I have a couple of things I've been stewing about lately, and maybe you can help me out. I know some of you have dealt with these issues, and I'm wondering how your decisions worked out.
First lets talk about themes. I've used the wonderful Pilcrow theme since the day I started blogging. It does a couple of things I really like. I change my background monthly. I get a lot of comments about the wallpaper, and want to keep doing this. I like the continuity of my mother's antique inkwell too. Finally, this theme allows for a decent sidebar.
My sidebar data is important, but also causing the problem. I like the top posts and pages, along with the categories. Readers can sample what was popular here, or play in a category that filters the content down to what they enjoy. I like the link to free readers, and the RSS data. This brings me to the linked book covers.
The covers and links are the reason this blog exists in the first place. I get daily action out of them. Today it all works, but I want to put two new titles out by the end of the year. Some of you have another page to promote your wares. I'd like to know how this works for you. I will always have some covers in my sidebar, but I can't have all of them. Should I move some of them over to a different page? Is this like a death sentence for the older works?
I scouted out a new theme that has a slider. It also had all the other options I wanted like changing backgrounds. The slider is like a bar that includes links. My covers could be links to the purchase sites. Just about the time I decided to make the plunge, WordPress stopped using this theme. I don't find themes to be really intuitive to set up. Other themes have a slider, but the instructions to set them up are limited and confusing. This is a WordPress.com site, so I need one of the free themes. Any suggestions? I'm not changing my theme if I wind up using a separate book page. I'm also terrified to lose all the work I've put into my site and would have to rebuild it from scratch if the new one disappointed me.
My next question isn't related to the first ones, but is on my mind. I'm really excited about my upcoming book of short stories and micro fiction. I have a hunch I'd like to do it again, and have a couple really fun ideas.
Last year, I ran a little event that I called Macabre Macaroni during October. I posted a micro fiction every Thursday in October that had a Halloween basis. It was a popular event, and this popularity is what led me to consider a book of shorts. So… Do I waste a few stories to do it again in 2015? This would force me to pick and choose what I hold back and what I post on the blog.
Should I just put myself out there and run Macabre Macaroni again? The risk is I would only feel comfortable adding one of these to the next book of shorts. It would probably be the first one in the book, so it could be served up as the free sample on Amazon.
Maybe I could invite others to send a Macabre Macaroni and run your stories. I could participate, but in a lesser fashion. It's not impossible to collaborate on some stories with other writers too. There is still time. What would you do? I can always continue business as usual, and hopefully I'll be pushing the book of shorts then. It was a fun event, but maybe it has to disappear during these growing pains.
This post is kind of revealing. I plan this stuff out. (Who knew?) October is months away, but it takes time to write these stories. I try hard to present an intriguing site that people enjoy. I still want people to sample my wares, and don't really want them buried on a second page. I'm at the point where I may have to put the newer works on top, and let enthusiastic folks find the older stories.
Growing pains were inevitable at some point. I'm at that point, and I'll bet some of you know an answer or two. I appreciate you guys, and really would like some input.