New & Improved at Novel Novice

book-blogging

Welcome to the new and (we think) improved Novel Novice!

(If it looks the same to you … well, give it time. We JUST redirected the URL this morning, and it can take a few hours for every corner of the Interwebs to update.)

Yes, we’ve got a bit of a new look going on … we also just migrated from WordPress.com to WordPress.org — which means a lot of behind the scenes content has changed (or will be changing), for the better.

The tools we now have available allow us to offer you up-to-date indexes of our book reviews (including break-outs for YA, middle grade, and children’s), as well as author interviews, desktop wallpapers, classroom ideas, lesson plans, and educational content, event coverage, features, guest posts, and more!

Please bear with us as we update all of our old posts to work with the new indexing feature — it will take a little time to get everything listed, but once we do, all new content will become part of the index automatically. I’ve currently got reviews going back to about December 2014 updated for the index. So only 5 more years of reviews to manually update … OY!

You’ll also notice subtle differences — like our ability (finally!) to embed our Rafflecopter forms directly into our posts, rather than linking to another site.

Big shout-out to Ashley at Nose Graze for handling the migration and answering all of my (many) mundane questions about WordPress.org, her amazing Ultimate Book Blogger Plug-In, and the minutiae of personalizing her Tweak Me v2 theme. (That’s the design of the site!) I feel like I’ve spent the last month bombarding her with the stupidest questions, but she always responds promptly and acts as if I actually know what I’m doing. (Thank you, Ashley!!!)

Also, a big thanks to my brother for his input on the design of our new look, and for creating our new site background.He actually created our gorgeous logo a few years ago, and was incredibly helpful as I put together our new color scheme. Check out Brian Gundell Graphic Design for more of his wicked design talent.

We also, obviously, took advantage of the change to update our look. I’ve moved away from our old, photo-heavy graphics to a cleaner, simpler design based on our classic Novel Novice logo and a new color scheme:

NN-2016-design

With all of these changes, I’ve also taken the opportunity to rethink my strategy when it comes to blog content. I’m only one person, and as my personal life has gotten busier (with a husband, a house, a niece, my job, etc.) — I’ve found it harder and harder to maintain the same level of content production as I used to when Novel Novice first launched. But I’ve also wanted to add & enrich the content we’re producing.

So here’s what WON’T be changing:

  • You’ll still see lots of book reviews — primarily for YA, but also for select middle grade and children’s books
  • Lots of great contests
  • Fantastic blog tours
  • A regular title chosen as our Book of the Month
  • New releases listed every Tuesday

Here’s what IS changing:

  • Streamlined Book of the Month posts: I’ve been struggling to keep up with book of the month since the Novel Novice “staff” dwindled down to be just my lonesome self. The new Book of the Month will still spotlight a fantastic new title, but with fewer, more meaningful posts.
  • A stronger focus on seasonal content and/or themed feature posts (lists, infographics, tutorials, etc.)
  • More desktop wallpapers & similar downloads! We know you guys love these, and we’ve been slacking on producing new ones for you in the last few years. We want to change that!
  • Novel Novice Junior is no longer limited to monthly posts. We actually quietly started this practice last month. As our coverage of picture books has grown, our access to review books has, too. So we’re happily expanding our coverage in order to be able to feature even more great titles for kids!

And here’s what’s new:

  • Automatically updated, alphabetical indexes/archives of ALL reviews, as well as a number of other popular features. (Give us a little time to get all of these indexes/archives updated — as there is some extensive, behind-the-scenes re-configuring that needs to take place first! Moving forward, all new posts will be added to the index/archive automatically.)
  • Lifestyle content on weekends: look for the occasional non-book post on Saturdays or Sundays, including a few posts re-purposed from my short-lived spin-off lifestyle website.
  • A push towards more fun, book-related content that offers a more robust experience beyond the expected reviews, interviews, contests, etc.

We hope you’re as excited about these changes as we are, and we invite you to look around & discover what the new Novel Novice has to offer. And please “pardon our dust,” as we work on the back-end to finish making some updates & adjustments to get all the new, fabulous tools working at full speed. (I invite you to drop me a note in the comments below or via email at sara.novelnovice@outlook.com if you notice anything not working quite right!)

Thanks & cheers & love,
Sara

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