Author Topic: New Website Launched  (Read 1777 times)

Offline jherit01

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New Website Launched
« on: June 01, 2018, 10:37:25 AM »
Greetings, All!

I just launched my new website today, jamesdheritage.com, via Bluehost and Wordpress.  It is very basic at the moment with no photos other than the homepage background and my very first blog posting.

Still learning . . . and there is a LOT to learn. No issues, though. I am willing and determined to evolve both myself and the website.

Would appreciate any comments or recommendations if anyone takes the time to peruse the site.

Thanks!

Offline blackhat

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Re: New Website Launched
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2018, 12:03:28 PM »
Wait a minute, James. Based on your site, it looks like you have completed 22 novels but are only now querying agents and debating whether or not to consider self publishing? I am astounded. What length are these novels? Who do you consider your primary target audience (age, gender)? Who have read your novels so far and what have they said? I applaud your desire to seek out beta readers. I think you definitely need some outside readers to tell you if your books are working or not. I would be interested in hearing about your writing process and how long it takes you to turn out a finished book. 

Offline jherit01

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Re: New Website Launched
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2018, 07:08:59 AM »
Hi Blackhat,

First, thanks for checking out my site!  Second, thank you for your interest and asking questions!

What length are these novels?  They range generally between 100K and 125K words.

Who do you consider your primary target audience (age, gender)? Primary target is adult readers, probably predominantly male.

Who have read your novels so far and what have they said? I have only had a few beta-reads on a couple of novels.  Generally speaking, according to them, my writing is not horrible though I do have issues with passive voice and could use some brush-up on my comma usage. I am working to remedy these things, and taking seriously any piece of advice I receive.

I applaud your desire to seek out beta readers. I think you definitely need some outside readers to tell you if your books are working or not. I would be interested in hearing about your writing process and how long it takes you to turn out a finished book. 

I actually started writing and continued as a hobby, just for my own enjoyment, with no plans at all to even attempt publishing.  After about ten novels in sci-fi, fantasy and thriller, my son urged me to have some others read them so I joined a beta group via one of the online writer groups. I won't say which one (not this one) because it was a horribly negative experience. However, out of the four beta reads I actually got, two of them urged me to polish a couple of novels and attempt publishing. So, I thought I would give it a go and see what happened.
As far as my writing process, I have used several, ranging from having a basic plot idea and letting free range subconscious flow, to full-blown plot and character development in scene-by-scene, chapter by chapter. A full novel, from idea inception to third draft generally takes about six to ten months depending on my workload from my job and at home in the yard.

The fun part about writing as a hobby was that it gave me the freedom to experiment with pushing limits.  I made some big mistakes but was so entrenched by the time I was done, it was very hard to hear a beta-reader say "What were you thinking?"
But, I listen, and I edit and make some big changes, and find out they were right - their advice did make a better novel.   

James
« Last Edit: June 04, 2018, 07:11:33 AM by jherit01 »

Offline Munley

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Re: New Website Launched
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2018, 11:12:00 AM »
I love the layout of your web site. There is plenty of "white space" in each section, so the information doesn't feel overwhelmingly crammed on the screen. It is very inviting and easy on the eyes. The photo is great, too.

A little on content:

I love the span of famous writer quotes with their variations in tone and remarks.

On the novels you've written:
   I like the way you've divided them by genre. The short summaries are really well done. Anyone considering being a Beta reader for you would have something solid to consider.

On the Beta Reader's section, I like the way you are so clear about what your expectations are, and how you list them without sounding like a curmudgeon.
      The section on applying to be a Beta reader sounds a bit stern and one-sided in terms of mutuality, should someone want to exchange manuscripts. All you say to someone who might want you to read their book is "If you are interested in swapping beta-reader services, I am open to that. Care must be taken to ensure neither is ‘taking advantage’ of the other." And this follows detailed concerns about plagiarism and having a reader not steal your work in a way that adds up to a high feeling of mistrust on your part. These are legitimate concerns and it's good that you state them. But you don't come off as realizing the other writer faces the same risks and reassuring them that you will honor their concerns. I trust that you would honor them.
     I'm just commenting on the wording -- how one-sided this particular section of the web page sounds. Plus, your willingness to look at the other writer's work in exchange comes off as an afterthought, in case they bring it up, rather than as welcome to do an exchange, even though you express in other paragraphs that you have done exchanges and  the benefits of doing that. The last paragraph sounds like more of a lecture to all writers on how they should all be beta readers.

My suggestions:
Include among the bolded items listed on what you want to know when someone applies to be a Beta reader for you, a bolded item on whether they would like you to read their manuscript, any specifics they'd like a reader to pay attention to, a little information on the story/genre, and any concerns they might have. This sounds like you're really willing to consider an exchange up front, and that you realize they would have expectations, as well.

One line I bristled at in the Application section was "If accepted, I will provide a copy of the novel you have selected, and expect a full response within one month." You might soften the tone a bit, while still being firm, by saying something like:
If accepted, I will provide a copy of the novel you have selected. Unless we come to some other agreement, I expect a full response within one month."

Of course you shouldn't say that unless you really are willing, and in a position to, go to 5 or 6 weeks under certain circumstances. This alternate time frame should be agreed upon in advance. You could always decline a time range that would not work for you. But a little mutuality and negotiation sounds more inviting than what is written there now.

Hope this helps.


« Last Edit: June 04, 2018, 11:38:52 AM by Munley »

Offline blackhat

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Re: New Website Launched
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2018, 10:36:14 AM »
Thanks for the clarifications, James. It sounds like you're quite prolific. I admire that. It takes me a couple of years per title to turn things out. My only suggestion is to choose the one or two books that you are most confident of and try to query them with agents who represent the genre. Best of luck.

Offline jherit01

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Re: New Website Launched
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2018, 06:39:53 AM »
Munley,

Thanks for your in-depth response on the website, and particularly on the wording recommendations you provided. I had not realized my wording is so stark. You are right, and I will definitely make some changes there.

Very valuable suggestions!

Thank you, so much for your time and effort in responding.


Offline Munley

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Re: New Website Launched
« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2018, 04:29:41 PM »
You're welcome. Glad it helped. Overall, I think it's a good site for your purposes and also a good example for other writers thinking of making a website.