Unfortnately, due to Icyboards closing, I do not know if I will be continuing with Legends of Arda. What is certain is that it will take longer than anticipated if I continue with it at all. On top of this, I have unexpected RL issues to deal with and as such this site is not my priorty right now. The RL issues are more problematic than Icyboards closing, so if it was just that, it would only be an inconvenience. However, I do play LOTRO ON Evernight, and if you want to play in a fellowship or join a kin, you can find me there. (Message me at RPG-Initiative, or @DeadWintersNigh on twitter if you want to arrange something.) Thanks for understanding!
It is nothing new that the world is functioning upside down in various aspects of life. Why not in the writing realm too? 😢
As you know already, and as you can see from the blog image, I have published three novels up to now. Two others and a short stories anthology will follow soon, almost certainly all three to appear this year. I published with small indie presses, because this is what I have the possibility in the current book market conditions. Many writers more seasoned than me published with the same two indie presses, so I am in good company. (And they aren't vanity presses, printing and dumping the books in your arms. No, they assure launching events, participation at fairs, the collaboration of literary critics, etc.)
I am glad that I have started to become a little known among the contemporary writers in Bucharest. If one googles my pen name (despite being quite common internationally) one can find something about one of my novels too. If googling the titles, there are few information about them, but they are, reviews and photos. I had good reviews from the literary critics at the book presentation events, I had my novels displayed at the bi-annual Bucharest International Book Fairs... all these are successes for a junior writer, with only 3 novels published up to now.
What's more important as a success, is the fact that I have a senior writer's support to get in the National Writers' Union (union as in professional association, not what you understand generally by trade Union and we call Syndicates, which is work regulation-related.) It will happen, most likely, in 2019, after I get the required number of publications. My publishers also support this endeavour, and they will rally enough literary critics to get the required recommendations portfolio until then. (It has started building already).
It sounds lovely, but... let's vent my frustrations too, here, not on my public blog, where those who have generated them in a way or another can see them... And this comes with the warning that the Romanian book market, unfortunately, doesn't ressemble the English speaking books market, so most of the book marketing ideas I find online, in English speaking blogs, unfortunately do not apply. While the English speaking market is catering to nearly one billion people (there were, in Internet statistics, 400 million native speakers of English, to which to add 400 million speakers of English as a second language, in 2006, and I assume the population has increased in 12 years), the overall population of Romania was of 19.5 million people, out of which about 4 million are abroad, about 3 million too young to read my novels (below 14)... and from the remaining 12.5 million, about 40% or more are poor, too busy to survive and not reading anything else than an occasional newspaper or religious book. Sad, but true. Of course, from the remaining people who would read in principle (some regularly, some occasionally) not all are fans of historical adventures fiction/ YA, what I am writing. This is a realistic analysis.
As far as I heard the publishers say (not only personally to me, but also in interviews on the internet) - and we have our "big fives" here too, plus a whole constellation of small indie presses (the equivalent of self publishing would be here dealing directly with the printing house without a publisher, which is recommended only for professional books which have already the distribution ensured or for people who print one memoir book in their lives to give to 50-100 people, not needing ISBN or anything), in my country a book (written by a contemporary national writer, not translations of international bestsellers and not books required for school reading like our classics) printed in 1,000 copies is already considered a best seller. My novels were, 2 of them published in 200 copies, the first one in 300. It is the level generally the writers around me use.
Now, my sincere frustrations?
- I haven't recovered the costs on any of them. Yes, I have sold some, but the greatest amount was given freely. Now, to be honest, I knew from the start that I wouldn't get rich from writing. I did it from my heart, and I loved when I received compliments about the books (not only from the critics, I appreciate more the readers' compliments and questions, even if I know the critics' are of importance for the accession to the Writers' Union). This is when I felt they got their mission, to brighten someone's day and to transport them to another time and place, offering them an insight on that way of living. But I would have appreciated if I succeeded to recover my costs. Some writers know business owners and get sponsors. (I had sponsors too, back in 1999, for my professional handbook in project management). I don't know influent people who would be able to sponsor me, every cost is supported from my meager savings (given that I am retired now). Yes, I sold books at various events... but the money received covered the expenses of the event, with very little margin (if any).
- I can't reach exactly my target group, the high-school and Uni youngsters. Until now, my novels were bought mostly by grown-up or older people who were nostalgic about the style of novels they use to read, because these were the ones coming to the literary events.
- I had also two interviews in English about my novels (1, 2, I remember one more but I can't find any link, just the file where I replied to the questions) and one other would come soon, but I can't reach the Romanian book review bloggers, despite having seen some other writers getting several reviews. It's not about the novels' quality, it's about whom you know in the field... and I don't. Or, at least, not yet - I am still working on it. And praying for a bit of good luck.
...And everything needs more money. Half, I understand this as in the fact that if I try to expand my marketing network, this doesn't come for free because this is what those people gain their living from - organising things. I understand that some reviews/ forewords/ have a price too, because those critics are famous and listened to, on one side, and on the other side, this is what they are gaining their living from. In the rare cases when I made reviews (I hate making reviews, but I consider that if some people spoke in favour of my books at my launchings, I have to give it back to the writers' community and do it whenever needed from me), I made them from the moral spirit expressed above, and it wouldn't have occurred to me to ask for any benefit. (Well, I received the book free from the publisher in exchange of the review). I am lucky that I don't have to pay my beta-reader/ first editor, because many people have to do it too. She does it from friendship, for free, and I am grateful to her.
But in a world which wouldn't function as upside down as it does, the writer should be allowed to write - like it was before the ascension of social media - and the others should do the marketing part. I am sure that Hemingway, Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas weren't the ones to do much more than writing. Yes, they received their money after the books were sold, but nobody asked them money for publishing, for book launching events organisation and other things. Or, if now shedding money is a must because there are too many books published and no publisher assumes the economic risks anymore in this crisis economy, at least they should want the money from the sales! Not before recovering the costs...
One would say fame has a price. But I still have the feeling that things aren't how they should be.
Character Name: Agostina Vaide Vitalia Scordato
Nicknames: Stina, Double V, V
Date of Birth: May 31, 1985
Occupation: Heist Coordinator, Security, Enforcer
Eye Color: Brown
Hair Color: Brown
Playby: Dana DeLorenzo
Places For This Character: Modern Fantasy, Cyberpunk
1. Sex (With Friends)
3. Getting High
2. Being Vulnerable
Physical Appearance: Agostina got the short gene on her mother's side of the family. She has roughly an hour glass shaped body. While her breasts and bottom might not be considered large, they aren’t small either.
She has dark brown hair, often with the lower half dyed a lighter brown, that goes a bit past her shoulders and usually stops at her upper chest. She an oval or heart shaped face, almond shaped brown eyes, a long straight nose, and prominent plump lips. Her skin is a tanned olive complexion.
Often times she wears light makeup; black eyeliner, bright red lipstick, and blush are what she usually sticks to.
