Call for Submissions: April 2013 EpiGuide Webfiction Community Podcast

4 years ago | epiguide (Member)

Hi everyone! It's time now to get cracking on a new EpiCast podcast. We'll be recording our podcast in early April, and we have some requests for info from both audience members and writers/producers if you'd like to participate. For those who don't know what the EpiCast is, visit http://epicast.podbean.com for details. Webfiction, webserials, webcomics and basically any original web entertainment are all topics of discussion by hosts Kira Lerner (yours truly, the admin of the EpiGuide Webfiction Community at http://epiguide.com and author of "About Schuyler Falls") and Michael (author of "Footprints," one of longest-running serials on the web with nearly 700 installments and--like my own serial--15+ years behind it!).

If you'd like to participate in the next EpiCast, here's what we're looking for:

PREVIEWS - The deadline for getting your previews to us is Friday, April 5.

We're doing a spring preview, where writers can give us a heads-up about your fresh new storylines and events we can look forward to for the next few months. To submit previews, please submit about a paragraph (let's say 250 words or so), focusing on either a single storyline or a bunch of smaller teasers. Try to add a little context if possible, but that's not essential if there's no room.

Please bear in mind that we can be a bit irreverent, so please don't submit if some light-hearted cracks would bother you. Otherwise, send your previews along with your serial's title, URL, and your name.

NEWS / QUESTIONS / FEEDBACK - Deadline: Friday, April 5

For news, we're looking for any tidbits that might interest our listeners, whether it's about a single serial or some topic that affects the community. If possible / relevant, please include links to any stories or websites related to the news item. By "news" relating to webserials, this includes brand new website launches, serial finales, crossovers, changes in format, etc. Not just releasing a new installment--give us something that's actually newsworthy! :)

Plus, if you have a general question or a response to something we said on our previous EpiCasts, we'd love to get your feedback.

DISCUSSION TOPIC: SITE DESIGN DELIGHTS & DISASTERS - Deadline, Friday, April 5

One not-hugely discussed topic we're going to look at in the next podcast is the look of webfiction/webseries sites, and how sometimes first (and second, and third...) impressions really do make a difference. Coming from the perspective of a web entertainment consumer, I know that my interest can be piqued by an intriguing and original design -- just as it can be turned off by dull appearance or confusing navigation. So we're asking you guys to let us know, when you're visiting a site to read (and we certainly hope as writers you're also readers too!), what are your turn-ons and turn-offs when it comes to the look and feel of a site? What do you adore, and what do you abhor? Give us your top 3 in each category if possible. We'll end up ranking the submissions to see what we all think is the #1 pro and the #1 mistake when building a site.

We want fun and constructive (if possible) comments, and you can be specific in naming certain sites if you like, though if there are any specific sites that turn you off, we'd ask you to mention any suggestions that could make the negative aspect of the site more pleasing or functional. URLs are a big plus too so I don't have to hunt them down.

Some things you might consider are use of colors, images, page sizes, fonts, navigation elements, themes, technical glitches, ads, extras that enhance or overwhelm... anything that has to do with the look and feel of a site.

-----------------------------------------------

As always, time is limited -- we'd like to use less time previewing and more time discussing topics -- so it'll be first-come, first-served as far as previews go, with preference given to serials we haven't featured yet, or not that often. That doesn't mean you shouldn't submit, though; if we don't get many new submissions we'll certainly be happy to include those who are enthusiastic to participate again.

Send everything to editor@epiguide.com.

Finally, as always, whatever you send us, please be sure to let us know if it's okay to use your name on the air, or perhaps screenname / initials if you'd rather. If you have any questions, let us know. Thanks!

-- Kira

The original of this post is at the EpiGuide at http://bit.ly/YDvoB7.

Read responses...

Responses

  1. Wildbow (Member)

    Posted 4 years ago

    I'll sit this one out, methinks, though I hope to contribute something for summer/fall/winter, where I'll have more to share.

    Have thoughts on site design, though. Will submit thoughts when I have a few minutes to spare.

    Good luck!

  2. epiguide (Member)

    Posted 4 years ago

    Thanks Wildbow! We'd love any comments you might have on the design topic. I think it's often dismissed by writers... at their peril. :)

  3. epiguide (Member)

    Posted 4 years ago

    The deadline's almost upon us -- y'all have until April 5 to submit your materials, from previews to news to your opinions on site design faves and flaws. Don't worry, I promise this will be my last bump.

    Free promotional opportunity, guys. Why not join in? Surely even the most serious-minded literary serials have some teasers of upcoming story twists their authors can share, or perhaps you have news about a new venture (or one that's ending / reaching a new phase)? And if you're a reader, I know you've encountered some weird designs out there; heaven knows I have! (Plenty of good ones too, and we'll be spotlighting them as well, natch.)

