Twilight Times Special Feature


Practical Tips for Online Authors # 3


Lida E. Quillen


Create an Online Magazine

Canít get your story published in an ezine, build your own!

From my observations, ezine publishers usually start out small. The typical scenario is a writer cannot get his work published, so he puts up a couple of his stories and maybe his friendsí stories on a personal web site. Then, he comes up with a snazzy name, a nice background and gives the stories a web site of their own. Viola, he has created a new ezine.

How do you get started?

Equipment needed
You donít need the latest Pentium (TM) computer or expensive publishing software to start. It is time-consuming, but you can even build a web site with a WebTV (TM) device. This device does not have an html editor and cannot upload files, but you will find many web site hosts provide an online file editor that you can use to edit your web pages online.

Later on, if you find you enjoy putting together an ezine, then yes, html editors, and graphics software such as Paint Shop Pro (TM) or PhotoShop (TM) would make the job a little easier.

Choosing a web site host
First, do you invest in a virtual domain and lock in that snazzy name? Do you use the web space provided by your ISP? Some have restrictions that you use the space for personal home pages only. Do you use one of the free web sites, such Geocities/Yahoo, Tripod/Lycos or Xoom? Read their contracts carefully. A couple of web site providers are allegedly starting to encroach on copyrights.

You might put a few pages up at a free hosting service as practice. If you are new to the internet, then a hosting service that offers a web page building utility, tools and tutorials may be useful to you.

HTML editors
Most likely you already have an html editor on your computer, either as part of Windows (TM) , such as Front Page Express or in Netscape (TM), such as Composer. But someday youíll need to wrap words around an image in a certain way. Or maybe youíll need to be able to look at the raw code and understand why your hot link is not working or why the graphic is not properly placed. For this you will need to understand html. Excellent tutorials are available on the web to give you the basics of html coding.

Examples of a few good html editors are Netscape Composer, Windows Front Page Express or Microsoft Front Page 98, Hot Dog, 1st Page 2000, Homesite, Adobe PageMill, Arachnophilia, etc.

HTML Help -- html tutorial

WebMonkey -- html, web page design, multimedia tutorials

Meta Tags
What are meta tags and why do you need to worry about them? Meta tags contain info about the content of your website and are used extensively by robots, spiders and search engines, so you want to use accurate and complete info. You will find an easy to understand explanation at VirtualPROMOTE.


You will most likely need an FTP client to upload the pages you have created on your computer to your web site. FTP stands for file transfer protocol. This is simply a method commonly used for transferring data files from one host to another.

Cute FTP


Process of creating the web site
Research several ezines and build a template. Create your own distinctive, name, format and subject matter. Contemplate layout and style. Caution: you may get addicted to tracking down great backgrounds, stories, artwork and music and putting it all together on one page.

Build a subscription base. Mention your existence in newsgroups and announce lists. List the web site url in your signature line of all your email messages. After you have uploaded a couple of issues, apply for ezine and/or web site awards.

Ask yourself questions such as, what will be the focus or theme? What subject can you spend the next few months, or years talking about? Do you want to accept banner ads, advertisements and such?

Getting submissions
Okay, you have the web site looking presentable, now how do you obtain submissions? Before I started Twilight Times ezine, I asked Jennifer Dunne, editor of the Science Fiction Romance newsletter for some advice on obtaining submissions. Jennifer indicated I "would learn the fine art of begging." She was right. For the first two issues I begged for stories and poetry submissions from my writer friends and writer email lists. Do likewise and this should get you started.

Science Fiction Romance

Twilight Times

Once you are established, then potential contributors can get a feel for your e-zine and whether they would feel comfortable displaying their work at your web site. While you are not offering payment, you are offering exposure of their writing and a link to their writer web site. In other words, you are offering valuable free publicity so your submissions will pick up. And if you can afford to make even a token payment of $5.00 a story, this will dramatically improve the quality and number of submissions.

Netiquette tip: In your enthusiasm to promote your newsletter, do try to avoid the appearance of "spam" as you post to various maillists, newsgroups, web sites, etc


** Article Announce Writer & Publisher Exchange is an article announcement list providing free content to hundreds of ezines, newsletters, magazines and web sites.

** Content Exchange

** Ezine Articles -- you are give permission for your articles to be reprinted in other e-zines, web sites and print publications. Authors retain copyright to all of their work.

** Free Ebook of Quotes -- to give away to subscribers and friends.

Link Bank -- free ezines on the internet

** PublishInYours -- mailing list that allows you to submit articles and people who read the mailing list can use it in their newsletters and include your resource box.

*** Spark-online -- submissions should be between 400 and 1000 words.

** Web Head Central -- free web site promotion directory

Web Hosts

321Website -- 10mb free

50 -- free web hosting

Dreamwater -- 50mb free

gURL -- 11mb free

WebSite Creations -- web site hosting at $4.99 per month.

Web Sites

Ask Dr. Web

Beginning HTML at HTML Goodies (cookies)

How to Publicize Your Ezine

** Idea Marketers -- free articles and ezine builder

Make Your Site Sell (cookies)

The Handbook of Ezine Publishing -- free email newsletters

Web Graphics on a Budget

Zine Making Tips from Factsheet Five

Zine Net -- a digest of writings on the web


Note: "Create an Online Magazine" is an excerpt from Practical Tips for Online Authors published by Twilight Times Books. Copyright © 2000 Lida E. Quillen. Re-printed by permission of the author.




  About the Author

Lida E. Quillen is the author of a non-fiction book, Practical Tips for Online Authors

Owner/Publisher of Twilight Times Publications

Pubisher of the eBook Ecstasy newsletter.

Moderator of online authors email list

Member of Phenomenal Women of the Web.





Copyright © 2000 Lida E. Quillen. All rights reserved.


This page last updated 01-02-02.

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