As I’ve mentioned elsewhere on this site, I have a LiveJournal blog, GryphonGirl2, same as my Disqus handle. I started out posting my yaoi fanfiction on the Yamane Ayano LiveJournal Community. Though I’d been writing non-yaoi fiction for a while, I’d never thought about writing a fanfiction story before.
Then one night I was drifting off to sleep and the central image from my Viewfinder story, Ordinary Silences, popped into my mind. I won’t mention it here because it’s something of a spoiler.
I immediately dismissed the idea of writing a fanfiction story. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go there, first of all, and second, I was really afraid. I love yaoi so much that it sometimes scares me, and I couldn’t imagine writing down a story about two men in love and doing it any kind of justice. Fortunately the story kept coming back and nudging at me which is always a good sign. At the same time, I found this wonderful writing program called Scrivener and I wanted to test drive it. I told myself I could use this story just for the test. No one ever had to look at it and no one had to know I’d written it down.
I ended up putting so much work into the story, including conducting a comprehensive overview of the Canon. When I let the story sit after the 4th or 5th draft and read it again, I was amazed.
I loved it. All of it.
Usually I tend to be too hard on myself with whatever I’ve written but reading this story gave me so much satisfaction I could barely stand it.
I knew I needed to post it but didn’t know how so I went to the LiveJournal community and asked for a beta. I got something like five responses. Missly101 was one of them and I chose her because her writing was good and there were no typos. Neither of us had ever been through the beta process before but it was a rewarding experience in itself.
When I finally went to post the story I was so proud of it and the work we’d done. Even now when I read it, I’m still really happy with how it turned out.
Posting the story was a nerve-wracking experience but the readers were fantastic. They posted lovely, encouraging comments. They told me the story affected them emotionally which is way more than I could have hoped for. Even more amazing when I went to post the sequel, Zero Hour, almost two years later, people remembered me and said they were glad to see I’d written another story.
The very positive response to Ordinary Silences is what encouraged me to launch this website and to try, eventually, posting my own original fiction.
Fanfiction and the Soft Launch
This rather epic fanfiction trilogy, based on Yamane Ayano’s Finder series, has been the perfect way to get my feet wet with having good content for people to read, learning social media and how it ties into having a website, getting used to posting on a regular schedule, and learning how WordPress works. Posting Ordinary Silences on LiveJournal first was my soft launch, a safe way to try things out. I was able to get immediate feedback about the story and follow my traffic stats.
When it came time to launch this website, I didn’t want to do it with any kind of fanfare and didn’t see us getting any traffic for a while but people are coming to visit, some are staying, and some are coming back. We’re getting visitors from all over the world even in these early months! It’s all very encouraging. I’m so glad I went this route. It’s been really worth it.
For a related article see my post: Why I Decided to Launch my Own Website.
And here’s an article by Thomas Umstattd, When Should I Launch my Author Website, which argues that earlier is better.