She usually wears t-shirts, leather jackets, gloves, and pants. When she wears dresses and skirts, they are usually of a leather or leather like material. Often times, her clothes are dark in color, usually black.
Her voice is low and smoky.
Personality: Agostina is opinionated and often boisterous. You’ll always know what she thinks of you. She straddles the line between feminine and tomboy, with a fondness for light make up and leather jackets. She’s always had a temper, but has become moodier since becoming a Meister.
She’s not afraid to getting dirty. In her line of work dirty can mean bloody, usually not her own. She’s always been a fighter and doesn’t fight fair. She’s never been happy about showing vulnerability to others, especially since the events of two years ago.
Despite her fondness of sex, violence, and getting high, she takes her job seriously. She doesn’t like it when heists don’t go according to plan, having planned out various scenarios. She has a fear of failing, not just her job but of various aspects of her life. She wants to rebuild her life, but doesn’t know how.
Abilities and Weaknesses: Agostina is a techno-mancer. Her abilities and talents revolve around electronics and machines, her construct being a machine she made herself. She is able to absorb energy from bodies to power it and her hammer. She also has the ability to cast spells and make potions.
Nevio, a masculine Italian name meaning ‘mole (on the body)’, is a flea like machine with two ‘legs’ that work like typical jointed arms or legs and two ‘arms,’ which are vacuum like tubes. He floats in the air, answering every mental command of Agostina, and has no personality. He has different interchangeable attachments she uses depending on the mission. He also has a large single eye. She has a mental connection to Nevio, always knowing where he is. He depends on occasional charges of her energy power to operate.
Powers: Nevio has the ability to create a small electrical shield either around himself or around Agostina. He can only do this for both of them if she is a few feet from him. He cannot create a shield around anyone else and can only have one.
His eye is also a camera capable of taking pictures or video. The eye also has night and heat vision that can be activated at Agostina’s command.
He also has a hidden compartment for items, stolen goods, or other small machines of Agostina’s making.
A laser for soldering, cutting, and attacking
A grab hand
Acid gun (to liquefy dead victims’ bones)
Taser (for when she doesn’t want to kill someone)
Weaknesses: Agostina feels pain when Nevio is attacked. If he is destroyed or heavily damaged, she may be knocked unconscious or faint from the pain.
He is vulnerable to lightning.
He cannot repair himself.
If the connection between Nevio and Agostina is broken at any time, he has the tendency to become confused and can attack her or someone else. Connection breaks happen usually because of pain.
If not charged with energy provided by Agostina, he shuts off.
Powers - Energy Absorption: She is able to absorb energy from the electrons from humans and animals. This has the side effect of often killing the target as well as altering the structure the body. If she takes all the energy from someone, all that’s left are bones, goo, hair, and clothing. She is able to absorb someone as well as take someone’s soul.
With her energy, she’s able to not only supply someone with energy to use like a human battery, but is also able to turn on, energize, and short circuit electronic items.
If she takes energy from someone, her recuperating time before she can use her energy absorption power ten hours, but if she doesn’t or isn’t able to, it is twelve. It takes the energy of two people for her to get to eight hours. While she can take three or more, the recuperating rate does not improve.
When it passes roughly forty five minutes, she gets nausea, anxiety, and lethargy. She cannot use her power once this happens.
Her ability can sometimes backfire on her causing a light electrical shock. In addition to pain, this can cause a break in connection with her construct, Nevio, or stop any spell or ability active.
Powers - Electronic Manipulation:
Sometimes called technopathy, technokineses, or cyberpathy, in this case is the ability to manipulate software, computer data, electronics, and computerized hardware. She is able to override, trick, decode, or unencrypt electronic items. This includes systems protected by finger print, retina, or facial scan. Agostina developed this power back when she was fifteen.
She can’t do anything the electronic isn’t already meant to do. This means she cannot turn a cellphone into a bomb, but she can access different applications. She can however use her energy power to short circuit the device.
She can mentally type a message, but to send it, it must be already be connected to the internet. She must concentrate to do with, leaving her prone to attack.
She cannot access the internet mentally, cannot control items that are not electrical, and must touch the piece of technology. Surprisingly she can use gloves without it negatively affecting her power.
Viruses, malware, and Trojan horses affect her. This can leave her severely confused, unable to control her limbs, to being sick with severely flu like symptoms. To be healed, she must either use a healing potion inhaler dedicated to this, or be healed by someone.
If she fails to override a secure system or fails in other ways, she receives an electric shock, causing her pain, disconnection to her construct, and/or cause her spells to fail.
Abilities and Weaknesses - Spells, Potions, and Items:
She is able to salvage, repair, and create technological items. Newer cars with more electronic devices are easier for her to work on than older models. Using this ability, drains her, and infusing the item with magic, drains it a double the rate.
Curiously drinking potions have no effect on her. She must use an inhaler similar to the one she uses for her asthma. The drawback of her abilities is that sometimes the simplest or easiest solution doesn’t work for her and she often has to create technology to do things other spellcasters can do with ease.
Her spells, curses, and hexes are rather lackluster without having an object to channel though or infuse. She often uses a weapon for this purpose.
General Abilities: Agostina is into guns. Having been taught to shoot and how to properly handle guns since she was a little girl, she’s a talented sharpshooter. She has a preference for rifles and machine guns, but can also handle handguns with ease.
She is skilled in street fighting. While she has learned some different styles such as kung fu and kickboxing, she doesn’t subscribe to any particular style. She will simply use whatever she thinks will be most advantageous for the job. She is mostly into close quarter battles, using guns or her construct for anything else. If one could classify her as a level, she would be intermediate.
She's fluent in Italian, Spanish, and knows conversational level Basque.
Lastly, she has a falconry license, having had one for a few years. She has trained a turkey vulture back in early 2016, which she still happily owns.
Chamberlain: A regular turkey vulture with an injury to his wing and one leg from an injury caused by a car accident. He was likely eating fresh roadkill at the time. He is not able to fly for long distances and would have problems surviving out on his own. He is rather tame, and enjoys shredding paper and playing with balls. He’s rather affectionate, occasionally waking Agostina up by nibbling her hair or otherwise wanting attention. A room of her house has been converted into a cage for him. His name comes from Lord Chamberlain the skeksis from the Dark Crystal. Like all turkey vultures, he only eats carrion (flesh from dead animals).
Guns: A machine gun named Betty, sniper rifle named Phyllis, and a handgun named Judith are her favorites.
A shotgun transformed into a pipe she’s named Mary Jane.
A motorcycle she’s named Richard, often nicknamed Dick.
Meldunjaz: Meldunjaz, proto-German for ‘the grinder’ or ‘crusher,’ is a meat tenderizer that operates similar to the mythical hammer Mjolnir or Ukonvasara.
During her time living in Spain she heard rumors of a wealthy powerful Talented wielding an electrically charged hammer. Eventually tracking him down in Austria, she murdered him, took his money, and found out something shocking. The reason why he was able to go under the radar with such a powerful item it is a kitchen meat tenderizer.
