Some input, please.

Okay Okay Okay. My site is coming along nicely. But, it’s still a construction zone.

It’s still got a lot of type dummied in, and all kinds of building blocks – art, structural items, discarded text, etc. – thrown about, willy-nilly, saved aside in case I decide I want any of that stuff back. I learned my lesson tonight. Delete nothing.

I threw out a piece on Cervantes. An hour later, I wanted a passage out of it. I knew it was still on the (long unvisited) original site but I couldn’t figure out how to switch over in the editor, and I couldn’t go directly, I’ve forgotten how it was named. I had to find an old Facebook post, hit the link, and because I still couldn’t get to the editor through that back door, I had to copy and paste first into a word doc for permanent storage, and from there into my new site. Like I told them on Facebook, I sure am no expert. I just klutz around until I like what I see.

Well, the site is still a mess, but the menu is working. You can go on there and navigate around, finally.

I have added a page at the end: The Writer Coop Annex. I have a look mocked up. My idea is to post titles and a line or two of our marvelous posts, with links to here. Also some of my own content, why should you visit Writer Coop? What will you find there? And so on.

It’s gonna be a while (months) before I’m ready to rumble, to promote my site. I would hope that our WordPress layout gets more visually exciting beforehand. I’m willing to work on it, if everyone agrees. Take a look at my Writer Coop page and give me your opinions. I think it takes more than what we currently have as a set-up to impress and entice new members. I see this as a serious stumbling block. Does anyone else?

FYI: The actual width of my W-C page is the width of the menu bar, plus a smidge. I always have to cheat a little.

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The header will have copy tailored to the page. The Sly info is repeated, but I have tried to minimize it. I wanted to make the FIND THE STARTER PAPERDOLL banner not visible for the Coop page. That caused other problems, so I’m leaving it for now. I should try again to get rid of it. On this page, it bothers me. I ought to dump the My Sly as well, and paste it individually page by page instead of the universal insertion. It won’t be too much more work. The menu bar (naturally) will stay.

Another problem, some lines of type are displaced. What you see in the editor sometimes jumps up or down in the public-view. There are many little things that I don’t have a handle on yet.

It’s pathetic how I stumble around in Wix. I discovered only a day ago that I can make the type huge. I’d thought you could only go up to the limit of the slider bar. No! There is a field to plunk a number into. I thought the max must be around 300 point, I think that’s the limit in inDesign. (It may be 400 pt., but no higher.) I entered 999 by accident and – bam! – there it was, a monster. You want that from time to time, to make a statement. This is crazy. And great. As Steve Jobs used to say, crazy great!

On the finished page, the SOME KIND OF WONDERFUL column will be gone. The WOW! HUGE! will be replaced by a meeker message, making for a considerably calmer page, not nearly so bouncing-off-the-walls.

Here’s the address of my site: Copy and paste it into your browser. I don’t know how to make it go live. See? I am pathetic.


Rats! I just patched over the STARTER banner (on the live site), but you can see the edges of the patch. If I turn off the default display (anything in the header shows on all pages, until you opt out) then the type falls behind the strip and will not stay forward, I’ve tried and tried and tried. Mysterious. Maybe I’ll find a fix eventually.


You know, I would also like if the right column were wiped out, the left text as is, on a plain white ground, and in place of the oversized ‘S’, the cover of someone’s book, occupying the same space, a promo/review below. A regular feature: Book Of The Month. Or: Author Of The Month. Or a profile of someone’s main character: Meet Magali Rousseau.

I might even like that more. (In terms of style.) I think I do like it even better.

Here’s a question for everyone. GD says the sides of my page are cut off on his smallish screen. (I have the huge iMac, I don’t have that problem.) The actual page is only the width of the menu bar. The rest is fluff. Please tell me, is that menu shown in full on your computer screen? It is drawn within the Wix guidelines, so I find this very troubling.

book promotion, writing technique

What I Did This Weekend.

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I’m searching for something to write about. I’m not ready to do another post on serials. That entails a lot of digging.

Kevin has certainly inspired me, not that I needed it, to consider alternatives to the sort of pain that Atthys has just described. My website still has a ways to go. Real bells-and-whistles mailers, with my own art created, are also a slow-go.

While I agonize over a style, I’m working on a table of contents for my novella, all type, but eye-catching, I love to fool around with fonts. I had to do this screen shot in three pieces, you can see the breaks, or at least I can. I see plenty that still need messing with. This is not the final, but it’s close.

I’m thinking a three-fold piece, on the left a synopsis, the center as shown, the right a simple paper doll, with hat and boots.

Who will I send this out to? I have no mailing list. I’ll send it out to editors, publishers, etc., dug out of the Marketplace books, to get the ball rolling. It will be cheap to print, why the hell not? Somebody tell me, why the hell not?

At worst, I’ll have a portfolio piece. Ha! Like I’m ever going to look for another job. I’m seventy-fucking-years old in two weeks.

book promotion

My Approach To Website Design.

