Royal Road: to accept or not to accept


  1. Fiona Gregory (Moderator)

    Posted 2 years ago

    Given Naeddyr, mooderino, and unice5656's input, I've changed my mind on this and I see that WFG could play a useful role in guiding readers toward the best, most committed stories from the large fiction sites, which don't themselves have very good mechanisms for this.

    It's true that the large sites are where at lot of the action is today in web fiction. Authors who want an audience can't afford to ignore them. On the other hand, they tend to attract a lot of similar, pop culture genre of works and so run the risk of drowning out the more idiosyncratic voices.

    Would it be fair to accept submissions from the large sites with a minimum of 10 (or more?) chapters, but keep a shorter requirement for independent sites? 10 chapters is a long time for a go-it-aloner to toil alone in relative isolation. I think this could be justified on the basis that preparing your own site is already evidence of commitment to the story and takes more time and forethought than posting to a pre-made site. That said, the length requirement for independant submissions could probably be raised a bit too.

  2. Naeddyr (Member)

    Posted 2 years ago

    Given Naeddyr, mooderino, and unice5656's input, I've changed my mind on this and I see that WFG could play a useful role in guiding readers toward the best, most committed stories from the large fiction sites, which don't themselves have very good mechanisms for this.

    I've read a few things on RRL that I've liked, but the reviews, oy. Their system suffers from fans gaming it: there's a "is this review useful" system (like here, and other places), with upvotes and downvotes, and any negative reviews basically get chucked down the memory hole.

    It's a hard problem difficult to fix. One thing would be to remove downvoting, which compounds the issue. Another thing could be to have two tracks, like they have on Steam, one for positive reviews and another for negative reviews, and display the highest-rated from both, then keep them in check with moderation by removing false reviews or jokey ones.

  3. leoduhvinci (Member)

    Posted 2 years ago

    What about stories from personal SubReddits? It's basically like a wordpress and doesn't get exposure from the main side of reddit, it's like an island on its own. Was hoping to put a story I have on there up here, but not sure if that's allowed.

    Example:, story would be Star Child

    View more from author Leonard Petracci,including fantasy and fiction stories, at
  4. Chrysalis (Member)

    Posted 2 years ago

    @Fiona A 10 chapter requirement (especially without word count) wouldn't curb the flood of submissions enough, I don't think. :( We need to keep Chris' limited time in mind.

    I wouldn't mind making exceptions for the 'best' stories, but who decides which ones are 'best'? And who has time to read them all to find the 'best' ones? Reviews aren't always a good indicator due to the aforementioned fan crowds.

    Anathema, a web serial about the effect superpowers would have on our world.
  5. unice5656 (Moderator)

    Posted 2 years ago

    Like I said, it should probably be a combination of number of chapters (e.g. 10), minimum word count (e.g. 20k), and duration of posting (e.g. 2-4 weeks). With the large websites, there are so many stories started on a whim that burn out before that. I agree that taking the time to set up your own website in itself indicates high commitment, so I think it would be fair to have lower requirements for independent websites.

  6. Naeddyr (Member)

    Posted 2 years ago

    Setting up a wordpress blog is pretty trivial compared to writing even just one chapter. You register, ask for a blog, pick a theme and set up a few small things and that's it.

  7. MaddiroseX (Member)

    Posted 2 years ago

    (For what it's worth, I too have all but disengaged with the community as Tintenteufel and speciousific mentioned, but since it took a week for me to say it I imagine that is obvious)

    There are 11,946 works listed on RRL right now. There are 877 works on WFG (843 if you remove the RRL works on WFG).

    Let's take Unice's estimates and say 50% of all RRL works are abandoned, and 80% of them wouldn't meet new chapter/wordcount/duration limits. That still leaves Chris in a position where there are a potential eleven RRL works for every WFG work, and it doesn't address his problem of feeling like WFG is becoming an RRL index.

    I hope he will correct me if I'm wrong, but I've always had the impression that reader discovery is Chris' highest priority for this site, with quality rating and ranking a close second. I don't think his issue right now is a problem of barriers to entry, it seems like it's a problem with giving works with pre-existing audiences more weight than works without.

    RRL works have built-in discovery from the RRL community, while independents often have WFG as their only source of discoverability. Thus, on average, an RRL work will always be more discoverable and weighted better, and that skews both of Chris' highest priorities (with the added bonus of bogging down his time commitment to a site which he maintains outside of his work hours).

    Spurs & Seraphim (ongoing) | Beta Key (complete) | Twisted Cogs (complete) | Orbital Academy (complete)
  8. Alexander.Hollins (Member)

    Posted 2 years ago

    well said Maddi, that... seems like a perfect sum up.

  9. Fiona Gregory (Moderator)

    Posted 2 years ago

    Ha, I may need mathtan's help....How did you get eleven, Maddi? I get
    11946 * 20% = 2389 potential RRL applicants/843 current non-RRL works on WFG = 2.8

    Which still supports your very valid point, especially adding in other large sites which exist now and may crop up in the future. Those numbers are pretty overwhelming.

    On the other hand, not all of these will make submissions to be listed on WFG. That's also a self-selection mechanism.

  10. Dary (Member)

    Posted 2 years ago

    Even if it was 1/1, there could still be an issue with serials from such sites getting comparatively more ratings/reviews from their pre-established readers, giving them a distinct advantage when it comes to visibility.

  11. mooderino (Member)

    Posted 2 years ago

    @Maddirosex I'm not sure how much reader discovery is a priority. Chris recently made an exception from the fictionpress ban to list Mother of Learning, one of the most popular and well-known webnovels on the internet, currently riding high on TWF. Clearly not in need of a push, but if you were looking for good webfiction to read, a definite recommendation to consider.

