How Do You Want Your Reader To Read A Literary Magazine?

My challenge is to find a WP literary magazine theme that does not read like a newspaper where visitors will anticipate that content will be updated daily. Here is a sample of what I mean. Although Al-Jadid, http://www.aljadid.com/ is a good literary magazine, its two column format is more akin to a newspaper and the slideshare with photos emphasizes the timeliness of its take on current events. (Obviously, the editors have followed suit). I also dislike the highlighting of each individual column with a different colors and the long ads on the right hand side. The amount of ads and their size respective to the content does not leave the reader ” a mental reading space” to determine whether to subscribe or not. Personally, that strategy does not work for me. Overall, the site feel cluttered and loud.

On the other hand, Banipal, http://www.banipal.co.uk/about_us/, a very well respected British publication has renewed content with an emphasis on timelessness. The endorsements in the second column are from well known authors which lend a legitimacy to the magazine’s authority. The sidebars lead the reader to only what they wish to experience. Banipal does not need to exhort its audience to subscribe. It does have a static quality. The website is always the same color, has the same theme and is punctuated by photos of the authors. Again a sense of timelessness.

On the other hand, many online literary magazines websites have no potential for return visitors  People lurk and leave and unless they are being published in the magazine, they don’t really bother to comment or subscribe (even if it is free). I don’t know if this is the functionality of the WP themes themselves or whether it is how  editors use their WP themes. Maybe it is a combination of both.

Here is an example. Mind you, I respect the magazine, but the format does not enhance my user experience.Magazine Litteraire Magazine, http://www.magazine-litteraire.com/ is  a French online publication. But how does a reader subscribe? The subscription is hidden in a tiny box in the corner although the slideshare shows previous copies on the topbar endlessly piling on top of each other. Very confusing. When I checked out the poetry section, I discovered (with horror) that I had entered a long, endless column of writing with as many as three photos per a writer all (again) placed on top of each other .I wanted to read and skip the photos, but I couldn’t. They were all there. The only pauses were for the “Read More…” with the entries. I felt trapped and although this online magazine is affiliated with a fine American women’s press, reading it feels like too much work.

However The Sun Magazine,,http://thesunmagazine.org/  is cool and refreshing to look at. Simple logo. No clutter. Lightened photos. The left sidebar promotes, but also offers opportunities. The pieces are presented in the center column with minimum fanfare. No photos of the writers. If you want to read more about them, you have to  check the right column which also has email and subscription information.

I have selected Haiku as a temporary theme for this literary magazine.

The other themes I have considered

Responsive WP Theme

Max Magazine

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