Web Serial Hosting: A Hub Site [Interest Check and Discussion]

So! I was reading the recent-ish thread about web hosting for serials and I've been kicking around an idea for a proper site for hosting serials for a while.


I'm thinking of starting a hub site for hosting serials. I'd write the CMS myself, in Django and I'd provide two types of services: hosting and editorial. And a community, hopefully.


SERVICES OFFERED


Hosting:



  • a site (duh)

  • 2 GB disk space (for now --- if we get bigger and have enough funds, I'll up that)

  • comments on the site, moderated or unmoderated. Your choice.

  • a [hubname].com/[yourserial] url, if you don't want to or can't provide your own domain name

  • site maintenance

  • web design, tailored toward the needs of a serial. Navigation! Proper archives and tables of content! Cast pages! And so on.


Editorial:



  • there will be a vetting process and I will require regular (or at least consistent) updates. Quality of the serial will also be taken into account.

  • proofreading and basic line edits

  • copyediting? Continuity? Developmental editing? Maybe. Maybe I'll have to charge/charge more for these. Just putting these out there as suggestions.


Community:



  • a central hub, with forums for in-depth discussion (for people who prefer forums to comment threads on chapters).

  • author blogs on the central hub, if desired.

  • a review section

  • a Keenspace-like adbox on every site, advertising other serials that are part of the hub.


Other:

Honestly, I really like the idea of offering people banner art, illustrated ads and logos. But those might end up being a bit of a luxury. We'll see.


I have no idea how we'd advertise the hub as a whole, but I'm bouncing some ideas off the proverbial wall. Maybe advertise to webcomic readers? We shall see.


I'm not sure if I want to charge a monthly fee to cover server costs or ask for a pay-what-you-can voluntary contribution, but regardless, I would not charge more than USD 10 a month for the basic service. The aim of this is to be a cheap (if not free) alternative to a cludged-together solutions like WordPress's free hosting.


Maybe we can cover hosting costs with donation drives? I do not want to rely on advertising, however and I want to provide hosting to people who are doing serials as a hobby, as well as to people who are making a living off it. So really, I think this might end up free with a polite request to help with server costs every year or so. And maybe some discreet, non-annoying ads.


I mean, remember Keenspace? In some ways, it was a fucking disaster, but I want this site to become a hub like that.


So! Any comments? Feature requests? Any ideas on how to shoulder server costs? Any ... interest in this? 8D


EDIT: Oh and potentially, if the project proves successful, we could expand to an Android and iOS app for serials.


Oh and --- if anyone here has programming skills (especially back-end, since I can handle front-end myself) or editorial skills, I'd love to hear from you! If it's just me, I probably can't take on more than 5 people on.


I have too many followers on Wordpress to want to start over. And as much as the Wordpress downgrades suck, it's completely free, quite secure and very reliable. I can probably rely on them to still keep my site online in a year or five, long after I'm done updating or even editing my serial.


That long term reliability is a big deal for me.


Also, who would be doing the editing? Finding a reliable editor who works for free (or almost for free) would be next to impossible.


I'd be doing the editing, at least until I can find someone else (which would depend on whether or not we'd be able to do more than break even on server costs and thus pay the editor). Which ... is probably not the answer you were looking for.


I can't do more than promise to be reliable and keep this project going long-term, since I'm hardly a big company like WordPress, but given that I'm a serial writer myself, I don't really foresee myself abandoning the project (since I'd be using it to host my own serial, too). If, for some catastrophic reason, I couldn't keep the site up any more, I would make sure to transfer all data somewhere it could be archived long-term.


Editing is a big responsibility, and you weren't active in the Writer's Lair in terms of proofreading / editing. You disappeared and we never heard from you again. I'm not saying this to be a jerk or anything, but... a web hosting project requires a great deal of long term responsibility. If you have health issues to worry about, this might maybe be a bit much to add on top of everything else.


At the time I was in the Writer's Lair, I was a great deal sicker than I am now --- that was before my current medication. I'm at a level where I think I could handle this project reasonably well. I know I haven't been terribly reliable in the past, but again, circumstances have changed for me significantly.


Okay. Glad to hear you're feeling better! :D


This idea is so, so very attractive to me. But I feel that first I want to prove that I can produce a steady stream of updates first. I almost have 2 months of twice weekly updates prepared and I have plans to run the current story for at least two years (possibly longer).


Also, I'm just nervous of working with folks, not due to reasons here, but past collabs.


Bumping this, is anyone at all interested or are we all too cautious? :P


If I don't get enough takers, I'm going to focus on making a WordPress theme aimed at use with serials or ... I don't know. Start offering cheap custom Wordpress themes?


I want to help the community somehow, you know?


I'd strongly suggest getting a Wordpress theme together rather than starting from scratch.


I really like this idea, especially the possible editing. I would gladly pay extra for help with that. I proof-read my chapters and have someone help me with that, but the editing part, I can't really get to myself just yet, and finding good help for a decent price is not easy.


Tartra: yeah, after some thought, I've decided that I would rather use WordPress than anything else. It's exponentially easier than building your own things and I could get it reasonably customised with plugins and custom themes.


Emma: honestly, membership will probably be free but curated (so serials have to meet certain standards of quality and reliability to be included) and I'd ask for help with hosting bills via donation drives and uh, maybe use some non-obtrusive ads? If people want to tip me for the editing, that's fine but I won't be asking people to pay for it.


I think that sounds fair. I have no problems with ads as long as they're not all over the place. I really like the idea of having add for other serials on the site as well.