Chris's bookshelf

WARBeat the Reaper: A NovelThe Hellhound of Wall Street: How Ferdinand Pecora's Investigation of the Great Crash Forever Changed American FinanceThe Evolution of Bruno LittlemoreThe Maltese Falcon, The Thin Man, Red HarvestGlengarry Glen Ross

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Revamping The Writer’s Advocate

One of the (many) reasons I’ve been inconsistent with my posting lately is that I’ve been working on a new design for the site. Check it out: The (New and Fancier) Writer’s Advocate

(Go ahead and click it. I’ll follow you, and so will all of the words below. Here, one more time: The (New and Fancier) Writer’s Advocate)

I’ll keep the old site up briefly to give readers a chance to change their bookmarks. If you’ve subscribed to this blog through email or RSS, please visit the new site and use the icons in the very top right to update your subscription. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

For those who don’t know much about WordPress, there are two versions: and Blogs built on the .com platform are hosted for free by WordPress and have limitations as far as the types of extras you can offer visitors. Javascript widgets, for instance, are not supported by I made the move to, and I now pay for hosting myself through GoDaddy. This gives me a lot more flexibility with the design of the site, and I’m pretty excited about it.

I recently discovered GoodReads, and totally fell in love with that site. They offer javascript widgets like the one in the top left corner of my new site, which shows twenty titles randomly selected from my all-time bookshelf (not comprehensive yet, but I’m working on it.) I should note right away that my rating reflects my own personal response to each book, and is not meant in any way as a critical assessment of the book’s quality or relevance. My goal was to give readers of my blog and potential clients an inside look at my taste in reading.

Below my GoodReads all-time shelf excerpt is another widget powered by Amazon, which displays some music recommendations. It’s mostly jazz, my favorite type of music, and it’s generally pretty modern stuff. I encourage you to listen while you’re reading my posts, and who knows? Maybe you’ll find something you like.

Finishing off the left side of each page is another GoodReads widget—this one showing the twelve books I’ve read most recently. Along with a star rating, this nifty little widget includes a very brief review that I’ll write for each book. If you’re looking for representation, one of the best ways to find out if we’re a match is to pick up a couple of the books that I’ve rated highly. If you’re not looking for representation, well, hopefully I’ll help you find some great new books to read!

The home page features my Twitter feed on the right side, but this will disappear when you expand one of the posts. Also notice the Share button at the top and bottom of each post, and feel free to use it to spread the word if you like something I’ve posted.

Anyway, there’s my very quick rundown of the new site. I’d really love to get your opinion on it, so please, please submit a comment and let me know what you think.

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6 comments to Revamping The Writer’s Advocate

  • Hi Chris,
    The new site is great. Brave New World is one of my all time favorites. Congratulations on your recent sales. Life is great out here in San Diego. Come on out and we’ll surf.

    All the best,

    Greg Gutierrez

    • admin

      Hi Greg,

      Thanks for the congrats, and I’m glad you like the new look! My girlfriend doesn’t approve of the yellow, but I like it. San Diego is near the top of my list, but I probably won’t get there for a while…and I doubt I possess the athletic ability to surf, but thanks!

  • Michael P

    Hi Chris,
    Nice update to the site. It’s interesting to see what you’re reading and how you feel about these works. One thing I’d say is that the new site has a lot of widgets and ads, which make it feel a bit cluttered. And I’m with your girlfriend on this– the yellow doesn’t do it for me.
    If you’re interested in war books, Michael Herr’s Dispatches is about as good as it gets, and worth your time.
    Michael P.

    • Chris Kepner

      Hi Michael,

      Thanks for the feedback. I think I’m going to remove the ads…it was something I was trying out, to offset the cost of self-hosting. But I’m discovering it may not be worth the trouble.

      As for the yellow, all I can say is you’re the second person against it. So that makes it 2-to-1, but the sample size is too small yet! If enough people come out against it, I’ll consider changing it. Hachette’s Twelve imprint has a yellow and black color scheme and more than 50% of their titles have been bestsellers. Coincidence? (Well, probably…)


  • Chris, I taught a 70 year old women how to surf. She screamed when her big toe first touched the water because she was afraid of the ocean. So we took it very slowly. An hour later, she rode her first wave, smiling, with tears in her eyes. So, I know you can do it!

    The Evening Doorman is almost finished.


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