A list of reasons

2 months ago | Chris Poirier (Moderator)

Hi all,

In light of recent discussions, I thought it might be helpful for me to give a list of the reasons I've rejected submissions in the past.

So, from most frequent to least:

1) The story is abandoned by the time I look at it. This is probably 50% of the rejections.

2) Can't find the start of the story or the pages aren't linked together. This is probably 30% of the rejections.

3) The story is so badly written I can't bear to be associated with it. If you write like you are failing grade 5 English class, I'm not listing you. If you write like you don't understand the difference between past and present tense (ie. "I run to the door and opened it."), I'm not listing you. This is probably 20% of the rejections.

4) Oh, I'm at 100% already. I guess there is no 4.

Is the volume on RRL getting out of hand? Possibly. It's a lot. And I have rejected a lot of RRL submissions, due to points 1 and 3.

I've never gone looking to exclude people because of their choice of website. (Well, except for wixsite.com, but I won't list stuff there because it doesn't work without Javascript enabled.) We protect ourselves from an avalanche where necessary, and we may yet have to do that with RRL and Wattpad and other sites. Even then, I'd likely make exceptions for, well, exceptional work.

Finally, let me point out that WFG is a *tiny* site. It barely matters to anyone. My guess is most people from RRL who want to get listed by us do so because they want to get on topwebfiction.com. Breaking the link between the two sites is likely a far easier way to resolve the traffic problem than would be coming up with any new rules about submissions.

Chris

Read responses...

Page: 12

Responses

  1. Chris Poirier (Moderator)

    Posted 2 months ago

    Feel free to discuss, but I'll shut this down if it gets personal again.

  2. Chrysalis (Member)

    Posted 2 months ago

    I'd hate to lose the link to TWF... I rather enjoyed being on it when my serial was active. Even now, I'm still getting hits from TWF and I haven't updated in almost a year.

    TWF is how us less-than-hugely-popular authors get exposure.

    Anathema, a web serial about the effect superpowers would have on our world. http://anathemaserial.wordpress.com/
  3. unice5656 (Member)

    Posted 2 months ago

    Out of curiosity, how would TWF function if it weren't based on WFG listings?

  4. Chris Poirier (Moderator)

    Posted 2 months ago

    It would have a separate submission process, presumably one that is self-serve.

  5. SovereignofAshes (Member)

    Posted 2 months ago

    I'll behave this time. *^_^*

    I agree wholeheartedly with the submission rules thus far. I agree with points #2 and #3.

    I believe some of the requirements for #2 are:
    - There must be a Table of Contents page somewhere on the fiction.
    - The link to the fiction must be to the first piece of writing of that project.
    - There must at least be a link at the bottom of every chapter/section/upload to the next chapter/section/upload for readers.
    - Chapters/sections/uploads must be actual writing content to do with the story. Not blog posts, author updates, promotions, art dumps, or whatever else (although those can be posted elsewhere on the site/project).

    #3 makes perfect sense and provides a certain minimum bar of quality. The only thing I can think toward this is having a bit more clarified set of rules or at least a minimum set of 'red flags' to disqualify a project. This could curb some whining from authors later on, feeling they were rejected unfairly. A common thing I could see happening are authors whose primary language isn't English feeling like they're being ostracized for lack of ability with English. Also, what if we start getting more authors who don't write in English? I know it's not really a problem right now, but it's good to have a foundation to build off of if the site ever gets larger or a huge shift in web fiction happens.

    #1 makes perfect sense. The only thing I have is some questions on what constitutes an 'abandoned project.' Is there a minimum date between uploads that an author must meet? Must the project have a sustained RSS feed to prove it's not abandoned? (Some people seem to have problems with RSS feeds for their projects due to the hosting service they use, or unfamiliarity with that system, just FYI.) Or, is it more black-and-white where someone will actually tell you it's over with, or the link goes dead, or the author completely deletes their work?

    Some other ideas to narrow down the selection process so things don't get out of hand concerning submissions would be:
    - A minimum number chapters uploaded to show that the author is committed and the project is alive.
    - Focus on certain genres or exclusion of certain genres (Fantasy, Superhero, Sci-fi, Horror, LitRPG, etc.).
    - A specific list of hosting sites that don't quite work with WFG listings (FictionPress, Wattpad, etc.).

