Current Status: 5 posts written, site built and almost ready.
Alternate Seattle is a semi-autobiographical collection of experimental fiction written for myself, people who know me, and anyone who enjoys northwest based literary fiction, but thinks more dinosaurs (among other things) ought to be involved.
The story will take the form of mixed shorts, vignettes, character studies, and visual art linked by setting and over-arching plot.
Being fiction, this project is meant as entertainment only. From a literary perspective it should offer an engaging example of experimentation with medium, as well as a good story.
Product Goals: I will write a collection of alternate universe short stories, and build an aesthetically and thematically pleasing website on which to publish them.
Traffic: I aim to build up a reader base, so my focus will be on attracting returning visitors rather than just sheer numbers. I would like to have around 50-100 returning readers visiting the site by the end of the first quarter.
Revenue: None, though if I meet my traffic goals I may consider adding a suggested donation option.
Long Term: Ideally this site will eventually serve as a launch point for a print version of the completed collection, and will leave me with an established readership for future publications.
Alternate Seattle is fiction, and it does involve a planned out story arc. This arc will be told via the following:
- Monthly short stories
- Weekly short shorts
- Daily vignettes/character studies/art posts
My goal is one post per day. Anything more would be too much for me to generate, but one good piece of content per day feels achievable, especially since I can write for the week ahead of time instead of worrying about posting news. All content will be created by me (subject to change as the site/story matures) and will be mostly text describing situations readily identifiable as not real. However, existing places will likely be referenced in the context of scene description, as is common in literary fiction. People will always be fictionalized.
Marketing Plan/Social Media
The key to making this site successful will be my ability to use social media to facilitate the word of mouth marketing that will be necessary to attract readers. I plan to focus the initial effort on twitter, Facebook, and tumbler, places where my existing networks of friends and family are extensive enough to make a solid starting point so long as I make it really easy for everyone to spread the word to their networks, and avoid being pushy about it; either people will read, enjoy, and tell others to read, or they won’t.
This means using my role as the omniscient narrator to create and send teaser posts to remind followers/friends on those social media sites that there’s something here for them to read on a regular – but not overwhelming – basis. No more than once or twice a week, if that.
Finally, until completion, the entirety of the project will be free to read. This will be emphasized, and the copyright status will probably be changed to allow for/encourage re-blogging and sharing.
- Independently achievable
- Already partially developed
- Little direct competition
- Potentially addictive
- Personally satisfying to create
- I am good at writing
- Lack of external deadlines
- Success at mercy of potential readers
- Plenty of indirect competition – other forms of entertainment
- I am not good at updating things.
- Building a readership base for future publications
- Portfolio piece
- Testing what people will pay attention to and read
- May be subject to the online lost-in-the-noise effect
- If popular, vulnerable to theft/unconstructive criticism
- Entails a certain loss of some privacy
- Requires some emotional vulnerability from author
Alt. Seattle Site Outline
This page will consist of the blog on which the daily stories are posted and the navigation bars linking to other parts of the site.
Type of Content
This site is to be a showcase for a collection of linked short stories. These stories will be set in a dream based alternate universe version of Seattle and follow a set of characters reflecting (and to an extent caricaturizing) me and the community around me. Genre ranges from sci-fi adventure to fictionalized autobiography.
The majority of entries will be 300 to 500 words long. These will be character studies, vignettes and sketches that together add up to a cohesive story. This presentation will allow readers to consume the content as a quick part of their daily routine – something to read over breakfast or on a coffee break. It also fits with the fragmentary quality of the dreams which form the basic premise and allows for more flexibility transitioning between scenes or points of view. Longer, more polished pieces will be posted on weekends and at the end of the month as fits the story.
Front and center. The most recent story will be at the top with the stories from the previous six days visible as the reader scrolls down before needing to click to the next page. I would like to have a [READ FROM THE BEGINNING] link at the very top, to decrease the likelihood of new readers experiencing spoilers. [PREVIOUS PAGE] and [NEXT PAGE] links will be side by side in the footer bar.
Each blog post will have share buttons for Facebook, Twitter, and at least one other social media platform at the foot of the entry, along with the tags/categories for that post.
Posts will be tagged by viewpoint character and specific setting. They will be categorized by story-arc.
- Right-Hand Side Bar
- This will feature
- Recent posts
- Tag Cloud (eventual addition)
- Subscribe via e-mail
- Top Navigation Bar
- The nav. at the top of the page will be reserved for internal links to the static pages on the site. These will be from left to right:
- New Readers Click Here!
- This will take any new readers to a page with a chronological list of entries to be read in order.
- Reality Check
- This page takes the reader back to the real world. The body of the page will be the obligatory About content providing basic information about myself, and the premise/inspiration for the project.
- A list of external links to partner sites created by friends and possibly to sites for businesses/public locations/event news featured in story.
- Tag Cloud and Categories Menu
- Posts will be tagged by Viewpoint Character and Setting. Clicking on a Tag will take the reader to a page listing all posts featuring that tag in chronological order.
- Entries will be categorized by story-arc. That is by distinct plotline that each entry fits into. These will be titled and the titles will be the categories. Clicking on a category will take readers to all entries within that sub-plot. This will allow each of the short stories to be read individually from the over-arching plotline that they all ultimately tie into.
- I am also considering whether it would work to have the category links direct readers not to a list of the entries for that plotline but to the actual content of those entries put together and polished so as to actually be individual and more substantial short stories. It would offer a different reading experience than the rest of the site and might allow me to appeal to a broader range of readers.
- Photo Gallery
- While my original conception of this project would have required one of these, the quantity of visual content has shrunk dramatically as the project has developed. This is something I may add later on, but probably don’t need initially.