Long time readers of the North Alabama Writers’ Group blog may know I started a monthly series called “The Best of Daily Science Fiction”. For this series, I read every story Daily Science Fiction published each month and featured the works I enjoyed. I stopped the series after Feb even though I read all the stories through April. I stopped posting the series because:
1. Creating a post with so many links and references was a hassle. It takes a long time to write, edit, and find a photo for most posts. What takes 20 minutes to write ends up taking an hour and a half to get set up for publication. These Daily Science Fiction posts took FAR longer because I would research the authors of stories I featured and link to other works/sites where readers could find them. The feedback I got wasn’t worth the time.
2. I didn’t enjoy reading Daily Science Fiction. It pains me to type this, but the truth is: most of the stories Daily Science Fiction aren’t fun, interesting, or unique. And I want to like Daily Science Fiction, but I can’t.
3. Reading the stories there and trying to pick “good ones” was lowering my standards. While I compiled stories for March’s post, I included anything that “was a story” even if I thought that story was cliche. Reviewing the stories to post spiralled me into a depression. Where were my standards? Since when has “almost having a conclusion” good enough? I would never accept something so sloppy in my work or in the work of my fellows. Why was I recommending work that didn‘t inspire emotion or new thoughts? To fill out a blog post, no I wouldn‘t do it.
4. Daily Science Fiction has a terrible website. It‘s slow and often crashes. This is annoying when one is trying to comb through it for cross links. It’s also pretty frustrating when I would try to rate the stories only to have the site continually crash. I suspected the site craps out intentionally if you‘re giving a low score to a story most people seem to like. This conspiracy theory is probably not true, but it‘s hard to keep pleasant thoughts for a site that refused to load consistently. It is a professional paid market, get some web support!
5. I hate the layout of Daily Science Fiction’s website. I would try to search for ALL the stories from authors I enjoyed or from authors I was “on the fence” to read more, and the search engine was super clunky. Also Daily Science Fiction lets repeat published authors write very different bios for each story they submit so I often had to read through as many stories as possible, read the story AND the author bio again looking for hints. They should just have a directory with the most up-to-date bio of each published author in alphabetical order and include links to any publications they‘ve ever had within Daily Science Fiction. This is website networking 101. If the goal of your publication is to offer short scifi work to readers and feature writers others might otherwise never read, make it easier for readers to find more from these writers!
6. The website is ugly. This is petty and not worth mentioning when a site is easy to navigate, but Daily Science Fiction isn’t well laid out. Being on a site that crashes often, takes a while to load, and doesn‘t search well, gives a person a long time to see how unpleasant the whole experience is. The over all aesthetic quality matters a lot more. Guess what, Daily Science Fiction isn‘t winning any awards in color scheme or intuitive navigation.
Tell me about your experiences. What turns you off to a website? What do you look for in a flash or in recurring newsletters? Do you read Daily Science fiction and if so, what’s your experience as a reader? Have you published through Daily Science Fiction and what was that experience like?