from sweets right now. Tough project. But its paying off. Pounds disappearing. YAY

  17. Jackie and Tracey, How blessed you are to have those youngsters helping you.

    My hubby's brother is 23 years younger and when we call him, he answers the phone with "Well is it the TV or computer this time?" ROFLOL I think that is so funny, but I'm sure it gets old for him. Although he claims to be glad to help. The sweetheart!. So thankful for the young folk in our lives. smile

  18. Angela as I'm reading you post I quick go open Constant Contact to see my Open rate.
    Then I read on and quick open Facebook to check on my Likes and Friends

    At this rate I'll have touched on every social media (maybe that's the wrong word) group I'm part of.

    You are very brave. And I know Google is my friend, but sometimes I forget.
    Google it...so often answers all my questions.

  19. Tina,
    So good to see you again! So do they really say "at least its a dry heat" in Arizona? This feels like a party and since I like breakfast so much, I think I'll add some cinnamon rolls!

    I'm still learning too, and excel is something I'm putting off till another day-plan to ask hubby to help me on that one. I don't think he'll roll his eyes like me son :)

    We all have room to grow ! If we at least know where to go for the info we need - we'll be good. BTW - a meme is one of those pictures everyone passes around on social media (hoping for something to go viral of course).

    Jackie - love our kids. Keep me supplied with plenty of laughter!

    Ruth - Basics is the place to start. Then add as needed. Do what you're doing well!

    Jessica - I know exactly what you mean about resenting the time it takes to do this techie stuff. Its way too easy to let this stuff overrun writing time. I wish I had learned to pace myself earlier in this process. Better late than never :)

    Tracy - It crazy that kids know intuitively and do so easily what makes my brain tired to even think about!

    Audra - If you're using Mail Chimp, you can send out a test newsletter before you send the real deal. A great way to check for errors :) Thanks for checking out my book :)

    Jennifer - hello my friend! I'm right there with you! Pacing will pay off in the long run!

  20. Angela, what great resources! Thank you so much for sharing all you've learned. I saved your documents and will use them often! I'm especially interested in website stuff. I do my own at this point and really need to make it look nicer.

  21. Okay, I'm back. LOL
    I do see things on other websites sometimes and think I WANT THAT!

    I just changed my series guide on my website to a cooler version, not lists but covers.

    I found it somewhere and liked it, then sent a link to my webmistress and said, "Can we do this?"

    I love the change.

  22. LOL, Barbara. Yeah, I felt the same way, especially about doing badges and buttons and doing photo editing. That's something I need to learn.

  23. Okay, Google!

    I had to go google French Galettes.

    And the third thing that came up????

    Missy and Sandra on Yankee Belle Cafe!!!!!!!!!

    How cool is that?????

  24. Jackie, that's so funny about your son!! But so true. I do have 3 kids I can call on to answer questions. And my middle son has now declared a minor in computer science. So I'm hoping to eventually hire him to do my website. :)

  25. LOL, Tracey!! Isn't it funny how even the youngest kids know more than we do??

  26. Ruthy and Barbara...pick a big closet. Maybe with a lamp so I can read. :(

    And bring the caramel peanuts.

    To me it's not JUST that if I need it in six months everything has changed.

    In addition to everything changing, I have also forgotten what I did to make it work.

    Okay, I'm depressing myself. Angela you are good and brave.

    I saw Angela give a much more detailed lesson on this at a writer's conference. She knows so MUCH!!!!!!!

  27. My grandchildren, age 5 and 3 at the time, taught me how to use my iPad. God bless them they used small words and it made sense.

    I need to find a Kindergarten level teacher to work with.

  28. Mary, yes, we're going for world (Google) domination in the area of French galettes! ;)


    And I can't tell you how many times we had to run to our parent's house to help them turn on the TV. With satellite dishes and DVD boxes they both have THREE REMOTES.

    You push the wrong button and NOTHING WORKS!

    And now, we have to call our children to ask how to turn on Facetime (or whatever Skype is called on an iPad....so we're sorry now that we thought we were so darned smart compared to our parents. Humble Pie...learn to love the taste.

