How to promote your web serial or web fiction

--THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO PROMOTING WEBFICTION--


Okay, this is going to be a HUGE post, but I wanted to be as thorough as I could. Below is the total sum of my experiences promoting my serial (as well as ten years promoting other types of creative works on the internet). I want to make sure that the community has the best tools that it can get to better spread and build the web fiction reader base.


Unice5656 of Fantasia (link: http://royalroadl.com/fiction/98/fantasia) helped coauthor this post and wrote the very awesome and thorough section on promoting on Royal Roads Legends. We touch on a lot of the same themes (like guest posting), but there are specifics to implementing these themes to your own platform and on one like Royal Road Legends.



Let's get started...


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GUIDE: Promoting your web fiction
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-by Revfitz

link: https://revfitz.com/existential-terror-breakfast/


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OUTREACH
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The best way to gain an audience is to go where they already gather. This will be a constant theme in this forum post. The main principal in outreach is this: you want to foster relationships with others in your niche (preferably those with a wider audience) and get your material on their platforms. This works best in the blogging community, but there are ways to do it effectively in web fiction.



Guest posting:

Keep an eye out on other people's sites for guest posting opportunities. Writing and updating consistently for a long time can be a strain, and every author could use a break from time to time. If no one is offering up a guest slot, approach them with an email and ask for one, but only do so after you have built some kind of rapport. I would not go to the heavy hitters right off the bat. If you just started posting yesterday it is very unlikely that say, Wildbow will take you seriously. Start with the smaller guys and work your way up.


It is also important that you keep niche and genre in mind when you guest post. Just because Wildbow gets a lot of hits does not mean that his audience is a good fit for you. If you write about sailors singing sea shanty rap battles, it is far better that you find someone with a tenth of Wildbow's audience that writes the same thing as you. Those readers are far more likely to stay.


The best part of guest-posts is that it gives you credibility to readers on that site. Instead of shouting self-promotion into the void you are on a site that they already trust and are vouched for just by being allowed by their favorite author to post there.


A guest-post can take many forms. It can be a non-canonical chapter in another author's story, it can be a short story in a common genre, or it can even be humorous and prank like. Once a year The Web Fiction Guide does an April Fool's Serial swap where authors write an April Fool's post for other author's serials. This is not just a good way to bring in new readers, it is also an opportunity to meet and collaborate with writers. That rapport that you want to build that I was speaking of earlier? This is a good way to do that.


Make sure you put a short blurb about your own work and a link to your serial at the end of EVERY guest-post that you do, or else this will all be for naught.



Allowing guest posts on your site:

If you are feeling the stress or life gets in the way, reach out to your fellow serial writers and offer them to guest post on your own site. It is very likely that they are going to tell their own audience that they have posted on your site and it is a good way to keep the material in front of your reader's eyes when you do not have anything to post yourself (hence keeping your promise to your readers and keeping momentum).


Outreach does not have to be directly related to web fiction either. Your readers have more than one interest. I will occasionally write nonfiction blog posts for philosophy blogs (http://philosophisenow.blogspot.com/2018/02/virtue-ethics-in-face-of-nihilism.htmls) and this too has helped me bring in some readers. Further, places like Cracked.com are constantly looking for writers to create articles for them. Just make sure that you write something that your ideal audience will be interested in. If you write a fantasy, a list article on Cracked about the history of D&D is a good start. But if you write a sci-fi there may be little crossover in an article about the history of cheese (unless it's a cheese-based sci-fi).



Forums:

Outreach with forums is simple but time-consuming: find the forums that your audience gathers on and be a part of that community. That last part is as important as the first. The last thing you want to do on a forum is self-promote and expect results. You have to give more than you take. Answer people's question, discuss your passions genuinely, and be there for a while before you start dropping links. Most forums will allow you some sort of tag (like this one) and you can put a link there to start.


No one likes the guy who steps into a forum, asks everyone to solve their problems, and then complains about something. HELP people, give them a reason to trust you and they will return the favor in kind.


If you are a lurker, and always have been, don't feel like you HAVE to join the discussion just for outreach. Forum posting is something that you should do only if you like doing it.


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SOCIAL MEDIA
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Reddit:

Reddit is a great place to generate traffic to your site, however, Reddit abhors self-promotion. Thus, there are few places that you can actually post to that will be aligned with your serial that has any weight or worth. There are places like https://www.reddit.com/r/shamelessplug/ that you can post to without worrying about backlash, but it is unlikely to get you any kind of momentum. Below is a few subreddits that you can post to and a few thoughts about how to post there successfully.


