TL;DR: I need guidance/suggestion on creating my own manga reader to post my content. Please only serious answers. I haven’t any money to hire people or to go to school.
Hello to this lovely community!
I am looking to launch my own manga soon and have been in the market for a platform to release this publicly. Outside of the actual production of manga pages (and its relative chapters), my chief concern is how to get this story available for public access. I have already determined that the popular platforms like Tapas, and Webtoons is far too restrictive for my purposes. DeviantArt is not as sufficient as a mobile platform and may not serve a proper archival solution either. In this day and age, my priority must go towards an efficient and smooth mobile experience.
After searching much of the internet, it became apparent that the best course of action was to create my own website to host my own series. Major “do-it-yourself” CMs like Wix.com or Squarespace.com, just like Tapas and Webtoons, provided concerning limitations. So I chose for SiteGround.com to be my host, giving me ample server space at a decent speed. My domain was purchased via namecheap.com. The final step was to utilize WordPress to build the website of my vision.
All I wanted was a basic site that allows people to easily find a chapter via a list. They select the chapter, and begin reading the pages. No bells or whistles. Just a simple, streamlined manga reading experience. Unfortunately, I am finding it increasingly difficult to achieve even this simple(?) task on wordpress, regardless of the various themes and plug-ins I utilize. I recognize that webcomics (and manga in particular) isn’t something developers cater towards,as it is super niche. And every other theme, plug-in, or website is catering specifically towards the webtoons or web comics format, but not manga.
To illustrate what I mean, here are design examples from two platforms I am taking inspiration from.
EXAMPLE 1: Manganelo
Manganelo is one of those (illegal) manga readers that posts licensed and unlicensed manga. While I no longer use this place to consume content, I have used it as a template to base my website on (absent the annoying and intrusive ads). When you get to a specific series page, say like Attack on Titan, its easy to navigate and you can select the chapter you wish to read. Most importantly too, the pages scale perfectly to the edges of the screen, something that wont happen on my wordpress without strange buggy issues.
EXAMPLE 2: Shonen Jump App
The official manga reader app by shonen jump. Whilst probably too fancy for what I’m looking for, they have the budget and content library to do it. Anyways, like other manga readers on the web, when you go to the series page, they have a simple navigation scheme where you can easily select all of the chapters and read. Each page, like other manga readers scale perfectly to the edges of the screen – something I cannot achieve on wordpress without serious issues.
So in essence, I want the main page of the site to lay out all of my chapters, each linking to its own chapter page. This in an of itself is doable. The problem is adding my pages. Images never scale appropriately on mobile or desktop. The resolution also inconsistent across different devices, despite having each image file optimized(?) for web and mobile. Admittingly though, I am not very literate in regards to coding or programming. I am considering if I should invest time to learn web development enough so that I can make this website, rather than relying on preexisting platforms that was never meant for manga. I may be misunderstanding something. Maybe the solution is on wordpress. Maybe the solution is on an entirely different platform.
If there is a way to make something like this without the need of learning coding, I’d love to know. But if it turns out that I need to just “suck it up” learn how to code, what is the best approach? Where can I learn it? and what languages best align with what I am trying to build? I know that this will require multiple solutions. Thus I am asking reddit, for there are countless individuals with vast collective experiences, each with their own unique solution and insight that I currently do not possess.
Thank you for everyone who offers high quality help. Your contribution is welcomed.