Welcome to Hail & Well Read, the shiny new update to The Words Gremlin! As you can see, it’s not very gremlin-based anymore, but I promise it isn’t that scary of a change. See, it’s just the start of a new adventure, one I’m thrilled to share with you today!
To understand exactly what’s changing and why, read on. Or, go ahead and surprise yourself if that’s more your speed. You do you!
Why The Words Gremlin Changed
There’s a lot of reasons to swap out the old for the new, but I’ll try my best to keep them short and sweet here. Of course, I am on the wordy side, so we’ll see how well that works!
Last summer, I started to notice that I was missing something on The Words Gremlin. It didn’t really lend itself to words, though, until I realized it was a lack of consistency. Most of my headers were the same, but anything I made spur of the moment didn’t feel right, and overall, my blog felt like, visually, a loose collection of everything. Changing over to Hail & Well Read meant a cohesive redesign, one that had my personality all over it, not just in pieces.
Let’s face it. At the end of the day, my favorite genre is fantasy. Sure, I’ll branch out now and again (more on that in a minute!), but fantasy is home base for me, and I wanted to honor that. It’s my first love where fiction is concerned, and it felt right. Plus, I haven’t played D&D or anything similar in a few months, so this is scratching that itch for just a little while.
Better Reading Habits
Part of running a book blog is about sharing my love of books with all of you, and I especially adore making recommendations! Looking at my shelves this year, though, I realized I needed to do better with my reads. Hail & Well Read isn’t just about being well read. It’s about becoming well read. It’s about reading more outside of fantasy. More importantly, it’s about putting more OwnVoices works on my shelf by POC authors, disabled authors, queer authors.
Basically, I want to round out my own reading habits while bringing visibility to the books I’m reading. Hopefully, that shapes up better for everyone!
What’s Changed on Hail & Well Read
Besides the obvious name change? Well, there’s a whole lot!
You can thank Caroline Schlegel for the beautiful new artwork! She did an outstanding job giving Hail & Well Read its fun new style, embracing a streak of adventure alongside what I like to call “benevolent NPC energy,” for lack of a better term.
Look, I’m a little hung up on the visuals. But seriously, go look!
We’ve got new colors and a new theme to go along with those gorgeous new graphics, along with some fun new plug-ins, like an accessibility plug-in! Hat tip to Kal @ Reader Voracious for that one. Her guide about making the move to self-hosted was truly a life saver on so many counts!
You won’t get to see all the art just yet (I have to keep some surprises up my sleeve!), but I can tell you the categories you’ve seen before have been renamed. At this point in time, Friday for Funsies is now Dragon’s Den Discussions, Not a Book! Thursday has become Tower Talks, and New Releases are now Pub Day Prophecies! You’ll also see Writing Wednesday become the Wednesday Pen, and a new category called Miscellaneous Magic will play catch-all for as long as it must.
New Ways to Support the Blog
Truthfully, these features are in the works. As I promised in my hiatus post, I am opening an Etsy store soon to sell book sleeves! However, I will be delaying the grand opening until the end of the month/beginning of February, as I want to have a comfortable level of stock. Making those puppies takes up a decent bit of time, something in short supply when redesigning a blog and working somewhat unpredictable retail hours.
You can also support me through Ko-Fi now as well! At this time, I intend to put any Ko-Fi donations toward blogging costs or into a personal fund for diverse books to put on my shelves.
New Review Browsing
Within the next couple days, I’ll be fine-tuning and releasing a reviews page so that you can browse reviews by star rating, genre, and age group. It needs a little more testing before I can confidently make it live, but it will make it far easier to find reviews of a certain category. And, of course, if you’re searching for a specific book or author, the search bar remains ready at hand near the top right of the page.
New Review Features
I also plan to implement some new features on the blog, though it’s going to require some time and effort to apply to my pre-H&WR posts. Wherever possible, I want to highlight some OwnVoices reviews of books, especially where I am not an OwnVoices reviewer. I feel that goes hand in hand with the goal of becoming better read, and I would be remiss to ignore that.
Overall, I’m thrilled to share these changes, and I hope you enjoy the upcoming content on Hail & Well Read as much as I do! Blogging has been the highlight of the last couple years for me, and I’m so grateful to have the time and passion to pursue it, not to mention the fantastic community to support it. Here’s to many adventures with Hail & Well Read, and many brilliant stories ahead!
Welcome at last!