*r/writing: https://www.reddit.com/r/writing/


[Check In]

Keep in mind that though you can generate traffic from here that you will be doing so from other writers. Though writers are readers they may not be the best people for your audience as writers tend to care about things in the craft (tropes, story structure, prose) that readers don't.


*-r/nosleep: https://www.reddit.com/r/nosleep/


This is a horror story subreddit where "stories are true, even if they are not". It is also one of the most trafficked and popular fiction subreddits on Reddit. Getting the number one spot in this forum can mean THOUSANDS of views on your page, but it is only worth posting there if you genuinely enjoy writing in the horror genre and if it is aligned to your story. So if you scare easily and your serial is a superhero story I would not post here, It is VERY unlikely that you will retain the people who come to your site from there, and it is more likely that you will see a spike in traffic only to see it fall back off to where it was the previous day. If, however, your serial is a horror story or very dark in nature THIS IS YOUR PLACE!


Before you write on /nosleep you should know its specific rules. All stories are supposed to be told in the first person and by someone experiencing something creepy. You must also never comment "out of character" in your post and the link to your serial must be discrete. Stories must be at least 500 words long and at least 1000 words long if you plan on doing multiple parts. Further, if someone can look out their window to disprove your story it will get deleted. /nosleep enforces their rules with an iron fist. I would read the most popular stories for a week or so to get an idea and feel for what the audiences like and do not like before posting.



*r/cryosleep: https://www.reddit.com/r/cryosleep/



*r/shortscifistories: https://www.reddit.com/r/shortscifistories/


Stories must be science-fiction; this includes: hard SF, soft SF, 4-, cyberpunk, time travel, space opera, apocalyptic, post-apocalyptic, dystopian and others under the sci-fi umbrella. Stories must also be 1000 words or less. Links to your site must not be in the body of the post, however, but can be added as a comment.


*r/SexyShortStories (NSFW): https://www.reddit.com/r/SexyShortStories/


This is most aligned for erotica, and possibly good for certain romance stories. The community does not seem to be thriving, however.


*r/shortstories: https://www.reddit.com/r/shortstories/


A good place to post and cross-post your stuff from the other subreddits. Stories must be at least 1000 words, a link to your site is allowed in the post, and any genre is allowed (except for erotica).


*r/webfiction: https://www.reddit.com/r/webfiction/


As of right now, the community here is not very large and most people posting are writers (and not readers). This might change in the future but I have not seen more than a couple views trickle in from here.



DeviantArt:

DeviantArt took a giant hit once Instagram became popular. This is not to say that the social media page is not still thriving, but as 90% of its users are all artists starving for attention, it was only natural that most of them left to where their audience was gathering. With that said, the writing community is even smaller and EVEN MORE STARVING. It is, however, an INCREDIBLY passionate community. This is where you will find most of the poets online and short story writers. Make sure that whatever you post has a link to your site, but do not expect great results. I have tried to post "previews" of my chapters here with a link to the full thing at the end, and though I have attracted a couple of very vocal and active readers to my site, it was not worth my time to put in the energy to really build an audience there. I would not suggest using DeviantArt if you do not already have an account there, and I would not expect those who follow you to go off-site. With that said, if you are going to try it aim for a "Daily Deviation". This is a daily feature of artists that administrators hand pick and it is the most prized feature on the site. You can suggest your writing pieces to the following moderators:


https://doughboycafe.deviantart.com/


https://beccajs.deviantart.com/



Tumblr:



Facebook:

Facebook is "the must place" that most people advise that you go to if you want to be serious about promoting your work. The reality? Skip it if you hate it. Facebook is AWESOME if you can afford to advertise on it, but not so much for organic reach (more on advertising there later). No one likes self-promotion, not even your friends, and if you post your stuff on your normal profile you are going to get a very apathetic return. Instead, you can create a page and gather followers, but Facebook will only put your posts in front of a very small percentage of your followers unless you pay them to "boost it", which means that you have to have a ridiculously high number of followers to see any kind of organic return. Joining groups and trying outreach there might be your best bet, but the groups for serials are small. Only put the time and energy into Facebook if it is intuitive to you and if you LOVE it. Otherwise: pass.



