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The Art of Sustaining a Still Popular Website in an Age of Social Media

Saturday, October 19th, 2019

Part 3.) Content and Consistency at

How in all virtual reality did our site receive over a thousand-five-hundred visits on a single day, one X-mas eve in 2012? Consistency.

In January of 2012, I had early drafts of seven unpublished chapbooks. For over eleven months, published fresh content every day– one piece a day, every day. This knowing that there will be fresh material every time one visits brings people back. And then back again.

2012 was a time when Social Media had not yet its current dominance over our bandwidths. will never reach those levels again. Though we’re frequently hit hundreds of times in a day– most recently, October 1st, 3rd and 4th of 2019, four times that September– before then, August 19th, July 31st, and four times that June– we will never reach thousands, again. Hundreds of visits a day, though? How is that accomplished? I speculate it’s not because we have so much content, but, far more importantly, because this content appears on separate pages, resulting in another hit with each click. And, because all are easily accessible from every page, highly visible on our retro Navigation Panel, site-left. And because all of these links are self-explanatory. When you Lovers of Literature see “Prisoner Narratives,” you know exactly what you will find. Our FLASH SUITE Contest’s “2014 Finalists” link is the same, as is “ATLAS: vol. 2, Istanbul,” and equally so, “Halloween Nights’ Lyrics” under Multi-Media Content. As for “a Passionate Defense of the Existence of Unicorns“– you guessed rightly for a third time, it passionately defends the existence of unicorns. All of these are highly visible on our retro Navigation Panel, site-left of every page.

Our content has always been, and still remains, solid. Our collaborative publications– Complex Fairy Tales, and the flagship book of the site, the Art of Throwing People Out Windows— are wonderful, adventurous, surprising, and, above all else, oriented towards human differences. Our Disability Narratives are superlative. Our contest finalists are steady, and often outrageously outlandish.

My greatest disapointment for , it will never be a flawless, immaculately-groomed journal of literature. I may not edit it. Ethically, I may only request revision. For the bulk of our freshly published content remains in the fiction contests. They are contests. I may not ethically– or, perhaps, and only perhaps more importantly, may not contractually edit these stories. Unavoidably, advantage would be given.

I pound, I beg, I insist, I remind over and again that all submissions should be reread to edit over and over– and then over again and again. By damn, I give even the selected finalists two weeks for editing before their works are sent to our judging panel!

Anecdote: contest judge Glenn A. Bruce said this– aiming to induce chuckles, he admits– about one story in a past contest:

“Dear god, there are so many things wrong with this I don’t know where to begin—typos, misspellings, grammatical nightmares. Too many topical references! Add to that the ‘intentional’ format, and it all feels like the writer is just trying too damn hard to be clever and ‘unique.'”

I very much liked that story. Thought it quite clever, though not overly unique. I did vote for it as a finalist, after all. But chuckling most certainly occurred reading Glenn’s email, loud chuckling.

What is to be drawn from these details? The internet has never been known for flawless grammar or even passable verbal mechanics. To an unfortunate degree, this ensures more content, rather than better content– Blog syndrome, and we know where that leads: internet graveyard. But content does need to remain engaging enough to bring people back at least twice, while consistency will keep them coming back a dozen times, then, maybe, a hundred times, possibly even retain them for years.

That is all well known. But this much originality I can add to the discourse: a site maximized for multiple hits with every visit will sustain more traffic, as shows.

Numbers will next be addressed on the Art of Sustaining a Still Popular Website, in Part 4.) Traffic and Capitalism. So keep surfing, Lovers of Literature, through .

Start with part 1. of The Art of Sustaining a Still Popular Website in an Age of Social Media

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The Art of Sustaining a Still Popular Website in an age of Social Media:

Sunday, October 13th, 2019

Display and Design at


we’d like to welcome you.
you’re welcome.
We’d like to welcome you
Part 2.)
The Art of Sustaining a Still Popular Website in an Age of Social Media

What differentiates design from display?

Design is commonly referred to as a theme, containing widgets, menus, and customizable appearances, or alternatively, uniquely programmed coding. The entirety of the site is its design. Display references the microcosmic layouts. How the content appears on each page, on each screen, that is its display.

As one must be fly towards the sight-impaired, allow me some textual descriptions of ‘s design and display.

Surrounded left and right with empty black, the body of is an ancient scroll– oxidized and crinkled, yellowed with age. Links are all a deep, bloody burgundy color. To site-left, our lengthy, comprehensive navigation panel. And in the upper left, smaller text reads “Welcome to defenestrationism reality.”

