I've been writing for a long time, since I was a kid really, and I decided its time I put all these stories I have lying around to good use. I've posted short stories in places like Fictionpress before, and even tried self publishing on Kindle, but now, I'm diving headlong into webnovels.
What I am doing now is preparing episodes in advance for a July launch.
From perusing the web novels featured here, it seems that Wordpress is the common webficiton site builder. I am instead using Weebly, even though I have used Wordpress for much of my life, I found it frustrating and difficult to work with in its current version. If anyone has site building wisdom, consider me your attentive (if errant) padawan.
So, that's me. I figured it would be less impudent of me to make an effort to get to know the wonderful people here on Web Fiction Guide, before I try and get my web novel on any sort of list. There is something indescribably cool about exploring the ever evolving stories here and watch them grow and change along with my own work.
One last note; though I edit my stories profusely, my conversational English is lacking. I currently live and have grown up in environments where a few other languages influence my expression, so beware my use of passive voice and omition of articles, verbs, and pronouns in my forum posts.
Welcome aboard! Since you have some time before your serial is actually going up, and it'll be a while longer before it'll be listed here on WFG, it's a good time to get involved in the community. Pretty much the best thing you can do in your early stages as a member here is to review other serials. People being involved and giving back is what makes this place tick. It's been a good few months since I posted a review myself (I'm having kind of a hellish year), so I'm starting to feel guilty and looking for more review fodder myself.
As to site design, I'm afraid I cannot advise you; I use Wordpress and am pretty satisfied with it despite its peculiarities, which are sometimes frustrating.
What's your serial about?
For website design, there are two serials you should look at. The first is Worm's website. Since both Wildbow and I use Wordpress, I can tell you how he does it. He has a page (different from a post) that's set up as a table of contents and there's a link to it on the top. Then he manually links every chapter to the table of contents and vice-versa. Also, each chapter he uploads has links to the previous and to the next chapters. In my opinion, this is the best way to do it. That's why I pretty much copied the system wholesale.
The next is my old website, which I made before I even knew web serials existed. What I would do was make a post, then link to a google document. And no, I wouldn't have a table of contents. Why did I do this? I was an idiot.
The thing you should take away from this is that the user interface of a site is the most important part of the design. After that, I honestly don't think anyone will notice unless you do something like put white text on a white background. For instance, my current serial has just a simple blue and white color scheme with a logo I thew together in Illustrator in under a day. Are there people out there with better designs? Doesn't matter, the story does.
I guess its another modern fantasy thriller.
Pitch as of now: Siblings Mashka and Aleksei are students in university and high school in St. Petersburg. Their week starts much as any other, but they begin to suspect that they are being watched. Paranormal events begin to occur which the siblings soon realise they are the cause. As the week continues, they face the dilemma of who to trust, or whether they can even trust themselves.
Welcome to the community! I agree with D.D. Webb. Get out there and read others serials and be part of the community. You'll find we are all really cool peeps.
I've also only recently started my serial. Before I posted anything I did a ton of research on other people's serial websites and found that the vast majority use wordpress. The reason I chose wordpress then was that it made it easier to connect with others who were also using the same web builder as me. Not that it's impossible to connect with another web serialist who uses another web builder, but I wanted to try to make things as easy for me as possible.
Worm's site is crisp, simple, and elegant! I'm hoping to emulate it, though with a brighter palette, as my story is not as moody(?) as Wildblow's.
I'm finding no fanciness is needed for web fiction, just great story, and a clean place to put it. Thanks for your help it makes perfect sense!
I also went with wordpress, mostly because it was free and offered a fair number of features that are relatively easy to use.
My biggest issue with Wordpress is a slow but sure trend toward disabling or downgrading aspects of the interface. There was a big uproar last year with how they severely downgraded the stats page with all the trackable data, and they also altered the editor, again removing a great many features, while burying the old editor in the dashboard (and making the dashboard slightly harder to reach). They've been doing things along those lines for a bit now.
When issues were raised, they were summarily dismissed or answered with 'If you don't want to be downgraded, pay for the $150 professional package'.
It's a constant worry in the back of my mind that if they disable or hamper the service further to drive people to the paid package, that I might be inconvenienced. I'd change, and put serious effort into researching other options, but couldn't quite find anything that worked.
Something to keep in mind with Wordpress.
Absolute agreement Wildbow (not Wildblow xD). Over the years Wordpress has become LESS usable, and it's infuriating to not be able to do things that I used to be able to do. To make it even more irritating.
I was paying for the $40 a year package for several years.
So in my impatient rage, it was off to find another site builder, and thus far, Weebly is great and highly usable, if initially out of my comfort zone. I had to approach it pretending I did not know how to use a site builder and their tutorial vids are great. Does it provide everything I want? No. But it has most of the functions I need.
Personally, I've always gone with self-hosted Wordpress. That way I get access to plugins that Wordpress.com won't allow, themes that they don't have access to, and so on. I suspect a certain amount of what you don't like about the Wordpress.com version of things is changeable in the self-hosted version. In addition to control, the good point about self-hosted Wordpress is that it's not hard to install.
The bad point is that you will have to learn things, and you'll also have to pay for your domain name, hosting and so on. There are probably people who will give you access to a self-hosted site for free--though it might take some looking.
This is as good a time as any to bring this up --- I've actually been thinking about offering cheap hosting to web serial authors, including a customised CMS (Jekyll, a static blog generator, posts easily added via Prose.io, GitHub and the jekyll-hook plugin). The sites would look something like this: http://thebitterdrop.com/ (that's the site for my serial that's starting up on Monday), with optional customisation of various sorts. Jekyll can do quite a lot of neat things. Stat tracking would be done through Google Analytics.
The problem is that I don't have the money to rent a server right now and I have no idea if there's any interest in this kind of thing, anyway. If I were going to do this, I'd have to gather money upfront and, well, why should you guys trust me?
(I also don't know what's a "reasonable" price for something like this. $5 a month? Is that too much to be "reasonable"? I also don't know how much space to offer people per account. Is something like 2 GB too little?)
Isaac: You might want to view your site on iOS. For me it is virtually unreadable on both my iPhone and iPad. Mobile views are only going to become more important, so that's a real issue.
That's one reason I like Weebly, you can customise browser and mobile view separately .
Jim: yeah, I'm aware of that issue (I have an Android tablet) and I'm working on a mobile-friendly version of the site right now. It's just taking a bit because I'm one person and I'm sick.
Umm, hmm. As Jim said, there are people who will give you access to a self hosted site for wordpress for free (cough lookinmybannercough) but... I actually hesitate to suggest it, as I am kinda planning on dumping dreamfantastic and going to just an author site. If I got interest in people actually using it though.
I'm torn between making my site specific to my webnovel, or to my author. Because I have multiple stories I want to tell, and I really don't feel like making multiple sites.
Choosing a domain name has been the most difficult part of the process. The story is called "Chrysalis Experiment" which is way too long. Or should I even stress about the length of the site name?
An experiment involving me? I'm terrified!
On a more serious note, I don't think that's too long for a story title or site name. Seems fine to me.
I chuckled a bit when I saw there was a "Chrysalis" author here. There are not too many needles involved, I assure you.
Definitely do an author website first, then decide ifyou need a separate one for each book IN ADDITION. works out best once you have multiple books, I hear.
I did finally settle on a site name. TimNoelFiction.com
Concise and all-encompassing.