  30. I can't remember exact details but I saw a news story about Arizona weather and it came down to:

    Go Outside = Death

  31. WOW, ANGELA ... you are MY kind of gal!!! Thank you SO much for the great info links -- I immediately favorited the one and fully intend to use it A LOT!!

    LOL ... I'm with Barbara Scott ... I had a little "swagger" on too, regarding SM, which is pretty ridiculous since I am an Internet illiterate. But you sure opened my eyes on a lot, so THANK YOU!!

    TINA, 114 IN PHOENIX???? YIKES!! Assume it's the famous AZ dry heat that feels more like a cool 90? Humidity at the Lake yesterday was 100% and it's looking like that all week, which does make me glad I now have a wavy hairdo over the straight ...


  32. I am so in need of this post. I have google plus but have no clue how to use it. I am wanting to create a web site this year. I have no clue so I am still in the research end of that big item on my to do list.

    A couple of weeks ago I was needing the name of a hymn. I could remember some of the words in the middle of it. I pulled out every hymn book we have and was searching through them. My niece who just graduated from high school rolled her eyes and said, "Type in the words you do know and google it!" It worked. The whole hymn popped up instantly.

    Thanks for the links.

  33. TRACEY SAID: "I am so tech-unsavy when I got my kindle HD 3 yr ago, my then 7 yr old granddaughter showed me how to use it ..."

    LOL, Tracey, that is a HOOT!! But I'm not making fun of you, girlfriend, because I'm right there with you!! After seven years in this biz, you would think I'd know a little more about technology, but it's never been my thing.

    AUDRA!!! You have a newsletter??? I think I may have signed up in the past, but I don't receive it, so I resigned just now. Will I get your most recent one, I hope?

    BARBARA ... move over in that closet, darlin', 'cause I have Ghiradelli seasalt dark chocolate caramels and milk chocolate ones too ... ;)


  34. Angela, I need this badly. Because we can't have online platforms until we know how to DO online platforms. I'm not published yet, but I know that when I am, the demand for online responses will not be less. I am going to try some of these.
    Kathy Bailey
    Undefeated in New Hampshire

  35. MARY, I love this, "I've forgotten what I did to make it work." Me too, if I don't use it every day.

  36. I'm not going into the closet because I'm already in there, ha ha. Bring chocolate. I don't care if it's milk or dark. My older daughter is my IT person and she explains everything very carefully, in Words I Understand. She just got a job in tech support at more money than I make, and if she is as good doing it professionally as she is with me, she deserves it. I am NOT an easy student.

  37. Good suggestion Mary to go in a big closet because it sounds like it is going to be crowded. Hey we can have a party and celebrate the fact we are all not techies.

    Oh wait. We want to learn to BE techies. sigh

  38. Yep 114 in Arizona is toasty.

    My mom said when she visited us in Arizona. "This is the only place where you need potholders to drive your car." So funny. Yet true.

  39. Angela, I see you live in Nebraska. Where are you? I'm in Kearney. Very interesting post and I bookmarked it in case I need it someday. I can't imagine actually being able to do this, but you never know. I have learned to do a lot on computer I didn't think I could. But my biggest issues right now is trying to use Word 2013, which I have now had over a year and I am always having to Google how to do something or find something in it. Yes, Google is my friend! I need to just sit down sometime and really study it. But I tend to just learn it as I need it. The library is my friend, too. When I couldn't figure out how to do my headers and footers on the short story I was typing, I called the guy at the computer center in the library and he walked me through it!

    Tina, try to stay cool today. My aunt in Phoenix told me how hot it is going to be down there.

  40. Oh, I forgot to say please enter me in the drawing for your book. It looks so good!

  41. Angela, welcome to Seekerville and thanks for the helpful tips!

    I can fritter away hours and hours playing with techie stuff on my computer. It's both fun and challenging, and it's a pleasant diversion when I need a break from my wip. However, I did recently hire a professional to totally revamp my website--money well spent!

