In my last blog, I talked about personal goals for the new year. In today's blog, I will write about features I think Webnovel should include to improve their user-friendliness and gain a better edge over their competitors.
You might be interested to read My 2021 new Year Resolution & Writing Goals
Just before you wonder why I'm petitioning this on my blog, please know that I've been an author with Webnovel since August 2018. It has come a long way since and is generally a lot better but as always, I believe there will be room to be even better. These are my humble opinions and you are free to disagree.
This blog post is generously sponsored by the following Patreons: *This could be your name*.
Without further ado, let's check out some of the things I feel Webnovel is lacking from a writer's point of view!
#1: More Flexible Book Cover Creator
You might think this is a joke but I assure you, it isn't. Why do I say so? Let's check out a screenshot for the current system that they have.
If you head over to inkstone and sign in to create a new book, your first option in uploading a cover would be this screen:
So assuming you're someone without money or artistic talent to design your own book cover, you'd opt for the Cover Design System. Here's what it looks like after you select this option:
So far so good, let's take a look at the next step.
Here, you can start seeing limitations. These images are not very appealing and if you squint, there is a number at the top left of the image. This indicates how many times this image has been used by someone else on the site to create a book cover. Do you see the problem yet? Your book wouldn't be able to stand out with such a generic background picture for a cover.
Ah! There we go. Something that finally puts together and looks like a decent cover. At this stage, you can zoom into the area of this particular picture you've chosen from a very limited option and hope that it looks good enough to capture your audience's attention. Still with me? Let's move on.
After zooming to the exact spot you want, you now get to choose where you want your title to be and how it is placed. Yay...
Don't like the font you used or the colour? Well, no worries! Inkstone and Webnovel have you covered. Choose from a wide selection of all 18 interfaces, 13 colours, 9 text effects and 14 filters! Why would there be anyone copying your customisation? Impossible!
Jokes aside, you see the need for a better cover creator? At this rate, I think most people with any knowledge of PowerPoint would be better making their own covers there instead of using this. All they need to do is figure out what the 600x800 pixel dimension looks like and everything is good.
#2: Push Notification Dashboard for Author Announcement to Followers of the Author
This is my Webnovel Profile page. See that little heart icon with numbers? That indicates the number of users following me. However, it's currently a useless function because apart from making it look good, it serves no purpose.
I really wish Webnovel can introduce some kind of wall for Authors to write what they want and announce it to all their followers like Twitter. Else, what's the use of following and favouriting an author?
#3: Social Media Links in Author Profile
I'm not duplicating the picture from above but you can see that I wrote the links in my Description. That's because there is no link for social media promotions. It's a real pain and I wish they can do it like how they allow it on Tapas.
You can check out my Tapas Profile here!
#4: Auto-Save Function for Inkstone
Surprise! If your power crashes during a thunderstorm and your laptop isn't plugged to a battery, you'd automatically lose all your progress by writing on Inkstone if you didn't save it.
Why don't they create such a simple function? It's been more than 2 years since Webnovel was founded, surely this should be an easy task for the programming team, right?
Well, don't tell me that! We've been requesting it from them for years as well but the team doesn't think this is the most important feature to add. Instead, they think adding a more complicated control panel for writers to track their reader comment by chapter is a more pressing matter. Sure, being able to mod the comments from one place is nice and all but don't you think the ability to know that not all progress is lost when writing of higher importance to a writer?
Sometimes, I question the choices the management of Webnovel make.
#5: Center Alignment and Strikethrough Formatting
Alright, I admit. This is a vanity request but I honestly don't understand why they didn't include these when they implemented the Bold, Italic and Author Commentary functions that almost nobody uses.
Surely an Alignment adjustment and strikethrough feature would be more used than the cosmetic in-line Author Commentary function is, right? I get that you like footnotes because it is often used in translated novels by various translators but can you show a little more love to your original writers?
#6: Web Feeds for Original Works
Some people don't know what a web feed is. I'll try to explain it simply for the benefit of those who aren't too IT savvy.
In short, a web feed is something like a content page that is constantly getting updated by a site for every new page they add. Your page is a unique URL that leads you to read the latest uploaded chapter of a novel etc etc. It contains information of what kind of page was updated and more importantly, has the URL within that small data feed.
Now, why do I request this? It's so that writers like me with a discord community can automate push notifications for new chapter releases to my readers. Webnovel is an advocate for discord so I cannot understand why the management removed web feeds for original novels and make it available for only translated novels.
Do you really hate us that much?
Jokes aside here is the invitation to join my discord server and be part of the tiny army!
#7: Indication of Verified Readers in User Profile
While this isn't anything as triggering as the other points mentioned above, I have a good reason for this.
For those who know Reddit, they understand that karma points are given by other players to help self-regulate the community for toxic users and trolls. As Webnovel grows, the number of new users, bots, trolls and toxic people increases. It's almost impossible to catch every single one of them and the IT team is up to their necks trying to blacklist users, trace IP addresses and identify bots.
By implementing an indication of a Verified Reader, they can eliminate the possibility of bots. Reader on Webnovel also have levels that they gain by earning experience points from doing daily in-app quests. It would be good if Webnovel takes this system and transform it into a user rating system by the community. For instance, the amount of likes and dislikes a person gets from their activities commenting and giving reviews on books could help moderators identify frequent trolls, bot spammers and toxic users.
Alright, that's enough whining and complaining from me. If you like this kind of content so far, be sure to support me on Patreon as well as subscribe to my Youtube for live streams where I often answer people's questions or discuss things that I wrote in my blogs.
Stay safe, stay sane and be happy!