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


We are doing an upgrade to the backend of the theme and will have some minor tweaking to do throughout the weekend.  I’ve got to add the “tags” at the top of the blog post for one and fix the bullet points in the lists on the sidebar, but if you notice something let me know in the comments.  The value of upgrading is that we should have a great new mobile site only it isn’t working. YET.

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. Meljean
    Dec 10, 2011 @ 00:07:56

    It took me almost twenty seconds before I realized that I shouldn’t have been so surprised that you’d posted a penis picture, because it’s really a hard hat on top of a cone.

  2. joanne
    Dec 10, 2011 @ 07:03:47

    This is fun…. the print is HUGE!

  3. Jane
    Dec 10, 2011 @ 09:38:03

    @Meljean: Hmm. Those hardhats, often confused with penii.

    @joanne: Thanks for the input. I’ve reduced it some. Hopefully that looks a bit better.

  4. joanne
    Dec 10, 2011 @ 10:28:46

    @Jane: Well now I’m curious. What device are you viewing the site on Jane? Does it look okay (usual) to you? On my comp it’s about at 200 to 250 percent larger then normal. Don’t ya’ just love working on your site?

    @Meljean: I like everything that you write but the hardhat as penis made me laugh out loud.

  5. library addict
    Dec 10, 2011 @ 10:40:01

    Not sure if it’s just the font change, but there is a lot more space now between the lines (in both IE and Firefox).

  6. Darlynne
    Dec 10, 2011 @ 11:02:55

    The font on topic headings/posts is different: it is less solid and fainter, almost as if you’ve added an enhancement that doesn’t translate well. The body of the posts is still legible, but the headings are not as easy to read.

    ETA: The font for the date and time on each comment is also rather faint.

  7. joanne
    Dec 10, 2011 @ 11:41:39

    I don’t know what I said in my most recent post to send it to spam but anyway now I’m viewing the page with “compatibility view” and it’s back to normal font size.

  8. Maili
    Dec 10, 2011 @ 11:51:30

    The main post headings are distorted, I’m afraid. Erratic kerning, uneven baseline and inconsistent glyphs (some are faint and some are dense).

  9. Kim
    Dec 10, 2011 @ 12:15:09

    For some reason, it is taking longer to click on topics. The screen freezes for about 30 seconds. Also, the font is still a bit large on my computer. Maybe I’m just used to small font, but the print is huge.

  10. Jane
    Dec 10, 2011 @ 12:20:48

    @Kim: The font is still large for you, I’m guessing, because we have a caching service and it keeps serving you a cached version. I’ll flush the cache.

    In regards to the problems with clicking on headings, does that happen everywhere for you? Or is in the sidebar or the blog posts? 30 seconds is a really long time for something to freeze up which suggests a real problem. Each page should load under 10 seconds.

  11. Kim
    Dec 10, 2011 @ 14:16:12

    It’s this topic here that is taking awhile to load. Once I click on the topic by going down the main page (not the sidebars), the screen freezes. At the bottom of the screen it says waiting: downloading pictures. There’s no pictures in the post, so I’m not sure what that means. Once I comment it’s slow again. It takes awhile for the comment to show. In the mean time, the bottom of the screen that is refreshing the page says something like googleoneplus.

  12. Darlynne
    Dec 10, 2011 @ 16:33:39

    In the “this may be really picky department,” the font in main headings such as “Housecleaning” and subheadings such as “Home” and “Book Reviews” just doesn’t look as polished and professional as Dear Author usually does. “Welcome and About Us” is in small caps and I don’t recall if it always was, but something feels off.

    So far, everything seems to load OK.

  13. Courtney Milan
    Dec 10, 2011 @ 19:22:08

    This is completely unauthorized bitching, but I do not like sans serif fonts. Sans serif fonts are basically just forms of Comic Sans, waiting to drag websites down to hell.

    This extremely helpful observation brought to you by the sans-serif letters C and M.

  14. Jane
    Dec 10, 2011 @ 19:55:18

    @Courtney Milan Your bitchin’ pushed you into the pending comment area. Is that where you want to be?