This small hammer if thrown, will never fail to hit, fly back to her hand, hits with twice the amount of pressure she applies to it, and adds electrical damage to attacks.
It must be charged with her energy power to work. This item is weak against those with protection against electrical energy.
Past: Agostina was conceived backstage at a Motley Crue concert to a roadie Liborio Scordato and traveling groupie, Gloria Capello. The couple only knew each other for a few months, leading a life full of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. They were highly encouraged to get married, settle down, and have the child.
They settled in Gloria’s hometown. Liborio’s side of the family hailed from New York City from a mafia family with ties to Sicily. Liborio continued the tradition of crime, being in charge of heist coordination. As per Italian tradition, Agostina was named after her paternal grandmother. While the transition to family life was tricky, they managed, with Agostina’s younger brother being born approximately five years later.
Being the first Capello grandchild and the first female grandchild for the Scordato side, she was spoiled more than the many of the subsequent ones. She enjoyed wearing lacy pink dresses while alternating between dolls and Legos. Her father taught her how to shoot guns, while her uncle taught her to build things; she became an enthusiast of both. She was also fond of her mom’s pet birds.
Her power manifested at age eleven while at Sunday school. She almost killed one of the nuns. Her schooling changed to home schooling as she trained in her father’s footsteps. She was mostly disappointed with her power, Energy Absorption.
At fifteen she gained the unique power of Electronic Manipulation that increased the utility of her Energy Absorption. The teen began to craft small electrical items and toys. She would also often baby sit for her younger brother and cousins, allowing them to sweets until they puked, watch horror movies, and engage in pillow fights with her.
By her early twenties, she was following in another family tradition, that of sex and the consumption of drugs. Her family was concerned, and she was sent to family on the Scordato side in Catania, Sicily.
Once she established herself as a successful heist coordinator and enforcer in Sicily and slowed down a little, she moved back home. Her life was relatively quiet as she got more involved in the creation of experimental electronic devices, sharpshooting, and just received her falconry license just before her thirtieth birthday.
That changed in early June of 2015 when an organization took interest in her. She was kidnapped, tortured, and given a handler, Philip Desborough. She was essentially his slave to be broken to their will. He participated in an attack and was killed. Agostina was now free, feeling completely lost, and fearful this organization would come after her.
She fled to Bilbao, Spain working for the crime syndicated there. Once she heard the news it was safe, she decided to come home. She’s looking forward to reconnecting with her family and friends. She still gets nightmares from her past. She’s still trying to cope and is resorting to her old standbys sex and marijuana.
Gather round my friends for a tail of woe! A tail that will frighten the very fur from your hides for it reminds us all of the sacred, nay, profane! road that carries cats between life and death.
Imagine if you will a young kitten. She is a brave thing, with her white fur divided like continents by masses of brown and tan. She is a kitten with eyes that sit quite close to her nose, giving her a decidedly cross eyed appearance. This kitten, she knows that the drive yard, the trees, the up right and fallen down clothes lines are all part of her domain. She knows that the large cars that drive upon the hard path may be monstrous things that roar and snore; but they will wait for her to make her way off of the hard path and onto the place of grass. For she is indeed, the queen of this domain.
Until one fateful morning! The monster did not stop! It slew her in one fateful acceleration! And though the driver did get out and cuss, she could not be saved.
You would think this tale could get no darker. You would be wrong.
That very night I did witness the signs of dark magicks. I walked down that hard path and saw that the exterior light globe did shine directly upon the fallen queen’s bed. I saw that numerous outdoor chairs were gathered ‘round the bed, hinting of the ritual that surely took place.
For the very next day, I met the God Cat. He is a cat of stout legs and nose and ears battered from many wars. He too, is confident in his domain, merely waving his behind at me as I left the now unholy domain. He rubbed his head upon the monster wheel, as if to spit upon it.
Mere days later, another cat, very much like the queen. An adolescent, less confident but he walked with the wide eyes and up-pricked ears of a scout mapping his surrounds. He vanished a day later, I did hear one of the driver’s call his name, Joe! Joe! Joe! Perhaps, he had gone to get his sister….
For today! I saw three cats gathered upon the hard path! The God Cat! Joe! And another, perhaps the queen. I fear to get too close….
Since I talk about them so much...
Allow me to present: My lizards!
Nicknames: Testicle, Ballsack, Carrot
He is a grump. Norbert knows only hate. All he does is glare and occasionally hisses when you pick him up. He is the most dominant of the lizards and head bobs at everything, including anyone with a beard. But he loves me. And apparently no one else. He's perfectly content to sit on my lap and be comfortable. He's had a pretty rough life. He only has like 5 toes total. Plus a bunch of scars and missing the tip of his tail.
Khadgar - Male
Brand new. Very active!
Ramoth is a lump. She seriously never moves. She's one of my breeders and is easily the most relaxed lizard I have.
This poor lady has had a rough life. The top of her head is mostly scar tissue because she was cohabbed in a 20g with two others and one of the three was a jerk. She's a very friendly lady and doesn't move much more than Ramoth.
He was my steal. Snagged him at a show after a friend screamed across the floor to me to let me know he existed. I proceeded to have people stop me to ask me where I got him the rest of the show. He lives life upside down, dangling from the top of his cage. He's jumpy and I'm still working on socializing him.
This'll be a big list!
Kalecgos - Brindle, fat, lazy, frogbutt female
Malygos - Halloween, friendly, greedy, hopefully a future breeder! Never fires down. Female!
Nozdormu - Jumpy, brindle, unsexed.
Ysera - Brindle? Hider, glutton, literally never fires up. Female
Lilly - Rescued with Ysera and Kalecgos. Brown, frogbutt, originally owned by @Aerona Female.
Sabellian - Brown/Dalmation, fraidy cat, I frequently think he's dead, unsexed
Fred - Pinstripe. Super small. Very orange.
George - Imperfect Pinsripe. Super small. Very orange. Tries very hard to die.
Karynaku - Brindle/Dalmation. Pretty relaxed. Jumps everywhere. Lives in a pool noodle and stares. Female
Vaelastrasz - White/black. Not sure on pattern yet. SUPER fat.
These guys started the obsession.
Iskierka, Female Albino
The first one! Iskierka hates all. She spontaneously screams. She doesn't want you around, doesn't want you to look at her, doesn't want anything touching her. I love her.
Lien, Normal, Female
The fatass. She will eat nonstop. I have to cut her off. She is a princess and very friendly. She's easily the most curious of everyone.
Messoria, Tremper Albino, Female
Not the brightest bulb in the box, Messoria makes up for it with personality. She's nearly blind, dumb as a box of rocks, but likes being held, exploring and bathing in her calcium.
Perscitia/Calliope, Normal, Female
Adopted this one from my friend because she loves me and weirdly hates said friend. We have no idea why.
Whites Tree Frog
Pap AKA Tubs, Tubba-jubb, The Blob
Pap was an accident. She came with Ysera and Kalecgos when I picked them up. She doesn't move much. I'm trying to find her a buddy.
