Books, news, & views from Karen Traviss

A coat of paint

I've revamped my web site. There's a lot of paint everywhere and I've tested everything by plugging it into the mains and kicking it a bit, but if you find anything broken or patches I've missed, let me know. *

I'd meant to give the site a facelift ages ago, but the treadmill was going too fast for me to get off and fix things. I've made the time now. I was also motivated by the regular verbal slapping I get from my good friend Technomarvel Sean, who does this stuff for a living, and checks up on me from time to time to urge me to get all modern and redesign the thing. I'm currently huddled in a corner awaiting a note pointing out my HTML shortcomings. My only defence is that I've made a lot of progress since the Geocities days. I've commissioned web sites for others, but building them is another matter.

Now it's done, it's become what we PR weasels call "a soft launch." I'm no longer tied to fixed street dates for my books, at least for the moment, so I don't have to synchronise watches and make everything happen like a beachhead landing. The books will go on sale, and stay on sale indefinitely instead of scrambling for survival in the brief window of opportunity like newly-hatched turtles. There's a short life cycle for books, even those that get promoted; on sale, pimped or not pimped, and then off the shelves within months, weeks, or even hours in some locations. So you end up buying books that are more than six months to a year old in e-book format or by ordering the physical edition anyway. All that brief kerfuffle in bricks and mortar in the middle seems a bit odd when you take the long term view of the life of a book, which is pretty well forever.

Once you remove that from the equation, though, and you're in charge of your own production schedule, life becomes very different. The peaks-and-troughs, roller coaster, Toblerone-shaped graph of periodic deadlines has given way to a steady-state one of goes-when-ready. I'm an old journo: we exist for deadlines. I thought I'd get withdrawal symptoms, but I've not reached the stage of wanting to inject adrenaline into my eyeballs yet. We shall see.

As far as web design goes, I'm an anti-scrolling type – I want to see an entire page that fits the screen resolution and just drill down through layers of links. But I've given in to the trend for long pages because it's easier for tablets and phones. It's a good point. So that's what I've gone with.

(*E-mail link at the foot of the sidebar. I'm stuck with that formatting at the moment, but it still beats Captcha.)