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Site Updates

Site Updates

And this is me testing the WordPress block editor

I am pretty sure I’m not a fan of the block style editor that WordPress 5.0 has now by default. But I’ve also discovered that the WordPress team has released a “Classic Editor” plugin to bring back the previous UI if you need it for whatever reason. Or if you just like it better.

This plugin also includes the ability to switch back and forth between the editor styles. So right now I’ve got annathepiper.org set to dealing with the classic UI, because apparently the new one is cranky at the photo gallery plugin I’m using. But I’m playing now with using the block style editor on angelahighland.com, just to give it a fair shake and see if it shows its worth to me.

I will say that I like that this UI looks more like a word processor. But I don’t think I like the “block” concept much yet. It feels clunky to me and I’m not sure why yet. Perhaps specifically because it makes WordPress look more like a word processor–but no word processor I’ve ever used does this block-level formatting thing. I don’t like the formatting bar following me around from paragraph to paragraph.

But of course, yeah, this might also just me being older and set in my ways now, computing-wise. 😉 So yeah, I’ll play with this a bit more and see what I think.

Site Updates

Home from Orycon, and I have updated my FAQ

Tomorrow I will write a short con report for Orycon. Tonight, I will simply note that I have updated my FAQ, since I continue to get email spam from random people who say that they are with such-and-such a company and think it would be super-awesome if I posted about some random topic that has absolutely nothing to do with either my books, or the things I have a history of being personally interested in (such as Tolkien, Doctor Who, feminism, and politics).

The updated items are at bottom of my FAQ page, and I will note them here as well:

  • Can I get you to run a sponsored post about topic <fill in the blank> on your site?

    No. This site has two purposes: a) to promote my books, and b) to be the master location for my blogging on topics that are of personal interest to me. The only exceptions I will make for this are for fellow authors who need a signalboost for their works, and even then, I will only do that within the context of Boosting the Signal.

  • Can I talk with you about running advertising about product <fill in the blank> on your site?

    No. I have no intention of running any kinds of ads on angelahighland.com for the foreseeable future. If I were to consider doing that, the only sources for ads I would be considering would be for other authors’ books. And even then, only under strictly controlled circumstances, in which I could guarantee that any such ads would not be intrusive on a user’s browsing experience.

  • I’m from commercial site <fill in the blank> and I think it’d be neat if you posted about <random topic that has absolutely nothing to do with my books or my personal interests>! Will you do that post?

    No. If you want to drum up interest in random corners of the Internet on topics pertaining to whatever you’re selling, might I suggest you put up a post on your own blog or social media, and get your readers to interact with you about that topic on your own site? Because reaching out to random authors elsewhere on the net to get them to blog on your topic of choice is useless, especially given that I would have no intention of linking back to you or indicating that this is a sponsored post in any way. See above item re: sponsored posts.

Note that anybody who actually regularly reads me and knows me, none of you are the problem. I’m mostly putting this up for reference because I HAVE started getting spam from people about this kind of thing, and it’s annoying, and I want something I can officially point at when I ask people to stop.

Also, pro tip: I’ll be much more inclined to take your email telling me what a great post I did seriously if you actually bother to point out a specific post.

Site Updates

Update to my FAQ: the official angelahighland.com ads/sponsored post policy

Every so often I get emails out of the blue about this, so I have taken the time to add the following items to my FAQ:

Can I get you to run a sponsored post about topic <fill in the blank> on your site?

No. This site has two purposes: a) to promote my books, and b) to be the master location for my blogging on topics that are of personal interest to me. The only exceptions I will make for this are for fellow authors who need a signalboost for their works, and even then, I will only do that within the context of Boosting the Signal.

Can I talk with you about running advertising about product <fill in the blank> on your site?

No. I have no intention of running any kinds of ads on angelahighland.com for the foreseeable future. If I were to consider doing that, the only sources for ads I would be considering would be for other authors’ books. And even then, only under strictly controlled circumstances, in which I could guarantee that any such ads would not be intrusive on a user’s browsing experience.

