July 7, 2009

Some Tech Stuff

One thing I didn’t realize when I set out to be a writer, is how little time I’d have to actually write. After I received my first contract, I began learning about the business end of writing and it was a real eye opener. I needed to spend a lot of time setting up the promotional aspects of my writing career. After all, nobody will be able to buy my books if they don’t know that they’re out there

My first endeavor was creating my website. I needed to get some name recognition and begin building my brand as a writer. I remember tinkering with the settings on my web editing software for what seemed like forever. Finally, I came up with a design I liked that would be fairly easy to maintain and update.

My second project was my blog which I launched last year in anticipation of my book releases. I designed the blog, put all my various links and widgets in it, joined a virtual book tour group, and started promoting. The only problem was that my book releases were taking longer than I thought, so there was nothing to promote. I took a leave of absence from the virtual book tour group and will probably have to do a complete overhaul of my links before I become active again. Also, I’m going need some fresh interview material, book information and some press kits as well. I should have started on some of this stuff already, but I’ve been sidetracked by my latest project…online games.

I decided that I needed to have something for kids besides my books. My website www.kevinmcnamee.com is not very kid friendly. Mostly, it introduces me as an author and has background information geared to adults who would like to find out more about me. Frankly, I know that kids could care less, so I wanted to have a site dedicated to entertaining them and have games, coloring pages, and other activities based on my books. The website is www.kevschildrensbooks.com but don’t bother going there. I haven’t loaded any pages yet. I’ll post an announcement when this website is ready to launch.

I started by teaching myself different computer languages. Building my website gave me a working knowledge of what code is supposed to do, so I took it to the next level. I taught myself Java and wound up developing a decent interactive coloring page. The problem with Java is that there it is an older technology and some people turn it off entirely because of security problems. I asked a few people to test my coloring page on their computers and a few of them couldn’t see my page at all. I decided to scrap Java in favor of Flash technology.

Flash games will run on any flash player. Just about everyone already had one loaded on their computer, plus flash doesn’t have the security problems that Java has, so it seemed like a good choice for game programming.

It was a steep learning curve, but with the help of two “dummies” books and some online tutorials, I was able to come up with a jigsaw puzzle based on the Sister Exchange that didn’t crash and burn every time I tried to run it.

I still need to design a web page for this puzzle. When I’m done I’ll post a link for it, feedback will be appreciated. I’m still trying to put together an online coloring book and a drawing pad for kids. I think I’m OK with the drawing pad although I’d like to add some more bells and whistles to it. The coloring book is giving me some problems but I’m still plugging away at it.

I’ve sort of been out of the loop lately, but I just wanted to let everyone know what I’ve been up to. I figure that as soon as I wrap up this tech stuff, I’ll be able to get back to get back to the business at hand, which if I remember correctly … was writing.

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