A Fresh Coat of Paint

8 09 2010

As per our still ongoing discussion about how to improve readership, I’m proud today to announce the re-launch of the re-designed and re-envigorated and re-ally awesome anachronauts website.

With the launch comes a lot of changes. Let’s have a seat and run them down, shall we?

CONSISTENT UPDATING

* I’ll be doing my best to stick to a schedule of Tuesday and Friday night updates for anachronauts. These may be a full scene, part of a scene, or just a blog post with behind the scenes tales. If I’m very lucky we’ll get some fan tribute artwork or other creations I can use as update fodder.

THE SITE REDESIGN

* The anachronauts site has been redesigned to look more like the book cover, and to simplify the overall layout. The overhaul’s pretty major, making the stories easier to access, particularly whatever one I’m working on at the moment. Most importantly…

* …the most recent anachronauts-related entries from my blog will be embedded directly on the anachronauts page (in addition to being available as always at twoflower.livejournal.com) thanks to some wizardry I have educated myself upon! It’s a pretty sweet effect and makes the site “one stop shopping” for all your needs instead of just “that thing you ignore in favor of sticking to the blog”.

* Twitter digest entries will no longer be posted to my blog. They were cluttering up the joint, and while readers were generally okay with them, it makes my blog look bad overall. If you want to follow my day to day and quick opinion posts, just follow me ON Twitter. Or FaceBook, I suppose, which mirrors the messages.

* To compensate for not automatically including twitter digest posts in the blog anymore, I’ll have a twitter widget embedded on the anachronauts page inobtrusively. So, you’ll get both in one go, without one dominating the other. I wish I could embed this on LiveJournal’s page in the righthand margin, too, but its limitations are limiting.

FUTURE PROMOTIONAL EFFORTS (still sketchy)

* I’m going to look into getting some character art commissioned. If you know of any artists who do quality stuff in a reasonable timeframe, let me know.

* With the redesigned site and some art in place, I’ll have enough fodder to run ads through project wonderful and similar things, to get a few new eyeballs on the site.

* See the oscilloscope on the right? That’s eventually going to be to the “Join the Anachronauts Team!” page. I’ll be a word-of-mouth campaign, where those who donate their time and effort to recruit readers can have their names enshrin’d and earn other bennies. More details to come. When I think them up

I’m hoping that these changes will help me retain my current readership without anyone drifting away, and upcoming promotional efforts will gain me new fans. Stay tuned… things only go up from here.

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15 responses

9 09 2010
lucilleliu

Here’s an artist who does an anime style I kind of associate with Anachronauts:
http://aimo.deviantart.com/
She takes commissions. I’m not sure what you’d consider reasonable, however. She has a pretty quick output and a large following, which means if she does a commission for you it will lead a lot of people to your work. She’s also does a lot of Bioware/fantasy stuff, so it’s a decent fit.

9 09 2010
doxxxicle

Looks great! :)

9 09 2010
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

That is some nice stuff, indeed. I like the softer anime/cartoon style. I’ll bookmark and consider; I want to collect a few candidates here before deciding.

9 09 2010
lirazel

Zounds, that’s a handsome page!

9 09 2010
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

I’ve got more to do — the oscilloscope at the right will be replaced by the promo team link once I design that program. Also I need to add an actual header/footer to the story pages themselves. I just realized once you go to a story page there’s no going back to the home page and no way to proceed to the next story. Ugh. Still… a great start.

9 09 2010
cmdr_zoom

I’m a big fan of Aimo all the way back to when she did the covers for Big Eyes, Small Mouth.

9 09 2010
jeffreycwells

Looks nice. Just a half-baked idea I had looking at it: coming from a webcomics world, I usually find that the first thing I look at when I approach a new comic is the “cast” page. I dunno if such a thing is possible or feasible to implement given the nature of the story, but just tossing my coppers.

9 09 2010
lucilleliu

Actually, that’s a great idea. The cast page is the first thing I personally look at when deciding to read something new or not.

9 09 2010
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

I considered it, but the problem is it’s a massive spoiler festival. I mean, we don’t even know the true nature of the world — that more things than just elves were dumped into it and how they got there — until the end of the first series. On top of that, Emily and Scout change so drastically by the end of First Age that any character intro would be completely outdated or wreck the surprise. I was considering cutting the Witchipedia for this very reason; its information stops being current after First Age and falls incredibly behind.
I think a cast page for a web comic makes sense because webcomics USUALLY expect you to hop right in on whatever today’s comic is, and a quick synopsis will do you good. Here, there’s really no way to start at the letter K, you gotta go from A to Z.

9 09 2010
meagenimage

Just have a “meet the characters” link that goes to a01, since the purpose of that chapter *is* to introduce the three characters and their dynamics.

9 09 2010
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

I am thinking of adding a “Start Here!” button to the upper left of that menu bar. I’ve seen it on other webcomics and it can be handy for getting the ball rolling; rather than dump them right into a01, do a page which introduces the overall concept and THEN dumps you into a01. That, plus a better toolbar on top of each story page, will help.

9 09 2010
mtws

Possibly put the first series above the succeeding ones on the page?
Also, while I’m something of ae ludditte when it comes to social media, have you considered a Facebook group or similar?

9 09 2010
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

The more stuff I stack vertically the worse off the page is, though. Especially since it’d basically double the height of that table, having one thin column, then a row with four columns right below it. But I can highlight it in some other way, no doubt.
I’m a bit iffy on groups and communities. We’ve got forums and a website for 7Seas, the most successful product we’ve ever had, and they’re barely used. Provided it’s just a “honk if you love anachronauts” kinda facebook thing, though, with no overhead or need to run events and maintain it, I could do it.

9 09 2010
mtws

That’s basically what I had in mind, yah. Just a way to get the name out to a wider wossname.

10 09 2010
jengagne

Instead of indexing every sub-chapter right there on the front page, maybe just list the major story sets and then when they click they get the next sub-index.
Or just have the most current ones exploded, and the older ones as a single link? Dunno.

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