What 'extras' would you actually be interested in?

So... what 'extras' to a web serial or web novel, would you as readers actually be interested in? And what do I mean precisely by 'extras'?

Basically, I've been building up a secondary site on Wordpress, and it allows me to tidy up and pimp out my web serial to a much greater degree than LiveJournal does. I've already set up obvious things like 'links' and 'index', but I was wondering, what people found to be interesting in general as 'extras'?

I imagine FAQs are an obvious choice, but since I've never been asked any questions substantially, I'm not sure I can justify an FAQ section. Is a 'Character Roster' an essential, or does it leave the possibility for bad spoilers? Do you like it if the author has up a 'Soundtrack' section? 'Recommended Reading' or 'Recommended Viewing'? Would you care that I'm looking forward to a new movie, or would you prefer maps and information on places that the characters visit?

Or are all of the above suggestions completely superfluous?

This is something I have been thinking about alot too. It is only my opinion, but I would rather focus on the story, and spend the lions share of your time using your enhanced ability to modify your site/template to improve navigation, feeds, and visual impact.

I do think that for epic and established stories, having character names, items, locations, etc be hyperlinked (perhaps invisible hyperlinks so as not to clutter the text) to an appendix. It would be possible to setup cookies in such a way as to track the progress of an individual reader and dynamically create an appendix entry that is limited to what the reader has read to help avoid spoilers.

Depending on the story/setting, character twitters/shoutboxes are cool, giving community increased activity in the story. Perhaps even allowing user participation to influence unfolding events.

The link in my sig is to my self-hosted wordpress web novel. I am still working on goodies etc.

Also, if you are using wordpress I made another post referencing a really cool plugin that targets mobile users. <--- Big fan of wordpress.

Oooooh, I feel an idiot asking this, but how do you do the bar at the bottom of the screen, with all of the copyright blurb on it? I'm a complete neophyte when it comes to building webpages/websites.

I doubt somehow that 'Cold Ghost' yet counts as being 'epic' or 'established', seeing as I've only really been doing this as a 'srs bizness' project since Feburary. When does one count as being epic and/or established? However, I am seriously considering an appendix area for all of the yakuza/mob/triad families, possibly drawing up some kind of diagram may be useful for readers.

I realise that at the end of the day, the story is the most important thing, but I was wondering if people found it any of the above extras listed as interesting in general, or had any to suggest. I feel like my site is a bit weedy right now. I'll have a look into the mobile users plugin though, it does sound like it could be useful.

I would define epic as reaching a breadth at which it becomes no simple task for a user to keep memory all the content of your setting/world/story.

The footer on my site is built into the template, there is no option by default in the Wordpress admin area. Without much effort you could add a text widget to your sidebar, or perhaps there is a plugin/template which may include access to a footer.

It is not to hard to change or edit your template however. You just need an ftp program (I use filezilla, its free), and download the footer.php from your chosen themes directory (/your wordpress isntall/wp-content/themes/your theme/footer.php), open it with a text editor (notepad++ is free and helps to organize code), and add whatever you want.

For your website evashandor.wordpress.com, you would look for the section of that footer file that looks like this (it may be tabbed or indented differently, but that has no importance):


Blog at WordPress.com. | Theme: Motion by 85ideas.

And add your info like so:


Blog at WordPress.com. | Theme: Motion by 85ideas.


Then upload that footer file to the directory you found it and overwrite the old one. (make sure to have a backup copy handy however in case of any mistakes.)

Actually, you can edit the footer while you're in the admin area of Wordpress -- at least if the permissions have been set correctly.

All you have to do is go to the Appearance section choose "edit," and then there will be a list of the files that you can edit. If the person did them the standard way, one of them will be called "footer.php"

Click on that and you'll be able to see the entire contents of the footer as well as edit them.

You probably will want to copy the entire file someplace before you do edit it. Unlike with posts, there's no way to go back after you make changes. If you don't know HTML, you'll need to know a little bit to edit it successfully. I'd recommend checking out a tutorial. HTML's not that hard. You could probably figure it out without the tutorial, but it's nice to have something like that to look at sometimes.

Thanks Jim, I completely forgot about Wordpress' ability to modify its own files from inside the admin area!

Bother - it looks like my current theme only allows for the editing of CSS, and I have pay for an upgrade to even access that. :( Can you recommend some themes that do allow that option? There's an awful lot to wade through.

When you say your current theme doesn't allow editing, are you referring to editing through the admin area like Jim said? If so, I do not see how they could really limit you from editing the source files. Where did you download the theme? I could check it out for you.

If your website is a blog from Wordpress.com, you won't be able to edit those files. I imagine they deliberately limit people's access, partially so that maintenance is easier, partially so that they don't have to deal with users making programming mistakes, or just overloading their servers with applications.

If you want to access all your files, you'll have to move to another host, and install Wordpress yourself.

On the bright side there are a lot of hosts that are cheap and make Wordpress installs as easy as one click.

The extras that seem to get the most attention on my site are bonus stories (that's an upsie-downsie sort of thing; some people won't or don't read them and would prefer more chapters instead) and the questions-asked-of-characters.

For feedback and reader engagement, questions seems to be the best way to go. I know A.M. Harte seems to have good results with that, too.

I personally add miscellaneous information, character poems and side stories as extras. This is done to allow breaks between novels and give something new to the readers. Too bad I suck at art or I can draw fan art.

I've been running polls for bonus stories, but it's not seen much traffic. Saying that, I don't get a lot of traffic right now anyways, and maybe running a "Currently Playing Side Story" might pique interests.

The Question Time idea sounds good, but I find the difficulty is finding the right questions... I know that must sound very fussy. It's definitely something to bear in mind though. Also Miscellaneous information as well is coming out on top. I've got a substantial reoccuring supporting cast that have either appeared or are due to.