    There could be other aspects that narrow the selection process based off of what other people want or what you want to cater this community toward.

    From what I see, having WFG and TWF together is a huge boon, both for authors of fictions listed here, but also for overall traffic. A concern would be that other authors who are hosting on already high-traffic sites (FictionPress, Wattpad, RRL, etc.) would be 'double banking' on the traffic from their sites, traffic from being listed on WFG (plus reviews), and traffic from TWF. I can understand some authors here having a concern towards the increased traffic.

    I think the main thing is the difference between stories that are hosted independently (Wordpress, Blogger, their own site), but also having copies elsewhere (Wattpad, RRL, FictionPress, wherever) who are 'playing by the rules' here. Then there are people who only host their project at RRL/Wattpad/etc. but also gain the benefit of being listed here and having access to TWF, yet they've never made an outside site for themselves. Hopefully this comparison makes sense. I'm just trying to mention concerns that came up in other threads. Honestly, I don't really care, myself.

    The last thing I'll mention is concerning TWF directly.

    Currently, we have three central genres on TWF that encapsulate most of the fictions listed on WFG. Fantasy - Superhero - Science Fiction. Most listings focus on only one genre. So a Fantasy story will be listed under Fantasy, and All (tabs).

    There is a concern as some stories are listed under multiple categories. Some stories are listed under Fantasy + Superhero. Some stories are listed under Superhero + Science Fiction. This allows those stories to get extra visibility under multiple genres, and can skew their exposure through votes. If they can be listed under a popular tag (say Fantasy) and a niche tag (say Superhero) they can get far more exposure than a story that is listed under only one genre. I understand some projects are hard to categorize, or change their genres over time (if they're long-running projects for instance).

    Maybe, a way to allow other kinds of projects visibility, but stop the overwhelming submission process would be to expand the listed genres on TWF. Instead of just three broad-range genres, a few more could be added. Fantasy - LitRPG - Superhero - Science Fiction - Horror - Romance - Experimental/Comedy - Literary Fiction. This allows different stories to shine more. It also stops authors who are writing in a more traditional way from getting completely buried under stories that are in an entirely different genre, but got included in their tab. As an example, an author may be writing a traditional high fantasy story ala Tolkien, but gets buried under a lot of LitRPG stories that only use a basic setting of fantasy but otherwise would be science-fiction because of being in a virtual world. It also allows readers to find exactly what genre they're looking for rather than wading through a bunch in only an adjacent sort of genre.

    With the above, if the genres on TWF are only to be a the three that are currently listed, then it might be good to limit an author's project to only one tab. An author has to choose what their primary genre is, so they aren't 'double-dipping.' If the genres are expanded, then maybe an Author can pick two genres and only those. If the tabs are extremely expanded to more than dozen, then maybe three categories max.

    Another idea with the above is to have a separate sub-listing on TWF (and even WFG proper) for other types of hosted content. A tab for RRL-only projects. A tab for Wattpad-only projects. That way you can get the benefit of the boosted traffic, but you can keep everything separate so the traditional authors listed here on WFG who 'follow the old rules' don't get swamped under the RRL fictions.

    I have stuff on here too! The Vorrgistadt Saga.
  6. Walter (Member)

    Posted 2 months ago

    Thank you for doing all this work. I think all of those reasons are legit and respectable reasons to reject works.

  7. Rhythm (Member)

    Posted 2 months ago

    I'm gonna avoid voicing my own opinion on the TWF subject. I have far too many of them, and they're probably counter to this whole conversation. I will say to Sovereign of Ashes, you asked what is being used to constitute an "Abandoned" story. The benchmark we've been using is that a story will be considered abandoned if it has not been updated in more than a month at time of reading, unless the update schedule has been shown to be longer than a month between updates as standard. For example, Advent is a story that, to my knowledge, runs once a year, during advent. So it was allowed in even though it hadn't updated in over a month, because it was still sticking to it's self proscribed update schedule. But for stories that claim to update twice a week or the like, they get flagged as probably abandoned if they haven't been updated in the last month.