As for display, well: many lines appear at differing indentations, some lines cut shorter than others, as a Herbert poem visually appears. Paragraphs are often quite short– no more than two, three sentences, sometimes– though this length does vary for effect of impact. This is much like the well-crafted essays of Mark Twain.

Ultimately, though, exciting displays of text such as ours on are no more than an unexpected bonus. Even on high budget sites, which pay programers to code a unique design, there is very little variability in how textual content is displayed on the page. Images are the most manipulable part of most website displays– images can be wrapped with text, submerged under text, aligned to different sides, the center, or in-between, and generally bounced about. Videos, naturally, have an internal display based on their own content. But text comes in blocks.

A Herbert poem titled the Alter appears on– the home of Poetry Magazine, the oldest, most prestigious poetry journal in America. There, it has no indentations. The lines– visually indented since the early 17th century to resemble a physical alter– no longer do on . Though the organization does offer a “we strive to preserve the text formatting” disclaimer, this still is a misrepresentation in display.

Current fashion is for sleek, streamlined sites. A home page will offer a few articles on it and an expandable menu, usually with less than half-a-dozen options. However, no matter how beautiful or glossy, these minimalist designs can be better optimized to retain visitors and result in multiple hits with each visit.

On many of today’s sites there is only a single option to click– some glowing red button demanding attention. All other possibilities are under-emphasized. An anecdote: when insists on buyers joining AmazonPrime, the pop-up window opts-in with an enormous, fat button, while opting-out must be done through a thin thread of text.

More options, as self-explanatory as possible, displayed as obviously as can be, this is how design on is optimized for retention and numerous hits.

More will be revealed, so
do not fail
to return next week, as
The Art of Sustaining a Still Popular Website 
continues with:
Part 3.) Content and Consistency
nowhere else but .

read part 1. of The Art of Maintaining a Still Popular Website in an Age of Social Media
On to Part 3.

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The Art of Sustaining a Still Popular Website in an Age of Social Media

Sunday, October 6th, 2019

Paul-Newell Reaves
MA, English
George Washington University, 2016
owner, co-editor,

Part 1.) the Broader Outlook at

Remember?— we used to surf the internet.  Course, that was almost a quarter-century ago.

Then?– blogging happened. Blogs: the internet graveyard.

Between posting Social Media, scanning through Social Media, even occasionally reading Social Media, and certainly, always, unendingly, checking for new Social Media, no one has much use for the rest of the internet, at all.  Now?— we scroll past the internet.

But at its dawn?— we would cruise. Cruising internet chatrooms I remember from 6th-grade, hoping for someone, or thing, that wasn’t pretending to be someone, or thing, that she, he, they or it, was not.  An anecdote: one character would cruise the chatrooms, posing as other than she, he, they, it was, only to reveal her, his, their identity with “I put on my wizard’s hat and robe and cast a level 6 spell on you.”  Cruise on.

We do not surf through the internet, we do not blog on the internet; we stream from the internet, we post to the internet, we download off the internet, we often regret after using the internet, we continue existing long past deletion in the dark-web under the internet.  !What marvelous prepositions our internet usage– across more than a quarter-century— employs!

On subject of internet grammar, here’s some internet punctuation: I hit a spacebar after typing a web address.  An example: .

[Dot]org : An organization.  [Dot]com : Commerce.  [Dot]net : You guessed rightly, a network.

At , we are proud of our [dot]net status— to such an extent that though I own , too, the [dot]com address only redirects to the [dot]net homepage.  We are a network: a network of authors, flash-fiction-eteers and poets– we employ contest judges and co-editors, we engage fan voters– a network, a network of all you lovers of literature.  We accept no donations, charge no submission fees, and refuse to add ads.  Perhaps such a code contributes to the sustainability of our continuing popularity, now 11 years deep.

When you Lovers of Literature surf through , you will catch minor tidal waves— Complex Fairy Tales features 20 stories by 16 authors, from California to Cuba, Washington, D.C to the Arab Emirates. And it resulted in 5,430 site-visits from 1,006 unique IP addresses during its 12 week publication run in 2016. Add to that the 3,566 visits since then to the coalition of those 23 sub-domains. You will surf curl after curl of our twice annual fiction contests— six of both, with the seventh now underway.  But beware, you Lovers of Literature, you will also be plunged into the deepest trenches of Otherness which you barely imagined you could plummet: our Prisoner Narratives— with Jenean, “Kevin,” Rob and Sheriff Marty; our Disability Narratives— including Hacking Mobility: Able-bodied Prescripts of Mobile Games and How Gamers with Disabilities Cope, which deconstructs Pokémon Go; and our Homelessness Narratives— such as voice recordings of how Diana Paliotto “became known.”  This the code that keeps popular, 11 years deep.

