Writing on a self-hosted site

6 months ago | GooseReads (Member)

I'm planning for my serial fiction projects in the long-term, starting with an author site. I'm working on setting up navigation for both present and future serial fiction projects. That said:

For those of you who self-host your own web fiction site(s), how do you go about it? Do you use a different subdomain for each project? Do you use subdirectories instead? Do you change headers and color schemes between subdomains or subdirectories? Or do you have a unified color theme throughout the whole site?

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Responses

  1. revfitz (Member)

    Posted 6 months ago

    I have multiple projects (only one serial though) and run a website with a single unifying theme: http://revfitz.com/
    I built my site based off of the tone and my personal voice across my different projects. I am looking at doing a sight overhaul in before the end of summer to better work with my writing. If it helps for you to see how my projects look My serial landing page is: http://revfitz.com/existential-terror-breakfast/ and my page for one of my webcomics is: http://revfitz.com/comic/kick-the-football-chuck-01/

    Let me know if you have any questions!

    Existential Terror and Breakfast--A serial with cereal.
    Updates Wednesdays at: revfitz.com
  2. nippoten (Member)

    Posted 6 months ago

    I have multiple sites, I think it's cleaner for navigation and keep every project separate and have their own identity.

    I do have a main site that has all of my art and links to my different projects, but it's more just to keep things organized and to consolidate sites for newcomers. The serial I'm working on now has it's own site, and if I ever do another one, that will get its own site too.

  3. GooseReads (Member)

    Posted 6 months ago

    Thanks for the info, guys! This helps a lot. I'm still not entirely sure where I'm going with my site, but the more sites I look at the better an idea I have of what to do.

  4. ubersoft (Member)

    Posted 6 months ago

    When I started I had multiple sites.

    I'd been publishing a webcomic since '96, and I figured "my webcomic readers and my serial readers won't be the same readers, so it'd be easier to organize everything by having multiple sites."

    After a few years of that I thought "this is stupid. It's 500% extra work for me, when if I'd put them on the same site my readers would just go read what they want and ignore the rest." So I tried to unify them by making them essentially subdomains of the same domain. It too me YEARS to figure out how to do that, and when I did, the way I did it didn't work when you used SSH (https), which I'd switched to because of the Black Sheep exploit.

    So then I thought "well, Drupal is really good with taxonomies, so I can put everything on one site and organize it that way."

    So I settled on using eviscerati.org, since it had nothing specific to do with either the fiction or the webcomic. ubersoft.net (my webcomic) redirects to https://www.eviscerati.org/comics, and I have a gnarly set of specific redirects that allows people who have linked my old comic pages to use those links to view the new comics. Meanwhile, I use subdomain and domain redirects for specific serials, so for example:

    curveball.xyz goes to https://www.eviscerati.org/fiction/curveball

    arakebystarlight.eviscerati.org goes to https://www.eviscerati.org/fiction/rake-starlight

    thepointsbetween.eviscerati.org goes to https://www.eviscerati.org/fiction/points-between

    Most of those redirects are done by modifying the .htaccess file on my web server.

    I use a site-wide theme (which has been criticized here in the past -- I make no claims to being a good visual designer!) so there's no serial-specific graphics.

    Curveball (Updating)
    A Rake by Starlight (Updating)
  5. Alexander.Hollins (Member)

    Posted 6 months ago

    i am about to relaunch a couple projects, and they will be running through a single website, different "categories" in wordpress, I think. I may do subdomains, not sure.

  6. nippoten (Member)

    Posted 6 months ago

    I seem to be in the minority about keeping things separate. Oh well haha

  7. ubersoft (Member)

    Posted 6 months ago

    I understand the urge to keep them separate, but after a while handling multiple sites becomes a real pain. Especially when you're updating essentially the same mods and patches multiple times.

    Curveball (Updating)
    A Rake by Starlight (Updating)
  8. nippoten (Member)

    Posted 6 months ago

    I don't go that far, and I'm only working on one serial at a time. For me it's easier to give everything its space.

  9. Resheet Schultz (Member)

    Posted 6 months ago

    I only have one serial, but if/when I start a second, it'll be on its own site. The conglomerate sites are annoying, especially if I get linked to the homepage and then have to figure out that it's not a dedicated site. Plus, I'd rather be able to have serial specific CSS. Specimens has a lot of green and brown to go with the story's plant theme, but a different story would probably suggest different colors.

    As for updates, it's not that hard since amazon handles it for me and all I really need to do is ssh in once in a while. I wouldn't be updating the html/css of old websites, so there's no actual work involved. And now that I'm thinking about it, I could probably automate the amazon updates if it got annoying.

    If you mean serial updates, I have scripts that take care of that so it updates all the links and stuff automatically. And I would never run multiple serials in parallel either, that's just too much to handle. I'd rather be able to focus on improving my writing than cranking out more words.

  10. mathtans (Member)

    Posted 6 months ago

    Better late than never... I have all my serial stuff on the one site (WordPress). And all my webcomic stuff on a different site (Blogger), and all my personal stuff on a third site.

    The main reason for that is I only have one serial going at any point in time, be it "Epsilon", "Time & Tied", "Virga Mysteries", or whatever. So I'm not updating in multiple sub-pages at once. The main page has a link to all the serials, and I've added a note at the top as to which one is currently running. I've also got an extra sub-page for author asides. (The entries themselves are posts, the pages are used as indexes.) I honestly just didn't see the point in creating other sites/domains/redirects when I don't have a huge readership as it is. This way I have the faint hope that readers from one serial will carry over into another. Particularly if they like the writing style but not the characters or something.

    That said, I initially started everything as a personified math serial, on Blogger, and when I decided I wanted to have a place for a different (more "normal") type of writing, I created the WordPress site to use instead. Which is just as well, because I went back to the math serial site later (it became my webcomic) and I do now update both of them in parallel (at least for the moment). This method has served me well enough for three years, though for all I know, it's not helping to grow my audience.

    Writing a Time Travel serial: http://mathtans.wordpress.com
    Writer of the personification of math serial: http://www.mathtans.ca
  11. dirtydiana (Member)

    Posted 5 months ago

    If you want my advice for a self-hosted site, try to keep your design simple and clutter free. Don't try to be innovative and mix too many colors. Best play it safe and base your design on popular sites, as they spend a lot of money on user experience. Make sure that your site is mobile friendly. I would also put everything in one place and not spread your work over several domains, unless your content somehow doesn't fit together (Example: I run a website, but I have also written erotica that I published under a different name on noveltrove.com). The reason why I would put all your content under one roof is, that people like activity and readers are more likely to take a look at all your work. What's even more important is, that one domain is easier to promote than many, and without promotion you won't get much visits. Promotion is a can of worms, but legitimate promotion exists. Posting a link to your site on this forums in the right context is legitimate promotion.

  12. jagiunta (Member)

    Posted 5 months ago

    I set up a section of my site just for Serials. If I reach a point where I have multiple serials posted, I'll adjust the index. Whatever visual benefit you can gain from a separate domain can be accomplished with a little editing of your main site.

    jagiunta.com
    webfictionguide.com/fantasy/the-war-golem

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