I was not expecting to give a news too soon, but something happens recently.
My old laptop got a hdd failure, which make it unable to boot. Fortunately all SC novel written in google doc, so there’s no one chapter lost due the damage. However, my plan for launching a new website (like I wrote in my last post) got messed up, since few of my web projects saved on that laptop, none of those source files get any back up on the cloud. So the draft website I posted on my previous post (https://sidekaraktergendut.github.io) automatically got cancelled. I’ll be back after I found other alternatives that suit my current situation.
First of all, thank you for visiting my website, since this place basically been transformed into a graveyard since my hiatus.
This is a long post, possibly the last post I’ll make on this website. Reason below…
I’m sorry for the lack of news and content. I restraint myself from writing fluffs news regarding my novel for months since I myself quite confused about how I should continue my path in the web novel scene. I’ve been hosting my novel as wide as possible to gain experience, seen arguments and how the market shifts since Qidian’s webnovel entered the scene with its Original WN platform–for good or bad. And thus the apathy toward the web novel medium itself led me to believe that I’m not cut into web novel serializing as I wrote in my hiatus announcement a few months back.
However, as I lurked more and connecting dots of many readers dissatisfaction and dramas from the big players, I know I can’t make it if I waiting around with only writing for my novel and wait for more readers to come in. The international web novel scene is currently heading into an unhealthy direction. Not only because a certain behemoth company has been throwing dollars to monopoly the scene, but also the whole web novel scene infrastructure designed sloppily because people still can’t let go the “fans translation” status of the web novel scene, even when currently they are being preyed by a certain venture capital company and even though top players have been earning dollars.
What I see is minimal effort to make the web novel scene better–translators and authors have very limited resource and guidance to create their decent-to-good website, newcomers are to be expected to post their stories on established free platform (and forced to play by rule sets by the platform admin), a good platform only accessible to those who have thicc wallet. If you google how to make it as a self-published author, for example, you would see many articles recommend you to build your own author web page and collect email for mail list and marketing purpose. However, that isn’t the case for the web novel scene.
Although I admit it, the top player in the scene, WuxiaWorld has been doing a good job to set an example with their Patreon integration for their VIP subscription model (though their site still has a long way to go if want to compete with their enemy in regard of website user experience, sorry WW fans).
I can complain and criticize the scene in a series of articles but that wouldn’t change a thing. I’m nobody in this scene, a nobody who had an idealistic idea about how web novel should be, a nobody who believes in the potential of web novel.
My first ideas were making gamification web novels to increase user engagement and multiple ending stories like they do in games and visual novels (aka non-linear storyline). However, that goes nowhere.
I realized its too soon to experiment with those. Especially without decent coding experience and stable exposure that backing the project, all would be too risky–for now. And so I put it on hold, wrote another project that easier and has a more direct impact that solves problems for me and maybe for many people in web novel community too. That project is an open source web app platform for WordPress.
A new site is under construction
Since Google no longer treats HTTP sites secure in the newest Chrome updates, I’ve been planning to ditch my current hosting and build my new platform on free wordpress.com blog to get free SSL hosting, effective next year. However, I don’t like WordPress vanilla features. Even with the custom hosting WordPress I wasn’t fully satisfied with it. I want to create my own website from scratch and mess around, but painfully know how hard it would be since I’m already done the same thing in 2017 when I was writing Spirit Conductor in Indonesian. Back then, the site was a mess and I code naively without frameworks, thus the site failed big time. Mostly because the inflexibility for making a site from scratch would be harder to post stories without Content Management System like WordPress. Thankfully, WordPress’s ambitious project “Gutenberg” quite opening possibilities for me and many web developers to connect a custom website with WordPress through REST API.
WordPress’s Gutenberg is a big deal, officially a norm for WordPress v5, possibly can change the tradition of blogging platform forever (or it can flop, since the new coding framework they implement, ReactJS, is quite hard to learn for developers–possibly writing plugins and blocks would be harder than ever before). It was a gamble for WordPress, an open-source platform that most web novel publisher use right now.
