How did I not know just how difficult this is?
I began with a free google site that I could tack onto this, write in proper words - but with such limited scope it obviously wasn't going to be flexible enough. I couldn't work out how to move things around, mould words round pictures - any of that. Which meant the page had too much white space - which is fine in a book, but not online.
Nothing for it, I was going to have to teach myself to do it properly, or pay someone. Paying someone appeals in some ways, but it would paying for ongoing maintenance, being able to phone them in a panic when something went wrong. Besides, if I could master the Kindle technology, surely I could do this?
So I bought a book, 'Build Your Own Website The Right Way Using HTML and CSS'. It's not a snappy title but tells you what to expect.
There's plenty of introduction in proper English; I could manage that. And then it began getting complicated. Surely I didn't need all that gobbledegook, just for one little website. I'm not building Amazon, or a newspaper, just a page or two with more information about the book and a photograph or two.
So I started skipping bits.
Then I didn't understand one word. So I decided it was designed to exclude everyone but computer geeks and I had plenty of better things to do with my life and who needs a website anyway. (Spot the tiny hissy fit!)
But I do - I know I do. I need to tell you more about my book (yes, very soon it will be a book and not just an ebook!). There may even be more books? I need to tempt you with photos from my travelling, tell you where I'm going next.
And so I went back to the beginning, and began to read every word. Practise every exercise. Build their pretend site - and my own, alongside it. One nugget of learning rests on another. It's like maths, or latin - it has a terrible logic that works, once you understand the code.
But the code is precise. I learned that < and = and " (not ') must be in the right place or a whole page can disappear. 'Scr' is not the same as 'src' - and the difference is almost impossible to spot in a pages of mark-up text.
This is not how I usually work. I throw ideas at the screen, ignore grammar and spelling, just get the shape of a story or poem or idea down, and then begin to unpick it, shape it, tease out what I'm really trying to say until - countless drafts later - it's as polished as I can make it. If I do that with the website it will never work. Finding mistakes hide among all the <div>s and <a href>s and </p>s. I spent hours, yesterday, trying to work out why a link wouldn't appear, only to find I had instructed it to appear in white, against a white background.
I'm sure there are shortcuts. But please don't tell me about them. I've got this far, and I'm going to do this. But it may be a little while. (Though, please, tell me this is difficult, and I'm not being a really dingbat making a meal of it!)