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Critique my PB website please

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Hi everyone,

If you have a moment, could you pop on over to http://alanhjordan.com and give me your impressions?

I'm trying something different here--information about of of my published children's books with an emphasis placed on manuscripts that are under development.

The video section is just placeholders.

I'm interested in your reactions to:
* The home page (which displays several different images with links)
* The general concept
* Any and all suggestions and comments

Feel free to be blunt. You won't hurt my feelings.

Thanks in advance,
Alan
#1 - January 04, 2017, 10:45 AM

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Hi Alan!  Just a couple of quick thoughts - the second "slide" on your homepage when you click through has white writing that is hard to read against the white writing in the background.  Also, I think you have five slides and only four marker bubbles at the bottom.  (probably not the technical terms for these...)

I do love all the colors you use!
#2 - January 04, 2017, 11:47 AM

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Thank you, Becca.
#3 - January 04, 2017, 12:06 PM

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Hi Alan, I tried to check out your website, but it's not coming up. It keeps changing to another link and then going blank. Maybe it's just bad timing and you're in the middle of changing the homepage address? Not sure, but thought I'd let you know in case others are having the same problem.
#4 - January 05, 2017, 12:00 PM
CALL ME AMY (Luminis Books, 2013)
AMY'S CHOICE (Luminis Books, 2014)
ROLLER BOY (Fitzroy Books, 2018)
www.marciastrykowski.com
Twitter: @MarciaStry

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Thank you! It looks like there is a technical problem. Could you please try http://ahj.Max-opp.com? I had to wait (an unacceptable) six seconds.  Thanks for letting me know about this.

The URL is supposed to redirect to it.
#5 - January 05, 2017, 12:54 PM

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Looks like it works better with Chrome.  I really appreciate your telling me about the issue.

#6 - January 05, 2017, 12:57 PM

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Hi Alan,

Your web site is so colorful and engaging!

I noticed a tiny typo where it looks like you were deciding between See and View: "Click image to see view polished manuscript previews."

Best wishes!
 :star2
#7 - January 05, 2017, 02:30 PM

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Thank you Sarah.  Do you happen to remember the page where you saw this error?  I looked on the Polished Manuscripts page, and didn't see it.

Also, can you please tell me if the site loaded quickly for you?

Warmly,
Alan
#8 - January 05, 2017, 02:51 PM

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Hi Alan,

Your site loaded quickly on my iPad mini.  :)

When I clicked through the screen panels using the right arrow key, the third image shows two people joyfully jumping in silhouette with the full moon behind them. The text beneath the main headline reads, "I strive to engage the imagination and to provide a sense of joy."

Best wishes!
 :star2
#9 - January 05, 2017, 03:25 PM

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Hi Alan! I like the bright colors and images on your website. I'm on my desktop PC using Firefox and the site loaded quickly for me.

I'll be honest, initially I didn't like the site at all, because it was very hard to read. All the text was on top of illustrations.

Eventually, I decided to make the page smaller. And guess what, several of the pages no longer had the text on top of the illustrations and were much easier to read. The second page, as Becca said, was still not optimal. I would suggest that you try viewing the pages with different magnifications to see how they look, since you don't know what kind of magnification people visiting your site will be using. I would also suggest that on your home page you consider putting the "Alan H. Jordan, Children's Book Author" against the solid blue sky background instead of on top of the illustrations. IMO, you want your name and title to stand out, not be something that people are to spend time figuring out.

I hope this is helpful information for you.

I didn't try clicking on any of the pages, so I don't know about the rest of the site.

#10 - January 05, 2017, 07:57 PM

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Thank you Butterfly Girl and EV.
#11 - January 05, 2017, 10:43 PM

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Hi Alan, I finally got to see your website (after switching to a different computer). It must have been the browser. At any rate--looks great, lots of color and action. Your five year goal is extremely optimistic, best of luck with that!
p.s. I noticed the same tiny typo Butterfly Girl mentioned.
#12 - January 12, 2017, 07:00 AM
CALL ME AMY (Luminis Books, 2013)
AMY'S CHOICE (Luminis Books, 2014)
ROLLER BOY (Fitzroy Books, 2018)
www.marciastrykowski.com
Twitter: @MarciaStry

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I think it is a technical problem that was caused by relocating a staging folder.  I'm trying to fix it because the site is much less responsive using Chrome than it was previously.

The duplicate word and the positioning of the second slide have been fixed.

Marcia,
Can you please tell me what browser you were using?
#13 - January 12, 2017, 08:24 AM

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Alan, your link didn't yield anything on IE, so I switched to chrome. It's very nice! I suggest there may be a little "too much" there, and some elegant culling would work well. Think of what is most essential to you and who you are reaching. No one else can tell you what that is.
You also need to solve the technical issue of the different internet browsers. Many people the world over still use IE. I also tried Edge (Microsoft's new replacement for IE) and got the same no-show. It only has a tiny mustard colored oval with the word HOME on it, that if I click on it leads to nothing.

Jan 13--
Editing to add that I re-checked and it's now working on the three browsers I use: Chrome, IE, and Edge.

Content-wise, I wonder if you really want to leave your goal as "write five best selling PB" etc. Goals depend on what is up to you, and writing is. best-selling is not. That belongs to " aspirations."

Good luck, Alan. It's a joyful site.
#14 - January 12, 2017, 01:58 PM
« Last Edit: January 13, 2017, 11:01 AM by 217mom »
THE VOICE OF THUNDER, WiDo Publishing Aug 2012
THERE'S A TURKEY AT THE DOOR, Hometown520 July 2011

www.mirkabreen.com
http://mirkabreen.BlogSpot.com

I'm being a dolt, Alan...bear with me.