Roger AKA Roger-Roger!
Roger was obtained solely because I felt bad that Pap was alone. He is tiny and I am slowly working on fattening him up. He croaks!
Salvatore was obtained because I felt bad that ROGER was alone. He jumps at faces.
Karen AKA Damnit, Karen!
Karen was accidentally "sold" with Salvatore. Meaning they didn't charge me for her. She is sneaky.
Since returning from my break from RP and now back in full admin role. It has made me aware of how important some things are to the survival of a site, and how going on a hiatus may change how people treat you. I used to help many people get their sites going, offering help, advice, and time to help. When I have asked for the same things now I have received radio silence? It hurts to think that the help I gave was so easily forgotten. That being said, there have been many people who have been supportive, and completely believed in me. Even during the more difficult times.
I'm determined to remain active. I'm currently caught up on all my threads, and working on revising the Canon list, along with other information on the site to clarify or encourage members. I'm beginning to slowly feel like my old self again. My mental health has improved. I've worked hard on improving every aspect of my life, and I feel my writing is better for it. I don't dread things or procrastinate. I take my time yet get them done. I set goals and I meet them now. I expect to be treated with respect and treat others with respect.
I learnt some lessons, especially recently about how your vision for your site can be changed, and if you let it, people will use a lapse in an owner being around to mold a site to being what they want it to be.
The night before last I had a dream.
I had a dream that it was my birthday.
And on my birthday, I was going to go to a restaurant to celebrate with my family. I was going to drive there alone.
And while driving there, I realized there was a festival in town. A festival where some of my friends would be, and where some of my favorite performers would be. I decided to swing by just to say hi, but didn't call my family to let them know I might be a little bit late.
When I got there, I met up with my friends and said hi and such.
Then the zombie apocalypse happened. I survived it mostly by hiding under a blanket, because my dream logic was that the fabric of the blanket would prevent their scrabbling hands from opening up my belly and eating my insides. These were not very strong zombies, I suppose, so if they couldn't get purchase on me then they couldn't eat me.
Somewhere along the way, I found a "Japanese" house I could take shelter in. When I say "Japanese," I don't mean that is what my brain told me it was and not that it was actually based on the actual structure of stereotypical Japanese buildings. Someone was already living there, but they agreed to let me hang out until things blew over.
But there was a problem.
Because a gnome lived in their house, too. It was not a nice gnome. The gnome stole my shoes, and kept trying to attack me, so I ran away and went back to hiding from zombies underneath a blanket.
But then Adam Driver and some of his friends found me, and Adam Driver helped me look for my shoes and acted like it was totally normal that a gnome stole them. He was more concerned that they were not good shoes to wear during a zombie apocalypse, because they were nude-colored (?). After we found my shoes, I told him I was very late for my birthday dinner party with my family and that I needed to go see them. And then, even though I didn't park my car in a parking garage, Adam walked me to one and asked Oscar Isaac to help me find my car and my keys.
Advertising should be the easiest and probably most ignored part of your site. That makes it no less important, but there are a wide variety of ways you can make it both easier on you and more tolerable to handle. I'll try to sum up how to effectively advertise, how to handle your own advertising boards and some common issues people run into. All while simplifying things as much as possible in order to make it a relatively untouched part of your site in terms of the work you have to do.
The purpose of this is to simplify your advertising and make it so you have to dedicate only the time you want to it. It should not take up the majority of your time on board and should be easily delegated if you so decide.
This is going to be horribly unorganized because I've been doing this so long I have it down to a machine-like routine and am trying to remember things as I go. I am, of course, not saying this is the right way to do things. I'm just saying that I've been advertising for years and this is what I've noticed to be the easiest way to do things while simultaneously dedicating very little time to it.
The Unspoken Rules:
Advertise on each board only once a month.
Do not use doHTML, most sites don't allow it.
Make sure your code works before you post it. (align=center vs center, urls link back where they should, etc)
Keep your ad PG13, even if your site is not.
Don't advertise in Cboxes or outside the advertising section. This is a dick move.
Do not criticize someone else's site.
Keep your images under 500x500. Most things over will be resized and will direct to the full sized image instead of your board.
Your ad should contain:
The Site Name (This should also be the name of the advertisement thread)
Any age limits
A link to your board's index.
I've seen so many ads that are just SITE NAME! With no description and a vague image. This does nothing to indicate what your board is about, and who should be interested in it. You don't need to cram a ton of information into the ad, but you have the thread title and description to work with. Utilize them. The entire point of advertising is for other people to see your ad and go "Oh man, that looks nifty!" And click it to explore your board. If your ad is a stock image of a pie and your board is about horses, no one is going to bother because they don't want to RP on a board about pie.
I recommend having the title be your site's name. The description being your genre and any age limitations. I also recommend having your ad contain several links, to things like availability, rules, index and plot. Many also include a link back link, which while super helpful, isn't the sole purpose in advertising. If you want to, you could just link to the advertising board in general.
Things you should worry about with advertising:
Linking back/New ads. That's it. Don't worry about organizing them, don't worry about making your advertising board pretty or fancy. Advertise, provide a place for people to link back and be done. Anything else is more work than it's worth and takes up time that is better spent RPing. Don't worry about sorting them or deleting them. Don't worry about locking them or posting fancy 'THANK YOU FOR ADVERTISING' nonsense. No one goes back to look at their own ads unless its to bump them.
Your Own Boards:
Have a first link and linked back section.
You don't need anything else. Anything else means you dedicate more time to it. You can split them up based on hosts, but I find that's more trouble than it's worth. You generally won't get many ads outside of your host if you don't advertise off your host. Splitting them up isn't worth the multiple clicks it takes to get to the ad to link back. Having these two available makes it much, much easier for you to keep track of what you need to link back to as opposed to trying to rely on your own memory.
No one will read them. I assure you of that. But have them and keep them simple. They're there so you can delete ads as you feel and if anyone decides to bitch you can point them in that direction. (This has happened and I find it utterly ridiculous but covering your ass is always good.) Because no one will read your rules, don't bother making a big deal of them. Don't go and hunt down the rule breakers to yell at them for breaking the rules. Just delete the ad. They won't come back and look and if they do, you can point them at your rules. Your rules should be simplistic. Ie: No boards from X host. No DoHTML, no porn, every ad you post, we'll post back, etc. You do not want to limit who posts to your board because that, in turn, limits whom you can post to. If I see a board that advertises on mine but then makes me jump through hoops to advertise on theirs, I'm just deleting their ad.
Don't make a rule about posting multiple ads.
It will get broken. You will spend more time than anyone needs deleting them. Either link back or delete it, whichever you prefer. Most sites will post once a month, maybe once every two weeks. Your board will get hit multiple times. It's part of life. No one can memorize every board's rules and no one should bother trying, for that matter. Remember: You want to keep things simple and easy for you to manage. That means letting go of some control.
