Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Dear Author’s Slightly Modified New Look

More users than ever before are accessing the internet via mobile devices and frankly our mobile set up was not cutting it. We moved to a responsive theme. The idea behind this is that no matter what size your browser is, the content is generally the same and easy to read. Try it. Resize your browser and take a look at how the content reflows.

This way, you get all the features of a full size website no matter what device you use to look at Dear Author. We had to recategorize our menu so that it looked better on the iPhone. We have a few tweaks to work out but overall, I hope you enjoy the new look, particularly if you are visiting from a mobile device.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Emily E
    Feb 22, 2012 @ 22:08:25

    Oh no! The review grade is no longer at the top! I’m going to miss that.

  2. Ridley
    Feb 22, 2012 @ 22:17:10

    Not a fan of the moving header. I don’t like chasing things down to click them. Also will miss seeing which threads the recent comments are in.

    Otherwise: spiffy shit. I like it.

  3. Meljean
    Feb 22, 2012 @ 22:54:13

    I’m also not a fan of the moving header, but I love all the rest.

    I am still using WP Touch Pro for my mobile theme. Were you having problems with it? I haven’t noticed any yet (but I also don’t have as much content as DA does.)

  4. Jane
    Feb 22, 2012 @ 22:57:55

    @Meljean and @Ridley: Turned off the moving header

    @Meljean: I was having people not being able to comment and the content was loading super slow.

  5. Keishon
    Feb 22, 2012 @ 23:17:47

    I like it. The header looks shrunk/squished together, looks like it could be expanded a bit more on my browser otherwise thumbs up.

  6. Carin
    Feb 22, 2012 @ 23:58:55

    Nice! I love being able to resize on my iPad to make it easier to read. Thanks for the upgrade!

  7. library addict
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 00:32:09

    I miss the recent book reviews being at the top of the page, but see that they are still available on the home page. The font appears smaller on PC, but I’m sure I’ll be used to it in a few days. I always appreciate that DA has a clean, not-too-fussy layout.

  8. Lucy Francis
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 02:00:15

    While I miss the recent reviews at the top of the page, I love the way the site reflows. Very nice!

  9. Ridley
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 03:02:50

    When viewed on my android phone, the search box is huge up top, obscuring the menu bar.

    Other than that, the site looks great on my phone. Much better than before.

  10. Loosheesh
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 03:26:00

    It’s great – the site looks so much neater!

    (I was going to complain that the Advanced Search was gone but I see it’s way at the bottom!)

  11. dri
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 03:32:56

    Ooh fabulous! Glad you turned off the moving header, it was confusing me greatly … and yaaaaaayyy for better mobile viewing!

  12. Ros
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 03:59:14

    Love it! For ages, the site has not looked great on my little netbook. Now it’s perfect.

  13. Meri
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 04:56:28

    I don’t read DA on any mobile devices (I refuse to buy any phone that’s smarter than me :)), but I have to say that on my desktop computer, this is not an improvement – too much white space, and I have to scroll down for all the sidebar stuff. And like Ridley, I liked seeing which threads the recent comments are in.

    Is this still a work in progress? I realize that changes were necessary to make sure the site is functional for everyone, but I hope it can be tinkered with a bit.

  14. Karen
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 05:38:17

    Yay! For the past week(s) DA has looked so awfully plain on my iPad, with no colors or pictures whatsoever. Thank you!

  15. Patricia
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 05:45:32

    I mostly read DA on my iPad, so I think these changes are great. Like Karen, I also missed the color. I even missed the ads, believe it or not. I don’t think I’ve said that before, ever.

  16. Jordan
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 05:58:03

    I don’t know if I’m just tired this morning or what. But I can’t find the share buttons. I like to tweet or FB reviews and articles. I suggest making the share buttons more obvious otherwise you’ll miss out on this level of marketing. Jordan

  17. Dabney
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 06:16:31

    I too miss seeing the name of the thread the latest comments are on.

  18. Mandi
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 06:39:57

    I really like it. It looks great on my iphone except that the search box is huge and takes over the menu on top. Otherwise everything looks great.