    Don't be shy! Send your info by Friday the 5th; see the OP for details. Thanks guys!

  4. SgL (Member)

    Posted 4 years ago

    Kira - I think one barrier is having to send it via email... I have some thoughts, but they'll be short.
    I'll also just retweet the hell out of the main link you put up and hope that some othe rfolks pick it up.

  5. epiguide (Member)

    Posted 4 years ago

    Thanks SgL! For both the submission and the RTs, I appreciate it.

    One question, though -- why would email be a barrier? I'm hopelessly old-fashioned (and just plain old; most of you guys are likely in your twenties or thirties, I expect, which means I have at least fifteen years on you), but what other method do folks use these days for sending a few paragraphs of text and links to an individual? I'm not a Luddite and am game for anything that'll help, I just can't think of what would be more convenient. Email certainly works best for me, since I have to collate all this stuff. But for people who want to submit material, what would be a better technique, do you think?

  6. SgL (Member)

    Posted 4 years ago

    Oh - I meant something very simple. The act of pulling up an email window is one automatic extra step. It's easier to respond to a thread like this than open an email client/new window to begin composing your thoughts.

    I also find emails to be intimidating. I'm old-fashioned and think emails need to be like a formal letter. (Crafting them is what I do at work. I rarely use email for anything except very long communications -- reserving most of my online conversing for short formats via chat/messages/tweets.)

    Emails are also tough because of the lack of interaction. I have no idea if I meeting the need of the other person. Sometimes not knowing simply if you're going to have the right response keeps people from even trying to respond.

    IN terms of less formal ways of getting info -- I do like typing into group chats/skype, using twitter to quickly canvass opinions (i.e., "Tweet me your favorite well designed sites and why you like them), or using GoogleDocs to work on things together.

    In thinking about what you wanted to get, perhaps a GoogleDocs would have made this more of a group effort (Rather than individual one). Sometimes when you let people work as a group, you'll find the shyer folks more willing to offer ideas once someone has stuck their neck out and offered something as a start. Or it might be those who thought they didn't have anything to offer suddenly read the draft in progress and have a lot to say.

    The topic of design, however, is one that probably this group isn't feeling expert in so that might make it tough to extract responses.

    And on a tangent, I'll go post your link in the serials Goodreads group. I think the majority of the true active guys there are now here on WFG, but never am too sure. I'm not sure what designers might be among them, but I think there are a bunch of newbies that come through that would love to announce their serial...

    ETA: Found your other post and bumped it.

  7. epiguide (Member)

    Posted 4 years ago

    Oh gotcha, thank you for that detailed response! Wow, things have changed. Emails used to be (and still feel to me) friendly and inviting; you're letting someone into your personal inbox, and responding to them on a one-to-one basis, and that feels so much more conversational--especially if you're talking about something that you don't necessarily want the world and his wife to see. The previews/design/news stuff is a good example of this, actually: if everyone just posted them on the forum, it'd be less newsy and interesting for us to talk about in the podcast. I could just say "yeah, just go over to WFG and read the thread!" And then we've got bupkis to talk about! :)

    If you haven't heard them, the EpiCasts are very informal--Michael and I take user submissions and chat about them, either reading them straight and then discussing the material, or paraphrasing them so they're easier for us to read/express ourselves naturally (so we don't just sound like shills--for example, if someone sends us "It's the BIGGEST SHOCK EVER IN A WEBSERIAL!" ...well, we ain't gonna read that as-is, heh).

    On the other hand, using Google Docs is a great idea for a collaborative article in a written format. We used to do a lot of that. The Eppy started out as an online magazine, though lack of good health/energy on my part and lack of voluntary effort on others' made this nonviable, alas. Probably the same thing that happened to Ergofiction. But I'd be delighted to try it out for something major, like an end-of-year recaps/previews article, which we used to do every year like clockwork.

    I do hope people start feeling more comfy about taking part in stuff like this. People who are used to writing on spec or submitting to editors are probably indoctrinated to the idea of submitting to someone they don't know, but I guess in this (not so very) new realm less hardbitten writers might not have experience at doing things like that. I'll have to bear that in mind! I almost always mention in my requests for info that people are *extremely* welcome to ask for clarification either via the forum where I've posted (like this place, or the Eppy itself) or via email. I definitely don't want anyone to be intimidated so I'm happy to explain if something isn't quite right, and it's no big deal to me at all. (Actually I usually blame myself even if it isn't my fault, so as to make certain the other person doesn't feel like I'm chastizing them!)

    For example, someone sent along a paragraph intended for a preview that really just summarized the serial's premise. I wrote back and said, "thanks, this makes a great news bite to announce your serial! If you'd like to include a preview, maybe you could talk about what happens in the future? Imagine what you'd tell your *existing* readers to whet their appetites for what's coming up in your serial. Nothing too spoilery... just imgagine you're an announcer on a serialized TV show teasing, 'Next time on _____...'"