So keep surfing through as,
next week,
The Art of Sustaining a Still Popular Website 
continues with:
Part 2.) Display and Design at 
only on— you guessed rightly, again— .

on to part 2. of the Art of Sustaining a Still Popular Website in an Age of Social Media

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ATLAS: vol. 1 Bogotá, CO– a Libería

Monday, September 30th, 2019

A wide spread of García Marques greets the entree to this three-story bookstore. This is a small, crowded room, containing a table featuring Michelle Obama’s Mi Vida in translation to the Spanish, the cash registers, and ceiling high shelves– but the space opens wider once through the narrow archway to the rear left.

On the second floor, a whole case of Feminism in the Spanish: El Futuro es Femenino; Mujeres Que Dicen Verdades; Lola Vendetta by Raquel Riba Rossy; Mujeres de Uniforme. Immediately next to this is James Joyce Ulises in white and orange on black.

I ask for South American authors translated into English, and am redirected back to that first room. And, there, Conrads, Wildes, Twain’s Pudden’head Wilson!– the last five Harry Potters, and below that a stubby shelf of books in French.

I buy Vásquez, and am slightly surprised it costs COP 160,000,000 for only two books– about 70 bucks– until I remember how valuable books can be.

more from Bogotá, CO
more ATLAS
home/ bonafides

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Judges Confirmed for 2020 FLASH SUITE Contest

Friday, September 27th, 2019

We are honored to announce the Judges for the 2020 FLASH SUITE Contest, only on

Cedar Danger Block (they/them)

is currently a grad student of English literature, usually focusing on trans theory, comic book studies, and medieval lit. They love finding creative ways to mix the three topics and are more excited than they should be about going back to academia.

Christian McKay Heidicker,

2013 !Short Story Contest! Winner,

reads and writes and drinks tea. Between his demon-hunting cat and his fiddling, red-headed girlfriend, he feels completely protected from evil spirits. Christian is the author of Scary Stories for Young FoxesCure for the Common Universe and Attack of the 50 Foot Wallflower. He lives in Salt Lake City, Utah.

He’s been dreaming of foxes lately.

Lady Moet Beast,

the Beast From Southeast,

What can’t be said about this interesting lady? Godmother of D.C. Rap, multi-genre lyricist, producer, poet, musician, writer, singer, actress, and the list goes on. Performing live since the age of 5, determined to be heard, adored and admired, Lady Moet Beast has performed all over the U.S. for the past 25 years. Not your average HipHop Femcee she has grown along with her husband obtaining her own band The Cruddy Crankerz, Beast & Monster Ink,  Drama City Records/Draztick Measurez., Cruddy Rite Publishing, Cruddy Rite Radio, Monster Graphix, and Lioness Filmz. Lady Moet Beast has set a lot of trends from green dreadlocks to hardcore femcees in Washington, D.C. and abroad.

Glenn A. Bruce,

MFA, was associate fiction editor for The Lindenwood Review. He has published eight novels and two collections of short stories. He wrote Kickboxer, episodes of Walker: Texas Ranger and Baywatch— for an anecdote on pre-Pamala Baywatch, and what happens to homeless people on the show, click here—  and was a sketch-writer for Cinemax’sAssaulted Nuts. His stories, poems, and essays have been published internationally. He won About That’s “Down and Dirty” short story contest and is a two-time finalist in the annual short story contest. He has been a guest speaker and panel participant at many writing and film events over the years. He has judged shorts film contests, art shows, and was the final judge for Brilliant Flash Fiction’s 2015 annual short-fiction contest. Glenn has been teaching Screenwriting and Acting for the Camera at Appalachian State University for the past 11 years.



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ATLAS: vol. I Bogotá, CO– Welcome, to the Worst Traffic in the Worlllllld

Sunday, September 22nd, 2019

Worst in the world, they say, the traffic in Bogotá. Ceaseless, it lasts all day, gets worse in the rain, and even late nights, still busy.

