This house is haunted
There’s no progress without failure. Professionally, my career is all about making things and improving upon them when they suck. The previous iteration of KiraButler.com, which lasted me three years or so, wasn’t bad: it wasn’t terrible, but from the ground up I was working around limitations that wouldn’t quite let me do with it what I wanted. I knew it could have been better, and to be blunt about it, this is my house: I work here, I play here, and I have to look at it and work with it every day. I imagine that this house stands on chicken legs and when it bobs around the stuff in the cauldron slops around, making a mess on the hardwood.
If my apartment’s gross, I vacuum and I mop. If my website starts making figurative clunking noises, I treat it the same way: except, I go at things with a sledgehammer when the bottle of oil stops working to take care of that irritating squeaking noise.
I rebuilt it. I waggled my fingers over its grave and chanted a bunch and I brought that corpse back to life. Stitched its fallen pieces back on. Rubbed it with fragrant oils, gave it a Name, and now my house on chicken legs and I are dancing around its empty grave. I made the website gnomes clean up. They’re magical creatures; mostly invisible to the human eye, a little bit crotchety, but they work on my behalf to keep things running smoothly.
This website is like an open book: it’s the best digital representation that I can give you of myself and what I’m about, and I wanted it to be a platform that conveys just what kind of strange woman I am, what I’m working on, what I’m excited about, and what I’m working towards.
Most importantly, as a chronic introvert, it’s the best place for me to tell stories without having to make eye-contact with anyone. It’s what I love to do, and I wanted above all things to love the place I’m telling those stories in.
So here we are.
Welcome to the 2.0 of KiraButler.com: bigger, badder, faster, with more resources, more weird, more poltergeists, more skeletons in the closet. There’s a cemetery out back next to the garden where I plant the bones of my enemies. There’s a well out in the courtyard where occasionally, you can hear the ghast moaning from its watery grave. Don’t mind the skittering sounds coming from the attic, it’s just the chupacabra, and above all, if you find a secret doorway that appears bricked off and leading to nothing — don’t bleed on the bricks.
Take a Tour
The overhaul took two months, working on weekends and evening in between scribbles. I’m in the middle (literally, as I’m just crossing the threshold midpoint where everything turns around for the protagonist) of a rewrite, with a spring project incubating on the horizon. I’ve got dark crescents under my eyes from the lack of sleep, and I’ve been functioning on a daily ration of seven hours of dreams and nightmares — which, let me inform you, is enough to make someone just a little bit sketchy.
Two months of twelve hour days. That is what this took.
I’ve read enough articles that promise that “You can get your author website up in twenty-four hours!” and each time, I spit at my screen, and wish I could summon a magical narwhal to fly over and impale the writer of those articles with its glorious unicorn-of-the-sea horn.
The thing about this website, in particular, is that it gets a lot of traction through organic search. I have a lot of content (to date, 160 articles.) Those articles get shared and linked to and reposted, so I see a steady climb in traffic. That is effectively what your website is supposed to do for you: if you’re unpublished and trying to get published, or your published and trying to grow your readership, then the stuff you blog about needs to speak to the people who will buy your book.
I write creepy stuff. It follows that I ought to blog about it too.
As such, that turns this site into something of a Rose Red. A Winchester Mystery House. It’s something you never really stop building because those efforts allow you to cast a wider net for your audience. It’s inevitable, then, that you’ll end up with some secret passageways, and I will be the first person to tell you: I am all about that life. I’ve got a lantern in hand to lead you through the dark.
Let’s go top to bottom, from the widow’s walk down to the basement:
Redid the whole thing, including structure and portfolio items, and links to the various new sections on the site. Since the homepage gets the least amount of traffic, it serves as an introduction to what I do and what I’m about: it’s all very bite-sized — like fangs to the jugular.
The Author Page
I’ve collapsed three pages into one, and allowed requests for press and media kits. The Author page now contains biographical data, frequently asked questions, press and media information, and contact details.
The Books Pages
While doing my research for the redesign, I came across a few unpublished authors presenting their manuscript pitches on their sites. I really liked the idea, so I’ve adapted it accordingly. The Books section will be expanded into collections for works in progress at some point in the future, since I tend to hoard my research and inspiration when I’m working on a new novel.
I’m looking forward to actually sharing some stuff, with the understanding that the nature of writing projects tend to change the longer you work on them. I think it might be fun to document where things start and what inspired me. Maybe even share deleted snippets that didn’t make it into the final draft.
The Short Stories section is back with a revised design and new functionality that changes how you can download the work for free: if you’re a newsletter subscriber, you get bloody hell everything available to you with a click. Seriously: subscribe once, get every story at your leisure.
Oh, and I put up something new. More on that later.
The Publications section is an oldy that went unannounced (mostly out of laziness). Now I’m being up front about it: non-fiction articles and guest posts that I’ve produced for other sites, and especially a few of my favourite older articles, are available for download. No sign-up required.
If I spend more than two hours on an article, I compile it as a PDF and put it up. Check it out, there are probably a few pieces in there you haven’t seen yet.
Given my predisposition towards legend tripping, the supernatural, and weird history, there’s a lot of that in here.
If any section is to blame for this redesign, it’s Curiosities. This whole idea to overhaul was seeded by a burning desire to build out a resources section for other horror writers and horror fans, and the whole of it blew up on me mad scientist style.
Curiosities contains a reference library, my research and resources, and a glossary of terms (which, inevitably, contains a whollop of hints as to where my focus is currently in my writing. It’s not everything, but it’s growing.)
The ever-beating heart of this website is the blog. In this incarnation, I’ve been around since 2013, and I’ve been puttering along without much focus on the sort of content that I want to put forward. After some planning, some further frolicking through the shadows and summoning things, I’ve got a better idea of where I want to go in the next year. In the next five years. In the next ten.
The blog is a vehicle for that. I hope you stick around for the ride, because this time, I’ve got collections, and a gameplan, like a person who’s coming equipped with a content strategy and a brand to build.
Come play with me.
This should be obvious, but just in case: Contact contains my social media hangouts and a good old fashioned captcha-enabled form that works freaking splendidly.
A Big Thank You
I’d also like to take this opportunity to extend an enormous thank you to the QA team who went through everything for me and caught the little problems that needed to be fixed before the site went live. Kathleen, Rusty, Angie, Sean, Allison, and Steph — thank you so much. You guys are amazing!
Various and Sundry
You should also note that there’s a sitemap and a newsletter page and some other stuff somewhere down there in the footer, which is basically the “break in case of emergency” section. I’m in the process of pulling together some extraneous third-party stuff, but since I always seem to be working at something — whether that’s writing or design-related — but that shouldn’t come as a surprise.
Seriously, whenever there’s radio silence on the blog, it’s probably because I’ve become obsessed with whatever new and shiny project caught my attention and I’m too preoccupied to talk about it.
I can’t promise silence just yet, though: stay tuned. There’s a ton in the pipe and I’m ready to flip the faucet on.
Missed you, betch.
Kisses and creepy things,