Don't Lock Boards.
This takes up more time than you need to dedicate to it. Plus, some boards prefer to bump their post as opposed to posting multiple ads.
Don't hesitate to delete ads.
Not comfortable with a site? Their ad is broken? Can't get back to the site or figure out how to advertise on it? Delete the ad. Done and done. It isn't your job to police them or to make sure they receive exposure. It's their job to make sure their ad works. You do not have to justify why you delete an ad. (The rules are just so you can, if you so decide.)
When sites advertise in your First Link section:
Link back. That's it. You can always reply to that thread with "Linked back" so you can, personally, keep track of things. Or, if you have multiple people handling advertising, this makes it so there's no confusion and no one winds up spamming another board.
When sites advertise in your Link Back section:
Do nothing. You are done here.
Don't bother sorting ads once they are posted. Don't bother going to other sites to tell them how they broke your rules. Just let them drop the ad, delete it if you don't like it and go on. You should barely ever touch the linked back section and only hit the first links to link back.
I just opened a new board! How do I get started advertising?
Well, presumably you have all of the above set up and have an ad made. Fantastic! Go to a directory or to really, any other forum. Go to their advertising section. Drop an ad. Go back. Find another site. Rinse repeat. Do this until you're tired of doing it. I recommend knocking out 5-10 ads a day when you first start a board. You do not have to maintain this, nor do you have to do it every day. Just make sure you're getting out there and advertising. List your site on directories, get affiliates with other new boards and established ones alike. Then go back to dropping first links.
Link back within a week. This is so you don't get too bogged down. I generally hit up my advertising before I start writing for the night. Knock out a couple link backs, then go enjoy myself. I'll also frequently hit other sites that have posted on the one I just linked back to and first link them. There, look at that! You got your 5 ads done and it took, maybe, 10 minutes.
I can easily dedicate several hours to advertising and legitimately enjoy it, but I know many people hate it. I think one of the reasons I can enjoy it is because it isn't the focus of my day and I have it set up so its incredibly simple and requires very little time or attention outside of actually dropping ads.
Questions? Concerns? Want to tell me why I'm wrong? Feel free to do so!
Sites feel pressured into Discord because it is popular, leaving bad experiences to build resentment
I once heard a person say that they dislike stats so much that they will never join a site that has them; they went on to say that stats affected nothing in roleplay, were a waste of time, and were meaningless math. In a different time, stats were none of these things, but efforts to cater to -lovers and -haters combined created a common system where numbers exist, are work, but have no value and affect nothing. No doubt, this person had a bad experience because they tried something even the site's admin's likely didn't understand.
This is the exact same trend as Discord. The first thing every site admin hears about discord is "Do you have a Discord?", and then they feel pressured to get one because everyone has one, usually not realizing that Discord has its pros and cons.
I firmly believe this fad will continue the way of stats and people will eventually begin to dislike it because they don't understand. Unless Discord can fix the cons...
Guests don't see activity
Discord is a separate app that has to be launched and there really isn't any integration for a real-time chat on a webpage. There is a brand new widget for websites where you can see who's online, but that doesn't say much as they may be bots or people AFK. So, whenever people do things on Discord, a guest doesn't see that. All they see is what's on the website. In fact, in order to see, they have to launch a whole new app, figure out what the discord join URL is, choose a handle, and log on. It's not very guest visible, leaving a guest with more "Is this site active?" than before.
Guest questions don't get responded to as quickly
I don't know any staff who monitor both the Discord and whatever cbox/chatango/etc there is at the same time, especially while idle. Discord has a way of sucking up your attention, meaning that responses to guests take longer than usual. This also plays into how welcome a guest feels at the site, and their interest usually hinges on whatever the question was.
Most roleplayers have very little in common
Perhaps the most important point about Discord is that it creates a community for like-minded people. While in Discord, chat turns to personal lives, media, music, and video games pretty often. Roleplays have encouraged players to be a community for a very long time, but the truth is that most roleplayers just don't have that much in common, which can mean that even the most valued roleplay members are suddenly the least valued in Discord, falling through the cracks.
Activity tapers off on the forum because it encourages players to plot but not play
This is the one most important reason that Discord can be bad for a roleplay. It sucks up your attention and people go off to chat about other things. This is nothing new about chat, but now that the roleplay is no longer even on your screen and that you're surrounded by your buddies from other places inside the app, the temptation to wander is much stronger. Personally I feel that plotting has gone up due to players being more accessible, but actually playing the game is much less for forum-based roleplays.
I don't really know why I'm writing this, maybe to get it out somehow. It's late and I'll regret this tomorrow.
Sometimes I don't handle things well, I get tired so easily. I love studying biology, but I don't always have the energy to be a student. It goes up and down. Sometimes I have days where I have so much energy, I get so much done, then I hit rock bottom and I lie in bed for an entire day. And then I just skip classes, and curl up with a book or some of my hobbies, trying to feel better. And I'm lonely, which is silly. I have several friends, family who lives nearby, and I know that my parents would come to pick me up for a visit home if I just asked.
I guess that is my problem, asking for help. "I'm fine." My most frequent lie. Those acting classes did pay off I guess.
Most of those who know me know I struggle with migraines, a lot. They leave me so exhausted, both physically and emotionally. I can deal with the pain from the migraines, it's the exhaustion that tears me down.
Today started good, I had plans to work on my ethics paper, then I had a migraine attack. I took a painkiller and slept for three hours. I woke up, so tired, so exhausted, I'm crying and shaking.
I'm going to post this before I regret it and just delete it before even posting, as a reminder to myself. I have a bad habit of thinking I'm fine after I come up again from one of these downs, it's a cycle. Maybe if I see this tomorrow I'll actually gather up the courage to make an appointment with a psychologist, or just another appointment with the school councilor. Someone.
I'm sorry, this is a letter to myself on my public blog.... I hate it, but I think, I think if I don't post it somewhere I see it again I'll just keep going like I've done now for the last three years. Ignoring it.
Ah, spring is here. The birds are singing, the snow has melted away and I can finally go outside without at least three layers.
The perfect season.
Except for one problem, pollen. Now fortunately I am not asthmatic, or extremely allergic to pollen, but still allergic enough that my eyes itch like crazy and I sneeze. A lot. And my sneezes aren't quiet or cute, they're those sudden loud sneezes that startle people out of their seats. You think I'm exaggerating? I've seen it literally happen, sitting in class we were all working in complete silence and I sneeze so hard my friend startles so badly she falls off her chair. That was hilarious. I love startling people, in he fun kind of way of course.
Anyway back to my point, so because of pollen season I sneeze a lot which means I also sneeze during lectures. Now a lot of people are using these small handheld recorders to record the lecture so they can listen to it later, and I never really thought about that until today.
I was talking to another bio student I know in passing, and as we were talking I sneezed loudly and her eyes widen.
"You!" She exclaims pointing an accusing finger at me. "You're the one who keeps sneezing when I listen to the recordings."
