Site Review: A Nail From Which to Hang the Heavens

Hello, everyone!


I'd like to request a review of both my site and its contents. The website itself is A Nail From Which to Hang the Heavens (http://nail.prismaticmedia.com/). So far, I have one completed novel (Child of Man), one nearing the end of its run (Beautiful World), and one that's still early in its development (Bonds of Silver, Bonds of Gold). I'm also about to start work on my fourth. In addition, I have a number of short stories which I use as interstitial material.


I know everyone's time is valuable, and investing it in an untested author can be a gamble, but I hope a few people will be able to take the time to help me out. Thanks in advance for your support and attention.


Sincerely,

Kristina Tracer


The color scheme doesn't echo the gothicness of the title, but the layout is clean and easily readable. The sidebar has a lot of stuff going on, which is distracting. I'm not really sure where to go once I get past the warning -- I was expecting a link at the words "come inside", but it looks like the links on the right are what I'm supposed to click. I'm not sure what the categories at the right mean.


And the warning -- well -- I don't know what to say, really, except that you shouldn't be surprised that people don't want to read about what amounts to bestiality.


Some thoughts on your site design:


- The story text is hard to read because of a small, sans-serif font (serifs like times new roman or georgia are good for long blocks of text) and because of the low contrast between the background colour and the text colour.

- I'm not sure how things are organized. Your "stars/constellations" metaphor is cute, but as a new visitor I have no idea what it means. Where do I go to read a story?

- links should look different from the rest of the text (a different colour, underlined...) so people know where they can click.

- having only top and bottom borders on the sidebar makes the edges look a bit muddy. I'd put borders all the way around.

- tiny thing: "come inside" after the disclaimer doesn't really make sense, because it isn't on a separate splash page so the visitor is already "inside".


As far as the content goes, anthropomorphism in general drives me crazy (you're talking to the only person alive who hated Charlotte's Web and Bambi) so furry stuff isn't my cup of tea, and I can't really judge the quality.


Hi, I hope you find this useful.


I too found it difficult to find your novels. If I stumbled accross your site how would I know there are three different novels? I wouldn't have known if you had not told me in the review request.


It would be useful for me to see clearly on the home page the names of each novel (and short stories) together with a description of each book. I would prefer to see it where the disclaimer and the ads are currently located, but you could stick it in the sidebar.


While we are on the subject of the disclaimer: make it shorter or make people click something to read the disclaimer. I want to know why I SHOULD read your novel, not the possible reasons I may not want to. Ask yourself "is a disclaimer strictly necessary?" I was reading Stephen King when I was 12, it had swearing and violence and scary stuff in it and I don't remember it having a warning on it. If you don't have graphic pictures if someone is old enough to be able to read your work why worry? If it is necessary stick an age advisory warning on it - but don't let it take up the entire front cover of your book, which for me the home page of a site should be. CD's just have a PARENT ADVISORY EXPLICIT CONTENT warning label on them.


I would also prefer the description you do have (under the constellations catagory) to be longer. The one line description was not intriguing enough for me -perhaps you could expand it to a paragraph similar to that you would find on the back cover of a paperback. I need to be enticed in - tell me more about the main character(s) and what peril they are in. If you are still concerned about the disclaimer bit you could make it clear in the discription of each novel what people may expect.


I would also prefer to see an option to read each from the beginning. However lazy it may seem it is a pain to have to scroll down to find the first post, and off putting to have to go back many pages (which to find chapter one on your Child of Man novel you have too). If I was a casual reader I would not bother.


I also find it helpful if at the end of each post there is a "next post" or "next chapter", something I can click which will take me to the next part of your story.


I know you probably want somebody to comment on the quality of your writing but, like the two above me, I don't think it is my thing (which is why a brief synopsis of each tale, may help - because I do read things that aren't my thing, if I am enticed in)


Good luck


This has actually been, for the most part, quite helpful, all of you. I've moved the disclaimer to its own page, easily found but not the main page, and put a longer description of each work in place on the front page in its place. I've done what I can to clean up the contrast, but I'm suspecting I'm going to ultimately have to break down and go with a darker yellow or red for the links; the grey simply doesn't provide enough contrast from either the background or the body text. As for the contents... well, a chacun son gout. Thanks again!


"Is a disclaimer strictly necessary?" Yes. I have my own (small, at the bottom of the first page). It's called "fair warning". People should know what they're getting before they get into it -- and even if they don't care for your content, they will appreciate the respect. It's the lack of respect that really gets people going.