  15. Jane
    Dec 11, 2011 @ 10:01:11

    @Courtney Milan: So I changed everything but the text of the blog posts to Garamond but kept the text of the blog posts in Verdana because according to good web design practices, a sans serif font is easier to read, particularly for screen readers. If everyone really hates it, I can switch it around.

  16. Jane
    Dec 11, 2011 @ 10:01:58

    @Kim: Are you still having loading issues? The only late loading images would be the gravatars.

  17. Jane
    Dec 11, 2011 @ 10:02:33

    For those who comment over at SmartBitches, are you liking the Disqus commenting system? I’ve been thinking about incorporating it here.

  18. Ridley
    Dec 11, 2011 @ 11:40:07

    I’m not a huge fan of Disqus. It’s everywhere these days, but it’s just not as clean or easy to follow as I’d like. The comment format here is my favorite, actually.

    Here’s my site feedback as someone using Chrome:

    – The post editor text is minuscule, making the already difficult to read grey text ever more difficult to read.

    – The “Socially Yours” box should go away entirely, to be replaced with icons for RSS, email and Twitter either next to or right under “About Us.”

    – The right sidebar is kind of a wall of jumbled text. I think It could benefit either from a “zebra” treatment, where a grey background goes behind every other info block, or fewer sections, or both.

    – I think you should rename “Categories” to something less vague. “Review Tags” “Post Categories” or something like that.

    – Do you have any info on whether or not people click the book cover images on the header? They’re where banner ads generally go, so in a place most people immediately ignore images.

  19. jess
    Dec 11, 2011 @ 12:20:29

    I’m with Courtney Milan, I really hate the sans serif font. I’m glad the headers have gone into to Garamond, it does help, but I still think the pages don’t look as classy or cohesive as they used to.

  20. Brian
    Dec 11, 2011 @ 12:27:12

    Is it just me or does the line spacing seem off on everything (as in there is too much of it)?

  21. Ros
    Dec 11, 2011 @ 12:31:58

    I may be in the minority but I preferred the headers and type before the latest tweak. I thought it looked cleaner and easier to read. Now it looks a bit messy.

  22. Ros
    Dec 11, 2011 @ 12:32:31

    @Brian: Not just the line spacing, also the character spacing. V. irritating especially on a small screen.

  23. Brian
    Dec 11, 2011 @ 12:42:48

    @Ros: Yes!

  24. Darlynne
    Dec 11, 2011 @ 12:47:57

    I promise (ha!) to make this my last comment about fonts. Totally agree with Ridley that the font in the comment box is so small, as I’m typing this, I have no idea what’s coming off my keystrokes.

    The view from my Netbook screen, very small to begin with, on Firefox shows loads of white space between lines, words and letters. In order to view any page a little more easily, I have to zoom out, which means the right side of the screen is lost. I do click on book images at the top of the screen to move quickly to a particular post.

    Also, I am not a fan so far of Disqus. I do not like the way comments display at SBTB, there’s no comment editing ability, and they’re all odd-numbered for some reason. Plus, when I make a comment, it initially appears at the bottom of the first page of comments and then moves itself, somehow, to the correct position. I am less inclined to read and post than I was before Sarah made the switch.

  25. Mary
    Dec 11, 2011 @ 12:49:25

    Don’t know if they are the tags you were referring to when you wrote this: “I’ve got to add the “tags” at the top of the blog post for one “, but the secondary tags are gone for the Midday links. I enjoyed being able to quickly see a list of what the post(s) include. If the omission was intentional, or you are still tweaking a fix, disregard this message.

  26. Ridley
    Dec 11, 2011 @ 12:56:41

    Also, I’d like to say that, though I’m sure lots of time and money went into it, I do not like the new SBTB. It’s too much.

    So I hope, Jane, that you’re not looking to that site and thinking DA looked low budget in comparison. DA was nice and simple and clean.

  27. library addict
    Dec 11, 2011 @ 13:15:20

    I’m not a fan of the Disqus commenting system either. But then I am not on Twitter, Facebook, Google or any of the stuff you can automatically log in with. I like the fact I am signed in at Dear Author and it remembers me.

    I am not a font expert (for the record I love Comic Sans :P ). I just feel the vertical spacing makes the site look odd now. I haven’t tried the site on my phone though.

