A year or so back, my site got hacked.
I first found out when GoDaddy (my provider) told me they were getting activity off my site that denoted it had been compromised. Yes, I was being used to launch denial of service attacks. My site had become a zombie.
I went to the same site I’d gotten my great book cover, Elance, and put out a job for website security (and backup – what the hell had I been thinking that I didn’t need backups). Looked at the various bids and picked a guy out of Greece, Stergios Kolios, to fix me up. He wasn’t the cheapest, but he seemed (from what I read) the best at Joomla and installing backups.
Of course, this wasn’t what being a writer seemed to me to be. Website security? What?
Anyway, he fixed me up – reestablished the site, cleaned out the holes, and gave me a good backup process to follow. And that’s good – I’m still cleaning up and backing up. After all, why pay for something I’m not going to use, right?
When we concluded (with a Skype session so I could see how to do the backups), I gave him a good writeup on Elance (he’d earned that) and a financial tip as well (he’d earned that, too). Even gave him a shout out on the blog. We parted friends.
And that’s the lesson for you today, little writers. Always try to part with people in publishing as friendly as possible. Sure, it’s a little more effort but it can pay off. That agent who rejects one book? He might select another. Or he might remember your book and look you up and call in an offer. Who knows where your break might come from. It doesn’t cost you anything more to be polite and professional, so you should do it whenever possible.
I speak from experience. In my case, a year after the update, I saw a couple of things that gave me pause on the site. Sure, I should be okay. But was I sure?
Dropped a line on Stergios out of the blue and asked him a couple of “free” questions. He could have said “Bid for my answers” or whatever. But no, the guy gave me very thorough and complete answers, putting my fears to rest. He explained what I saw, and even seemed to have kept notes on what he’d done so he could speak knowledgeable.
And that’s where politeness helps, when it comes to getting that little edge you might need. Publishing is a hard job and we pretty much face it alone. Why piss off potential allies when you might benefit from them at some later date? Always be professional, polite, and courteous.