Monday, September 28, 2009

New and improved

I finally got around to fixing up my website yesterday. It was originally created for me by a fellow student at SUNY Stony Brook, but I'm sure it had become something of an albatross by the time yesterday rolled around. It wasn't well-designed for what I ended up doing, which is write a bunch of truly excellent smaller stories. I had one novel and the site was intended to reflect that, naive rube that I was.

I had not yet caught on to the fact that authors have to be the main force in selling and promoting their own books, so the site wasn't especially active, and to a great extent it still isn't. If I want to add functionality I'd probably have to get a new hosting package and rebuild the whole thing. But I made a number of long-overdue changes, the most important of which is putting my novels, my short stories, and my anthologized stories on their own pages. Right now this is 6 items on three pages, but I have many more shorts coming, and maybe even a third novel. The manuscript for that is done, but I have no idea when it will come out.

I still have more to do, of course. In the near future the place will be changing some more, new pages and so on, plus updated content on the existing ones.

I have a question, though, and I'm hoping those of you in the world who read this will leave a cooment about it. I have changed the name of the site to "Left of Center", because I feel that phrase best describes the way I write. I have on many occasions been asked to write stories with certain guidelines and in every case, the looser the guidelines are, the further left of center my story becomes. As an example, I was asked to write a story about fire, for an anthology, and where almost everyone else created tales of house, building or forest fires and the people who had to deal with them, I created a vampire Christmas carol.

You see what I mean. I hope.

Anyway, I'm not an especially political person, but my wife is, and she felt that a title like Left of Center would be off-putting to those people who might come here expecting it to be a political site somehow. So my question is, how would you take this title? I admit I've already skewed the data by explaining it, but I would nonetheless like some feedback on the issue. I don't harp on the subject, and it only appears in the title bar. If this were a blog I could see it being a problem, but what about this case?

Thanks in advance for any comments you amy leave.


The Stiletto Gang said...

"Left of Center" has been used so much as a way to describe someone's politics that I think most people will look at the title and think your site is about politics. Maybe "Off Center" instead? (insert smiley face here).

Evelyn David

Elena Dorothy Bowman said...

I believe Evelyn said it...My first reaction was that it would be political and only those who are "left of center" would be interested in what you had to say. At least that's the way it appeared to me.

Sarah said...

Yes, to me "left of centre" would mean someone who followed labour or libdem politics, but also means someone who cares about their local community and standing up for the rights of the underdog and looking after the disadvantaged. So, since I'm one of those people, I wouldn't find your title offputting as I might if someone entitled a blog "Far Right". There again, I wouldn't associate Left of Centre with writing Vampire stories. I suspect most vampires would be seen as far right individuals, seeking out things for their own good with very little idea of community building and supporting. I write about Vampires, and although mine have their own strict ethical code, their values are still not mine.

Left of Centre could mean so many things. It might mean that you are not "centred", are not grounded and are a little on the ceiling or off-balance.

Just some thoughts.

Mary Welk said...

Listen to your wife, Marc! She's right on this one.

Author Guy said...


I'm beginning to sense a trend here.

Bryn Colvin said...

Another one for whom that would say 'political' before it would say 'out there'. Another issue to bear in mind is that search engines tend to compare site name with site content, (I have no idea how it works) but consider what you want to be googleable for - your own name is good and distinctive, think about the kinds of things someone ight be searching for if you were exactly the sort of person they needed to find.

jean hart stewart said...

Too risky,,,, don't go there. Lots of people would simply tune out...Jean

Teresa M Burrell said...

I would definitely think it was political and liberal and would most likely click it on.