Monday, December 17, 2007

CSFF Blog Tour: A time for Self-Examination

We are being visited this week by a variety of bloggers. We will receive reviews of the site. Am I apprehensive? Of course, we have been online barely a year with only two issues out. There are still many "bugs" in the system. I look forward to the honest reviewers to point out areas for improvement as well as any praises.

So, I'm going to try to step back a bit and try to create an objective review. Looking at some of the things that we are doing well and the other things that can use improvement along with some direction for the future.

I think the high point of our site are the stories. I have been blessed by receiving many good solid stories which really shine. I've also received some enjoyable poetry. People have kept me up with speculative fiction news, but I have not been that diligent in posting it in a timely manner. I like our banner, which was donated by Tony Qwade.

A second area of strength, which is just being developed, is the creation of a community. For over a year WJ has hosted a speculative fiction chat in Second Life, a virtual world. We are taking a hiatus during the winter but will be back in full force in March.

Now for the improvement areas.

Editing

One of the problems with running a one-person shop is that you don't have other people catching the things you miss. A definite weakness of this site is proofreading. When I go back and look at some of the pages, I'm always pulling them up and correcting something that I missed.

Graphics

One thing about the old pulp science-fiction publications that made them so enjoyable was the art. Sometimes garish, sometimes hokey, these pictures augmented the reading. Not being a graphic artist myself, I have not done as much with the visual layout of the site. That is definitely something that needs attention.

Basic Professionalism

I generally pride myself on professionalism, but I must admit that I haven't always been that strong in doing simple things like getting an issue out on time. That must definitely be addressed in the future.

Most of these are results of what my pastor calls the "Lone Ranger Syndrome." I have been running this on my own for about a year now. This is not because there aren't people willing to help, but because I felt I needed to maintain my own control. Perhaps in the beginning, that is valid. It takes awhile for any publication to develop its own vision and voice. However, when you try to do everything by yourself, somethings inevitably suffer.

In the new year I will be engaging help from various sources. I'll be contacting artists to dress up the look of the site. I'll be getting help with proof reading and editing. I have someone who will help me with the behind the scenes business side of this.

I will be taking the month of January to pray and examine Wayfarers Journal from top to bottom correcting what I can for now, but also shaping some plans for the future.

One plan I have right now is to move away from the "magazine" model of a story site. This model is one which has "issues" coming out at a set interval. One of the advantages of the web is that you can update a site at any time. We get enough material to be adding some new material every month, but not enough to create a whole new issue. Simply updating the site when something new and interesting comes in would create a dynamically changing destination on the web. It would also shorten the time for writers between acceptance and publication of their work.

So, folks keep checking back. "Times they are a'changing" here at Wayfarers Journal. And don't forget to visit the other sites on this tour.


Brandon Barr
Jim Black
Justin Boyer
Grace Bridges
Amy Browning
Jackie Castle
Carol Bruce Collett
Valerie Comer
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
Chris Deanne
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Marcus Goodyear
Andrea Graham
Jill Hart
Katie Hart
Michael Heald
Jason Joyner
Kait
Carol Keen
Mike Lynch
Margaret
Rachel Marks
Melissa Meeks
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Mirtika or Mir's Here
John W. Otte
John Ottinger
Rachelle
Steve Rice
Cheryl Russel
Ashley Rutherford
Hanna Sandvig
James Somers
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Jason Waguespac
Laura Williams
Timothy Wise

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4 Comments:

Blogger karen_m said...

Hey Terri. Sickness and the impending invasion of inlaws prompted me to opt out of the CSFF tour for this month but I didn't want to let it go by without mentioning how much I love WJ and how much I believe in it as an example of the future of Christian SF. As Head Honcho, you know the strength and weaknesses of your mag, but let me just say that as a reader I have always looked to WJ for quality Christian SF that didn't come with a Sunday School lesson. You aren't afraid to experiment or push the envelope but neither do you compromise the core beliefs that make Christian SF distinctive.
I look forward to continued reading and perhaps eventually a submission or two.

Karen M

December 18, 2007 at 7:48 AM  
Blogger Mark Goodyear said...

This post earned a lot of credibility with me, Terri.

And you're absolutely right about dumping the "issue" concept. Websites like this--especially that appeals to sci-fi/techies--is ready to depend entirely on RSS. Create a feed. Get people to subscribe to the feed. Invite them back to comment on an article and engage the author in conversation when you go live with the story/poem.

December 18, 2007 at 1:29 PM  
Blogger Terri said...

Mike--

I like the idea of an RSS feed. I just have to find out how to do it. I've been pretty busy for about a year and a half and haven't had time to update my "push" technology skills.

Terri

December 18, 2007 at 5:20 PM  
Blogger Patty Cryan said...

Just a note to tell you how much I've enjoyed this site, and look forward to more content in the new year!

---Patty Cryan
Bookseller By Night
http://booksellerbynight.wordpress.com

January 27, 2008 at 11:57 AM  

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