If I could offer one piece of advice to fanfic authors and fanartists it would be:
Make your work accessible.
Choose a tumblr layout that lets people easily reblog your work. Choose a layout where the links and next page buttons are easily found. Tag all your work properly and then LINK to it from your main page. Link directly to your AO3 or DeviantArt. Don’t make people search your tumblr just to find that fic they liked. Have posts available that link to your work so that people can reblog them. Do the hard work for people and make it easy for them to share your stuff.
The harder it is to find your stuff, the less likely it is people will reblog it and share it around.
do you have any suggestions for themes and layouts and such?
I do! 😀
Personally I use Theme-Hunter to find the themes for all my blogs. They reblog direct from creators and have hundreds of options. Their Tumblr is really easy to navigate and you can go straight to the type of theme you’re looking for: say a two-column theme, or one with a side bar, etc.
Theme-Hunter also has code for pages: about pages, OC pages, Tag pages, and the like. AND they explain how to get them to work on your Tumblr, which is great if you’re not tech and code savvy.
Zelda Themes’ old library of themes also has some great layouts. I use I See Fire and was considering the Borrowers theme for the same reasons.
Tumblr also has some generic themes available for free that are good for writers. I find Easy A to be the best of them as it offers lots of preprogrammed links and options so there’s no need to edit the HTML at all.
Sometimes you’ll find a theme that is almost perfect but it’s just missing one of two elements. Fear not! There are loads of tutorials online and it’s as easy as searching Google to get that search bar on your Tumblr, or include a loading page.
And if you really can’t find something, a lot of theme Tumblrs will gladly help you out, or, feel free to message me and maybe we can look at it together.
If you’re a writer on Tumblr, you will definitely want the following on your blog:
- Like and Reblog buttons attached to each post
- Easily readable text in both size and colour
- a link direct to your AO3 or FF.net account from your main page
- a link from your main page to all your Tumblr only work
- Visible and obvious forward and back buttons
I would suggest a one-column theme with either a sidebar or header with visible links. Turn off endless scrolling as you want people to go far enough back through your work that their browser might crash. Don’t clutter your main page with unnecessary things. If you write for a few pairings or have several series on your Tumblr, consider a search bar or a Tags page.
Also consider people on different platforms. For example, I don’t have a PC. All I have and all I use is an iPad and the amount of themes that just plain don’t work for me is ridiculous. If there is no reblog button, I have to go to another person who reblogged the same thing and try reblog it from them as no reblog/like options show up at the top of the page like they do on PC. Sometimes I haven’t been able to reblog someone’s work, even though I wanted to, all because of their theme not having like/reblog buttons.
You want to make a reader’s experience on your Tumblr as hassle free as possible. Imagine you were visiting someone else’s Tumblr and wanted to find a specific fic of theirs so you could reblog it. How hard is it to find the fic? Is there even a link? Then look at your own Tumblr. Can people find those links? Do ALL the hard work for your readers. Don’t give them any excuse to leave.