How to promote your web serial or web fiction


  1. sinjinstories (Member)

    Posted 1 year ago

    Wow, thanks for the information. It's great to hear that you've been successful outside the popular genres there. I'll definitely be giving RRL a second look -- like you said, stories there really do get visibility.

    Writing a superhero murder mystery:
  2. revfitz (Member)

    Posted 1 year ago

    Reddit can be a great source of traffic, but you have to work hard in making sure that the post (or story) has great value for it to do well. If you are going to write on one of the story subreddits, don't get discouraged and be prepared to post a few stories, iterating as you go to meet that audiences needs, before you get any kind of results. Good luck!

    I am actually looking for someone but have had no luck lol! I'll eventually tackle Wattpad...

    Existential Terror and Breakfast--A serial with cereal.
    Updates Wednesdays at:
  3. ForestRage (Member)

    Posted 1 year ago

    This post and feedback is great information for new Writers. I am a new Web Novelist and half of these things I had to learn on my own. Great source of knowledge for budding writers.

    One thing I would like is a forum or post that brings together a lot of online writers who are willing to cross-post with those who have their own blogs or websites. As was mentioned you don't have to buzz around the most successful writers but even a Writer who has fifty readers might have one Reader who might be willing to follow your work. I have been searching for a post like that for sometime.

    Thanks for this useful information everyone!

    Scribe of The Red Lands web novel
  4. mathtans (Member)

    Posted 1 year ago

    Okay, let's talk Twitter. (What makes me an authority? I've been on it since 2012 and have 1,200+ followers, which admittedly is a mix of teachers, artists and other non-writers.)

    The main thing with this aspect of social media is being SOCIAL. People won't follow you for what you do, but rather who you are/why you do it. Don't keep the default as your avatar (you'll be considered a bot), don't use auto responders (Direct Messaging people about checking out your stories when they follow is a sure way to be unfollowed), and don't over-promote yourself. Stick to a 10:1 ratio at best, meaning for every 10 non-promotional tweets you send, allow yourself a promo. Related, don't string all your promo tweets back to back. What are the other things you're tweeting then? Simple, RT (ReTweets) of the work of others, responding to questions (see chats, below), or just humanizing yourself by talking about the chapter you're working on or your writing struggles.

    That said, it's easy to get buried, so on an update day you'll probably want to send out (at minimum) a tweet for the morning crowd and then another for the evening (also: time zones). Another trick is how Twitter "threads" tweets, meaning if anyone responds to your tweet (say 3 hours later), your original tweet will show up as recent along with the response. Even if the person responding is you, yourself. So you can go to your earlier tweet, reply, and now both tweets will be there. (See "don't string promos together", it's good if your followup is something like "did I mention werewolves return in this part?" rather than repeating verbatim). Another way to avoid getting buried is to have an image, either in your tweet, or on the page you're linking to (I use commissioned art) because it'll appear in the feed, increasing engagement. Wordpress actually has an auto-tweet option so that when your post goes live, it tweets out the link with an image.

    The best way to grab visibility is for others to ReTweet you. You can make a tweet "sticky" on the top of your profile, and if people follow you they may send that out, particularly if they see it's already been RTed a few times. (You'll want to update that on occasion. Also, tweets with links are more likely to be RTed.) Also @ others who you think might be interested in reading, they may RT. @SerFicDigest is pretty good about RTing anything you throw their way, in fact they've even started putting out "serial of the week" notices on their blog, and I'm pretty sure they get their names from Twitter.

    The other thing you can do is join in chats. There used to be a #WebFictionChat a couple years back run by ChrysKelly, where once per month we'd look at someone's serial. It kind of dissolved. There's a ton of other Writing Related chats though, often scheduled at certain times; feel free to join in (even after the fact), answer questions and engage with the community. (Many in there are writers, not necessarily readers, but if they RT it goes to their readers too.) There's also generic hashtags like "#amwriting" you can use any time; hashtags are searchable by anyone. I don't have a list, sorry.

    If you really get into it, to manage the people you follow, you'll probably want to use Lists. This allows you to view only the tweets from a select group(s), rather than a mishmash of everyone. I fall on the chaotic side here though, and don't use them, so YMMV. I do use a curator (Hootsuite) for keeping up with chats, as they go pretty fast. If you really DON'T get into it, it's still a place you can send out update information (automatically through WP) for readers you already have who use the site (just don't expect to be found by new people). Any questions, I'm @mathtans there.

    As for Wattpad - I've heard it's good if you write romance. I've posted there and had no views years ago; I then got back into it a couple years later and had someone else link to me. It didn't help much (I'm very sci-fi/fantasy). The "completed" tag might help, and you can set it yourself (versus RRL), that got me a comment.

    A note on Tumblr - Only the first five tags you set on your post/story actually appear in searches. So rank them in order of what you think people are searching for. (Other tags are good for organization or if people already know about them.)

    A final caveat - After over 3 years of 250+ regularly scheduled posts to my serial site, so far the first third of the month of May 2018 has snared me less than 20 page views. Total. So I know beans about actual successful marketing, half of what I've said has been word of mouth from others.

    Thanks for putting this together, revfitz/unice!

