Blog redesign over for now – like?

Why do I blog?

I started my blog for two quite selfish reasons:

  • to have a place to express myself
  • to jump in the digital waters before publishing the WIP, Pride’s Children.

I have blogged, and I have posted most of Pride’s Children, Book 1, and I have met and bumped virtual elbows with readers, writers, bloggers, and self-publishers all over the internet.

Why a different design and why now?

The work – and finishing Books 2 and 3 – has become more important than the blogging (which I still love), partly because I can now publish, and partly because it turns out – which I had no way of knowing when I began to blog – that I am different from most other writers.

My ‘process’ is tortuous and Byzantine to compensate for brain and energy deficiencies: almost no one else needs to work this way. It has gotten so bad that I routinely warn people away from using my methods, and post them mostly for the humor value (and because I can, dammit – this is my blog. You don’t have to read – absolute power corrupts…!)

Ahem. Where was I? Ah, yes. My goal has changed: I want you to try Pride’s Children to find out if you would like it. (And to grab by the ankles, like a deep-sea octopus, those of you who…!)

Ahem, again. So: focus on dragging the unsuspecting reader to the point where they will TRY a bit – and then mercifully leave them to make their own decision.

So, how did the redesign work out?

I have mixed feelings about this one.

On the one hand, it definitely is different, and allows me to use one of Jon Gwinn’s amazing sunset photos – thanks, Jon!

On the other hand, I do run up against two constraints: the WordPress Twenty Twelve Theme I’m using, and my ignorance of WordPress intricacies.

I’m going to let the limitations go for now, craving the indulgence and assistance of anyone who knows how to get the word ‘Welcome’ out from under the image; it is already on the menu – I can’t, for the life of me, figure out why WordPress includes the first word of the menu on this front page (which is a static page), but doesn’t do the same thing on the blog page.

I checked out a few other themes, but honestly would rather be writing new fiction, fascinating as it is to play with HTML even at this level. So for now, I quit. It stays as you see it.

Why this design? Why that welcome page? Because a new visitor told me (thanks, JJ) that it wasn’t apparent what to do when landing at liebjabberings.

And my brain immediately knew what he meant: if you come to a new site, you don’t plunge right in to reading a novel. Instead, if I’m lucky, you poke around a bit before leaving. So I provided  places to get acquainted (description, More about PC (reader comments), the blog); and I cleaned everything out of the beginning of the story. A new visitor should be able to get to the start without any more fuss than a single click.

The future?

I am building a proper website for Pride’s Children as a book/book series. It isn’t live yet – I’m learning, and there are a lot of things to figure out. I’m not finished writing, either, because life events slowed me down this year, but it doesn’t matter: my deadlines in self-publishing are self-imposed – and I still block the internet for 5-6 hours and sit down to write most days – with naps in between – and we’ll get there. So far I’ve been able to post a new scene every Tuesday uninterruptedly, though I had to suspend temporarily at one of the sites where I’m being serialized as it was posting material much faster than here – and I overran my supply lines (sorry, Caleb – I’ll be back there with the rest as soon as I finish).

The new site will have its own blog – but that will be content ABOUT the book, not the writing, and not the author. Interviews with the characters, reviews, answered questions, bits of setting or history or source material, more about the novels and movie scripts mentioned in Pride’s Children (ie, research, and creations of mine) – book-centered material for those who prefer their authors anonymous (as I did when I was younger).

Kindly mention in the comments wherever the new design still needs poking.

Monetizing

For now, Pride’s Children, the original version on this blog, will remain free – and my plan is to keep it that way indefinitely, and to write the last scene in Book 1, and immediately follow it with the first scene in Book 2 the following Tuesday. I’m serializing at Wattpad in the same way to find a different part of my potential audience.

You will be able to read online or on a mobile device (if WordPress does its job – let me know if it doesn’t) by simply clicking on the link at the end of each section.

I will condense into chapters here – but leave it in scenes on Wattpad because mobile devices reading from there need shorter segments.

And this is my business-model-to-be: at any point, if you get frustrated with reading and clicking this way, you will have the option to link to Amazon – and acquire your very own copy of the final version, edited and revised where necessary, for your Kindle or Kindle app. That model works for me as a reader – and it gives my potential readers the option of reading for free, reading here or at Wattpad on a mobile device for free, or buying a copy. I’ll probably put up a tip jar for those so inclined (not everyone loves Kindle) along the way.

If and when I get that far, there may be a print version, too, and the audiobook read by the author.

The ends

At my speed, this should keep me fully occupied for the next several years. Never fear: the STORY is finished. I know every detail of where it goes and how it ends. Plot holes are potholes, and not Grand Canyons. And you will get HFN (happy for now) and HEA (happily ever after) endings as we go.

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18 thoughts on “Blog redesign over for now – like?

  1. Janna G. Noelle

    That is a stunning sunset photo. I don’t know where it was taken, but I want to be there RIGHT NOW, lol!

    Blog redesigns are tough, and not all WordPress themes are created equal. Some you really need to have some HTML knowledge (and also pay for access to the stylesheet) to make work for you. The extra “welcome” is odd; I bet I could figure it out, but you might want to try asking about it in the WordPress.com support forum: http://en.forums.wordpress.com/forum/support. They are usually quite helpful; I’ve used them three times and was able to get the answer on each occasion.

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    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      Thanks, Janna. I tried – it is part of the design to tell you on each page WHAT page you are on – all the other pages have the same. I asked for support – they didn’t realize it was a design ‘feature.’ Not on the blog page – again, a design feature.

      I’m still chewing on how to deal with it – which is why my permanent site will be MINE, where I can do what I please (when I learn how), but I can’t do anything right now on this – so I will make a change to my words for now.

      Great to have you stop by.

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      Reply
  2. naleta

    I agree that the sunset is lovely! As far as dealing with WordPress, I’ll light a candle to the Internet gods that WP behaves itself for you as much as it ever does for anyone.
    {{{HUG}}}
    Oh! The thought of an audiobook read by the author is very tempting, but I’ll be happy just to finish reading the book.

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    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      You know that I will start posting the first scene of Book 2 as soon as I’ve finished with Book 1, right? The story has a ways to go – but I hope the ride will entertain. Thanks for ehcking out the site – I’m still looking for time to finish tweaking it, and the permanent home.

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      1. The DC

        LOL,don’t feel like the lone ranger (me too)…that’s why I’m always changing up the background and header shot on mine,new stimulation 😛

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        1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

          My grandmother said she never felt a day over 18. So far, even on the bad days, I have to agree with her. Maybe, if 16 is still in there, I should tackle young adult at some point. It’s amazing how far back I can remember some things and some places.

          Maybe some of us are destined to never truly grow up.

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