  19. Shiloh Walker
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 06:52:20

    Same thing @Ridley said about the search box. It’s giant. Other than that, it looks lovely

  20. Marie B.
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 06:52:32

    I’ll echo a few others in that while I’m fine with the change generally, I really miss seeing the post author, category/review, and tags at the top of the post. That placement gives me a quick snapshot of what I can expect from the post before I start reading that’s really useful.

  21. Jane
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 07:02:37

    1. The Search box is not resizing

    2. Grade and tags on the top near the title

    3. new review carousel on all pages

    4. Share buttons

    @Meri: The white space or negative space we intentionally inserted to make it easier to read. I’m not certain we can reduce much of that. I’m sorry. There are a few things that I can change but the layout is pretty much going to stay the way that it is. Do you have a really big screen? I’ll keep it in mind for the future though.

  22. Meri
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 08:05:50

    @Jane: No, my screen at work (don’t tell my boss what I’m up to) is actually on the small side.

    I appreciate your hard work on this and your effort to find a solution that will work for everyone. DA remains one of the more visually appealing websites I go to.

  23. cleo
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 08:18:02

    It looks great on my nook color. Much better than before. My wish is for a back to top link since scrolling can be slow on my nook. Haven’t looked at it on my computer yet. I will probably miss the current comments then. I never had them on my nook so i don’t feel the loss now.

  24. Christine M.
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 08:25:28

    All I can see is the header and about 17 icons. I have to scroll through another half screen of icons before I see any posts. I use a 22 inches widescreen monitor in 1680*1050 resolution on Chrome.

  25. Jane
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 08:33:46

    @Christine M.: sounds like something isn’t loading correctly for you. Those 17 icons are probably the icons that go in the slider. I’ll look into it.

  26. Jane
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 08:34:13

    @cleo: I can definitely add a back to the top link. Where would it go best? Under the comments?

  27. Jane
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 08:34:50

    @Meri: I think that there is a lot of extra white space around the bottom of the screen where the comment form is. I’ll see what we can do to tighten it up.

  28. MrsJoseph
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 08:39:00

    It looks good (but a little odd) on my PC. On my iPhone it looks great – once I get past the humongous search box. It takes several swipes (which feels like a page to me) to get past the search box. The box also covers up some of the header links.

  29. Jane
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 08:40:36

    @MrsJoseph: Yes, there is something wonky with the search box and I haven’t been able to figure it out yet. I will move the search to the sidebar until we can ascertain what the problem is.

  30. Run Rabbit
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 08:41:06

    Ugh, I stopped visiting Smart Bitches when they changed their website, and now I see it has infected Dear Author as well. Disappointing, to say the least. :(

  31. Christine M.
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 08:45:42

    @Jane: I can screenshot if you want? I tried loading the page with Firefox (latest release) and I’m having the same issue with the icons.

  32. Jane
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 08:50:15

    @Christine M.: I think I know what is happening. The icons in the slider are showing up in a big grey box, right? The slider isn’t working for you and so I’ll have to look into that. It might be an ad blocker or something that is preventing the javascript.

  33. Jane
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 08:51:00

    @Run Rabbit: I’m sorry you feel that way. DA has always evolved in the manner in which it presents its content. We have a reboot about once a year.

  34. kam luen
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 09:15:57

    love the new look… well done.

  35. Joy
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 09:29:50

    Thank you for making it more mobile-friendly and removing the moving header.

    At one point I got an app that accessed this blog (sans comments) and Smart Bitches, but it stopped working for this site a long time ago.

  36. Dabney
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 09:57:39


    Will there be a way to see what the current comment threads are? Otherwise, though, I like the new look. I have a mammoth monitor and an iPad and it looks great on both! I like the white space.

  37. erinf1
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 10:00:43

    Love the new look! It’s neater and streamlines much better. Everyone needs change and once a year is very conservative. Can’t understand the people who hate change and blast those who do.

  38. Christine M.
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 10:09:12

    @Jane: Yep that’s it, only I haven’t installed any adblockers on Chrome or FF… I’m on ‘factory’ settings.

