Six Months Daily on RRL

3 months ago | mathtans (Member)

I was compiling this data, and thought others out there might find it interesting, or useful as a benchmark, or entertaining, what have you. To be clear, my time travel story is not normal fare for RRL (it’s not RPG or anime related), and I didn't engage much in forums, though I respond to every direct comment. For those who don't know the system, RRL allows overall rankings (max 5 stars), review+ranking, and full ranked reviews in categories (for character, plot, etc).

Began posting on February 23rd with Part 1a. At the end of the month (6 days later), February 28th, I was ranked #8430 with no followers or ratings.
-March 2nd: First rating (5 stars) which ranked me #4250.
-March 3rd: First full review (all categories) by someone with “free time on their hands”, which put my average at 4.75 and ranked me #2688.
-March 26th: Over a month in. Third rating, which overall ranked me #2213. Average Rating 4.83.

-April 1st: Guest post (Apr Fool) at Fantasia, at a time when I had 7 followers. Also applied to “Order of Phantasmal Architects” (went nowhere).
-April 6th: Having briefly peaked at 12 followers, dropped back to 10. A poll on Part 23b managed 3 votes (one came via Fantasia).
-April 16th: Into T&T Book 2. Still only 3 ratings, rank down to #2275. Only one person commenting semi-regularly. I had never posted much in the forums, soon stopped monitoring altogether.
-April 25th: Two months of daily posts. Rank #2328, with no new ratings or favourites for April.

-May 1st: An existing rating was revised higher, jumped to #1942.
-May 2nd: A second full review, jumped to #1230.
-May 15th: Fifth rating, jumped to #1155.
-May 31st: Into T&T Book 3, halfway (three months) produces A SECOND favourite, now 17 followers. Average Rating 4.9.

-June 9th: A THIRD and FOURTH favourite, rank having slid down to #1208.
-June 14th: Sixth rating, jumped to #1004.
-June 19th: Third full review, jumped to #611.
-June 20th: Eighth rating + review, plus a message, jumped to #511 at four months in. Average Rating 5. It’s downhill from here.

-July 8th: Existing rating revised back down, slid to #676.
-July 16th: Into T&T Book 4. Ninth rating, boosted back up to #599.
-July 31st: A FIFTH favourite, now at 25 followers. Five months in, I’d started automating posts by this point. Average Rating 4.94.
-Aug 8th: Tenth rating, rank back to #605. Average Rating 4.9.

-NOW, Aug 24th, Six Month Mark (183 posts):
Cannot seem to maintain 30 followers, keeps sliding to 29. Rank #624. Only 1 comment in the last 30+ posts/days, on an early entry; nothing about Book 4. The post from Aug 1st has 36 views. Most recent poll (July 12) has only 1 vote. Twelve days worth of posts remain. Sorely tempted to stop, just to see if anyone truly is reading.

CONCLUSIONS:
Ratings/Rankings do seem to spawn more of the same, it happened three times that two consecutive days saw feedback in that way. By the same token, if nothing is happening, nothing will continue happening (aside from a slow march down the rankings). June seems to be a good month, for whatever reason (some high schools end?). I wouldn't draw any data regarding the guest post, because I never seem to have luck with those, and I'm the common denominator there. In fact, the "Mathtans Paradox"* may be in full effect for the entirety of this. I did get a couple new critical comments going forwards, though I think my next plan is to go full webcomic and take a whack at Tapas. As per usual, feels like there's nowhere to go but up.

*: Term coined by grishnax on Discord for a writer who produces decent, consistent content, but for whatever reason (genre, poor narrative style, horrible marketing) fails to gain an audience. The term amused me. ^^

Writing a Time Travel serial: http://mathtans.wordpress.com
Writer of the personification of math serial: http://www.mathtans.ca

Read responses...

Responses

  1. revfitz (Member)

    Posted 2 months ago

    Great holy ineffable magnet! This is super helpful.

    I have been thinking about Royal Road myself. These numbers (and your complete transparency) is a thing to behold. Thank you!

    I know you will probably disagree, but that is some good traction you have made in a really short amount of time. I know it is probably not the kind that you WANTED, but I see some very positive things in the five months you have been doing this. Especially your ratings. This is especially impressive considering that Royal Road may not be where your audience is, it seems as if you have done well despite of that handicap.

    I honesty doubt that genre or poor narrative have contributed to the paradox in this case. If you did not do as well as you hoped it is very likely because Royal Road seems to have a very specific kind of reader.

    Existential Terror and Breakfast--A serial with cereal.
    Updates Wednesdays at: revfitz.com
  2. leoduhvinci (Member)

    Posted 2 months ago

    In my opinion, RRL is a powerful platform for those genres that fall within its core userbase. However, I found little success there compared to other sites for books different from the norm.

    Feedback typically drove towards these genres as well, which made it difficult to gauge my writing. What people loved on other sites users on RRL hated, and vice versa.

    For those who fit within their fanbase, I think it's an awesome place to be. However, I couldn't quite generate the engagement levels there that I found on other sites.

    Can you link to your stories? That would help interpret the data as well.

  3. mathtans (Member)

    Posted 2 months ago

    @revfitz: Yay, glad it's of use! I actually have zero sense of how this stacks up against, well, anything really. I purposefully didn't compare myself to other stories, assuming I even knew how to. I don't think the fact that I posted daily necessarily helped (though I guess it kept me on the "most recent updated" list?) though I did get one random comment to the effect of "hey, I haven't read your story but props on you for daily postings this long, maybe have an anime girl for a cover to increase readership". So that was, um, feedback. Pretty sure doing well is a matter of being regular, and getting one person's rank to snowball into more.