There are various reasons for this.

First, if I’m going to post about something, it’s going to be something about which I am personally enthusiastic. I have frequently, and will continue to do so, post fangirly raptures over Quebecois music. I’ll post about my own musical explorations (in particular, recently, I’ll be posting about learning the fiddle.) I’ll geek out about the latest mobile devices or the latest release of iOS. I’ll sometimes talk about mobile games as well (though with the caveat that I do work for a games company, so if you see me posting about a game, it WILL most likely be something my day job employer has released).

I post about these things because I care about them, and because I like to share with my readers what I’m like when I’m not writing books. I am not going to screw with that by running sponsored posts, particularly on things I know absolutely nothing about.

Secondly, I hate ads on sites with the fiery hatred of a thousand burning sites. I unrepentantly run Ad Block Plus. Why do I do this? Because so many sites I’ve visited have run animated ads that are visually distracting, often offensive, frequently have absolutely nothing to do with anything I’m remotely interested in, and worst of all, prone to delivering malware to unsuspecting site visitors. I put sites on my whitelist in Ad Block Plus if and ONLY if they can guarantee tight control over their ad content. (For example, Smart Bitches Trashy Books gets on the whitelist because SB Sarah has shared with her readership that she personally curates ads on her site.)

So I certainly have no plans to run ads on angelahighland.com. I have no incentive to do so, and every incentive not to.

A link to this post as well as to the FAQ will be added to my Contact page.

Questions? As always, talk to me.

Site Updates

Testing Jetpack crossposting, test, test, test

Since I was just over on the WordPress.com testing its crossposting functionality via Publicize, I thought that was pretty nifty and have learned that that’s available to self-hosted sites like this one, via the Jetpack plugin.

So this is me testing that! This should be going out to my Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Tumblr accounts.

(I’m a little irritated that Jetpack apparently does not let you set up to crosspost to Facebook for both your personal timeline AND a page that you manage, which, y’know, is kinda what I need to do. So even if I decide to keep Jetpack around, I will still need Social. Not to mention the older functionality I’m using to throw posts over to Livejournal and Dreamwidth.)

Y’all please let me know if you notice anything weird about site functionality while Jetpack is active. When I turned it on, I suddenly got a huge wave of backlogged comment emails that Social should have sent me and didn’t. So there may be other unexpected side effects. Apologies in advance if anything breaks!

Site Updates

Launching a new backup site

So after yet ANOTHER power outage this past weekend–which makes nine since August 2015, and so far once a month since June of this year–I have reached the point where I’m really sick and tired of my website not being available whenever the power goes out.

This has bitten me twice now when I’ve tried to run ads during 99 cent sales, only, SURPRISE! POWER OUTAGE! So your ads are pointing off to a page readers can’t get to!

Our neighborhood association, of which Dara is a member, is actually going to have a meeting with Puget Sound Energy on the 28th of this month to express our collective frustration with this ongoing state of affairs. I am not expecting fast action on this. So in the meantime, I am taking the precaution of setting up a minimal backup website that will contain the most critical data about me and my books.

That site is going up at angelahighland.wordpress.com. Angelahighland.com should still be considered my canonical website and the official source of data about all of my works. However, y’all should keep angelahighland.wordpress.com bookmarked, just in case you need to look up something about any of my titles, or maybe even point someone at buying them, and find you can’t get to my main site because our power went out again. I will be updating information on this site accordingly.

Because it will. It’s mid-September now, which means the 2016 fall storm season is imminent. We’ll have at least one more power outage before the end of the year, and I won’t be surprised if we have more.

Any questions, let me know!