    I'm also a bit miffed by the use of the whole of RRL catalogue as potential applicants which feels like unnecessary scaremongering. If Chris is having an issue that's certainly something he should look at, but the whole Oh no the immigrants are taking our jobs approach is a bit much. 34 out of 877 is hardly out of control. The increase in applicants isn't, I would suggest, of the order you lot are suggesting, even when couched in indefinite terms like 'potentially'. The level of serious writers on RRL is very low, trust me. I'm actually familiar with the place not just a rattled observer from afar.

    And in case you're thinking this is me being self serving, I do post stories on RRL but it isn't my main site so it wouldn't affect me if Chris did decide to ban RRL. But the hyperbole some of you are using to justify your point is ridiculous.

  12. MaddiroseX (Member)

    Posted 2 years ago

    @Fiona: I use a very advanced strategy called "making stupid math mistakes before I've had my coffee" to take 843/(11946 * 80%). I took I wish I could help you with this strategy, but I'm afraid it's a skill you're born with, not learned.

    @mooderino: I apologize, I understand that my post did characterize things in a very "us-vs-them" light and as you pointed out came off more hyperbolic than I intended. The reason I compare the two complete catalogs is that I don't think it's obvious on the surface what a vast difference in size there is between WFG and RRL. On average, whatever numbers you might look at, there is a huge disparity in pools of readership, which (as the system is currently designed) leads to a huge disparity in everything, from discoverability to reviews to ratings to TWF placings.

    I don't want to come off as implying that RRL authors are worse writers or contributors. I have met and interacted with several of them, and I actually quite look up to quite a few. They absolutely deserve the readership they have gained through their hard work.

    My personal concern is simple: in the current system, all else being equal, a WFG serial will have more reviews, ratings and discoverability if it comes from RRL than if it doesn't.

    Spurs & Seraphim (ongoing) | Beta Key (complete) | Twisted Cogs (complete) | Orbital Academy (complete)
  13. unice5656 (Moderator)

    Posted 2 years ago

    For the record, 50% is the proportion abandoned before 4 chapters are done and 80% is the proportion abandoned before 10 chapters are done. The actual proportion of abandoned fictions is even higher than that. I don't even know the miniscule proportion of fictions that keep going for more than a year, let alone the 4 years that RRL has been hosting stories. You can tell how recently a fiction has been published on RRL by its assigned fiction number. Are any of the ones in the submission queue less than five digits? They must all be around 13000 by now, when they were assigned starting from 1 at the beginning. Combine that with the already-small proportion of RRL authors who submit to WFG, and those calculations look like the kind of misleading math that politicians use.

    I'm not trying to promote any particular site; the stats that I used are simply ones I am familiar with. My line of thinking is that if you have to make exceptions to a rule, such as allowing a FictionPress story into the listing, the rule should probably be revised. With the moderated submission process, WFG is both advantaged and disadvantaged by the small number of listings it can process. If you become known for high-quality listings, you will get more readers browsing this site for new things to read; even if fictions from bigger sites have comparatively higher visibility, more readers browsing the site will benefit every listing. People always worry about their slice of the pie, and forget that when it comes to business, you can always just make the pie bigger.

    The numbers I suggested for minimum requirements are of course somewhat arbitrary. It is always possible to make them draconian enough to keep the submission queue small enough to be manageable. For instance, I'm sure that if you set it to 20 chapters, 50k words, and 6 months posting, the RRL submissions you're currently inundated with would nearly all be summarily rejected. It's actually the "minimum duration" that will probably end up being the harshest requirement, as I've seen incredibly high daily output from some writers, followed by burnout and dropping the story.

    @Naeddyr: Setting up a Wordpress site is not difficult, but it is less trivial than publishing a story on a pre-established hosting site. The point of the requirements (other than cutting things down to a manageable level) is to establish the intent, determination, and perseverance of the writer to keep writing. I am of the opinion that people who start their own site, even if it's with a Wordpress template, are more likely to be seriously writing. Of course, if this turns out not to be true, you could hold them to the same submission requirements as stories hosted by big sites, but as someone pointed out before, that is an awfully long time to be writing into a void.

  14. ubersoft (Member)

    Posted 2 years ago

    unice, I say this as someone who spends a great deal of time maintaining and running his own site:

    I don't think self-hosting should ever be taken into consideration when determining whether or not a writer is "serious."

    Yes, there's a fair chance that someone who spends the money to get hosting, spends the time to learn the skills to operate the CMS (Drupal, in my case, which is about eight billion percent more difficult to use than WordPress) and spends the time cultivating/pruning that site, all in the name of publishing their own fiction, may be considered "very serious" about doing that. But all of that stuff is also 100% secondary to the actual purpose, which is "writing stories for people to read." I don't think expecting a writer to develop site admin skills in order to prove they're serious about writing is a reasonable stance to take.

    (In fact, there are days that maintaining and developing my site actually detracts from time spent writing. I remember when I had to figure out how to buy certificates and make my site 100% SSL compliant because I realized it was vulnerable to man in the middle attacks--thanks a lot, Blacksheep--and even though people weren't storing financial information on accounts they made on my site, I still had a responsibility to protect them from that kind of mischief as much as I was able.)

    Curveball (Updating)
    A Rake by Starlight (Updating)
  15. Blaise Corvin (Member)

    Posted 2 years ago

    I'm going to echo the sentiment that Maddi hit the nail on the head.

    Of course, ultimately, the issue comes down to Chris' time and it is Chris' decision either way.

    Visit my site, I have punch and pie.
    I also have two stories: Delvers LLC and The Crimson Artifice. :)

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