Blog Design - Series + A Question

Monday, September 21, 2015
part one: the question.

I just felt like shouting that don't question why.

I've been visiting a lot of blogs lately, and the FIRST thing you notice is their design. Blog designs (to me) are like judging a book by it's cover, and I, unfortunately, judge blogs by their designs.

Two blogs I ran across a couple days ago (The Vinyl Notebook and Six Impossible Things) really impressed me by their designs. Like I-don't-want-to-leave-this-blog-because-I-love-their-design-so-much designs. Go visit them and see for yourself! Both are very simple, but I think the simplicity makes it stand out.

Visiting those blogs made me go study my blog and it's design, and though I like some parts of it, I think it needs some changes. For example, the title of my blog: "A Writer's Faith" doesn't prominently stand out in the header. And the text on the sidebar is rather hard to read because of the red color.

So I decided to create a new design.

Don't worry! I haven't changed it suddenly without telling anyone -- I want you guys to have the final say in this, because you are the ones reading and looking at my blog. Besides my hundreds of visits checking for new comments.

I want you all to head on over to sample blog I created, a writer's faith designand go take a look. I won't be using this blog in the future -- no need to follow or comment since I'll probably delete it in a few weeks (or make it private for testing coding/designing things. Just go take a look, namely at the sidebar and the way things are positioned, and then come back here and vote on the poll below to tell me which blog design you like best! My current one, or the one over at a writer's faith design.

No hard feelings if you like the old/current one best... just wanted to try something new and incorporate my favorite color a bit more. *wink*

ALSO, do remember that I whipped up the new design in a day, so it's not the finished version, just take a look at the design in general. ;)

Which Design is Your Favorite? free polls

(This is my first poll, guys. I feel so official.)
(Also if the poll doesn't some up for some super odd and random reason, here's a link:
(Also the suggestions could be something like: I like the design, but you should change the header/sidebar.) 
(I should really stop with the parenthesis.)
(Hahaha kidding.)
(No seriously I'm gonna stop now.) 

What are you waiting for? GO VOTE! I will give you treats if you do. *nods*

part two: the series.

Now for the next announcement thingy. (I sound so much like I know what I'm doing. "Thingy?" Greaat, Katie.)

SINCE I have been visiting tons of blogs and fixing up blog design details on my blog, I'm going to create a new blog series. *ooooh* On blog design. *even more ooooh*


easy blogger tutorials for the blogspot blogger!
(Sorry, Wordpress users...)

More on this will come later, but mainly I'm linking to things that would be beneficial to bloggers with their design. Because every blogger wants a nice design, and it only takes a little bit of work to make that happen. ;) 

So, look out for this! 

Over and out. *salutes*

- Katie Grace

DID YOU VOTE?! What did you think? Tell me alll your thoughts even if you absolutely hated it. :p
What have you been working on with blogging/writing/reading this week?

How You Can Help Your Beta Readers

Friday, September 4, 2015
Recently, Aimee and Young Writer's Treehouse posted about beta reading, and I would like to add in my thoughts. 

I've beta read quite a few novels this past year, and each of them have had very different approaches in this "beta reading" thing. They all worked for me, but I had things I liked and didn't like about each process (or at least for some of the processes). 

If you're going to have beta readers or are needing beta readers in the near future, take notes and bookmark this! Beta readers are doing you a hugeeee favor, and it's good to make things easy for them. 


tell them exactly what you are looking for.

This is VERY important. Are you looking for: 

  1. General comments in an email at the end? 
  2. Comments after every chapter? 
  3. Reader reactions? 
  4. Line by line edits? 
I feel like everyone's definition of beta reading is a little different, so make sure you KNOW what you want from your beta readers, and don't be afraid to say it bluntly. If you want comments after every chapter of what they did and didn't like, mention that. Beta readers won't do it on their own.

give them a deadline.

You probably want the novel back by a certain point. Your beta readers are probably busy. If you don't give them a deadline, it could very well be that you won't get it back for a few months. Make it a reasonable deadline, at least a week or two, preferably more. Most of your beta readers are going to be other writers, and they have deadlines of their own.

on asking questions.

I really, really, REALLY like it when someone I'm beta reading for has a list of specific questions for me to answer once I'm done with the novel. This benefits for both the author and the beta reader because:
  1. the beta readers doesn't have to try to cover EVERYTHING they liked and didn't like.
  2. the author can get the specific questions answered they're wondering about. 

sending the questions.

  1. In an email. 
  2. through a Google Form. (I thought this was neat, the answers being anonymous and all. *shrug*)
  3. Invite them to a Google Document.
  4. Attach a Word Document.
I personally like knowing what questions are going to be asked before I beta read so I can be thinking about it throughout the whole novel. Then my answers aren't just "It was all good," answers. :p

the questions themselves.

Again, everyone does this different ways. Two people I beta read for didn't even ask questions. (It's hard when that happens, so please, I beg you, send questions)

The other two people I beta read for kept it within 10-20 questions, and this is a good range to keep it in. Your beta readers just read your whole novel, and it takes time to answer a bunch of questions. So keep it short, keep the possible answers concise, and make sure to create a list beforehand so you have it ready.

offer something in return.

This isn't needed, but it's always nice to have someone offer to beta read/critique your novel in the future. Or you could guest post on their blog. Or if they loved your novel SO much, offer them a chance to beta read again in the future. xD

thank them.

This might seem obvious, but I've not always been thanked. And when I take a good chunk out of my day when I could be writing or blogging or editing, not being thanked makes me feel like my efforts to do a good job aren't worthwhile. 

So if you appreciate their feedback or not, THANK THEM! Just do it. Two words. It doesn't take long.

- - -

Once I use beta readers of my own (shooting for February! :D), I'll write up a post on how beta readers can help those they're beta reading for, so look forward to that though it's far away. :p 

- Katie Grace 

Have you used beta readers before? Experiences? Thoughts? Anything else to add to this list? 
OH! And how many beta readers do you think one should have?!