    Still laughing at SANDRA's comment about needing potholders to drive a car in Arizona! I recall many times in Texas and Oklahoma when I wished I had potholders in my car!

  42. Wow...just Wow!! Angela...thanks for the printable/savable "handouts!" So much info...so little time...and so incompetent me...but as I tell My Sweet Husband...it's good for us to keep learning...stretches our brains cells. (not sure that's scientifically accurate?) He longs for his flip phone! LOL Poor old cowboy!

    Once, when my grandchildren were using (playing with) my new cell phone, they locked me out of it. I had no idea you could set a password to keep it safe...they had to fix it! Fortunately, we found the issue before they left for home. They live three hours away! (I think they were 7 & 9)

    I'm hoping this closet is one of those fancy walk-ins with tons of room...'cause I need to join y'all!! I could bring tea--iced if you like---and maybe some scones!

    Thanks again Angela for a marvelous, fantastic, very good post!!

  43. Welcome to Seekerville, Angela! I am grateful for your visit and all the links you shared! My grandkids can help me, or could when they weren't as busy as they are now.

    I have so much to work on it's overwhelming. That closet sounds good, Barbara, but I'm not into crowds. LOL

    Step at a time has got to be my motto. But first, I need to up my presence on the sites I'm on.


  44. Mary, when we used to babysit our grandkids, if we didn't ask them to turn on the TV before we tucked them in for the night, we sat staring at a blank screen.


  45. Meant to thank you for the excellent handouts, Angela! Great resources!!!

  46. Must check out the Yankee Belle Café to see what's cooking today.


  47. Tina, stay cool!! Rain here all week. Flooding expected in some areas. Is everyone else having tons of rain?


  48. This is the kind of stuff I'd love to learn more about. And if a person wants to look at self-pebbing, there's even more! Part of me just wants to retreat to the closet with Barbara and Ruth and the rest of you. We could create a lack-of-tech support group! I'm encouraged that at one time, you too were a self-confessed 'mess-making-phobic'. And I really like how you broke it down. So, step by step, we move into this new world....even though at times I drag my feet.....Blessings on your writing and thanks so much for sharing your expertise.

  49. Janet, we have had lots of rain here in Nebraska, too. But I think it is supposed to be drier this week.

  50. What have been some of your DIY techie challenges? I hit a brick wall when I needed a new website. I knew I wanted to use the Wordpress platform, and I knew that Wordpress and all the templates out there made it simple for me to design it myself, but I spent a couple of months trying to wade through the DELUGE of DIY information out there. With a deadline looming, I gave up and bit the bullet and had someone else design my website. Which I love.

    What tips and tools have you found useful? In addition to the sites you mentioned, I love PicMonkey. I think it's similar to Canva from what I've been told. I'm also just now starting to use Scrivener as a way to compile and consolidate all my PR & marketing notes. I'm not sure how this is going to work out, but I have one PR & Marketing document with folders for each book. In those folders, I'm tossing blogging ideas, quotes, tweets, research, legal photos, etc. Anything and everything I might be able to use months down the road when a book comes out.

  51. Okay, so self-pebbing is apparently a new thing....betcha didn't know....I meant self-dubbing....no, self-pubbing....crazy auto-correct!

  52. Oh, great idea about making a Scrivener PR & Marketing doc, PAM! I have so many in computer files and then never remember where I stashed them!

  53. Good morning! Thank you, Angela, for the list and the links. I taught myself a lot setting up a blog, but now I probably need a self-hosted website and a newsletter. (No idea if I used the term "self-hosted" right, but it sounds smart, doesn't it?) Finding out what I need to put on my to-do list is on my to-do list for this summer. Make room for me in that closet, especially if there's chocolate.

  54. Sandra, Its not always easy, but it doesn't have to be a chore either. If you take one thing at a time to work on, get good at it, then move on when you're ready. Don't let anyone else determine your goals! Remembering to pace yourself is key!