  39. Claire C
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 10:33:39

    @Jane: I can’t see the grade and tags anywhere on the reviews, apart from that it looks great.

  40. Darlynne
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 10:56:11

    Jane, this is great. My netbook struggled with the last incarnation; in order to get the print big enough to read, I couldn’t see the links on the right of the screen. Now, I can zoom as much as or as little as I want and everything shows up. For the commenters who are seeing too much white space, you might try zooming in to see if that helps. And thanks for turning off the scroll at the top.

  41. Run Rabbit
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 11:12:15

    @Jane: I promise to give it a try! Maybe it’s just a matter of getting used to it. :)

  42. Sunita
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 11:49:56

    I’m having the same large search box problem on my cellphones, but the site looks great on both my 11″ MacBook Air and my 20-whatever” iMac. Other than the searchbox issue, though, the site loads quickly and is much easier to read on my (tiny) phone screens.

    On the comment thread issue, if you mouse over the commenter’s name you can see the thread in the status bar on the computers. I haven’t checked if there’s a way to see the same things on my phones.

  43. cleo
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 12:02:34

    @Jane: Hi Jane – under the comments would be best.

  44. Ridley
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 12:46:13

    @Run Rabbit: This re-do can’t even put a down payment on the terrible design that is SBTB’s new website. DA still looks like a blog, for one, and it isn’t a punishing ordeal to leave a comment.

  45. Meri
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 13:02:26

    @Ridley: The worst romance redesign I can think of was AAR’s in – 2010, I think? 2011? It looks like something from a decade ago with clipart thrown in. As I wrote earlier, even though I’m not crazy about this, DA continues to look good overall.

  46. Ridley
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 13:18:38

    @Meri: Whoa! That site isn’t from the days of dial-up? It’s new? For serious?

  47. Meri
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 13:30:18

    @Ridley: well, the site itself originated in the days of the dial-up, which is kind of cool – for them to have been around for so long. But I checked, and the redesign was done in mid-2010.

  48. Ridley
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 13:57:09

    @Meri: Yeesh. That’s terrible. I hope they didn’t pay for that.

  49. nasanta
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 14:57:57

    Whew! At first I had the same problem as Christine M. but then I allowed everything for this page on NoScript (Firefox) and I am really liking the change! It looks tidy and simple. I’m on a laptop with ~14 in screen (I think). Great job!

  50. TFQ
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 15:26:08

    I really like the new design — much easier to read on my laptop. I really miss being able to see to what post the comments belong, though. I tried Sunita’s trick of mousing over the commenters name, and I can see that there is text in the status bar below but it is teeeeeny. Time for new glasses, maybe!

  51. Lou
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 15:46:51

    I love the new design! Neat, compact and very easy on the eyes for reading.

  52. Lynn S.
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 16:42:33

    @Ridley:Maybe AAR is just way ahead of some sort of retro curve that nobody else is even aware of. Perhaps (yikes, there actually is a, although I don’t think they exactly understand the meaning of quaint.)

    @Run Rabbit: I’m with you on the SBTB redo. Cold, flat, and very un-user friendly.

    The tweaks here aren’t as startling although, on a desktop display, the font is somewhat choppy and the background makes for a very Great White North. Is there any way you’d consider making the “white” space a bit less dead white?

  53. Jane
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 17:03:57

    For those who want less white space, where would you like to see that tightened up? Between the main content and the sidebar items? Between sidebar items? Within the main column itself?

  54. Ridley
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 17:19:58

    I had the hubs look at the search box resizing issue, and he thinks the whole header is the issue. He pointed to:

    media-queries.css:98@media screen and (max-width: 720px)
    #header {
    height: auto;

    and suggested deleting it entirely or putting in a fixed height instead of auto. Does this help at all?

  55. Keishon
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 17:24:38

    that search box issue for mobile phones seem to have been fixed, at least on my phone :-)

  56. Ridley
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 17:30:26

    @Keishon: The search box looks okay on my phone now, but now I have to scroll down through a TON of blank header before I hit the toolbar.

