On Creating and Maintaining a Noteworthy Fanfiction Site
by Song of Amazon
Hello, this is SoA. For those of you who arenít familiar with me, I run Tower of Time: Otaku Senshi, one of the biggest (when I say biggest, I am referring to the bafflingly huge amount of content) otaku senshi sites currently running. The Tower is going on its fifth year now but it started just as small as any other otaku senshi site out there.
The Tower started out as a 5-page site with a layout that hurt the eyes and an annoying midi that hurt the ears. It has come a long way since then. Iím not the one to tell you how to make a pretty site, being inept as I am with layouts, but I can give you a few pointers on how to get your site moving and known.
When building your site, remember these few things: originality and interaction. You need to do something new and different with your site, characters, and story. You could design really interesting fuku, likable characters, an unusual storyline, or explore senshi that you have never seen created before. Iím not saying, stay away from clichťs altogether. The Tower has neo senshi, zodiacs, and even a senshi from Earth. Do not stay away from those ďoverusedĒ senshi ideas if you have a great story or characters to put them into. At the same time, do not do the same sort of neo story that everyone else has done. While many people go straight for the profiles and the gallery when first visiting a site, it is a strong fanfiction that keeps them coming back.
A frequently updated fanfiction also makes for happy visitors. The more writing you have up for your story, the more people will tend to like it. This is a pattern that I have noticed among my own stories. As an experiment, try writing one chapter of your story every week, or one a month. This will give readers something to regularly expect and look forward to, and it will bring them back again and again until they are hooked on your story. Update as frequently as you can, adding new pictures, new stories, and new features to your site. Interaction is great to bring people back. Some things that work well for interaction are contest, clubs, message boards, and RPGís. Let visitors participate in your site.
For the actual fanfiction, make sure to use good mechanics (spelling and grammar). Lazy writing can turn off readers faster than anything else I know. Get a beta reader or two. Beta readers help you make your story the best that it can be. Sometimes they can point out things that donít make sense, though made sense to you when you wrote it. Betas can help you with basic editing that you missed as well and you can bounce ideas off of them when you are stuck in your plot. Definitely get someone to be your beta reader.
When you feel you have plenty of good content on your site begin advertising. Join web rings, get in link directories, find sister sites, trade links with others, post your site on boards that you participate on, and get your site reviewed. Reviews are very handy. They not only give you publicity, but reviewers give you lots of specific tips on how to make your site even better. There is always something to be improved upon.
Most of all, be ambitious yet patient. Donít be afraid to dream big for the site that you create. Put your ambitions in a set of steps that you can easily follow. Sites take a long while to get going, but if you stubbornly stick with it, constantly improving it, you can have a successful and noteworthy fanfiction web site.