  55. Mary - I felt more desperate than brave at times! But we writers must boldly go where we have not gone before...Thanks for inviting me over to Seekerville today! This is fun :)

  56. I stopped in this morning then had to take my daughter to her summer activity. I get back and see that so many people have stopped by! I'm going back through to respond to comments - if you asked a question and I miss it, feel free to tap me on the shoulder and remind me :)

  57. Hi, fellow non-technics. I'm right in that closet with you! Wish you could send some of the warm weather our way...it's only 50 here this morning!

  58. Missy, You’re welcome for the resources. My pleasure to share what I’ve learned. Hope your website improvements go well. I think one of the biggest helps in making our websites look nicer (especially when we’re doing it on our own and time is limited) is keeping it simple! Like Mary said – traveling the web we see things we want – easy to get bogged down in too much at one time. Have fun with it!

    Julie, Glad to share…I like smoothing the way for others, even if just a bit  We have to help each other – I have plenty of room to grow and learn myself!

    Wilani, Google is great! It’s amazing what you can find out there! On that website, start simple – do what you do with quality and add on as you learn. As long as you’re moving forward, set your own pace 

    Kaybee, I think pre-published is the perfect time to learn these basics. Like you said, learn how to use your platform before you need to use it!

    Sandy, I’m in Omaha. We have a great writers conference here in the spring – you’ll have to come sometime! Give yourself lots of grace on this techie stuff! Just take it one step at a time – you’ll get it done 

    Myra – I agree, it is easy to fritter away time on techie stuff. I find when my brain is too tired to work on writing, sometimes a bit of techie break is what I need 

    Kathryn, They say learning new things keeps us young. When I first started on this techie journey, I felt if if that was true, I must actually be getting younger because I was learning so much!

    Janet, Such a blessing to have grandkids willing to help.

    Carolyn, Self-pubbing…adding that to the list along with Excel to learn…someday 

    Pam, Thank you for sharing challenges and tools –you’re doing a great job learning what you need!

    It’s sounding like a lot of fun in that closet! Is there a window with a view?

  59. Sandy, glad you're in for some sunshine. Our grandson is visiting, an active boy who loves the outdoors. The grass is soggy. Had hoped to plant some perennials with him, but it's way too muddy. Still, we are having a window of sun. :-)


  60. Angela, thanks for this post, the links are great—I'm saving them. Learning techie stuff is fun, but by the time I manage to get it, I've taken so many turns, I can't remember how I got it!

    Hahahaha, that's an idea, potholders designed for a hot steering wheel!! :-) I've often wished for them!!

    Janet, it's raining here today, too. The Red River is supposed to crest again on Wednesday—from the rain up above us.

  61. You'd think as a graphic artist who uses the computer as a tool daily, I'd know how to a bunch of the social media stuff. Not so. Of course the secure environment in which I work might have something to do with my lack (or not).

    So not tech savvy. This ol' dog (pug today...) is attempting to learn new tricks and this post will be nice and helpful.

  62. Angela, I call myself a low-tech Mama in a high-tech world! Clueless on so many things involving technology! That's why your blog post was especially meaningful! I'm hoping to work my way through your tips and suggestions...slowly! :)

    Blogger wouldn't let me comment this morning. I tried over and over again. Hoping this gets through.

    So glad you're with us today! I'm saving your post for future reflection!


  63. Angela, I call myself a low-tech Mama in a high-tech world! Clueless on so many things involving technology! That's why your blog post was especially meaningful! I'm hoping to work my way through your tips and suggestions...slowly! :)

    Blogger wouldn't let me comment this morning. I tried over and over again. Hoping this gets through.

    So glad you're with us today! I'm saving your post for future reflection!


  64. Mary Hicks,
    I know what you mean. It often takes several times of repeating the same task for me to remember without looking at the directions!

    Garden gloves or left behind winter gloves also do the trick on those oh so hot days :)

    Deb H,
    Social Media is its own world, but as a graphic artist with computer skills, you'll catch on in no time.

    So glad you were finally able to comment :) "a low-tech Mama in a high-tech world" is the perfect way to describe us DIY Techies. Setting your own pace is the best way to approach it!

