Much to my surprise, my website has been all over the internet in recent weeks. It was on Smart Bitches and Dear Author, and later showed up on Barbara Vey's blog and at The Chatelaines, to name just two.
I want to clear up one misconception right away: the website was NOT designed as a publicity stunt. I'm not complaining about the fact it worked out that way, but it wasn't intentional, not even a tiny bit. The day it went viral on Smart Bitches and Dear Author, I was out in the middle of the woods, literally. We were on vacation and had taken a side trip to Mount St Helens. I had no clue anything was going on till Mr. Fraser's cousin tweeted us about it. And I promise you, if I was going to stage a deliberate publicity stunt, I would not do it on a day I planned to spend driving through Gifford Pinchot National Forest!
The second misconception I've seen is that I asked my husband to design my website to save money and that he doesn't know what he's doing. Also not the case. He's a professional web developer who's been working in the industry since 1999. I'm not going to link to any of his other sites to preserve at least a thin veneer of privacy between my writing and day job identities, but suffice it to say he's very good at what he does. He's a regular conference speaker and he's taught a university-level web dev class. So the mid-90's look of the current site was a deliberate stylistic choice on his part.
So. As for how the website came into being, well, 2010 has been a year of good things for the Fraser family, only they all decided to happen at once. If you'd told me on January 1 that Mr. Fraser was going to have an opportunity to teach a college class on top of his full-time job, thereby enhancing his resume and bringing in some extra money, that we were going to finally buy a house after a decade of renting, and that I was going to sell a book, I would've said that was a wonderful year. And it has been. It's just that the way it went down turned out kind of insane.
When Mr. Fraser got the chance to teach the class, he asked if I could take on more of the housework and childcare than usual since he'd be working such long hours. I was fine with that because it was just for one quarter and because I was between things in my writing. The added responsibility gave me an excuse to step back for a few months, send out queries, and just poke at some of my new writing ideas to see what felt right before committing.
Everything was going fairly smoothly until I found The House while idly visiting open houses one Sunday afternoon. All our plans to wait on serious house shopping till after the class ended went out the window because we--and admittedly I was the leading half of the "we" on this one--didn't want to risk this being the only case of the right house for the right price in the perfect neighborhood. So we made an offer, it was accepted, and suddenly we were both having to work hard at moving prep on top of the extra workload from Mr. Fraser's class.
Then Carina accepted The Sergeant's Lady, and I was thrown into an immediate whirlwind of edits to prepare for my August release date. On top of everything with the house and Mr. Fraser's class.
It was wonderful, and I'm thrilled that every piece of it happened, but it was INSANE. We had a good three months of more than two people can reasonably manage. And at the very end of it, I had the opportunity to list The Sergeant's Lady in a newsletter with upcoming releases and my online contact info.
The smart thing would've been to just leave my as-yet nonexistent website out of it and put my perfectly good blog there instead. But instead of being smart I asked Mr. Fraser could he please, please, pretty-please just put up a tiny, basic website, and we'd get the real thing up by my release date. He agreed, albeit reluctantly. But then the last pieces of our move and getting in the grades for his class took longer than we expected. Suddenly it was 11 PM the night before this newsletter was supposed to go out and my husband was putting together the website. He showed it to me, half expecting me to have a meltdown, and instead I laughed and laughed, because it was so HIM and so US and so in keeping with the madness of the two months we'd just made it through.
And I thought that would be that, because surely in the six weeks or so we still had before my release date, between the two of us we'd have time to get my new site up. But it didn't happen. I think once we got past the sheer insanity of our spring, we just kind of crashed for the summer. We needed the break even if we hadn't intended to take it.
So the site stayed on longer than we expected or intended, and we became accidental marketers. I'm glad for the attention, but I wanted to tell the real story of what happened. And in another week or two, I'll finally have a real website to show off!