Web Serial Fiction discussion

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message 1: by Max (new)

Max (maxlong) | 2 comments As I get closer to starting my serial blog, I have a question regarding the blogging platform. What do you use and why? For me personal blog, I use Tumblr, mostly because it will host your own domain name for free. I'm not sure how well it would work for a serial though.

Are there any that you would recommend. Blogger??? Wordpress??? Something completely different???


message 2: by Shawneda (new)

Shawneda Shawneda I use and love blogger because well...I just do ... www.shawneda.com and all of my serial series have blogger homes...I'm posting my serials on WattPad


message 3: by Dan (new)

Dan Bonser If you want to go free, and not pay anything at all, Blogger is the way to go, because its the most versitile of all the free platforms.

Now Wordpress is tricky, because there are 2 different ones, there is the 'free' blogging platform, which in all honesty is horrible. And the free blogging software, that people use to construct their self hosted, and very paid for domain names, which is the best software to use, hands down.

Anyways, I'd suggest Blogger, its what I use, but then my serial is combined with my personal blog, I put out my serial on Saturdays, with other blog posts throughout the week.


message 4: by Jim (last edited Dec 29, 2012 10:45AM) (new)

Jim Zoetewey | 18 comments Personally, I do self-hosted Wordpress (which I can then modify as needed). Currently, I do a plain vanilla installation with a few plugins--even though Wordpress has a huge number of plugins available.

It works pretty well.

Both Wordpress.com and Blogger have the same problem of being a platform designed for blogging but not necessarily serial fiction. Basically, you take what they give you, and you can't modify things much.

That said, many serial writers use them. They both work decently for writing. Plus, it's entirely possible that you won't feel the need to change things like I do (my profession: web developer).

You might look into Pandamian. It's still in beta, but it's a startup focused on publishing serial fiction online.

http://www.pandamian.com/

You still can't modify it as much as I'd like, but it is at least focused on serial fiction.


message 5: by S.G. (last edited Jan 01, 2013 09:24AM) (new)

S.G. (s-girl) | 54 comments I think Tumblr should not be your mainstay as it's a difficult reading experience for people who might be joining you late in the publication of your story. (Think about whether it's esay to read parts of the story in order or not using Tumblr as a reading interface.)

I prefer Wordpress for self-hosted sites (and use it) and also publish on Wattpad.

Pandamian -- haven't heard that in a while :). The creator has been pretty quiet online. Is it still being supported?


message 6: by Jim (new)

Jim Zoetewey | 18 comments Well, I know they did a server switch in October 2012...

I assume it's still supported.


message 7: by Jenna (new)

Jenna Scribbles I use the free version of Wordpress. Yes, I agree, it has issues. I particularly do not like the fact that they place ads on the bottom of the posts. I'm trying to create a mood about the end of the world and then a Febreeze video pops up.

Haha

I'll stick with it for a while. So far, it works.

~ Jenna


message 8: by Susannah (new)

Susannah Hume (imaginalia) I very quickly found the constraints on free blogging platforms frustratingly restrictive - what works for a web serial is not what works for a blog - the purpose and reader paths through content are completely different. Tumblr is awesome, but not for a serial. Blog to Tumblr, plug to Tumblr, but host somewhere else - very difficult to set up a workable serial navigation on Tumblr, IMO (c.f. Web Fiction Guide minimum standards - http://webfictionguide.com/about/subm...). :)

I'd put in another vote for Wordpress self-hosted installation. For the comparatively minimal cost of domain name + hosting, you get so much flexibility. What I like is that depending on the theme, it can behave like a blog or like a website. I have two writing blogs using wordpress -
http://jovan.wilfulandsneaky.com (my webserial), and
http://written.wilfulandsneaky.com (new - short-form writing and author blather).

They have different purposes, levels of content and ambitions, and as a result look pretty different. Especially with my webserial, I have moved into that layout over years. I occasionally redecorate, but I have changed it into a shape that really works very well for my needs. :) Whereas with a free blogging platform I don't think I could have got far enough into the workings to achieve that.


message 9: by Daniel (new)

Daniel Piros | 4 comments I'm using WordPress (the software). True, it's geared more towards blogs, but as open-source software, it's customizable. You just need to do a little work to improve the organization. Search around for useful plugins. A good one is Organize Series, which adds a new "series" taxonomy to WordPress, and automatically adds navigation and a table of contents for each series.
I also suggest you learn at least a little bit of PHP, for small alterations. For example, when I first set up Organize Series, my series's table of contents was showing previews of each chapter, when I really just wanted a list of links to each one. So I had to delete the part of the PHP file that displayed the previews.

In terms of hosting, I recommend x10hosting. They have both free and paid services, which means if your site grows, you can upgrade to a paid account and get the features you need. I'm using the free hosting, and haven't had any real problems yet. No ads, you can attach your own domain, get ftp and email, etc.
I also highly recommend getting your own domain name. It only costs about $15 a year, and makes your site look a lot more professional.

