Sunday, June 28, 2009

Author, Brand Thy Self

Have you ever wondered why some websites appear as a lovely picture icon, while others appear as an Internet Explorer icon, when you add them to favourites or as a shortcut on your desktop?

Would you like your website to appear as a picture icon? Then read on.

To achieve this, you need to create a favicon—short for favourites icon, which is also known as a website icon, shortcut icon, url icon, or bookmark icon. It’s a tiny square 16 x 16 pixel picture. If you have a web designer, then he/she can do this for you. But if, like me, you are creative and like to take sole control of building and up keeping your own site, then you can easily do this yourself.

Here is mine, but much bigger so you can easily see it. I’ve chosen to create an icon that matches my website. Just like an author’s slogan—Humorous Character-Driven Romance, Packed with Emotion—little things like icons can really help to brand your name, and make you memorable to your readers.

First: you need to create the icon. I’ve found a fantastic site, Favicon.ico Generator, which not only allows you to create your own icon, they also has hundreds of icons you can choose from to download.

When you’ve finished creating your favicon, or choosing one from the site, you need to download it to your computer. Don’t rename. The file must be called “favicon.ico”, this is what the web browsers will look for.

2nd: you need to upload the “favicon.ico” file to your public_html folder in the root directory of your website.

That’s it!

You may need to clear you browser’s Cache before you can see the new icon, though. As there are several types of browsers, I will suggest this link on How to Clear Your Browser's Cache to save me having to explain how to empty the temporary content web browsers store on your computer while you're surfing the net. Things like cookies, images, and web pages are all downloaded to your computer while you are online, and take up space on your hard drive. Getting into the habit of clearing your browser’s cache often can free up space on your computer, and also protect your privacy.

When you are finished, you should be able to see your icon in your browser’s address bar, and next to your website page's title on the tab.

Best of all, when your visitors add your site to their favourites, they get a lovely icon next to the link. Or your icon on the desktop as a shortcut.

Until next time L'Chayim (to life—to good health)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Free Read Romantic Short Story

Do you like free reads? I know I do. There’s just something superlative about getting something for free, isn’t it?

Offering free reads is a great way to market yourself as an author. It gives readers the opportunity to view your writing style before they put money on you. Some may think that’s a gamble. I think if the reader likes you she/he’s sure to keep an eye out for your books, and if not, at least they haven’t parted with hard-earned cash for the privilege of disappointment.

So, with this in mind I’ve put up a free short story on my Free Reads page over at my website. Pop on over and get yourself a free read on me.

Until next time.
Happy reading x

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Desktop Progress Meters For Writers

For a long time I’ve been looking for a desktop progress meter to keep an eye on the progress of each of my WIPs.

There are quite a few of these word count meters around on the Internet. The problem I had was that they all seem to be designed to put on your blog or website. I like my privacy and putting these things up for all to see made me uncomfortable. Like opening up myself to criticism on my writing speed.

So I took them down. However, I still wanted to be able to keep an eye on how much I’d written and how much I had to go.
I am pleased to say I finally found a fantastic progress meter. It’s called Barbecue Desktop Progress Meter. You can find it here if, like me, you like to see how your work is progressing without the whole world knowing it too.
You have to take a look at it! I personally think it’s a wonderful desktop gadget. And wholeheartedly thank the brilliant guys who created it. It allows you to have all you WIPs bars right on your desktop. How cool is that?
I just love mine. Which is why I wanted to share it with my fellow authors and friends.
Do let me know if you use it, and what you think of the Barbecue Desktop Progress Meter.

Until next time, all the love in the world.