Twitter:
:)


Pinterest:

Pinterest is possibly the best place to post if you have an outreach strategy. The half-life of pins is much greater than that of anything else in social media, and it is one of the few places that doubles as a search engine. Pinterest, however, is a long game. If you are going to use it for your web fiction you have to be creating useful and beautiful pins that solve your audiences' problems. A great and free resource on how to do exactly that can be found here: http://selfpublishingformula.com/pinterest


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ADVERTISING
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First, you should only be advertising if you have a product (like a paid for eBook) that you can sell for an ROI. If you do not have that you are throwing money away. Do not expect to "go viral" after advertising so that you can get your ROI later. If you are okay with not getting your investment back, absolutely make sure that you have a mailing list in place to capture your audience so that you can sell to them later.


Second, advertising is only effective if your audience is targeted. Further, it takes a lot of constant experimentation to figure out what works.


I am no expert in this field and are very much an amateur. What follows is just my experience. A better resource can be found here: https://www.thecreativepenn.com/2017/03/20/advertising-for-authors/



Project Wonderful: https://www.projectwonderful.com/

Project wonderful is a good place to go for cheap advertisements and is generally used on other creatives' sites. Its search function helps you find sites to bid on and you can start advertising with just $5.00. The most effective places to advertise on are webcomics that fit your niche or genre, but make sure that you only bid on highly trafficked sites.


For me, that site was Existential Comics, a humorous comic based on philosophers that are moderately popular. I traded in half of my beer habit to advertise on it once a week (about $10.00) and I would only advertise on it the day that the owner updated their comic. Though I feel like this was the most aligned with my serial, only about ten percent would stick around and read through.


Project Wonderful is not NEARLY as popular as it was even four years ago. It is a good place for beginners in advertising, and a good chunk of the sites that you can advertise on are other artists, so at least you know that you are supporting creatives that you like.



Facebook:

Facebook is where most self-published indie authors advertise and there is a lot that has been written about it. If you have a group page you can start advertising today, but it is not advisable without a hefty budget.



Beyond this, you can "boost" your posts on a page to reach the people you used to reach organically five years ago.


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OTHER
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Here are the places that you can use that don't exactly fit with the rest.



TV Tropes: http://tvtropes.org/

This you might want to have grow organically, but there is nothing wrong with dropping your serial in for an example of a trope. Make a list of the tropes that you employ (purposefully or accidentally) and then go to those trope's pages. For example: if you have a damsel in distress (because you are presumably a time traveler from the nineteenth century) you can list an example of your character on this page: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/DamselInDistress and then leave a link to your site.


TV Tropes generates a constant trickle to my site, with twenty being the most I have seen in a single day. I have never created a page for my works, however, that came organically and was done by fans.



Get Free eBooks:

You can submit your serial's page to https://www.getfreeebooks.com/submit-your-ebooks/ This has only given me a few views every once in a while.



Tuesday Serial:

This is designed to work best with twitter (of which I do not use) but it can be good exposure for new serials as they do take the time to highlight newcomers. The site opens their submissions for links to chapters every Tuesday, which can be found here: http://tuesdayserial.com/collector/ (They also accept guest posts)



The Top Web Fiction:


Reviews:

Being on the front page here on The Web Fiction Guide is good, and you can achieve that by either having your serial reviewed or by reviewing others. Keep in mind though: reviews are for the readers. Though a review swap can be a good promotional tactic, it does the reader a disservice if you are only doing it for the sake of promotion. Write compelling and thorough reviews that are fair and have something to say. Keep the readers in mind and write it for the sake of reviewing something first. The exposure it brings is just an added benefit. (Also: I have never seen a giant flux of traffic, just a trickle, so don't think that the exposure is worth doing it just for promotional reasons). There is a whole discussion of reviews here: http://forums.webfictionguide.com/topic/what-constitutes-a-good-review


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MAILING LISTS
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By far my most prized and useful tool in promotion has been the audience that I have already captured and turned into fans. Energizing and fostering my fans is by far the most effective thing I have found to do. All of the traffic generating would also be for naught if I did not have a way to keep them coming back. What use is a 10,000-view spike in a day if it bottoms back out to just ten the next? Get your reader's email addresses, it is a direct line of communication to them that you cannot get on any social media.


Building a mailing list is simpler than you think, and it is something that the self-publishing community has been doing and championing for years. Set up an account with a service like Mailchimp (the first 1000 subscribers or so is free) or Converter Kit (a service created by and for authors) and create an opt-in form for your readers to join your mailing list (there is a link to a tutorial on that at the bottom). Then, and this is important, offer and deliver something of high value upon sign up (your reader magnet). This can be a short story, a book you wrote, or even a highly detailed world map of your setting. The better and the more tempting the offer the more likely your readers are to sign up.


