When I came up with the idea of putting my stories out there for public viewing, I thought about posting on Yaoi Fix or a similar website. There are certain advantages for sure. The sites already have a community of readers and it would be easier for people to find me.
But I decided not to do that. I wanted to the website to be all mine and I wanted to see what I could do with it.
This has been a real leap of faith. And I’ve come face-to-face with some uncomfortable realizations. Such as:
- Writing stories and novels is a completely different skill set from promoting and marketing. I knew this realization would put me a little ahead of other writers who completely underestimate this fact but it hasn’t helped with the learning curve.
- Finding readers…how do you do that exactly? I know writers who tweet, blog, and Facebook themselves up the wazoo and still aren’t getting solid sales for their books. They follow formulas for increasing their ranking and working those Amazon algorithms but their efforts aren’t making them very many sales.
- There are costs involved but a lot of the costs were of my own making. Sure, you do have to pay hosting fees and if you want a particular look and feel to your WordPress website then you’ll probably need to buy a theme though there are plenty of nice free themes available. A theme is a template for a website which has certain elements as well as a look and feel to it. Elements might include sidebars, a particular font, colors, how pictures are displayed, etc. I went a little overboard with purchasing themes, trying them out, setting them up, only to go with the current theme and its minimal appearance. The best thing about paying for your website is you get to choose your own domain name, as in gryphongirlyaoi.com. There are also plugin costs if you decide you want to purchase them, such as paying for backup and security. You can figure out these things for free, of course, but I decided to spend the money.
- Posting the stories chapter by chapter on a regular schedule is also a risk. Many people say you should never do it because a publisher won’t touch your book if it’s already been posted somewhere. However, since I’m not planning to shop any of my stories to a traditional publisher, I figured I’d just do what I want.
I thought long and hard about how I wanted to present my work. Initially, I thought I would go the route of writing the story and offering it up on Amazon then do a bunch of promoting. My website would be for blogging and attracting readers. The more I thought about it, the more I really didn’t like this idea. I checked out other author websites and didn’t like them. There wasn’t much content and if you didn’t know the author, why would you even bother to check out their work unless you had a glowing recommendation from someone you trust?
What I really wanted to do was to follow the webcomic/fanfiction model of posting content (in my case, chapters) on a regular schedule. Webcomics tend to post pages with some regularity though some are more consistent than others. Fanfiction story chapters are often posted as the author finishes them which can make for less regular posting depending on how quickly they write.
I wanted to finish a story in its entirety, go through the lengthly beta process, and post the story on a schedule. This means there may be gaps of time between stories but I’m not comfortable with posting my work in draft form. And there are websites where you can read stories that post chapters quickly but they tend to be drafts which are then polished later.
I’m really curious to see how this experiment works. Even at this early stage, I will say it has been worthwhile all the way around if I take into account everything I’ve learned about setting up a website, using WordPress, and learning how to use social media. And this experiment has already taken me to some wonderful places. I’ve really enjoyed using Tumblr and finding new people on Twitter. I’ll revisit this subject again to see what else I’ve learned.