  65. Wow, Angela, this was great. And thank you for the PDF's you shared. Those look fabulous!

    I haven't read all the above comments, so this may be redundant. I really like PicMonkey for adding dimension to pictures. Whether it's adding a border, or words to create a meme of sorts, PicMonkey always snakes things up.

    I set up my own blog, with lots of hours figuring it out. There's still plenty I have yet to lean (like how to add buttons to the side bar so the pictures actually show . . . Sigh). I can't imagine figuring out my own website right this minute. But, I guess when I'm ready to go deeper into DIY tech, I can refer back to here and to Google. Which has become a great friend for all sorts of questions.

    Super post!

  66. Barbara, I've got the chocolate.

    And caramels from Abdallah Candies in Minnesota!!!!

    To Die For.

  67. Dry/Schmy.

    114 is hot, no matter what.

    BUT... Tina and I agree that my life is just an opposite. My crazy cold in the winter is an "EEEK" to a lot of folks, so she hibernates in the summer (by that I mean hides in cold car/cold office/cold house) and I do the reverse in winter.

    But this past week I've decided I need to do more of this integrated technology stuff and start a street team.

    I'm not sure how to manufacture the time, but I'm going to bend my rules of engagement, perhaps!!!

  68. Galettes might be taking over the world!!!! Film at 11:00!!

    I do my own website. Yes, it's simplistic, but it's cheap.

    And I liked my old website host, but they changed things and then my changes wouldn't go up right, everything got scrambled.

    There is no time for scrambled websites.

    I raised a couple of CPA's so they're doing my finances now. My lawyer son is keeping me out of jail.

    I have no techie kid and no mechanics.


    I blame my husband.

  69. Thanks, Angela! Yes, simple sounds good. :)

  70. Jeanne, I've used PicMonkey, too. It's one I have figure out (some of the features anyway).

  71. Ruthy, I was out of town with no Internet last week when you first mentioned Abdalllah. So I just now checked the website. SHAME ON YOU FOR MAKING ME CRAVE EVERY PIECE OF CANDY I SEE!

    Salted Caramels.
    Cashew grizzlys.
    Pecan alligators.
    Butter almond toffee.
    Peanut butter bites.

    OH. MY.

  72. Seekerville is so fun today! Loving all the tech honesty.

    Yes MARY, MISSY, JULIE and SANDRA, I'm at the tech mercy of 8,10 and 15 yr. olds and now you know who ya'll (I'm Southern) are dealing with, lol. I didn't even have a FB picture until the 15 yr old showed me how to load one, but I think I've already forgotten, that was a yr ago.

    MARY, you mentioned facetime, my 2 youngest got ipods and now they call me all the time, but my daughter has called me a lot laughing because I sometimes hit it accidently and I'm on the phone without knowing it, yikes. Yep, I'm like that older couple that went viral trying to learn to Skype and the were already online, so funny. I just got the iphone from my son for Christmas myself, said he wanted his dad and I to start living in the 21st century.

    SANDRA, love the potholder and BIL quotes, too cute.

    So now I've outed myself again and everyone knows the ugly truth. Go ahead and laugh, I do all the time.

    To misquote that irreverent English calendar movie, I think we're going to need a bigger closet. Count me in :)

  73. Haha RUTHY, so glad you have a lawyer in your corner.

    I blame my husband for most everything too. Now when things go wrong, even the kids are saying, dad must have done it, lol.

  74. Jeanne, I discovered Canva before PicMonkey, but I've heard lots of good things about it. I'm going to have to add that to my list to master :)Great job sticking with figuring out your blog - and all those extras? Add them as you're able...at your own pace :)

    Ruth, Most definitely have to go with what doesn't get scrambled!

    Everyone's talking chocolates...I may just have to find me some...dark chocolate for me!

  75. Angela, you're my new hero----guess that should be heroine! I identify with your Lego thoughts since years ago our two sons filled our floors with Lego worlds...and now our two grandsweeties love their Lego creations.

