Technology is your friend… until it isn’t.

I don’t regard myself as being immensely tech-savvy, just enough to get by. When I started self publishing (coming from a largely manufacturing background) I learned a great deal, from developing my knowledge of Word to Graphic design on Gimp. But, some lessons are learned the hard way.

I generally do my work first on Google Docs, it’s a secure and stable site that I can access from a desktop, laptop or (on rare occasions) even my phone. When the draft is done I transfer to Word for formatting and layout and, when that is done I store the file on a data stick and an external hard drive. Pretty safe you might think, well it’s only safe until you get complacent.

After the first release of Black Knight I followed the programme, one copy of both the manuscript and cover (also the original artwork) on the Hard Drive, one on the Data-Stick. I did the same for Dragon Fire and all was well. But Black Knight wasn’t finished, I needed to get it out in the world so it went out with some mistakes that had been missed in the first edit. So it was re-edited, the layout was brought up to scratch and that led to a reduced page count so the cover had to be redone and resubmitted. This is where I made the mistake.

I didn’t back up the 2nd edition, it was only on the external hard drive. I’d suffered computer failures before but, thanks to the external drive all my files, revisions, accounts and schedules where safe… until the external drive failed.

So, my strongest advice. Backup your files, regularly. Update your hardware periodically. Keep your creative output safe so that you can forge ahead with piece of mind.

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