Two short honks indicate a warning. And, rarely enough so that it startles, though often enough to notice, a lengthy horn sound indicates something truly out of place.

more from Bogota, CO
more ATLAS
home/ Bonafides

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A Delayed Friday the 13th Spooky Special

Thursday, September 19th, 2019

Apologies, Lovers of Literature. On the actual Friday the 13th, I was too busy watching the horrors of history to remember to post.

Keep surfing through thoughout this Fall for the last installments of ATLAS: vol 1. Bogotá, CO, followed by The Art of Sustaining a Still Popular Website in an Age of Social Media.

And, as promised, here is a spooky special publication:

Playground Graveyard

“Ralphie,” his mother called.  “Suppertime, come on in.”

Ralph left his playground and went inside his mother’s house, on the lot back of the graveyard, to wash the dirt from his hands and knees.

“What on Earth were you doing out there to make yourself so dirty?” his mother cried.

“Just digging.”

“What?  Did you say digging?”

“I’m digging a hole to China.”

“Ralphie, I don’t want you digging back there no more.”

“Why, mommy?  It’s not hard, there are spots where the dirt is soft and brown.  It’s easy digging there.”

“I don’t want you playing out back, Ralph, not anymore at all.”

“But what about my new friends.  You always say I should make more friends.”

“New friends?” the alarm grew in the bottom of her stomach.

“I wanna see my new friends.  There’s Princess Longnails and Mr. Greyface and Dr. Wormeyes.”

“Oh Mercy, child.”

more from Raven’s Cry

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Bogotanos in the Rain

Wednesday, September 18th, 2019

They are well prepared for this rain, the Bogotanos.  It occurs every day, around this time.  Most have umbrellas, slickers, or plastic ponchos down to the knees– or two of the three.  A bicyclist wears such a poncho, with a cap beneath her helmet. 

Pedestrians without huddle beneath bus stop shelters or overhanging ledges of buildings.

more from Bogotá, CO
more ATLAS
home/ Bonafides

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ATLAS: vol.1 Bogotá, CO– Crossing the Streets

Sunday, September 8th, 2019

Always an adventure, crossing a Bogotano street.  The cars, motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians seem to intuit through traffic, coming within inches of each other.

Carrera 14 mostly has green walk signals on separate posts from the traffic lights– a green silhouette, which starts to flash when only seconds remain– but Carrera 11 mostly does not.  Even when the cars have a red light, watch out for right and left turners.  Cars do slow when a pedestrian is in their way, but not very much.  And we pedestrians will pick up our feet and hustle when a car or bike is quickly oncoming.  A car turning is a better bet to cross than a pause in the traffic.

more from Bogotá, CO
more ATLAS
home/ Bonafides

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And the Winners Are…

Monday, September 2nd, 2019

Thank you for joining us on
the 2019 !Short Story Contest!

Without further delay,

The Grand Prize Winner is
“Rain” by Sue Mitchell

and Runner-ups
“Tommaso” by Nickolas Urpí
“Life will be and so the world” by Nikky Jain.

view How the Judges Voted.

Your Fan Favorites were:

“Tommaso” by Nickolas Urpí
with 1451 votes,
with runner-ups
“Seedlings” by W.T. Patterson
with 591 votes
“Rain” by Sue Mitchell
with 561 votes.

So !Congradulations!
view How the Judges Voted.

What a marvelous contest this has been.

Fan Voting was as tight as it ever has been– especially for the first week. And then, although one clear favorite pulled well ahead, remained just as tight for the second two slots till the very end.

And our contest traffic has been outstanding,
with 1557 Fan Votes
(remember, each of these 15-hundred votes cast result in three votes each).

Since finalists were announced on June 23rd,
we’ve had 4,346 page views from 1,004 unique IPs.

There were 456 visits in one day, September 1st,
and 107 unique IPs surfed through on August 20th, alone.

409 unique IPs hit us 2,207 times during fan voting

So remember us next time, Lovers of Literature–
every Labor Day, (US), and every MLK Day, (US),
we announce winners for our twice annual fiction contests.

Fan voting is always, always open for two weeks before,
ending the Sunday of those Holiday weekends.

Be sure to check our outstanding Fall publications lineup,
as we post them every Sunday.

And, as poet Thomas Sayers Ellis once inscribed in my copy of his book RACE, INC.
“Whatever you do, don’t stop.”

Submit Now to the 2020 FLASH SUITE Contest
Books/ home

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