    Why is the text in the “comment” box as I type all of a sudden so small?

  28. Jane
    Dec 11, 2011 @ 13:18:45

    @library addict: I’m not sure why the comment box type is so small. I’ll look into that.

    As for the spacing of the letters, I was trying to strike a balance between a font too big (so reduced the font size) but increased the spacing so it was a little more readable. Maybe I need to install something where you can increase or decrease the font size. The font size here, for example, is larger than on Facebook or many other sites.

  29. Jane
    Dec 11, 2011 @ 13:21:09

    @Mary: The secondary tags are at the bottom of the blog post and unfortunately I haven’t been able to get someone at Pagelines to help me move them yet. Hopefully soon.

  30. Jane
    Dec 11, 2011 @ 13:26:15

    @Ridley: The sidebars are a mess and I’m not quite sure what to do design wise. Designs really aren’t my thing. Truly if I had my way, the site would look like Instapaper or one of those places where it is just white and black because that’s an easy way for me to figure out what looks good. But color is important and it’s a balance. Plus my coding skills are lame.

    So I should just hire someone to take the site and redesign elements of it.

    As for the cover carousel at the top, I’ve actually had a lot of good feedback about that. I wanted a way to highlight our reviews and that seemed like a good idea. There are sidebar carousels that other sites use, but I thought putting the header on the side made the most of the central space from top to bottom.

  31. Kim
    Dec 11, 2011 @ 13:30:41

    The page looks much better and I was able to click through to the topics. The print is small in my comment box, too, but it’s not a problem.

  32. Moriah Jovan
    Dec 11, 2011 @ 13:56:39

    I don’t comment on any site requiring Disqus, which means I don’t read them, either, because…what’s the point? I also eschew any site that requires a Facebook account to sign in. I deliberately killed both my FB accounts. I killed Google+, Klout, and a bunch other hawt new thangs.

    I’m culling all the sites I’ve collected over the years that require creating a login and signing in. I like sites like these where I can just type in my name and comment.

  33. Keishon
    Dec 11, 2011 @ 14:07:40

    Think the input text is still in Garamond? Output is in Georgia looks like to me font-wise which explains why it’s tiny.

    So I should just hire someone to take the site and redesign elements of it.

    That wouldn’t be a bad idea to just help out on areas that need tweaking or spotlighting to emphasize your content better.

  34. Lindsey
    Dec 11, 2011 @ 15:27:32

    Would it be possible to make the subheader (where the poster’s name, date, and the link to the comments section displays) the same size as the text in the post? I’ve got pretty good eyesight with my glasses on, but it’s displaying to tiny in Firefox that I almost need to squint in order to see it. Also, if I’ve already read a post, I skip straight to the comments, and the tiny font does not give me a lot of real estate to click on the “comments” link.

  35. Jane
    Dec 11, 2011 @ 16:22:58

    I’m paying attention! Also going to try to add the tags to the top now. Will probably break DA a couple of times. Bear with me.

  36. Darlynne
    Dec 11, 2011 @ 16:28:53

    @Ridley: And damn near perfect.

  37. Courtney Milan
    Dec 11, 2011 @ 17:30:32

    I like this much better than what was before. Thank you!

  38. Brian
    Dec 11, 2011 @ 18:09:11

    Much easier to read than it was earlier in the day. :thumbsup:

  39. Lindsey
    Dec 11, 2011 @ 19:00:20

    Ah, thank you! Much better.

  40. srs
    Dec 12, 2011 @ 15:47:54

    You know how the blockquote in @Keishon’s comment has those giant bolded letters? They annoy me so much that I had to come here to comment on them. Maybe it is just the way it shows up in Chrome, but I really, really hate the way it throws off the entire perspective and spacing of the post.

  41. Ridley
    Dec 12, 2011 @ 15:52:55

    @srs: +1

    They’re real bad in the block quote in the Priceless review, rendering it almost illegible.

  42. Mary
    Dec 12, 2011 @ 16:59:39

    Much better! Thank you, Jane. I never even noticed the secondary tags at the bottom. You’re doing a wonderful job on the “construction.

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