    Writing a Time Travel serial:
    Writer of the personification of math serial:
  5. unice5656 (Moderator)

    Posted 1 year ago

    I should probably also add a caveat in that Fantasia was the 98th fiction ever published to RRL and I really didn't have a lot of competition when I got started. I've basically been riding the visibility that comes with being on the front page of the Best Rated list ever since. I've enjoyed much more modest success on FictionPress (about 110 followers) and have given up on several other sites, including WattPad.

    If I ever finish Fantasia and start another webfiction, I might try posting it under a different username so I can experience what it's like to compete for views with a couple thousand other stories.

  6. Rhodeworks (Member)

    Posted 1 year ago

    I've found self-promotion kind of pointless. It takes a lot of time that I can, and should, spend writing. I think Wildbow said something like 'Just write, be consistent and people will come.' And honestly, that's precisely what I've noticed. Since starting, I've had a slow but steady increase in views and viewers (mostly on the Wordpress but even on RRL my followers and rating ticks slowly upward [very slowly]). That's not to say, of course, that there aren't circumstances that have probably helped WB or me or anyone else who gets bigger than others, for example. No one is an entirely self-made man or woman.

    The self-promotion I've done is just posting my updates to a few forums where I have followers, but I'll probably stop that in the near future. On RRL, I keep an eye out for people who enjoy 'TradLit' and send them the link to my story. I've picked up a few followers and good ratings from that. I posted to the writing subreddit a few times but got very little uptake. Meanwhile, someone posted a link to NAH in a web serial recommendation thread and that led to some very big days.

    I just don't think people like, trust or enjoy self-promotion. Especially when you're untested, with untested being lacking a complete serial. I know I have prospective readers who are actually waiting for NAH to complete before starting it.

    @unice5656, I've done something similar on some other sites/hobbies in my time and it's always been an eye-opening experience.

  7. Walter (Member)

    Posted 1 year ago

    Thank you for writing this. I really appreciate the advice.

  8. nippoten (Member)

    Posted 1 year ago

    Don't be afraid to get artsy with your self-promo as well.

  9. revfitz (Member)

    Posted 1 year ago

    I'm glad that you have found it useful! It was frustrating for me starting out that most of the advice and information that was out there was basically just "Facebook? Try that!" It is important to me that the community does well :)

    Thank you for the info! This is super helpful, would you mind if I quoted you on my site? I would, of course, leave a link leading back to your page.

    Yeah, self-promotion is garbage. People find it annoying or react to it with apathy. Outreach works because it circumvents the whole "hey look at me!" narcissism that people associate with self-promotion. I'm glad that you are seeing some traction, cross-posting never seemed worth it to me, let me know if you get further momentum.

    No problem, I hope it helps :)

    Do you have examples of how you do it? I have made some of my horoscopes into graphic pins on Pinterest ( that lead directly to my signup carrot.

    I am breaking the post into some more bite-sized and better-formated articles and reposting it on my site, I'll update here as they come. The first is on outreach: They will go up once a week.

    I am genuinely not happy with my ability to organize the information that we posted here. Unice5656's original contribution was beautifully organized and formatted and I had to butcher it to post it here. Hopefully the ones on my site will be more aesthetically pleasing :)

    Existential Terror and Breakfast--A serial with cereal.
    Updates Wednesdays at:
  10. mathtans (Member)

    Posted 1 year ago

    @revfitz : Sure, quote away! Glad to be of help somehow.

    @Rhodeworks : The "Just write and be consistent" thing doesn't necessarily pan out. Granted, I shuffle between universes every 10 months or so in my serials, but after 3+ years and over 250+ posts, never missing an update, with some completed works out there, I'm still getting zero view days and am on track this May for the worst month since 2015. Unless you count spam, 17 spam comments this week might be a record. Just saying, for anyone else who feels like it's only you who sees no dividends.

    Writing a Time Travel serial:
    Writer of the personification of math serial:
  11. Kraken Attacken (Member)

    Posted 1 year ago

    @revfitz @unice5656
    Thanks allot for the post, and thanks to everyone else for their insights! Wish I had something constructinve to add to all of this, but oh well.

    Had been thinking of using both Pinterest and Reddit for a while now, so the info here should come in handy.

    Writing Fantasy: Welcome to Transcendence - Ongoing
    And Sci-fi:The Ascendant Age - Hiatus
  12. nippoten (Member)

    Posted 1 year ago

    @revfitz I have some teaser pics and teaser trailers on the site, made before the serial went live.

  13. Dary (Member)

    Posted 1 year ago

    I've been wanting to do some artwork for promotional purposes, it's just so time consuming!

  14. revfitz (Member)

    Posted 1 year ago

    Thanks! :) See the link at the bottom for where I have quoted you (also left a link to your site there).

    @Kraken Attacken:
    Of course, and no worries. I hope that it helps you in your journey. Pinterest and Reddit have been my primary fronts on social media, with patience and if done right they can be very powerful!

    Trailers are something that I have fantasized about but have never actually seriously considered. How well did it treat you? What sort of strategy did you in spreading it?

    I definitely hear that. Do you have any artist friends who might be willing to do some for you?

    The "Social Media" section of the guide is now up on my site :D

    Existential Terror and Breakfast--A serial with cereal.
    Updates Wednesdays at:
  15. Dary (Member)

    Posted 1 year ago

    I know a couple of artists, but they're not character illustrators. I have an idea of what I want (I threw some rough concepts together when thinking about ebook covers - though I never got around to giving them unique backgrounds), but I wouldn't ask anyone to do something like that for free. Well, besides myself, obviously XD

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