Before I switched to WordPress and x10, I was using a free hosting and cms service called ucoz, mostly because it was what I used for a previous site. I got a nice site design with one of their themes, and then discovered that I couldn't change the url structure. It had to stay as example.com/?p=93 or whatever it was. That, along with the ads and other issues, convinced me I needed to have control over my site. WordPress is open source, so if it doesn't work exactly the way I need it, I can modify it.

Anyway, I highly recommend WordPress. Definitely not wordpress.com, because you get way more control with a feature-rich free host and your own WordPress installation.


message 10: by Olivia (new)

Olivia Helling (katsueki) I've used both wordpress.org (the self-hosted version) and wordpress.com (the free version). My serial is hosted by wordpress.com at the moment. As a way to get up and going (without needing technical knowledge), it's great. However, it's also very restrictive if you want to do more with it. No plugins, no email signup forms (except through their thing, which you do not have access to), very little customization in design, and yes, ads.

Oh, and the website analytics are sparse. (Well, I'm a data analysis as my day job, so I might be a little more picky, but I find it's a very, very, very stripped down version. I'd love it if I could at least incorporate google analytics, but there's some kind of rivalry between Wordpress and Google because of Blogger.) Basically with the analytics you see an overview of visits and pageviews, and then specific stats per day, like where the visitor is from, how they found the blog, what they looked at. Very little information compiled across time. But if you're not into stats, then it'll probably work.

You can get rid of the ads, be able to customize the templates, and get a domain name if you upgrade with them. On the plus side, it requires very little technical knowledge and you could also benefit from the Wordpress community and maybe get featured. And if you decide to self-host later, you can also upgrade to redirect your traffic.

Also, if all you want is a place to upload your stories (and not anything extra like blog posts or email subscribers), then you could try Wattpad or FictionPress.com. I also upload my serial to FictionPress and get more reads there than on Wordpress. I tried Wattpad, but got little traction, but it can be really, really good if you have the right story for a younger audience. Wattpad also has some neat features, like updates and being able to choose casts of characters, and a nicer UX design.


message 11: by S.G. (last edited Dec 08, 2013 11:47AM) (new)

S.G. (s-girl) | 54 comments A few years ago I wouldn't have pushed one platform before another, but if it were down to where to host it, I would recommend Wordpress (for self-hosting) (http://theonlinenovel.wordpress.com/2...) vs Blogspot . If you write YA or romance, also would recommend a look at Wattpad.

While my Wattpad performance was rockya t first, since completing my story, it's been climbing in terms of reads . (https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/c...) I still think I have more hits on my self-hosted Wordress org blog but I used a bit of Project WOnderful advertising in the beginning to put more eyes on the story in its first 8 months.

Had I a chance to do it over, I would have done wordpress.com instead of wordpress.org for Tales of the Big Bad Wolf. There's far more organic traffic that way...


message 12: by C.A. (new)

C.A. Sanders I've had a lot of success with www.JukePopSerials.com Yes, they don't take every serial, but they double down on promotion, and they actually pay their writers.

C.A.S.


message 13: by Frances (new)

Frances (mothindarkness) | 83 comments Mod
Good news about Juke Pop. I've been watching them closely, but haven't heard from anyone who actually had experience with them.
Thanks for the tip.


message 14: by Katherine (new)

Katherine | 10 comments i've had my novel, dating god https://www.jukepopserials.com/home/r... on JukePop Serials for about 8 months and it's been a great experience. they just put out a paperback anthology of 10 novel excerpts from last year (and will be offering an ebook and using it as publicity). lots of publicity on lots of levels.

plus you do get paid! there's payment for the first chapter (~$70) plus if you make the monthly top 30, top 20 and top ten, there's $10, $20 and $30 respectively. they don't accept all submissions, but if you look at the bottom of the landing page, you can see the "aspiring authors" - which means that they simply need four jukepop authors to endorse them before they can join in on the rankings, votes and payments. check out their author FAQs for more details . . .


message 15: by C.A. (new)

C.A. Sanders I was wondering when another JukePop author was going to join ;)


message 16: by Katherine (new)

Katherine | 10 comments :)

did you get the email about the shift in how the top 30 will go? what do you think of it? i've had conversation with some authors who have already finished their novels but are only releasing enough chapters at a time to stay in a higher ranking. wonder if that's what this new way of doing it is really about.

it definitely lit a fire under me - i stalled out and haven't written the next chapter in a few months. ego trumps writers block :)


message 17: by C.A. (new)

C.A. Sanders It certainly helps the newcomers, which I think is fine. Watchmage is almost finished, and I'm not going to overtake Lelai for 1st place, so it doesn't directly affect me.

