Tag Archives: Backups

Website Woes

Hi everyone,

Recently Lilac Reviews website has been down.  I’m not entirely geeky enough to explain it.  Evidently some type of hacker/malware was piggy backing off our site to somehow advertise drug companies in Mexico or something.  Anyway the site looked fine, but our processing power was being ramped up so high from what they were running in the background that the hosting company (Blue Host) was ‘throttling’ the site and not letting our legitimate data through to the web so it didn’t hang up everyone else’s speed.

I had to load some FTP software (File Transfer Protocol, I learned) to go back to a previous backup of the website from December to overwrite or clean out the bad programming. I couldn’t use the C-Panel and the backup/restore component there because it kept hanging up (the processing issue effected that too).  I didn’t know how to find it to erase just the bad code.  I found the drug references in the error code log- but didn’t have anywhere near the geekiness to figure out how they were doing it to surgically get just those bad files.

BTW, I was on the phone with Blue Host on 3 separate occasions for more than an hour.  One time I waited 36 minutes for the tech person to get on chat with me- then spent 2 hours on the chat going back and forth.  I was not impressed.  Ultimately I had to figure out what to do myself.  Because evidently what is in my files and stuff is my responsibility and not theirs.  They kept telling me I was using too much processing, but blamed my site and said I needed to ‘optimize’ it.  I insisted I didn’t have any fancy footwork going on.  Book covers and text.  I don’t have a shopping cart or any other fancy shenanigans. I only use standard widgets and plugins like Jetpack.  They wanted me to strip all the widgets and plugins and add them back one by one to see which caused the site to fail.  Isn’t that time consuming and it wasn’t even the right thing to do.  They stripped every last one off and the site was still throttling.

I tell you all this to let you know why there has been an absence of posts for the past three weeks.  I now see that the book covers are not showing on all of the posts.  Weirdly, the older ones are and not the newer ones even though they were before my backup date.  So it may take me a while to go through things and get everything 100% again.  I was almost ready to throw in the towel on this. You can guess for yourself if I’m going to renew with Blue Host when my current term expires.

So bloggers out there, and authors too if you have a self-hosted website (not a free one), DO backup your sites!!  I could have lost 300+ posts, 2 and a half years worth of work over this.  One of the other things I learned is that they are not required to back up- although I swear I read something that it was included in my package.

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Booktrope Closing & My Thoughts

Fellow Authors and Publishing Professionals,

Another publishing group has announced it is closing as of May 31st.  Booktrope had a different business model where the cover designers, editors and marketing folks worked for a portion of the future profits.  In that way the authors didn’t have upfront costs.  Booktrope is giving back the rights to the authors, but the looming questions are about the team’s payment. All the book covers will have to be re-done because of the Booktrope logo. Lots going on there. There are a lot of fellow authors and professionals in our industry that are in emotional pain and stress right now over this. They have lots of questions and are not getting answers very quickly.

So I have some thoughts that have come to mind…

  1. If you have a prayer list, put these artists involved on it.
  2. I know we are artists, but we really need to start thinking and protecting ourselves like business owners do. How surprised were you that Prince didn’t have a will?  I encourage all of you to really, really evaluate contracts. Even traditional publishers have been sneaking extra clauses that are NOT to the benefit of the author.  If dealing with friends and family members, put something in writing. Protect your publishing career by everyone knowing exactly where they stand. What is the deadline for an editor to return the book, what do I get in return for X marketing dollars, how many changes are included in the cover creation price tag, do I get the art files? Don’t make assumptions.
  3. Make backup copies of your novels, pre and post edit. Record your book reviews.  The folks you deal with (have a financial transaction with for services) through Facebook or a publisher’s forum or some other thing, get a phone number or email to be able to contact them if that group, page, or publisher interface, disappears one day.  Seriously, some of the Booktrope people were scrambling this a.m. when their analytics pages were gone at the website. Keep screenshots where you paid for a piece of art or a photo and what rights you got for that price.
  4. Rethink the benefits to self-publishing. I know there’s a lot involved. You can still hire folks to do certain tasks that you are not skilled in. You are the general contractor and can negotiate price, quality of work and timelines for all the work you do sub-contract out.

Felita Daniels PhotoI know all of this may sound depressing, like you are looking for things to go wrong.  Who wants to live like a pessimist?  But don’t you take a lifejacket boating?  You are going to have fun, but it is the responsible thing to do.  You don’t expect to get in a car accident every day, but you wear your seat belt. In Girl Scouts one of the adages was “Be Prepared.” Due to this, I always have a napkin handy when eating salsa.  Somehow all of my shirts are magnets for salsa.

My sincere prayer is that we can all wrangle how to enjoy our love of writing, and create a little or a lot of prosperity for ourselves without getting hurt financially or otherwise in the process.


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