Under your Polished Manuscript section, are they WIPs? That's what a polished ms is to my mind. If so, it's unpubbed...yet there it is to read, and agents/editors look unfavorably even on critique posts with too much of the ms printed. (Are you self-pubbed?)

Nice site. Good job.
#15 - January 12, 2017, 03:57 PM
Imagination is more important than knowledge. Einstein.

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Yes. They are WIPs. Parts of it are there to read.  That's easily changed. Would you just place a description instead of an excerpt. I could put only a pitch here.

#16 - January 12, 2017, 04:33 PM
« Last Edit: January 12, 2017, 04:40 PM by alan-jordan »

What's the purpose of posting a WIP on your site?

And posting a description of a WIP would serve what purpose?
#17 - January 12, 2017, 05:06 PM
Imagination is more important than knowledge. Einstein.

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It's related to a marketing plan. I'm interested in building a fan base before my books are published. Over the next year I plan to use this site to build a fan base. Part of that fan base will be built by working with teachers who use Google Hangouts as a teaching aid, part of it will be built by creating a series of video courses and part of it will be done through collaboration with other authors. See http://helpanauthorwrite.com, which redirects to a page on this site for the moment.  (You, and anyone else reading this) are invited to participate.

Please keep in mind that these sites are a work in progress and will be refined.

Update:
I added one more manuscript to the polished list. (http://ahj.max-opp.com/category/manuscript-types/polished-manuscripts/)
I shortened the length of excerpts.
I added one more image to the opening carousel.

#18 - January 12, 2017, 06:15 PM
« Last Edit: January 12, 2017, 07:30 PM by alan-jordan »

How about adding free stories to your site to build that audience instead of WIPs?
#19 - January 13, 2017, 03:02 AM
Imagination is more important than knowledge. Einstein.

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Hmmm. I don't see the advantage of adding free stories that are not polished, and if they are polished, doesn't it make sense to send them out for publication instead of giving them away for free? It takes me a long time to write a short story.

If you feel it that agents and editors will not appreciate having the information that I've currently exposed, I'm open to just putting in a brief description and taking out any excerpts.

Posting a description of a WIP serves the purpose of allowing a reader (agent, editor, teacher who might use a WIP in a classroom to help me refine it by getting children's input, etc.) to select a piece that appeals to them.
#20 - January 13, 2017, 10:25 AM
« Last Edit: January 13, 2017, 10:27 AM by alan-jordan »

Indeed, it takes a long to write a short story, and I agree that if it's polished enough, send it out. I asked how you felt about freebies b/c I've seen them offered on some websites. Thing is, of those I read, they were poorly written and as such, did not produce the response they desired:  for this reader to purchase their pubbed works (self or traditional).

I'm hoping others chime in here with their knowledge about how much is too much to put on your site.

I'm still stumped how a description of a story helps someone select a piece if the piece isn't offered in full, but my neurons aren't firing well these days.
#21 - January 13, 2017, 10:44 AM
Imagination is more important than knowledge. Einstein.

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Imagine that you are a teacher. Imagine that I have invited you to visit my website and select a story for you to share with your class to discuss how it might be improved. Imagine that you are an art teacher and that you will ask your students to do an illustration.  (Grades 4-12).  Imagine that on a Friday I do a Hangouts visit with the class.  How much information would you need to select a manuscript to use with your class?

Now, imagine that a year from now I've done this with 30 classes. Would you say that the site has helped me to build a good author's platform?

Does that help? I'm not saying I'm right. It's just my vision.
#22 - January 13, 2017, 12:27 PM

Got it. They'll feel invested, feel some ownership.  :goldstar
#23 - January 13, 2017, 03:04 PM
Imagination is more important than knowledge. Einstein.

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And maybe even spread the word.  I'm having major issues trying to fix the IE / Edge issue.  Thinking of putting up a special page that asks people to use Chrome until it is fixed.
#24 - January 13, 2017, 03:48 PM

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Hello everyone.  http://alanhjordan.com should work with all browsers now. It turned out to be problems with plugins and cache.

Thank you very much for calling this to my attention.
#25 - January 14, 2017, 09:13 AM

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Yes! Seems to work on all browsers now, great!
#26 - January 17, 2017, 08:36 AM
CALL ME AMY (Luminis Books, 2013)
AMY'S CHOICE (Luminis Books, 2014)
ROLLER BOY (Fitzroy Books, 2018)
www.marciastrykowski.com
Twitter: @MarciaStry

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Hi Alan! I like the bright colors and images on your website. I'm on my desktop PC using Firefox and the site loaded quickly for me.

I'll be honest, initially I didn't like the site at all, because it was very hard to read. All the text was on top of illustrations.

Eventually, I decided to make the page smaller. And guess what, several of the pages no longer had the text on top of the illustrations and were much easier to read. The second page, as Becca said, was still not optimal. I would suggest that you try viewing the pages with different magnifications to see how they look, since you don't know what kind of magnification people visiting your site will be using. I would also suggest that on your home page you consider putting the "Alan H. Jordan, Children's Book Author" against the solid blue sky background instead of on top of the illustrations. IMO, you want your name and title to stand out, not be something that people are to spend time figuring out.


Hi Ev,


Just a short note to let you know that I'm still trying to do this. It's hard to believe it is so difficult to do, but if I put the text in the illustration, the menu overwrites it.

Alan
#27 - January 17, 2017, 10:41 AM

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Hi Alan,

What an attractive home page you have, colorful and inviting. I love the idea of inviting readers and writers to critique and mentor other writers through the "Help an Author Write". Good luck in your venture.
Anjali

http://bookreviewsgalore.com/

Twitter: @1offering1
#28 - February 11, 2017, 04:16 PM

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