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Ups and Down Websites


Something amazing happened not long after my book launch.

A reader complained.

He messaged my Facebook author page to let me know that my website was down.

Before the launch, the site’s only traffic had consisted of web designer Eddie, a smattering of exceptionally dedicated (or exceptionally nosey) friends and of course, me. But now, a real live reader had joined us: someone who had not only read my book, but actually wanted to visit the site to find out more. I felt the same sense of giddy wonder I’d experienced on P Day itself.

Publication day (or, if I’m being completely accurate, ‘Digital Launch Day’, since the paperback’s not out until November) is an eagerly anticipated milestone for any author.

On P-Day Eve, I was tempted to stay up until midnight to witness the moment when the ‘Pre-order’ button magically transformed itself into ‘Buy Now.’ But in the end I decided that was a tad lame and was able to resist the impulse… just.

When the big day came, it was everything I’d dreamt of, bringing not one, not two but THREE bunches of flowers, all carrying messages of congratulations. I danced around the kitchen while the cat prowled among the bouquets, puzzled by the floral influx. I felt as though I’d arrived at the summit of a mountain I’d been climbing for years and was at last standing at the top, arms flung wide, Kate-Winslet-in-Titanic style.

It had finally happened! I was published!

But like all highs, the feeling didn’t last. In the days that followed, I worried that no-one would buy my book. Or that they would… and they’d hate it. I had fallen back down the mountain, landing in the same thorny patches of doubt and insecurity that had clawed at me all along the lonely, uphill path to publication.

But then that message arrived: the complaint that changed everything. Because no matter what the future might hold – whether I scale the giddy heights of the best seller list or sink into writer oblivion - I will always know that when my website went down, there was a reader out there who cared enough to be annoyed.

And no-one can ever take that away from me.

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