Hey everyone, I’m back!
When I started RedRocketPanda in April 2017, I never expected it to grow into what it is today or hold such a central place in my life. The combination of the absolutely amazing stars of the blogging community, the opportunity to read and review brilliant books, and having my own little piece of the internet to talk on spurred me on to keep growing this blog and posting more content. It’s something I never imagined would happen but I am really happy with how everything has turned out.
One of my main aims this year was to completely redesign RedRocketPanda to create a fresher look, offer additional content and services, and make the site easier to navigate. I’ve spent the past month working hard to achieve that and I hope you all really like the new look! I’ve still got a few more things in the pipeline which I’ll be adding over the coming months, but for now, let’s talk about what’s new around here.
The Site Design
- RedRocketPanda is now a Premium WordPress account which allows me so much more freedom to control how the blog looks. As part of that, I officially own the RedRocketPanda domain name which is one of the things I’m most excited about and I get access to all of the beautiful premium themes. I’ve chosen to go for a fresh, minimalist layout which I hope you all like.
- Post headers, colours, and images are all part of the same consistent design across the site. They have all been designed by my partner, Tom, who is also available for design commissions.
- On the main page, there is a featured posts section so that I can showcase my favourite books, films, games, and content
- I have dedicated information in my ‘About’ and ‘Work with Me’ sections where you can find out more about who I am, what services I offer, and check out a portfolio of my work
- Reviews are much easier to find via the home page menu and are sorted according to books and/or diverse books, categorized by genre, and listed in review indexes
- My miscellaneous section of the site draws together my events, video game, tv/film, and comic book reviews in their own dedicated corner for those of you who aren’t just here for the books!
- Sidebar clutter has been reduced so that you can see the most important information straight away; who I am, how to follow me, what I’m reading, my top posts, and a handy search bar so you can locate what you need straight away
My old blogging schedule wasn’t really working out for me. Although being able to post more content made me happy, I was struggling to keep up and fit posts in around working. I’ve had some recent changes in circumstances which meant that it was the perfect time to adapt my blogging schedule as well.
- The Sunday Post has replaced Mailbox Monday – It’s now much easier for me to post on Sunday’s and Sunday’s are nicer days to be able to chat with you all on
- Discussions will take place weekly/bi-weekly on Wednesdays
- Book Tag Thursday and What’s on the Box will still be on their respective days (Thursday & Friday)
- Reviews will be posted 1-3 times a week on varying days
- Articles and other miscellaneous posts will be posted as and when they’re written
If you’ve seen any of the changes happening over the past few weeks, you may have noticed that my reviews are changing. I’m still working on getting a layout that I’m completely happy with and I will be changing the review headers to photographs, but for now, reviews include the following information:
- All relevant information about the author, title, publication, and format of the book
- Key information for skimming purposes so you can see if it’s something you’d be interested in reading more about
- The different types of identities represented in the book are clearly listed
- Content notices are given to forewarn readers of content as much as possible
Disclaimer: Although I have gone back through and changed all existing reviews to contain this information, I had to work from memory as to some of the representation and content notices contained in particular books. Older reviews may not always contain 100% accurate information regarding representation and/or content notices but I have tried my best to include everything I could remember and from doing some research of others reviews. If you notice I’ve missed anything, please do let me know and I will add it in asap.
Future Works on the Horizon
As I mentioned before, there are some other exciting things which I will be adding over the next few months. Although I had wanted to get everything done in time for a full relaunch, it wasn’t possible due to time and finances to get it all done. But, that means there’s still lots to look forward to. Here’s a sneak peek at some of the things coming your way soon:
- Professionally designed blog header – I have been in touch with a wonderful artist who designed a friend’s blog header which I really loved and will be commissioning her for a lovely new header for the blog.
- Critique services for writers – I often get approached by writers asking me about trans representation and how they could do representation better. Over the next few months, I will be working on launching a critique service for writers for sensitivity reading and/or beta-reading of manuscripts, as well as consultations. More information will be coming soon on my areas of expertise, price guide, and how the services will work.
- Author Spotlight – I have been fortunate enough to interact with some of the most lovely, talented and fantastic authors over the past 1.5 years. Whilst reviewing their books goes some way to celebrating these authors and giving them (and their work) a platform, I would like to do more to support them. I will be launching an ‘Author Spotlight’ feature that will specifically platform diverse and/or indie authors to share these wonderful people with you all. It’s something I’ve been really looking forward to doing and can’t wait to get started.
Redesigning the site has been a major achievement for me and I’ve had a great time doing it. I really hope that you all enjoy the new look of RedRocketPanda and are excited about the direction that the blog is heading in. Please do let me know what you think, if there’s anything you particularly love/are looking forward to, or any other feedback you have!