So apparently I've got easily recognizable sneezes. Yay me...
The worst part is the worst has yet to come, the birch trees hasn't yet dropped their load and I am not looking forward to seeing everything I love covered in yellow pollen. Why does there have to be so many birch trees in Norway???
(translation: We're exterminating several species a day - can't we just saw those ----- birch-trees down?!)
More strange dreams!
So I have this thing where I can dream in one setting and then not dream again in it for years and years, but when I do, I instantly remember everything that happened before. I'm not sure if it's been a long time since I dreamt in the setting I was in last night, but either way- that same sort of thing happened. I can't control my dreams, so going back to a setting isn't anything I have any power over and it's not a choice I make.
Anyway, in this setting I'm a boy (I'm actually a female if anyone is wondering, I know there tends to be great confusion circulating around this) living with his mom and sister, only in a previous dream my sister had been stolen by Satan. For whatever reason, I was convinced that I could find her if I investigated the sewers that were beneath my house, and in a previous dream I had done this as well. It was a maze, and it was very confusing, and I always had a camera with me so I could retrace my steps if necessary. Although I got lost sometimes, I also always found my way out.
My mom knew about this, and in the dream I had last night we had a conversation about it. She had a tracker on me, apparently, and was concerned because I would be down there so long that my camera battery was ready to die, or I got so far away that even if I really did make it out of the sewers I might wind up lost on the surface somewhere, out in the wilderness or in a town I didn't know or something.
I don't really have anything to say to her about this, because I'm determined to find my little sister and plan on continuing to investigate in the sewers.
And then I'm in the sewers again! Only I have no camera this time. It's very alarming as a result, since I don't have any light to work by. I start exploring through some of the places I have already been through, but then begin taking paths within those areas that I hadn't looked into before. I notice that things are starting to become strange, like I'd find little quivering clumps of blood and bones on the floor, which would then explode like some creature from the deep once taken to the surface. It wasn't a violent explosion, they just kind of went pop and bleeeehhhh all over. It was gross, but I kept going.
Eventually there were structures in the sewers that shouldn't be in the sewers, like wooden walls and things of that nature. I eventually came upon a series of bathroom stalls, and in them I found one of my classmates from school. Not like, a fake classmate made up for this dream setting, but an actual classmate from a school I have gone to. This person wasn't anyone I particularly liked because he was an asshole, but none the less he was like "WE HAVE TO GET OUT OF HERE!" and my reaction was "k." We try to make it out of the sewers, and then after a series of even more ridiculous events and more exploding blobs, I suddenly realize that I'm dreaming. I don't have my camera with me, and there was no way I'd be in the sewers without it. My classmate is someone who lives clear on the other side of the country and there's no way he'd be here either, and also I found him in a bathroom. In the sewers. Har har har. So, upon realizing this is a dream, I wake up.
Cue a strange interlude where I'm in the kitchen with my grandma and grandpa, and we're watching a family of bigfoot play with goats outside our window. We lived in a fucking cul-de-sac and don't have any farm animals, so I'm not sure where either the bigfoot or the goats came from. I'm looking at them with my grandpa while my grandma is fiddling about with something, and just as we call her over she misses seeing them.
Anyway, something about this interaction or the dream or maybe both makes me understand what I have to do in order to get my sister back, or perhaps I understand that I'm never going to get her back. Either way, I know what I'm going to do next. I take my camera and head into the sewers, where my mom follows me. I take the original path that I had taken in my dream, but instead of things getting weird I just am lead to a hallway with a few rooms in them. The doorways are all pitch black, but some of them have strange textures to the blackness. I didn't know which one to go in, but picked the blackest of the black and went in there. I fell into a room with a bed, a window, and a black gelatinous blob on the floor.
I immediately understood that this black blob was Satan, and that I had weakened him somehow???- perhaps by understanding earlier that I had been caught in a dream, and woke up from it. Anyway, I took out a knife and chopped up jello-Satan into a bunch of tiny pieces, and then smooshed him into the carpet so he couldn't go anywhere. And then my mom showed up with a carpet washer, and she sucked him up out of the carpet.
We were going to make further efforts to take care of Satan, but then I heard voices in reality which made me wake up.
I'm very tired from all this and don't feel like I got much sleep. >(
I'm feeling a little like burnout's creeping up on me, but I'm not sure it's entirely that since I haven't exactly been doing a whole lot of work or anything lately. I think I'm mostly putting nonsensical and invisible pressure on myself, because I have such high expectations for myself and always expect myself to be working towards them. I don't really know how to relax, and "relaxing" makes me feel kind of panicky because oh my god I'm not getting anything done.
I also have the last bits of school coming up, and I suppose I might be kind of anxious about that.
I'm drowning myself in House of Cards to try and cool off a bit. I started rewatching it some time ago and I think I'll feel better if I "complete" it again. Leaving things unfinished drives me batty.
An anonymous user asked me:
I've written a guide about this (This person is obnoxious but isn't breaking any rules- what do?), but if you don't want this person on your site, then I can see why it might not seem as though it applies. However, my advice on the matter remains the same: just ask the person to leave.
If something about someone sits wrong with you as an admin, then you're not required to put up with it. You deserve to feel comfortable on and enjoy your own site, which you cannot do if someone else is souring the experience for you. It doesn't matter if you can't put your finger on what bothers you about the person, and it doesn't matter if they've done nothing "wrong." The best thing to do is always to just ask the person to leave, because then you can go back to enjoying yourself and they can move on to a place where they're not rubbing the admin the wrong way- which will inevitably impact their experience on the forum whether you mean it to or not. It's not only the best thing for you, it's the best thing for them also.
Telling someone to leave without a tangible reason behind it can be tough, though. You need to be open and honest with the person without putting blame on them. It needs to be clear in the message that nothing is up for debate and that they need to leave no matter what.
An example of what you can say:
If you think that the person is going to cause problems, then you can always create a separate usergroup with posting and PMing permissions removed from them, so that there's no "damage" they can do. If you're concerned that this person is going to trash talk your forum afterwards, then this: (1) proves that they're someone who shouldn't be on your site to begin with; (2) is publicity. Even bad publicity is good publicity; (3) is nothing that anyone can hold against you. A message like the one above is calm. It might make someone hurt, but the aim is not to hurt and there is nothing inflammatory about it. If someone wants to tout your being honest and reasonable as anything but that, then it'll only convince similarly-minded individuals who you probably also don't want on your forum to stay away, and will draw level-headed folks your way. It's okay to be afraid of backlash, but in the RP community, backlash only has power if you give it power.
Hope this helps, anon!
If you would like to ask me for advice, you can comment on an article or send me a private message! Be sure to include if you would like to remain anonymous.
So this happened to me a few weeks ago, and it still amuses me.