  57. Nikki
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 17:55:15

    I have the same problem as Ridley. At first I thought the page wasn’t loading correctly, but then I had to scroll what felt like forever on my phone. And its every page.

  58. Jane
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 18:02:23

    @Nikki There is a problem with the child theme (which is what I use to move around the grade/author/categories and so forth). For now, I’m going with the default theme until I can figure out what the deal is with the child theme.

  59. KZoeT
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 18:25:18

    It looks great on my iPhone. Thank you for adapting the site to those of us mobile users. I sincerely appreciate it!

  60. Jane
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 18:50:47

    Okay we have grades and byline at the top, return to the top link, header seems to be resized okay.

    I’m not sure about changing the recent comments format guys but will look into the white space issue.

    Anything else?

  61. Nalini Singh
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 20:26:31

    On a laptop, the text is now a bit small – it’s not as comfortable to read, especially for longer pieces or comment threads.

  62. Jane
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 21:30:19

    @Nalini Singh: I’ll see if we can’t increase the font size.

  63. Jane
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 22:15:03

    @Christine M.: Are you still having those problems? I wasn’t sure if the no script thing worked for you?

  64. Jane
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 22:17:16

    Also, for those that use the carousel, is 24 enough? Also, does the carousel flip too fast. I have three speeds: slow, medium and fast. It’s on fast right now.

  65. Jane
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 22:18:56

    One other question, do we like the title of the post under the image in the carousel or could we do without that and have it just be the images?

  66. Evangeline Holland
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 22:55:24

    Thanks Jane! I tend to access DA from my phone, and though the mobile version was quick and clean, I did miss the always great site design. The only thing I could suggest would be to make the reviewer names larger. I tend to skim headlines and reviewer names, and I just had to scroll back a few times when I couldn’t see who wrote what post.

  67. Christine M.
    Feb 24, 2012 @ 10:29:49

    @Jane: I’m at home (smaller screen, same resolution) but the problem seems fixed. Thank you.

  68. Ridley
    Feb 24, 2012 @ 10:40:03

    @Jane: I like the title under the images. Cover images aren’t always legible at that size.

  69. cleo
    Feb 24, 2012 @ 14:10:46

    @Jane: Thanks Jane! I love the Return to Top link. And I like the text below the carousel images.

    This may be completely beyond the scope of your tweaking, but since you asked, I’d really like to be able to find reviews by author name, as well as by grade. Right now, I can search DA for an author name, and it mostly works, but it also brings up lots of non-review posts (frex, the top sellers list). When I’m considering a new to me author, I like to read reviews of their books on multiple review sites, both to see if I really want to try them and to figure out which book to start with.

  70. Jane
    Feb 24, 2012 @ 14:14:56

    @cleo: have you tried the Advanced Search feature on the sidebar? Just type in the author’s name.

  71. LisaC
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 16:53:32

    When I read DA on my Android tablet I can no longer resize. I hate having to get up and find the reading glasses. I’d love it if you could find a fix.

  72. cleo
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 19:22:38

    @Jane: I never noticed the advanced search bar before (duh), but it does exactly what i wanted to do. Thanks

  73. Miki S
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 00:11:16

    @Jane: This is true for me too – I have to scroll down at least two screen height’s worth of page before I can actually read anything.

    And yes, I use Firefox with AdBlock and NoScript.

  74. Joanna K.
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 02:00:42

    I absolutely adore the new page layout! It seems to load faster and looks better on my iPad. :)

  75. Jane
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 23:03:46

    @miki – I appreciate that the JavaScript doesn’t work for you but unfortunately I don’t know any other way to run the carousel. I take it the last incarnation didn’t have that problem? I wonder what the difference is in the previous theme’s code. I’ll look into it but I can’t promise any fix.

  76. Miki S
    Mar 01, 2012 @ 20:11:36

    @Jane: For what it’s worth, I gave only one additional script “permission” to run ( and the pictures no longer show up in multiple rows in a huge gray box at the top. They now scroll across the top in a single row.

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