Site Updates

Update to my FAQ

Friend and reader userinfotechnoshaman wanted to know from me today if he could give Faerie Blood and Bone Walker as gifts, and if so, where the best place to buy them would be for that. First, thanks userinfotechnoshaman for the purchase! \0/ For the interested, he wound up buying the books directly from my Square store. (And if you’re not reading this post directly on angelahighland.com, that’s the link that says “Store” on the site’s main menu.)

And second, since I’ve been asked before about where the best place to buy my books from is, I just wanted to remind everybody that I do have an FAQ page. I have now updated that page with a revised version of the “Where should you buy my work from?” question. AND I have added a new question about how to give my books as gifts. Here’s the text of what I added, and you can find this as well as a bunch of other questions on my FAQ.

Is there a specific best place I should buy your work?

I get slightly higher royalties if people buy the Rebels of Adalonia books directly from Carina Press‘s own site. And certainly if you buy a book of mine from Amazon, that’ll bump my rankings up there, but that’s also true of any ebook vendor.

However, I encourage any potential readers to go ahead and buy the Rebels books via whatever channel you feel is appropriate. If you’re a Kindle user, go right ahead and buy them from Amazon. If you’re a Nook owner, from Barnes and Noble. Kobo, iBooks, Google Play–the same.

For my indie-published work, the very best way to make sure I get the most money is to just buy books from me directly–either via my Paypal.Me link, or via my Square store. In the case of Square, Square will still get a cut of the transaction, but it comes out slightly better than the cuts the ebook vendors take of transactions on those sites. But again, I encourage you to buy from wherever is most convenient for you. I make a point of deploying my indie titles out to a variety of platforms specifically so readers have a choice about where to buy them.

Trust me, I’ll be delighted that you buy them at all! As long as you buy them and enjoy the reads, that’s the important thing to me.

Is it possible to give your books as gifts?

Yes! For the print books, if you order them from me via my Square store, you can add an additional note to me if you want to purchase them as gifts, in case you want me to sign them for the recipient, or for me to send them somewhere besides your own address.

For the Rebels of Adalonia ebooks, Carina Press’s website does not have the ability to gift ebooks. But if you buy those books from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or iBooks, those vendors have the ability to give ebooks as gifts.

For the Free Court books, if you buy them directly from me, you are more than welcome to use the files you’ll receive from me as gifts. One recipient per purchased copy, please! But if you do buy a book for a friend or loved one, you are welcome to ask for multiple formats of the same book for a single recipient. For example, the EPUB, PDF, and MOBI of Faerie Blood would all count as a single purchase.

As with the Rebels books, you can also give the Free Court books as gifts on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iBooks. And, since the Free Court books are available on Smashwords, you can buy them as gifts there as well.

Site Updates

I am making a wiki!

Today while I was at Folklife, I ran into my friend and reader Jamie, who told me that a) she’d finally read Faerie Blood and Bone Walker, and is totally fangirling Elessir (YAY), and b) once she actually heard me pronounce “Elessir”, she asked me about a pronunciation guide for my works.

And I thought, y’know, this is a good excuse to do something I’ve been thinking about doing for a while: which is to say, setting up a little wiki for useful in-universe information about my books.

This has now been done. I’ve spawned off a supplementary site which will have the URL wiki.angelahighland.com. It’ll basically be a wiki only I can edit, so not really actually a wiki–but I’m calling it that anyway for convenience. And because I’ve slapped a theme on it to make it look wiki-like and hopefully navigate wiki-like as well.

So this is where you guys come in: I’d like to hear from anyone who’s read any of my stories as to what information you think would be neat to know. Pronunciation guides for both series of books, the Free Court books AND the Rebels ones, are probable. (Organizationally, how I’ll probably do that is to include a pronunciation guide for individual character pages, pages about places, and such, rather than just one big list of how to pronunce everything.)

But I’d also like to hear from y’all as to what else you think would be interesting to know. Talk to me in the comments! Once I have enough data on it for it to actually be useful, I’ll add it to the main site navigation here on angelahighland.com.