Saturday, January 6, 2018

Saturday News & Notes: Tinkering with the Layout & Archives

I've finally fixed the links on the sides of the blog.  While I was at it, I added a link to the Rival Angels' "Halloween Special" that I wrote for my friend Alan Evans a couple of years ago and added an archives and a "word cloud" to help you navigate the blog's various archived topics.

My very brief stint writing for Rival Angels.
In case you ever wanted to know how I'd do as a
pro-wrestling promoter. 
One of the more challenging tricks to running a "successful" blog is monetizing one's back catalog.  Ideally, your best work should continue to generate clicks--and their associated ad revenue.  I've done okay with it, especially with the short D&D adventures I wrote back in 2015-16.  But while Swimming, D&D, and Army Sports all have tabs, some of other frequent topics--like beer--have long since fallen off the page.

That's a shame because back when there was a Beer tab, it did decent traffic.  I didn't remove it because people didn't like it.  I removed it because I personally found writing about beer to be a monotonous chore.

How many ways can you talk about a "hop forward, citrusy favor with a clean finish"?

I still write about beer--occasionally.  But that's mostly in reference to specific beer events, and we don't go to those often enough for them to merit their own tab.  However, making popular content less searchable was an obviously unwanted, unintended consequence.

Maybe the word cloud will help.  Who knows?

* * *
The thing about my fiction catalog has come up twice in the past two weeks.

The first time, my buddy Ray and I were talking via FB Messenger about West Point movies for a would-be future project.  Ray was worried about listing movies that show the Academy in a negative light while simultaneously wanting to hold the Academy to its own highest standards.  I mentioned that Bronx Angel had hurt some feeling when it first came out, and that this was why I'd switched to writing fantasy.  It's a little easier to tackle sensitive topics with the remove of them being set around faux-Japanese samurai facing down hordes of orcs.  Ray confessed that he hadn't "gotten around to reading" Bronx Angel, which made me laugh, though I didn't convey this through Messenger.

That's okay, Ray.  Reading my stuff has never been a condition of my friendship.

When I went to send him the link, though--like you do--I noticed that the links weren't working.  This didn't pose an immediate crisis, however, and indeed, I'd forgotten about it completely by the end of the day.

But it came up again yesterday, via Twitter.

But when I went to share, I again realized that all the links were broken.

I set all this up a good while ago, back before you could easily share large files via cloud services like Google Drive.  I mean, I've been doing this digital publishing thing for a long time now.  I believe in it, I think it's ultimately a democratizing force for good, and I choose to continue publishing this way because it's easier, smarter, and much, much cheaper than using paper-and-ink methods like we did with the Viking Yellow Press back in my cadet days in Company E-1. 

That was small press in the 1990s.  We do better today.  It's not hard.

Anyway, the links are all shared now through Google Drive, as you can see from the end of this story.

If you've never read Hiro, give him a chance.  His story is short (read: unfinished) but still worth your time, in my humble opinion.

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