Wednesday, 15 October 2008

I Want A Thing To Put On My Blog

Now we all know I'm not a techie. But I had an idea for something I'd like on my blog. I'd like a sidebar thing (technical term) that shows the front covers of all the Novel Racers' published books. Maybe it couldn't show them all at once because there are lots already and the numbers are increasing (hurrah!), but perhaps it could show, say, one or two or four at random from those available every time the blog is viewed, each of which could be clicked on for a link to e.g. the relevant Amazon page or the author's website.

I was thinking about this because I don't review books on my blog, partly because I only post once a week so at times my blog would be nothing but book reviews, and partly because I worry about reviewing books as a matter of course in case I come up against one I don't like. What would I say? Especially if it's by one of us lot. It hasn't happened yet, but it's possible. But I'd love to help to promote all the Novel Racers' books, and it occurred to me that this kind of 'sidebar thing' - or something like it - might be a way to do so.

Then I wondered if anyone else would be interested. So do you think this is a good idea? If we had a 'sidebar thing' as described above, or similar, would you put it on your blog? And does anyone in our wee tribe know how to make something like that, and make it really easy for technoprats like me to put it on our blogs?
Update

Check out the Captain's Blog (scroll to the bottom) for a test example. Please post comments here for feedback.

Captain Black 16-Oct-08

34 comments:

JJ said...

Yay, a brilliant idea. I'd definitely put something like that on my blog - but I'm a complete technotwit so have no idea how to do it...

liz fenwick said...

What a stunning idea Zinnia. I would love one! I know there is a thing called slide show than many authors use but that's as far as my knowledge goes.

Leatherdykeuk said...

I think that's a great idea.

How to do it:
As a group we set up a flickr account - novel racers - where we all have the password. We upload our book covers as they're published and then use the blogger widget to display them. My dogsbite blog has that widget from my own flickr account.

Captain Black said...

I like this idea and Leatherdyke's solution. I was also thinking of a smallish widget with a scroll-bar so that all the book covers can go on there, but you only get to see a few at a time. That way it wouldn't take up too much real estate on-screen.

A manual scrolling widget also has one advantage over a slide show: you can view the images at your control and for a time you control, rather than having the slides keep coming around in a pre-determined sequence.

I would be happy to implement this, if people want me to. Or we could go with the flickr solution; I don't mind. Perhaps some kind of hybrid might work, then we'd get the best of both worlds.

ChrisH said...

Groovy! What a good idea, Zinnia - I haven't the faintest idea of how to go about it either so I'm glad that there are them out there wot know.

Caroline said...

Great idea! :)
x

bodran... said...

See you on thursday x

Debs said...

Love it, I would certainly add it to my blog.

Graeme K Talboys said...

Brilliant! I'd certainly put that on my blog.

Leigh said...

Would be very happy to have one of those; what an excellent idea.

CB, if you can find a solution that presents the images real size, that would be great. My blog's slideshow (via Blogger widget) shrinks the pictures to about 75%, even though they are perfectly matched to the size of the sidebar. I want to see nice BIG Novel Racers' covers!!

Good lad for volunteering, btw! ;-)

Zinnia Cyclamen said...

So it's not just me then - great! I think it's a good idea to have one that writers can update themselves as their books are published. And, yes, a reasonable size would be good too. I'll leave it to the techies among us to come up with something, then - hurrah for the Novel Racers!

KayJay said...

Fabulous idea! I dunno why we didn't think of this before. I'd certainly add it to mine.

Rowan Coleman said...

I'd love that! it would be very cool, even though I haven't managed to blog in a million years - if anyone knows how on earth to do it let me know - genius idea.

L-Plate Author said...

Hey Zinnia, what a fab idea! Count me in for displaying it when all the hard work has been done :) x

Fiona said...

A most excellent idea. I would love to know how to do that too. Love Leatherdyke's and Captain's idea.

If you go to Amazon, you can sign up as an Associate so that every time someone clicks on a book you're displaying, you get a little back hander. Pennies, of course, but every little helps:)

Thank you to all of you who promoted my book even though it's not a real book if you see what I mean.

CC Devine said...

fab idea!

sheepish said...

Brilliant idea shall wait for the clever people to tell me what to do as I am stone age where computers are concerned.

NoviceNovelist said...

Excellent idea - I'm in - when the techies have worked it out!!!

Lane said...

Great idea Zinnia. Looking forward to displaying all the NR books and thanks in advance to whoever is going to set up the html. Much appreciated.

Captain Black said...

Post updated.
Check out the bottom of my blog for a test version.
Let me know what you think.

liz fenwick said...

God, it looks so impressive to see all those books and I know there are a few others!

Is there a way to make it vertical?

I would love to the horizontal version at the top of NR blog just under the Title......just a thought.

Great job CB - I am in awe of the tech knowledge it takes to do these things!

Zinnia Cyclamen said...

*kneels and lowers forehead to floor* CB I think this is looking really good. Another possible field could be 'available from' with a click-through link to the relevant page on The Book Depository, what do people think? I'd go for the BD rather than Amazon because they're often cheaper, especially if you only want one book (a weird concept, I know, but it does happen I'm told), also they offer free postage worldwide, and their service is usually very quick and efficient.

JJ said...

Sorry I meant to say something intelligent, but hearing 'free delivery' in connection with overseas postage ... I've gotta go and check it out.

I like Liz's idea of horizonal on the Novel Racers' blog. I'm not clear - will all the books show at once or will they scroll round one at a time?

JJ said...

Update: *filthy swear words*... it doesn't include Thailand yet.

Rowan Coleman said...

I think you are a genisu. I wish I had this sort of cleverness. It looks great to me!

Graeme K Talboys said...

Superb

Kate said...

Excellent idea, Zinnia, and brilliant technical know-how Captain - looks great and I think the idea of putting it here too is great.

ChrisH said...

Erm.. I might be doing something wrong because I can only see the template (oh, the shame of being such a IT dunce). Anyway, thanks for your hard work and will look forwards to displaying the finishedthingy.

wordtryst said...

I've seen these on websites and I'd love to have one. I don't review books by people I know for similar reasons - I don't trust myself to be unbiased, and what if I like the person but the book, not so much?

When I want to feature a writer I know I do an interview, rather than a review.

So the answer is yes, Captain and Zinnia. Great idea. Off to check it on your blog....

Lucy Diamond said...

Wow, that looks so fab! What a brilliant idea!

KAREN said...

This is a great idea, and Fiona yours is defintitely a real book :o)

Debs said...

I think that looks beautiful and wish I had a book to include on it.

Leigh said...

Impressed!

Erm, having said 'nice and big', I didn't think it would be showing so many covers at once, so the whole thing would be kinda large to put anywhere other than at the bottom, and I don't know that folk would see it there.

As it is, I think it's great for the NR blog - absolutely bloody fantastic, in fact - but for our own blogs, I thought we were talking sidebar widgets, and my sidebar's only 200px wide...

I'm not meaning to sound negative, cos I think you've done a fabulous thing here, and I'd be honoured to host one - it'd just be a little bit out of the way as it is.

Clare Sudders said...

Yup, me too - it looks great but is so enormou it could only go at the bottom of the page, where npobody would ever see it. But would be brilliant to have at the top of the NR blog. Oh, and, um, my cover is not included in it (but I do know it's only an unfinished tester, still, um, here is a jpeg, ahem: http://www.boobpencil.co.uk/Pictures/NewCover_EvenSmaller.jpg)