    Regarding the traction, I didn't expect my story to hit triple digits (or at least not until Book 4), so June was a pleasant surprise. I even had one of those people who posted "thanks for the chapter" every so often, they're precious, cherish them. The frustration I feel is largely that I can't seem to pull people along for the long haul. Total silence for the climactic events in the final 40 days, despite asides below chapters. Even now, I hesitate to put up a final character vote, for fear that I'll get NO response, which isn't where I wanted to be after six months. (I guess what I'm saying is, I should have quit in July! :) ) I was consistently 4 stars or better though, so okay, that's something.

    I'll dispute you on the paradox randomness though - the genre wasn't the usual fare for the website, I've had some comments on the narrative - one reinforcing what Tartra said in her review plus another couple pointing out my habit of referring to people by hair colour whenever I want a substitute for a name (whoops), and also I'm abysmal at self-promotion. Bad combination all around.

    @leoduhvinci: Yeah, I figured I had nothing to lose, my protagonists being in high school. It also let me edit, including clean up the end of Book 3, and I think I like the revised version better. Good point about the link: http://royalroadl.com/fiction/10662 (click "Statistics" for a breakdown in the here-and-now).

    Writing a Time Travel serial: http://mathtans.wordpress.com
    Writer of the personification of math serial: http://www.mathtans.ca
  4. unice5656 (Member)

    Posted 2 months ago

    If your dignity can handle it, begging obnoxiously for comments in author's notes does work to a certain extent. Also, if it comforts you, the majority of people read without logging in and are therefore unable to leave comments.

    Rather than specifically being a genre issue, I think it's simply that RRL readers respond to specific elements that give them instant gratification, which has overlap with certain genres. They want action, humour, and an underdog-style main character, and they want it in the first chapter. It's like trying to make someone who only listens to pop music appreciate a really complex classical piece.

  5. leoduhvinci (Member)

    Posted 2 months ago

    Agreed with you Unice! Nothing better about either of the styles, just different audiences.

  6. mathtans (Member)

    Posted 2 months ago

    Update: After a couple non-daily story updates I put in an aside saying if someone actually wants this to continue could they please just comment, I'm having an existential crisis about all the silence. No one's said anything. Whelp, so much for that. I've now launched my math webcomic on Tapas, we'll see who sticks around for that.

    Writing a Time Travel serial: http://mathtans.wordpress.com
    Writer of the personification of math serial: http://www.mathtans.ca
  7. unice5656 (Member)

    Posted 2 months ago

    :( Sorry to hear that.

  8. revfitz (Member)

    Posted 2 months ago

    Please don't be perturbed by that. Your writing is good, keep on trucking.

    Existential Terror and Breakfast--A serial with cereal.
    Updates Wednesdays at: revfitz.com
  9. Blaise Corvin (Member)

    Posted 2 months ago

    I left RRL. It was a great place to find some great readers, but those readers have transitioned with me.

    I think RRL is a fantastic resource for new writers or writers who are new to web serials. After a certain point, one seems to get diminishing returns.

    Visit my site, http://www.blaise-corvin.com. I have punch and pie.
    I also have two stories: Delvers LLC and The Crimson Artifice. :)
  10. mathtans (Member)

    Posted 2 months ago

    @Unice, RevFitz: Thanks for your interest/encouragement... I think part of the trouble is I don't know how to "beg for comments" without sounding like a rambling passive-aggressive on the verge of a mental breakdown. Which is the sort of thing people would be more likely to edge away from. (Well, and I know my self-depreciation probably doesn't help much either.)

    @Blaise: I think it must depend on the type of story... I didn't gain any more readers on RRL than I did on my personal site. Meaning, I think I had about a half dozen readers who saw T&T through to the end on my site, and RRL got me a different half dozen readers. I got four reviews here on WFG and four reviews on RRL. Now, the feedback was different, which was useful, also to be expected given a different audience of sorts. But finding readers? ... As I say, I think genre's a factor. Though maybe one could make an argument for timelines, the story stretched for over 2 years on my site versus 6 months on RRL (really 5, the last month was a wasteland) to about the same effect.

    Writing a Time Travel serial: http://mathtans.wordpress.com
    Writer of the personification of math serial: http://www.mathtans.ca
  11. Blaise Corvin (Member)

    Posted 2 months ago

    @mathans There are fewer ways to get new readers on the site now than in the past, too. You could have just been a victim of timing. I got a lot of new readers by top reviews.

    In the past, the top 5 most upvoted reviews of the week used to be on the RRL front page. This created some dogpile scenarios where terrible fictions were trolled, but it was also a way for new writers to get front page exposure. I took advantage of that, urging my readers to upvote reviews they liked.

    Nowadays, even more so than the past, the best way to achieve popularity is to attain popularity. There are a number of stories on RRL that are in the top rated list or have lots of follows/views that would have never even reached like 100 follows if they launched now as opposed to the first few months RRL existed.

    For example, some writers with really popular, first wave RRL stories have tried writing a new fiction and nobody followed it, even with their existing platform to promote their new work.

    Sometimes timing matters a lot.

    Any successful writer who doesn't admit that luck had some part of their success is either a liar or a fool.

    Visit my site, http://www.blaise-corvin.com. I have punch and pie.
    I also have two stories: Delvers LLC and The Crimson Artifice. :)

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