So for context I live in a student dorm, and I share a kitchen/common area and bathroom with three other people. It's in the middle of the night and I'm thirsty, so I put on my bathrobe and pad out to the kitchen to get a glass of water. And I get into the kitchen and a complete stranger is sitting by the table eating McDonalds, at 3 am. I swear I jumped a foot when I rounded the corner and saw him sitting there, and he was all alone none of my flatmates was sitting there with him, so just this lone stranger eating McDonalds burgers.
I probably just stared at him in disbelief for a few seconds, trying to figure out if this was real or a strange dream.
Thankfully it turns out he was visiting one of the guys I live with, and wasn't some strange burglar. We chatted for a bit, or well he chatted and I answered with one syllable words and then I got my glass of water and went to bed. The whole thing felt really surreal.
I met him again the next morning as I was preparing breakfast, thankfully actually wearing clothes instead of just my bathrobe. He on the other hand was just clad in a small towel... the life in a student dorm is an interesting one.
You guys might not think that the dream where someone peed on my bed was a nightmare, but it totally was okay. Anyway, since so many people seemed to enjoy my ridiculous dream, I thought I would share another one. It wasn't one that happened recently, but it still sticks out in my mind as being very memorable.
A player from one of my forums invented a new kind of pet lizard. And hey, I like lizards, so I wanted to have one. But because I am me, before I could purchase one, I had to do all the possible research on this lizard possible. Unfortunately, the internet did not have much that was helpful. However, the owner of Icyboards, Spork, had written a book about caring for the lizard. The book, unfortunately, cost something ridiculous, like 3000 USD. And even though I'm a moderator at Icyboards, apparently I couldn't just ask Spork for a copy of the book because I hate nepotism. However, I wasn't going to pay that much money for a damn book about lizards, so I resolved to drive to the factory that printed them to see if I might be able to buy a copy for a reduced price (for no reason other than I'm awesome and should receive a discount, apparently).
So I have no idea where I was living at the time, but whatever, I drove to the factory in Missouri. It was in a slow and sleepy little town that looked like it was struggling. I find a place to park outside the factory. The parking lot is shaped like an L, and I park at the short end of the L, which is attached to the road. At the long end of the L is the entrance to the factory, which also has a little store front. Parked in the long part of the L is another car, and leaning against the car's back bumper is just a dude staring at the store. I don't really pay much mind to him as I walk up to the store front, which, to my dismay, I see is closed for business and appears to be abandoned.
The exact book I want is right there in the window, and although I consider breaking the glass and stealing the book, I don't. I make a sad remark to the other guy in the parking lot that that was the book I wanted and that it's only for sale at a very high price on the internet. The guy nods and agrees that this sucks.
I turn to walk away, and as I do this he says to me: "I'll pay you forty dollars for all your baby teeth."
I'm mildly freaked out about this and try to think of something to say. Because I'm smart, I say: "No thank you, I don't have any left." THAT'LL SHOW HIM.
And I hurry to my car, very scared now. I'm fumbling with my keys as I try to unlock the door, and in the metal of the lock I see the guy show up behind me just like I knew he was going to. He didn't say anything, but stabbed me with a really long needle in the kidney or something, and I said, very loudly: OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW.
The pain was so acute that I actually said "ow" in real life, and it was the sound of me very blandly going "ow" which woke me up.
So there you have it. Another silly GR dream.
Whenever I don't get to share a bed with my SO, for whatever reason, I tend to have pretty strange and wacky dreams. For the last two nights this has been the case.
I rage quit on my dream last night because in my dream, we had a guest over. There's no other way to say it- our guest was morbidly obese, but was still capable of walking herself around. She announces to everyone: "I've got to pee." So she gets up. Walks into my room. Lies down on my bed... AND PEES ON IT.
RIGHT. IN. FRONT. OF. ME.
I'm quite upset about this for obvious reasons and am like "YO. Why the fuck you peein' on my bed?" Actually, that's the nice version of what I said. I made her feel very bad, but instead of just being sad, she tried to argue back with me. ABOUT WHY IT'S OKAY TO PEE ON MY BED. It's fine to pee on my bed, she says, because it's hard for her to sit on a toilet. This made me go quiet for a second, because okay, honestly, a big part of my line of work is helping people sit on a damn toilet LOL, and then I remembered, BITCH I SAW YOU WALK IN HERE AND CLIMB ONTO MY BED which seriously in all honesty cannot be any easier than sitting on the shitter, and so instead of arguing with her further I just legit rage quit on my own dream and woke up.
OMG. I'm still worked up about it. Guys, I love sleeping literally more than anything else I'm not even kidding so PEEING ON MY BED IS JUST ABOUT THE BIGGEST SIN YOU CAN COMMIT AGAINST ME, DON'T DO IT.
The stuff in my grandma's lungs is benign, according to the results of her PET scan. My mother says her doctor is a jerkface but my grandma was a nurse and is also a jerkface, so I imagine if she felt like he wasn't giving her the appropriate amount of care and consideration that she'd sock him in the jaw.
I'm starting to feel better ever since I told my mother that I resent her LOL. I don't necessarily feel good about telling her that I resent her, but it was a lot of formless negative energy associated with her that I think I was able to let go of when I told her. I know that she did her best and my feelings for her were very juvenile. But that's the thing about emotions, did you know? They don't mature with the rest of you. If someone hurt you when you were six and you've never forgiven them, your hurt is still going to be the type of hurt a six year old has. It's a little silly, how humans do.
I'm still a little uneasy, I suppose. My grandmother has some nodules in her lungs that they're doing tests on. My grandma's very important to me. I don't want to receive any comments about this because I won't be able to handle them LOL, but I needed to say something.
I'm also a little uneasy about my internship. Found out that it's going to be in the psychiatric ward of the hospital nearby. I'm very tired right now and don't know if I have the energy to deal with that, but I felt that way about my last internship as well and it wasn't so bad. There really aren't any less-intensive alternatives either. I wonder if I might just be worried about meeting the staff there. They always want to talk with me and have me tell them about myself and fuck, I'm boring LOL.
I tell people I love them (as a friend) a lot and that I care about them because I think it's important to. It weirds some folks out, and that's okay. It can't hurt to tell someone that you care about them. But it can hurt for a person to go around thinking that no one cares at all.
For some people, hearing that they're cared for might be the only nice thing they hear all day.
An anonymous user asked me:
Hello anon and thank you for the ask!
It is difficult to say that there are things you can do to attract people to your forum without advertising, but there are definitely things you can do to make guests want to stay!
Have activity on your forum. No one wants to join an empty forum, one without any posts. That means if you are the only member, you need to be posting- even if it's with yourself! This also means that hiding the IC forums from guests is a very bad idea.
Make it easy to join. People are impatient and want to get started as quickly as possible. You can help things move along by streamlining the joining process. Make all your documentation easy to find, have a starter guide to walk people through the joining process, have a simple application (or the option for one- some people do prefer the much longer and more detailed ones), be quick on checking applications.
Be unique. Your forum needs to offer something that others do not, otherwise there's no reason for anyone to join it. Being unique doesn't mean that the entire concept has to be something incomprehensible, but if you notice that a lot of other forums in your genre do things a certain way, try to find a spin to put on it. Familiarity is good, but monotony is not.
