If you’ve been around a little while, you may remember when I released the Novelist plugin for authors last year. At the time, it was a paid plugin, and got a lot of great feedback from its users.
Well, one of my big goals for this year was to give Novelist a little more attention. I decided that the best way to do this was to make some big changes. I wanted to release a slightly simpler version of the plugin for free in the WordPress repository, then move some of the bigger, more niche features into paid add-ons.
First, I worked on recoding the entire plugin
The code wasn’t terrible before, but I still wanted to gut it and redo it from the ground up.
- Better, more organized code.
- More thorough comments.
- A settings panel that’s 5 million times better (code-wise and usability-wise).
- Actions and filters everywhere.
- Templates that can easily be overridden in themes.
- And extensive documentation (for both regular users and developers).
I love how easy it is to change and customize the plugin via add-ons or in themes. It’s delicious!
The re-coding process took a long time, especially because I worked on it in between other projects. But once it was ready, I was able to release it on WordPress.org.
Novelist adds a new section in your admin panel for “Books”. Instead of creating a new page (Pages > Add New) for each book and then manually trying to format the book page, Novelist makes it so much easier. You create a new book (Books > Add New) and just fill out a super simple form with all the book information.
Each book gets its own public-facing page and the book information is automatically put together and formatted.
The format may look simple, but the best part of the plugin is that the layout is customizable. This is something that other author plugins lack. Here’s a look at the layout builder:
If you’re a developer, you can even take this a step further and completely build your own layout into your theme. Here’s an example of something a bit more complex that I’m playing with:
In fact, developers are something I’m really trying to cater to here. I want to make it easier for designer and developers to build websites for their author clients. I even have a tutorial on how to add custom fields and a detailed overview of the Novelist_Book class and how to get book information.
Earlier I mentioned paid add-ons. That’s still in the works, but coming soon! I’ll be putting the following features into add-ons:
- 3D Book Covers: Gives all book covers a cool 3D effect.
- ARC Requests: Build a form to let reviewers request ARCs of your books. Then easily manage the requests and send out approval/rejection emails.
- Events Calendar: Easily create a calendar of your upcoming author events and display them on your website.
- Import from Goodreads: Batch import books from Goodreads by entering a list of ISBNs.