This month, I’m getting to participate (although somewhat late thanks to Pres. George Washington having another birthday) in CSFF’s blog tour. On Deck we have Jeff Gerke’s Wherethemapends.com
First, if you don’t like gateway pages, you’ll want to enter the site at the main page.
What else I noticed about, or on, this site, in order:
1) Killer graphics (one of which you’ll miss if you skip the gateway page). That alone is reason enough to take a peek. I’d love to copy some over for you, but none were provided with the tour, so you’ll have to visit to understand. The best part? Not only does this site have a design destined to visually delight fans of speculative fiction, it manages at the same time to look professional and tastefully done, this is not “visual overload” graphics, but a good clean design, and fastloading, too (on DSL).
2) The newsletter sign up box has been wisely placed in the upper right of the page, but also doesn’t fit in the sidebar comfortably.
3) I’m willing to bet (or I would if I were the gambling sort) the speculative fiction fans among us that Gerke has interviewed someone you eagerly read cover to cover.
4) Frank Peretti also lives in Idaho, but on the other end of the state. That explains a few things.
5) The graphical version of his book list (the red pill) loads very, very, very slowly and generally moves slower than mollasses. In fact, none of the graphics actually loaded 🙁 The blue pill (links only), however, works perfectly. I’d suggest the problem may lie partly in an overzealous effort to list every christian speculative novel known to Jeff Gerke on the same page. Still, if you’re looking for a new work in this genre, this would be a great place to discover it.
6) I should have given myself way more time to fully explore this site, because there is far more here. The tools for writers are especially cool.
7) Two words: book excerpts.
8)Gerke placed his about-me section much lower on the sidebar than they normally are placed. Humility?
9)Gerke uses a pen name, though I’m not sure which is his real name. It doesn’t make much sense to me why authors use both a pen name and their real names proffessionally. To me, a pen name is like a superhero name and a statement like, “Jane Doe, writing as Janet Smith” would be like Clark Kent placing on his business card, “AKA Superman.” Of course, I see it that way because the only reason I’d personally use a pen name would be for the same reasons the legendary Mr. Kent “became” Superman.
10) His link to gospelsims.com is broken, much to my disappointment.
Ten’s a nice round number to stop with, but I don’t think I’ve quite plumbed the dephs of this site yet. If this is your genre, wherethemapends.com is a real treasure find.
Be sure to check out the side bar menu for the CSFF and visit the some of the other sites participating in the tour this month.
Party going on at: Adam’s BlogÂ
Hi, Andrea. Thanks for the great investigation of the site. And thanks for pointing your readers to http://www.WhereTheMapEnds.com.
I’d like to invite you and your readers to return to the site on March 1 when I roll out the collaborative fiction project. SF aliens are invading a fantasy world! Come choose your side and help us write the story.
I appreciate the careful and technical look you took at my site. I’d like to address your points and possibly enlist your help in improving the site.
1) Thank you. The site design and the splash screen were created by Kirk DouPonce of http://www.DogEaredDesign.com. The banner graphic is by Christian artist Frank Hettick (www.skyhighgallery.com).
2) I can’t figure out why the newsletter signup doesn’t fit in the column. Perhaps you can help me with that. In Microsoft Expressions Web Designer it fits fine. But when it posts it doesn’t fit. I’ve messed with the width settings for what I think is the right spot in the html, but it has no effect. The Google ads should be better centered than they are, too. Any help?
3) That’s probably a safe bet.
5) I don’t understand why none of the graphics loaded for you. No one else has contacted me with that complaint. Sorry for the inconvenience. As for it being an overzealous effort, perhaps. But the idea is to provide as exhaustive as possible a list of Christian speculative fiction.
6) Thank you. The site has become very help-the-aspiring-novelist heavy, an unexpected evolution that I’m actually quite happy about.
7) How about four words: “Otherwise unavailable book excerpts”? Several of the special features I’ve posted can’t be found anywhere else.
8 ) [blushes]
9) My real name is Jefferson Scott Gerke. When I was known primarily as a writer, I used my pen name, Jefferson Scott, in most of my communications of this sort. When I then became somewhat known as an editor by my real name, I used that, as well. At this point I’d say that more people know me by my real name than my pen name, though that’s not how things began. Now I actually have to tell people that I have written some novels and that I’ve done so under a pen name.
10) I don’t think the link is broken–I think the site went away. I did check it out before posting it originally, but didn’t know GospelSims had apparently gone under in the interim. I still like pointing to Christian machinema, simply because lots of people have never heard of it.
I hope you do poke around on the site some more, Andrea. You have a good eye for this kind of critique.
This is a great post because then the lazy (ie. me) can just click on what interests us! 🙂 Thanks!
What a great post Andrea! Thanks so much for participating with this tour.
Hey, Andrea, great critique of this site. I hadn’t tried the red pill because I am still on dial-up, and after reading this I am SO glad.
If you think of it, I’d appreciate you adding two more links–participants I inadvertently left off: Nicole and Wayne Thomas Batson.
sorry, Becky, things have been hectic around here lately. I’ll get those added.
You’re welcome everyone, and thank you 🙂
Gerke: I’m no expert, but I think there would be two places to adjust width settings: the column width for the sidebar (which is apparently wider than the image behind it) and the table width on the object itself. If neither does the trick, perhaps you could look at widening the sidebar area on the background image? That’s what I’d look at next.
A site going away and my readers clicking through to a domain holding page meets my definition of a broken link, and probably most readers as well. I’d find a link that goes somewhere interesting for the gospel sims or hold a funeral at sea for the link.
On the graphics–I don’t know why the page didn’t load, either. I was there a few weeks ago and it loaded fine. This time it messed up royally for some reason. At first I thought it my connection going awry, so I tried reloading, but no go. No image loaded at all, just the text on white. Really weird. I checked it again just now and got the same thing. I’m wondering if the connection is timing out before the images load. Btw, I didn’t mean the effort to list every Christian speculative novel known to Jeff Gerke is overzealous, that’s a great idea. It’s the on a single page part that I question. I’d suggest doing this page over 2-4, perhaps one page per section, with a “next” button at the bottom of each page, somewhat like how online magazines sometimes break up a long article. That would make that section load faster.
Reading the answer on the pen name thing, that gives insight on why some say they’re not a good idea 🙂
And thank you to everyone for stopping in 🙂
Wow! That’s quite a comprehensive list. I’m impressed! I think my review of the site was much more rambling and disorderly… 🙂
I agree about the graphics on Where the Map Ends, too. They’re great.
Thank you, Nicole. Appreciate that. Everyone has their own style and approach, don’t worry about that. I can ramble with the best of ’em sometimes.
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