  8. Dary (Member)

    Posted 2 months ago

    The update/abandoned thing can be a bit awkward when you treat your serial like a TV show and update weekly during "on-season", but have extended breaks between. Saying that, I realise I'm an outlier in all this - equally so since I don't use the blog/rss foundation for updates - so I'll just go with the flow and be thankful I even have a listing in the first place XD

  9. smatthews65 (Member)

    Posted 2 months ago

    I’m sure there’s several new writers out there, myself included, that are still incorporating writing into their regular lives, so a steady schedule isn’t always plausible. That being said, I think the reasons set forth make perfect sense. After all, the website is ‘webfictionguide’...a guide for web-based fiction. It should be implied that the stories are quality, well-maintained, appropriately structured works...otherwise, there would be no point in listing them in this sort of format :)

    Keep doing what you do!

    Mists of Kel Doran Online Novel
    http://www.mistsofkeldoran.com/novel
  10. Chris Poirier (Moderator)

    Posted 2 months ago

    The vast majority of stuff I have rejected for being abandoned was barely started when submitted and then not again after. There was no grey area.

    I don't mind listing things that run for a while and then stop. That's part of the deal. But I'm not wasting time and audience attention on things that will only continue if they get an audience, because that won't happen...

  11. Kraken Attacken (Member)

    Posted 2 months ago

    Well thank you very much for this thread. Had a few misconceptions about what the selection process might entail, but what it actually entails seems extremely fair to me.

    Can't think of anything to add aside from what the others have already stated.

    EDIT: There is one thing I'd say in terms of TWF. I personally see no reason to break the link. Implement some of the suggestions that were mentioned, perhaps, but the site serves the purpose of showing what's trending and popular, which IMHO is important.

    Author of: The Ascendant Age - Currently Ongoing
    https://ascendentage.wordpress.com
  12. Rhodeworks (Member)

    Posted 2 months ago

    Good thread.

    The stuff Sovereign says about 'double banking' is precisely the reasoning I assumed was behind sites like FictionPress not being acceptable. My other thought was that it was to prevent established fanbases from hopping over and disrupting the whole rating ecosystem by dogpiling certain fictions (although, if we're honest, that already happens and that particular horse bolted ages ago.)

    I think it'd be a good thing to expand the categories on TWF's sub-listings. Like it or not, LitRPG/Xianxia/Isekai are all fairly big with their own set of genre conventions, tropes and, yes, fanbases. But I think the last thing anyone wants is the prospect of TWF's rankings becoming, essentially, a mirror of the rankings of any other site. Especially when RRL, as an example, has their own variety of rankings and listings, both weekly and overall.

    The other idea that might be useful is another thing Sovereign said, a tag for fictions that are hosted on big sites.

    The other alternative is going hard on carving a niche for WFG that more properly delineates what can be hosted here.

  13. mooderino (Member)

    Posted 2 months ago

    The thing is, the only reason I'm aware of WFG is because I had to apply here to get on TWF. Most readers who vote on TWF, because a writer they like asked them to, aren't even aware WFG exists. There isn't any sort of link between the two. A simple button next to a fic in the charts taking you to its review page on WFG would do a lot. But then, if you do go to WFG to find out what people think about a story, they layout and general identity of the site is quite off-putting. It's very dated and lacks even a logo to help stick it in people's memories. The reviews have a random feel to them, the profile pic is often the place holder (I'm not sure I care who is reviewing, I'd rather see a book cover or image that tells me the kind of story it is), and I usually can't tell which is the story title and which is the review title.

    If you did separate TWF and WFG in the submission process, I suspect WFG would not get very many submissions at all, and the site would only get smaller and receive less traffic.

  14. Chris Poirier (Moderator)

    Posted 2 months ago

    Re TWF links to WFG: try clicking the "info" link on any of the TWF entries. ;)

    As for the layout of WFG, yep, it's ugly and dated. Unfortunately, the many times I set out to redo it, I couldn't come up with anything better. And, at this point, I'm kind of burned out on trying. :(

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