Be present. In the same vein as being active, you- the admin- need to have a presence on the site. Post in the cbox, even if you don't have anyone to talk to.
Have wanted ads posted. Some people find it easier to join in to a roleplay if there are some wanted ads available for the taking. They're a good way for people to quickly get plots, character interactions, and even a bit of backstory.
Reward people for signing up. If there is a monetary system on the site or any sort of items- anything exclusive that can be earned, really- it's always nice to give newbies a little something extra for joining up!
BE POSITIVE. It's majorly off-putting to see negative comments in a cbox- about being bored, not having posts to do, not having muse, etc. Also on resource forums, it's a very good idea to share the FUN times you have on your forum instead of all of your frustrations. Obviously, one way makes your site seem like a nice place to be vs. an unhappy place. You want your forum to be a happy place!
None of that gets the word out about your forum, however. You do have to do some form of advertising in order to get people to stop by the site. There are a multitude of ways in which you can do this:
Tell your friends. All of them. Even the ones who aren't interested. They might come across someone who is interested in what you can offer and send them your way.
Be sociable. Make new friends, even people who aren't interested in joining your forum. It never hurts to meet new people, and the same logic above applies here. Even if they aren't interested in your forum, your new buddies might meet someone who is and can send them your way.
Put your site in your signature on every site you're on that allows it. Resource sites like The Initiative are a great way to passively advertise your forum simply by posting and being active there. They can give users an idea of who you are as an admin and a player, and people who like the things you say might stop by and take a peek at your forum.
Get listed everywhere you can. This includes directories, but also top sites. These are another wonderful way to passively advertise for your site, requiring you to only click a button occasionally (in the case of top sites).
Advertise on tumblr directories. Many of them let you post without having a tumblr account and they function very similarly to directories.
Get affiliated. Find other sites to affiliate with. I personally like to affiliate with like-minded sites or sites within the same/similar genres, as well as panfandom forums (if I'm running a fandom site). As I no longer have applications on my forums, I will also affiliate with any other site that does not have applications even if they aren't of the same genre as my site, for example. However, there are other methods of affiliating which might suit you better, such as affiliating with any and every site you can. If those sites die, then your button is stuck on their index forever and ever. Affiliates are another form of passive advertising.
Advertise on other social media. Even just one post makes a difference, but having a promotional tumblr, deviantart (if your forum uses artwork or you have artists making art for the forum), Twitter, or even Facebook page for you RP is a good way to get the word out there in a way that's less of a grind than advertising on other forums. You can share links to plotters, open threads, character quotes, wanted ads, and teasers for plots to come on social media. This requires more upkeep than directories and top sites, however as most of these methods allow you to queue items you can easily set up posts in advance and just space them out over the course of a week, month, etc.
Advertise smarter, not harder. When you do advertise on other forums, don't bother dropping an ad if it takes you more than 5 seconds to find the advertisement forum. If it's difficult for you to find, then it's difficult for people to crawl through sites to find also. When I'm advertising, I use ctrl+f and do a search for 'adv' or 'plug'- if neither of those things come up, I bail. Advertise on sites that have won awards or are currently being promoted on resource sites or that are at the top of top site lists, as those sites are in theory the ones which are getting the most traffic (and therefore increase the chances of your ad getting seen). Dropping large amounts of ads can be effective, but it helps to even post just 5 ads a day. You can do this easily by posting 5 ads on a site one day, and then doing links backs on the next day.
Lastly, installing Google Analytics on your forum is not a bad idea either. It will track where you get your traffic from, and once you know where you get the greatest amount of traffic from you will know where to focus the most of your efforts.
Hope this helps, anon!
If you would like to ask me for advice, you can comment on an article or send me a private message! Be sure to include if you would like to remain anonymous.
We have been working hard to improve the look and feel around the site as well as adding helpful new awesome features. One of those new features is Two Factor Authentication. This is currently enabled to help protect your account from being hijacked if it is ever hacked. If you have suggestions for more questions that we can add (if you choose to do security questions over Google Authenticator) than don't hesitate to post in that thread and give us some ideas!
Next up! We have updated how blogs appear on their main page. We now have the most recent article fully shown with the other articles truncated below. It came with a Grid layout and a traditional layout. We also increased the height of the cover image to better showcase an image of your choosing!
All around we have made some aesthetic changes to many things around the site (like the embeds that were difficult to read). We hope you enjoy them!
Another cool feature that we added is we now have discord integration! So if you're in discord either on your computer or on your phone you will now get notified when new topics are posted around the forums. Currently it is set up to primarily post from the "Wanted, Roleplay" section and the "Roleplay Conversations" sections. In the future this may change. Please feel free to provide feedback in the Staff Contact forum to let us know if you think we should add more or remove any so we know what you like.
Now! Onto Challenges! The Best of 2016 has been posted! We would like to thank everyone who nominated and to remind everyone to look out for these same things as we will be repeating it next year and probably with more categories! You are free to contact us and let us know of categories you think we should add! Go check out the winners here:
Following that! We are looking for award ideas! Funny, nerdy, bizarre whatever! We want to make awards fun to both have and earn. If you have an idea for an award for something around the Initiative than please let us know what it is and how you think it should be earned! We would love more fun and creative ways to engage you!
Moving on from awards! Our Spotlight Challenge is nearly at it's end! Don't miss your opportunity to get your site listed in the header of the Initiative for an entire month! Check it out and send us some stories about Valentine's day! Remember they don't have to be about love!
Voting for Graphics Challenge 9 is up! Go vote for your favorite one here:
We have also posted a new graphics challenge! It's super easy and fun! Go make some avatars of some animals!
Think you have what it takes to write a graphic inspired challenge!? Go check out this writing challenge:
Last but certainly not least! Don't forget about @Gothams Reckoning advice blog. Just send them a PM with your question that you would like advice on and they will post it in the blog and give you advice. You can be completely anonymous just advise GR when you send your PM.
We just want to add that we can't have this awesome community without you! So we thank you for being awesome members and being supportive to one another! You all rock!
Lizards get complicated. xD
Whats EXTRA fun is that some species you can't sex. You can GUESS based on structure, but there's no guarantee. The fact that the hobby is, compared to breeding other animals, new makes it all the more exciting! They thought crested geckos were extinct until the late 80s!
With lizards, you usually sex them by looking at the pores. Since their babies can be tiny, this requires a jeweler's loupe and you can get females presenting false pores or just none at all. It's a pain, so most are sold unsexed or after they've begun to show (in males, this means BALLS! In females, more pore definition.) The balls are actually their hemipene, (they get two dicks!) Reptiles don't pee in the usual fashion. They pass urate, like birds. Dry white bits with their feces.
Here's a guide on sexing cresties:
Here's a less complicated one:
All the geckos in those images are old enough to show an obvious bulge. It's harder when they're ~2-4 inches big and have no desire to sit still!