Michael Forman

Michael Forman
Author, Singer, Actor, Photographer. This is where I scratch out things between writing books.

Monday, 28 March 2016

New Theme: AccessPress Store

I told you it'd happen. I told you!

New Theme

The theme I was using (W/press 2014 Theme - w/Mod) on my Neo-Noir book site just wasn't cutting it. I had minor problems here and there... and in the end I called in the troops. "Let's yank it down and start again boys!"

The issue that keeps entering into things is a theme's compatibility to work with mobile devices - the way it re-configures the layouts for each screen it's viewed on and the way a device is held. Just when you think you've covered everything, a new problem arises.

My problem is: I want too much.
The previous theme

For the last few years, I've been using themes that have three columns and a tonne of add-ins. I was always expecting to find one that will look good on a tiny phone. The fact is, three columns can't look good on any small device. The text shrinks, the columns break away from the page and then everything goes to hell in a hand-basket!

The easy answer was to simplify things. Use fewer columns or no columns at all. There's no need to divide a page into so many segments. Use what is available and stop standing one's ground and expecting the Theme-makers to yield and provide a three-columned miracle!

Reality dictates here... and less should be more. More isn't better, well-thought out pages with realistic design expectations is better. If one can't beat it, work with simplicity and then move forward.

Typography matters more in a novelist's web-site than images anyway. Images are important too but they shouldn't overpower the real product trying to be sold. If the image content breach a sensible level, a good reader will steer away from the site fearing it's author is missing the point or trying to deceive him into buying copy with some razzle-dazzle instead of good storytelling. So, in the new site, text fronts it and, the images, (on smaller screens) falls-in behind. In other words, the important things load first and go to the top of the screen and the supplemental content loads second, dropping to a space where a reader will scroll towards in the seconds that follow loading. With luck, this will overcome so of the issues I've come across since installing the old theme.

The other big issue is WooCommerce. Not all themes work with it. Displaying and working with products handled by the big Woo is challenging for some themes. Products sometimes get tossed around and put in unusual places on a page. Some products don't appear at all while other WP-Themes give up and stop running completely. My WP 2014 theme handled most of it okay but the shop only displayed one product at a time. Well, that wasn't right. It gave the impression there was only one thing for sale!

I know I haven't got a huge back catalogue to display on my site yet but I do have another book coming out shortly. When it does become available, I'd like for it to appear on the shop page with the other two products I already have there. I can't have it hidden in behind a 'next' button and put it several clicks away from the shop front! I want to see it NOW, in the glass cabinet beside the others!

When I go to anyone else's site and click shop or search, I  see products. I kinda expect to see more than one product... or one product per pagee. I kinda expect to be using a search-filter of some sort to screen out the stuff I'm not searching for. Surely, there's room on ANY page for more than just one product, I'm sure there is. SO! Out you go 2014 -  in you come Woo-friendly AccessPress Store.

On the issue of the new novel:

It's first draft will be wound up this week. It goes to a proof-reader... and then, if all is good, it will go to the printer in June or July. I'll be using the same publisher as before so expect to see the title appear in Amazon and Kindle first. We'll provide a link on the site for our regular readers just as soon as it goes live.

It's been a great journey writing this story. It's frightening and a bit gory in places but that's what my stories are like. SEETHINGS went to a nasty place and so will this one. It moves a fair bit faster than the former; set predominantly on the waters of Moreton Bay and Moreton Island. You'll feel the sun on your skin and the sand between your toes. And then you'll see an expanding pool of blood surrounding a sailing boat anchored just offshore. 
Moreton Bay with Moreton Island and the nearby shipwrecks.

There's plenty of sex to be had, some murder and a mysteriously strange set of new characters to meet at the local marina.

What's the title?

Come on! I can't tell you everything! I have to give you a reason to come back!