I don’t know any React. But I’ve been learning VueJS (React competitor that has easier learning curve) these past few months to make a website from the scratch. Just a little sneak peak–the project I have right now:
SideKararakterGendut’s future novels will be hosted on a custom web app, with infinite scrolling and offline-reading feature. It will be open source, everyone can copy the code and make the same one themselves for their WordPress site.
It will be awesome and cool and wow.
WordPress editor will be the backend for me (and other authors and translators too if they want) to write contents–while an agile and robust new VueJS powered website will be the front-end to show interface for the readers. Thanks to service worker technology, the new site will support offline reading like native desktop and mobile apps. Readers can save chapters to read later even when the internet is down, right from the website, absolutely no epubs download required!
That’s Cool. But how about the news for Spirit Conductor?
Unfortunately, I have to admit that the novel itself progressed very slow than I planned. Sometimes I wrote 800-1000 words like when the novel “on air” but most of the time when I was too absorbed reading articles and non-fiction, there was no progress on SC for that day, even though I stay late until morning to force my way to finish a chapter… sometimes words just didn’t flow and I ended up stuck. I don’t have any excuse since I have a lot free time, especially since I’ve got myself a new cheap chromebook recently by publishing the first part of SC on Amazon. I thought I could spartan all the way through by making a to-do list everyday, but well, it’s my fault for carrying it a little too relaxed.
Roughly estimated, right now I’ve been 3/4 through the first arc of the novel, with characters I’ve been introducing for 50 chapters now begin to interact with each other–and the romance part starts to bloom. Personally, I quite like this version than the original interactions in the RAW (I edit it too much).
Because now I wrote this part of the story, I recalled how my female readers actually more supportive than male readers when I wrote it in Indonesian–even though there’s a harem undertone in it (which the romance itself wasn’t actually a harem one). However, the mature part I wrote in the English version, I know I’ve been alienating my potential overseas female readers, which I did partly because anxiousness and ignorance led me to believe adult stuff was the only way for someone like me to survive as a web novel author.
Well, I’ve tried Amazon and now I understand how the web novel scene works better, so I’m sobering up. Most likely I’ll rewrite the published chapters and make it PG-15 so everyone can enjoy the story.
Because I don’t have schedules the chapters turn out to be longer than before, with 2000~4000 words each. Looking at the files right now, I think the unreleased chapters piled up almost the same length as the published chapters. However, as I said before, I still want to rewrite the earlier part, so most likely I’ll publish it in 2019 along with the new website.
EDIT: Welp, I just found out that there’s a free WP plugin for SSL. But I think I’ll still make my new site, since I already started few months ago.
By the way, I also just found out that NU no longer accept submissions from author that translate their own story (which I did). I don’t know what gonna happen to those who already accepted on their list, most likely they won’t touch anything and leave us be. But it certainly put me in a very awkward position, since doing this already awkward enough from the start. I don’t think I’ll email them later if I want change my site, my last email been ignored too. Very very awkward.
Anyway, in case the awkwardness prevent me to ask them to update the SC link to my new website, you can subscribe to the push notification on the bottom right corner. Or, you can subscribe to my mailing list, just enter the incomplete new site on the link above and look for the email subscribe box and enter your email (in the cat picture part).
I’m sorry to inform you but I will be hiatus for a long while, because I realized serializing web novel isn’t really for me. This novel has multiple plots going simultaneously and a lot of subtexts hidden in comedy (cringe and forced, so they say) that required intense yet delicate editing to make them work, which requires me to edit back and forth even after I write 300 chapters or more. So I have to offline before write and edit my first arc before publishing it again.
This can last for more than a year. But I assure you, I’m still active and passionate about this novel and plan to finish it if nothing big happens in my life that says otherwise.
I will not release Spirit Conductor’s new chapters for a while. Qidian International just opened their Inkstone platform for original novels so I put my novel there for better exposure. Also recently, I continued my novel on RoyalRoadL too and opened a Patreon page (still in testing). And because I plan to update in three other places, I guess I will try to improve the release schedule, so I start at chapter 45 instead continuing from chapter 50 like here… thus, there will be no chapters for a while in this blog.
EDIT: as SC went hiatus, patreon and SC on other sites canceled. Thx.