    I'm prepublished, but your advice and good handouts will help me with preparing the field.

    Thank you for your post!

    1. I've never been called someone's heroine before :) Are you sure we're not in a book?

      Glad I can encourage you on your journey!

  76. Jessica Nelson has it right! The older we get, the less we know and the less we want to know, LOL!

  77. Except in this crazy business, sometimes we don't have much choice but to figure out what we don't know! Gone are the days when writers could just WRITE!

    1. So true, Myra! Would love to be able to just focus on writing :)

  78. Love reading all the funny comments....which are all so true. I had to quickly enter my last comment because my new computer was counting down the seconds until it was rebooting....and I couldn't find a way to stop it! It has a mind of its own! GRRRR! So please make room in the closet...I have Senor Murphy's CHOCOLATE-covered red chile creams to share.

    I'm lost trying to figure out Windows 8.1 and Word 13 is the next challenge. I thought my WIP was lost, but fortunately my husband is techie and knew it was just in a cloud, but I think I have multiple clouds.

    Creating a website was fun, but my usually patient personality (I was a kindergarten teacher) gets FRUSTRATED when it doesn't do what I thought it was going to do. I still can't get Pinterest pins to work on my website.

    Anyway, thank you, Angela, for all the ideas....and thanks to the Seekerville comments for letting me know I'm not alone. I'm heading to the "cloud" to look for more documents. Stay cool everyone! Don't want the chocolate to melt!

    1. I'm not looking forward to the day I have to embrace windows 8.1. I hear it's a bear! The best to you on that one :)

      I keep telling mu husband the computer has a mind of its own. He doesn't believe me. Ha! He should try writing :) At least he supplies chocolate.

  79. Sherida, I was in the clouds LONG before Google even thought of one. You are not alone!

  80. Great post, Angela!

    Myra, I'm nostalgic for the days when writers could just write. I guess I'm a dinosaur! I hope there's a cure for that.

  81. No cure except to dive into this brave new world of publishing and keep swimming, Cara! Thank goodness we have each other to hang onto!

  82. Cashew Grizzlies for when I check out new techie stuff from my new BFF Angela!!!!!

  83. Angela, I'm bringing you dark chocolate for inspiring me to do what I should have done already.

    You Complete Me.


    That's Jerry MacGregor or someone like that.

    1. Thanks for bringing the dark chocolate!

      Glad I can inspire you on this crazy journey :)

  84. Angela, thank you for sharing what you learned. Special thanks for the pdfs. Since you like to take pictures, did you take the pic on your book cover? It's lovely.

    Nancy C

    1. I wish I could take credit for the cover :) My publisher did a great job picking it out.

  85. Thanks for the advice Angela, I really need to just take one step at a time. Good advice. I will have to be like the engine that could and keep saying. "I can do this, I can do this, I can do this."

    Thanks for the encouragement in the post.

  86. Sandra, I always liked that book-The Little Engine That Could - great approach!

  87. Thanks for sharing all the information. I'm a graphic artist at my day job but that doesn't automatically make me a techie, so I appreciate your ideas. I would recommend Photoshop Elements. I use Photoshop CS6 at work but can't afford it for home. I tried Gimp but found it clumsy, maybe because I'm used to CS6. I bought PS Elements (about $60) and it does everything I need. So I would recommend it if you know but can't afford the latest CS.

  88. Okay, when we come out of the closet, I'm headed to the nearest chocoholic anonymous meeting. I think I gained five pounds just reading your posts. But at least we've got a fun group of women in here. Move over, Julie, I think I'm sitting on a shoe.

  89. Christy, I'll have to add Photoshop Elements to my list of recomendations!

    It was so fun visiting with you all of you yesterday! Thank you Seekerville for inviting me to stop by!

    Now where did I put the chocolate?

  90. I think commenting way at the end of the comments has it's definite advantages. Not only did I get to read a great Seekerville post but I get to read the comments from the other commenters and they are full of great tips as well. Thank you for all of them ! Please add me to the drawing I would enjoy reading the new book !

    Deanne Patterson