In our last blog post here in news, we looked back at 2019.
This week will look forward to 2020. The year has already started off with plenty of drama out in the real world and it promises to be an even crazier roller coaster for the rest of year. Let's make Gay Authors a bastion of peace where we can all relax, shall we? Read, Write, Enjoy!
The four themes have been selected. Get a good start and try to have an entry for all of them this year. I know I'm going to try.
- Spring 2020 (due May 15, 2020) - The Storm
- Spring 2020 (due May 15, 2020) - Full Moon
- Fall 2020 (due Nov 15, 2020) - Shadows
- Fall 2020 (due Nov 15, 2020)- Bridges
As has been the pattern for the last few years, Invision will be updating their Community software (the forums) with a major revision. We are currently running Invision Community 4.4 and the upgrade will bring us to 4.5. What does this mean for us? We're not sure yet. They've only announced a few front-end features and it looks like things will be targeted at making the software better under the hood. They have announced a few improvements for Clubs, which we will be using. I'll post more about the updates when we know more and are closer to upgrading.
We are also discussing how we want to go forward with forum usage on the site. You have probably noticed the activity is dropping on the forums. We are also carrying a lot of legacy decisions that made great sense 15 years ago that now seem a bit stagnant. The staff hasn't decided yet where we are going, as there are several options on the table. When we have those options fully fleshed out, we'll do some discussion with the Gay Authors' family and decided together how we want to approach it.
People who have been using the internet for a long time now will have noticed that a lot of sites are going to a subscription-based model. This is either a Patreon supported thing or a direct subscription on the site. This is because the ad revenue that has supported websites for years as fallen off a cliff. This has put numerous websites out of business, and almost all the survivors have gone to a what they call a Fremium Model. We did this a long time ago to stablize the wild swings we would get in ad revenue to make sure we could keep the doors open. It has worked. We have a core group of members whose Premium Membership is critical to our ongoing survival as a site. So,
Thank You to our Subscribers!
You can learn more here: https://gayauthors.org/subscriptions/
for all Authors, we are looking for more Premium Content. Short stories, novellas, and novels. We offer compensation for accepted stories that varies based on the author's needs and location. You can PM @Cia for more details.
We've had a very good run of updates on our stories software lately, and I'm hoping that continues. We are currently working on a few things:
- Story Recommendations- This will be a new feature that allows you to recommend a story to your fellow members. When you do so, you'll be presented with a multiple choice checkbox of reasons you wish to recommend the story. Others will then be able to upvote your recommendation and add their own reasons. Stories with the most recommendations will rise and the reasons for the recommendations will be displayed. This will also be time-based, so it won't be a popularity contest. The only way to stay in the top of the default recommendation list is to continue to have new people to recommend the story. You'll be able to see several different time frames, including 'All Time' though. This will serve as the groundwork for another feature later in the year...
- You Might Also Like... - This is probably the most requested thing out there when we ask open-ended questions. "I like this story, tell me other ones like it". Amazon does this very well. But Amazon has also spent hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars on artificial intelligence that analyzes everything you do and everything everyone buys and gives you fairly good estimate of something you might like. They further refine that by your actions when you click (or don't click) on those emails they send you "have you seen this?" or something like that. We won't be able to do that. What we can do is approximate it based on who you follow for recommendations. For example, if I recommend a story because of good characterization and you choose to follow me, then we can show you other stories I've recommended. This will be very experimental for us, so I can only promise that we're going to try. Like this idea? Be sure to become a subscriber to Premium so we can continue to afford to be able to do the development.
- Author Profile - The Author Profile, the screen that lists all the author's stories, is going to become a lot more like a profile. We've already added the ability to create additional fields for authors to be able to add stuff to their profile. We'll control what fields get added, and the authors will be able to update them. We're also moving the Author Bio and related fields from the Forum Profile to this profile. This will make our software a bit easier to maintain as it makes Stories run more on its own.
- Guest control based on ratings - We are adding the ability to control access to stories based on ratings. Several of the other large story hosting sites do this to control mature content.
- Club Collections - We are adding the ability to create a Collection that is club based. Right now we have Public and Private collections for gathering stories. This would allow us to create a collection that was related to a club. If you are a member of the club, you would be able to see the collections associated with that club.
- We're looking at creating an alternative Dark Gay Authors Color Theme for those who prefer light text on dark screen approach.
- We're going to be updating/revamping various pages and areas to modernize the site. Also, we'll be looking for ways to make the site faster to load when on mobile.
- We're evaluating our social media options. It's an unfortunate truth that in order to be relevant in 2020, you need to waste a lot of time offsite on social media. We'll do more of that.
And of course, we're going to be looking for more authors, more stories, more readers, and more friends for the community. This is another area where every single member can help Gay Authors by recommending the site to others who would enjoy all the great new features from 2019 and coming upgrades in 2020. I wish everyone all the best in this new year and happy reading!