So far I’ve got no success story to relate, only theories, so take the following with a grain of salt.

I have no book to sell yet. My focus for now is the promotion of my in-progress website, with an eye to the day when I have something on Amazon. I’ve looked at many author sites. There is generally a cover, maybe multiple covers/blurbs/synopses, a bio, probably a comments capability, not much else. I’m going in another direction.

I think a site should be a sort of fan magazine for your book. Like in the old time movie rags (haven’t looked at one in fifty years), behind the scenes stuff. Personalities, speculation, is so-and-so involved with so-and-so? Introduce me to your characters and their world. Don’t tell me what happens. Tell me why I should want to find out what happens. Better yet, show me.

I want to see playful energy. Lots to look at, lots to think about. I want visitors to my own site to say, Let’s have a peek at what that nut is up to this week. That means fresh material, constantly. A lot of work? For sure, but I don’t think of it that way. My site is my workshop, where I solve problems and explore possibilities. And I find it quite therapeutic. It makes me feel like I’m moving forward even when I’m not.

Okay, playful doesn’t pair with every genre. But energy does. However well conceived your blurb is, it takes more to impress me than, say, . . .

When Lizzie woke that morning, she never could have guessed that by noon, having hacked her parents to death with their best cleaver, she’d be frantically trying to dispose of a pile of bloody clothing. The kitchen cupboard had been empty of her special breakfast cereal. That was the kickoff to a very trying day.

Her father had obviously been unable to resist feeding the last of her homemade granola to Cupcake, the pet rabbit whom he babied outrageously, in contrast to the disdain with which he treated her. Only last week she’d discovered her new-bought Easter bonnet filled with her finest crochet-work and turned into a plush chaise in the luxuriously-appointed pen of the abominable animal. Cupcake, she’d hissed, Today you die. Was it her fault that the old man had interrupted the butchery, and that she’d blown a gasket and turned on him as well?

That may grab me briefly, but if you want to make the sale, stun me with a whole-hog (gotta say it, whole-hare) effort. The design of your website should communicate the richness of your conception, every inch displaying an attitude that says, out – way out – of the ordinary.

Less-is-more has never been my thing. I admire it. I’ve tried it. It always gets away from me. Like with my characters. My plot. My prose style. Everything I touch. My site is a maze of this-and-that detail. I want to drag your eye around my page, and give you a sense of what’s coming your way in the book.

Here’s a partial view of my sandbox:

(When it goes public, the name will change to Some of the art will change as well. Much of what I have at present is helping me assess content and a layout.)

Screen Shot SUNDAY

My site has been created on Wix, where I’ve encountered many technical problems. Perhaps I’ve jumped in too quickly – I’ve yet to read the tutorials – on the theory that the functionality can’t be too different from Indesign, a print-publication program that I’m very familiar with. But it is different, and in very annoying ways. In a word, it’s clunky. Clunky as hell.

The huge problem with my free-form approach is that it will not reconfigure for small devices. Well, it will, of course, but the result is chaotic. There is a reason people head to WordPress and its templates. I may ultimately join them. A structured layout probably works best technically, but image-text-image-text, each element in its neat slot, a set-up more adaptable to a variety of screens, that does not excite me. If I go in that direction, I’m gonna mess with it, one way or another put my stamp on it, for better or worse.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think a bopping website is the magic bullet. In fact, then you have to promote the site that promotes your book. Once my on-line presence is in order, I’ll work on bumper stickers, posters, mailers, etc. My sister in Florida volunteers at a community theater group. She thinks they’ll display my poster. A lot of people should see it. Have I mentioned my idea to dress up Elizabethan and hand out flyers in Times Square? I talked that up plenty on Book Country.

I’m going to get this pie-in-the-sky business off the ground or die trying. I’ve been loving my quirky critter way too long, no way am I gonna stop now.

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Here’s the top half of page one of my novella. This look will carry through the whole, with variations.

The art will all be black and white.

The bar on the right will be footnotes and additional comments.

Alice in Wonderland had to wait a hundred years for an annotated edition. My thing is annotated on the spot.

The more I look at what I have, the more possibilities I see for a really exciting, strong look. I recall a page or two thirty-plus years ago in Print (magazine), a showcase for the best-of-the-best design and illustration. It was line art illustration, type used creatively, which I love to do myself, from (my recollection) an oversized edition of Alice In Wonderland.

I’ve looked for it on the web from book dealers, I find no mention of it. Could be it wasn’t Alice, it was something else. Faulty memory or not, that is the direction I’d like to push this in. Or, something half-way between the above quiet conception and rock ’em, sock ’em graphic hand-stands, that you want to frame and hang over your work area for inspiration.

The helter-skelter of my front page won’t do for a novel. It would be exhausting to read and exhausting to produce. Still, I certainly intend to expand the design vocabulary here. In modest ways.