We have a more in depth discussion going on about this at the JukePop support group I started on Facebook. Come join if you'd like.


message 18: by Katherine (new)

Katherine | 10 comments cool- if you left a link for the fb group, it didn't take. please repost, would love to hear what you guys are talking about :)


message 19: by C.A. (new)

C.A. Sanders https://www.facebook.com/groups/23264... we are small but proud. Most of us are pretty old school too. I know that Dating God's been around for quite some time as well. I haven't gotten around to reading it, but if I tried to read every serial that I wanted to, I'd have to stop time. Right now the only one I read regularly is Hobson and Choi.


message 20: by Katherine (new)

Katherine | 10 comments i feel you :) i try and read at least the first few chapters of many of them, but have only hung in with a couple. a weird thing i've noticed is that there are a lot of really good starts to novels, and then at some point they just . . . let me down in a really unexpected way. like a really awesome space opera-ish read all of a sudden turns into a horror novel in chapter 9. argh! or the really cool weirdly comedic film noirish read that abruptly finished at around chapter 20 in a way that left if feeling like coitus interruptus :)

have you read larry the horrible time traveler? that's actually really funny and thoughtful. and a newer one - the tetris effect - has a william gibson vibe going on.

and you are a really good writer - i read the first few chapters - a brother novel set in ny :) - yeah, i need to gird my loins for the scary stuff (i'm a wuss) and go back in :) see you at the fb page!


message 21: by Genevieve (new)

Genevieve  (ggp-reads) | 5 comments When I first jumped into web fiction, I used pandamian.com for my two completed stories. Now that Pandamian has gone dark, I'm migrating my work to Pressbooks.com. I like what I see as I tinker away, but also would like to know more about it. Has anyone else used Pressbooks.com? I'm also curious how others may have combined earlier work on Pandamian with platforms like wordpress or blogger. Any info will be much appreciated.


message 22: by S.G. (last edited Mar 17, 2014 02:56PM) (new)

S.G. (s-girl) | 54 comments Katherine wrote: "i feel you :) i try and read at least the first few chapters of many of them, but have only hung in with a couple. a weird thing i've noticed is that there are a lot of really good starts to novels..."

Doesn't JP only admit based on the first installment? I think they'd get better quality if they solicit 2-3 installments before agreeing to bring an author on (or show their stories publicly). But this problem is generally true with a lot of fiction including regular books. Usually most people decide after a few chapters whether to keep reading.

For two serials I have on Wattpad, I generally lose most people from installment 1-2. If I can hold them to the third update, then the drop off is more gradual.

Genevieve wrote: "When I first jumped into web fiction, I used pandamian.com for my two completed stories. Now that Pandamian has gone dark, I'm migrating my work to Pressbooks.com. I like what I see as I tinker awa..."

I haven't seen a lot of people on pressbooks.com participate in other communities so far. A lot of folks who are on GR are generally JPSerials folks. The web indies tend to hide on WFG forums only, and most of them don't bother posting across platforms. Have you tried to ask on twitter?


message 23: by Genevieve (new)

Genevieve  (ggp-reads) | 5 comments JPSerials? Is that JukePop Serials?

I don't tweet. I realize it's part of web fiction, but I haven't started yet.


message 24: by Amber (new)

Amber (amberterminatorofgoodreads) I'm doing an online web serial that is YA, horror, and fantasy on my goodreads writing page right now and have been getting some positive feedback so far on it. Hope to get more readers and feedback from it soon. It's my first time doing one on this website and am going to be posting a chapter a week until I am done.


message 25: by Amber (new)

Amber (amberterminatorofgoodreads) Hey Jaye I don't use any of them, but just goodreads for my serial through their creative writing section.


message 26: by Michael (new)

Michael Coorlim (mcoorlim) | 7 comments I use a self-hosted wordpress installation. Gives me the most control.


message 27: by S.G. (new)

S.G. (s-girl) | 54 comments blogger can be imported into any wordpress.com or wordpress.org (self-hosted) installation. I moved online-novel.com from blogger to wordpress and felt that I was getting far more views as a result. I just don't think Blogger is all that "social"... tagging doesn't lead anywhere for a lot of posts on blogger.


message 28: by Alan (last edited Oct 17, 2015 06:43AM) (new)

Alan Alaric (doublearoi) | 2 comments I self post my 7 science fiction/fantasy serials on wordpress at http://thenewscifi.com. It has worked well so far.


message 29: by Abner (new)

Abner Senires | 3 comments Heh. I'm also another Blogger user although I bought a domain name hosted elsewhere and redirected the blogspot site to the domain. I've found ways of altering the base template with additional CSS and HTML code to get the way I want.

It's worked fine for me so far and it's been nigh on seven years since the serial started. I don't forsee moving to another platform. I may change up the look of the site to better fit my writer blog, but I'm still debating that.


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