    Long story short, the person wrote back and gave me exactly the right sort of tidbits, I'm happy to say!

    So to anyone reading this and considering responding, please don't be intimidated! I'm unbelievably flexible and always willing to explain and coax the very best stuff out of writers so their material is showcased in its best possible light. (That's what I do as a book doctor, too!)

    Ooh and don't feel the need to be an expert on web design! That's not at all what we need. But everyone has some thoughts on what they like or don't like when they see a new website. Don't like clutter? Don't like super-bright colors? Don't like teeny-tiny, barely-contrasting-with-the-background text? Love lots of original artwork? Love navigation that's consistent throughout the site? Love an easy way to jump right to the most current installment as well as going back in time to the archives?

    That's the sort of thing we mean. I promise no one responding needs to know CSS3 or HTML5 or how to develop responsive sites that are cross-browser friendly and adapt perfectly for mobile devices and widescreens alike. (Yeah, I'm a web designer myself so I know this crap.) All you need are some working eyes, experience as a webserial reader whether you read one or twenty, and an opinion or two. Hell, even the eyes are optional: if you're using a screen reader and want to share what sites work and which don't for you, that'd be extraordinarily informative too!

    Hope this helps. Thanks again for giving me the heads-up on the other ideas. I kinda hate Twitter so I'm really bad at using it (I am WAAY too wordy* to be satisfied with 140 characters) but I should make it easier for people to respond that way when possible.

    Again thank you VERY much for bumping the GR post. Only got six views there, crazy. Which part of free publicity do people not get? Yeesh. But you're right, most people are probably here. Or already decided they don't have time to respond, which is totally legit as well. We're all pretty busy these days.

    * gee, ya think?

  8. epiguide (Member)

    Posted 4 years ago

    Just wanted to thank everyone who submitted for this month's EpiCast and let everyone know that the latest is up at http://epiguide.podbean.com. Episode #10 includes the massive batch of webserial spring previews and a selection of news items.

    Actually, this recording grew lengthy enough that Michael and I decided to split off the design discussion (and the second half of the news) into a second episode, so look for that this Friday.

    Thanks again to all participants, and I hope you check out and enjoy the show.

  9. Jim Zoetewey (Moderator)

    Posted 4 years ago

    Cool. I hope to get organized enough to submit something for the next one.

  10. Nick Bryan (Member)

    Posted 4 years ago

    Just listened, thanks for the kind words about Hobson & Choi - and indeed for not totally ripping into me for my slightly embarrassing most/least typo. Enjoyed the podcast too, great job. :)

    Hobson & Choi - my blackly comic mystery serial - existing now on Jukepop Serials!
  11. MrOsterman (Member)

    Posted 4 years ago

    Yes thank you for the nice set up for Bastion and Mind the Thorns. I do think next time I should clarify what "Whedon-esque" kill off means. :) Or I'll repost here once it happens in Bastion.

    Mind the Thorns a Reader Directed Urban Fantasy
    Bastion: The Last Hope a web novel of the end of days
  12. Fiona Gregory (Moderator)

    Posted 4 years ago

    Finally had a chance to listen to this. Very cool! You guys are web fiction angels!

    And congrats to all the WFGers whose serials were featured.

  13. epiguide (Member)

    Posted 4 years ago

    Thanks for listening, guys! We're very glad you enjoyed the 'cast. We'd be nowhere without our submitters, thank goodness for everyone who sent stuff in.

    We've just become associated with the Webcast Beacon Network, sort of replacing the original version of "Webfiction World." You can see our own announcement here to learn more. Here's our page at the WCBN. Not much will change, though I'm hoping to push up the frequency of the podcasts if at all possible. The biggest benefit is, of course, more ears! And that means more potential audience members for anyone whose serial is highlighted in the EpiCast--and another reason for y'all to participate once we next ask for submissions, heh. :)

    BTW, since "Webfiction World" lost its original awesome hosts due to understandable busy-ness, it's now devoted to webfiction readings. I know Fes is looking for writers who'd be interested in taking part in the reading podcast, so you should definitely cheeck his announcement asking for possible selections to include in the series. (Hmm, he's probably already posted this hear. Sorry if this is a duplicate.)

    Anyway thanks again -- and sorry if Michael misunderstood what you meant by Whedonesque killing, Rob! Probably means something different to everyone. I'm not actually a huge Whedon fan, but to me, it means building up a hugely sympathetic character and then killing/maiming them for maximum pathos. Just because you can. (Nope, not bitter, not me...)

    OH hey, almost forgot to mention, if anyone has any ideas on future topics of discussion, please feel free to email me at editor@epiguide.com! We've got plenty of topics but we'd love to hear others' thoughts as well. Thanks!

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