I did not have anything off of the bat when I started my serial to offer. So, I offered a weekly "Nihilist's Horoscope" that only subscribers could see. Once some time had passed I was able to offer ALL of the horoscopes compiled into a book. Sign-ups nearly tripled with the better offer.


Now, each time you update have a link in your newsletter to your chapter, which ensures that it will be read by your audience. Further, you can then leave a link to your Facebook page, guest-post, or voting page on The Top Web Fiction. It also allows you to build a rapport and relationship with your audience that is incredibly valuable. You can turn a reader into a FAN, and a fan will proselytize their friends for you.


Though you can set up a "subscription" button in WordPress, services like MailChimp and Converter Kit are far better, give you better freedom with what is mailed out, and makes sure that your newsletters are not going to a SPAM folder.


Keep your momentum by keeping your audience, learn how to start one here: https://revfitz.com/how-to-set-up-a-mailing-list-for-your-web-fiction-or-serial/


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GUIDE: How to get readers and become famous on Royal Road Legends
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link: http://royalroadl.com/fiction/98/fantasia





Basically, there are two steps to this. One is attracting readers to find your story, the second is getting them to read it and click Follow. This guide will mostly focus on step one, with a few tips for step two.


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How readers find new stories on RRL
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There are two main ways people look for new stories on RRL



Browsing the lists generated by the site (By far the most popular)


Best Rated: This list uses a fancy algorithm to determine the highest rated stories on the site. More high ratings gets you higher on the list.

Active-only ranking: This is the same algorithm as the best-rated list but only includes stories updated in the last 30 days. To stay on it, update at least once every 30 days.











People additionally get stories by recommendation/word of mouth. Not a lot you can do about that except to encourage your readers to do so. People also find RRL stories from offsite (such as NovelUpdates and Top Web Fiction) but I have no idea how much traffic comes from different places and no expertise on other sites.

I did a poll of my readers on Chapter 40 of Fantasia to see how they found the story: http://royalroadl.com/fiction/98/fantasia/chapter/55554/chapter-40




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Ways people do not find stories on RRL
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Promoting yourself on the Discord chat. I believe this is actually explicitly against the rules of the chat and you will get in trouble for spamming.




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What readers like on RRL
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In order to understand what becomes popular on RRL, you have to understand the origin of the site and the typical reader demographics. RRL started out as a website posting translations of the Korean light novel Legendary Moonlight Sculptor, a story involving a guy who finds a secret class in a virtual reality video game and becomes super powerful while becoming rich and famous in real life and getting the most beautiful girl in the world (literally #1 as appraised by the supercomputer AI in the story) as his girlfriend. (This may sound disparaging, but I was actually one of the original users at this point in time and find the story hilarious.)


Perhaps not surprisingly, the main demographic on the site is teenage boys. A lot of the guys on the site are actually over the age of 20 but continue to act like teenage boys, so I just lump them all together as teenage boys. The last time I had access to demographics, male users outnumbered female users of the site 9:1.


I did a poll on the age of my readers in Chapter 52:

http://royalroadl.com/fiction/98/fantasia/chapter/120162/chapter-52



I did a poll of the male: female ratio of my readers in Chapter 35:

http://royalroadl.com/fiction/98/fantasia/chapter/27832/chapter-35


Keep in mind that as a female writer with a female MC, I likely have a higher proportion of female readers than most stories do.


I did a poll of the continent my readers are from in Chapter 45:

http://royalroadl.com/fiction/98/fantasia/chapter/81454/chapter-45



The long and the short of it is, the typical reader on the site is a teenage boy who enjoys Asian story elements. Tropes that are common in manga, anime, and light novels abound on the site. Stories set in games, harems, wuxia/xianxia cultivation stories, stories randomly set in Japan for no reason, reincarnation stories, all super common and super popular.



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Some elements that you should go for, regardless of kind of story
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Humour. Even if your story touches on darker subjects, have moments of lightness. People go on RRL to relax and escape the drudgery of real life.


Action. Fight scenes, danger, excitement, leveling up, these things are what teenage boys enjoy. If your story has 10 chapters of build-up before anything happens, it's going to flop. Restructure your story to flash forward to something happening or get rid of the build-up or something.



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TLDR; just tell me what to do to get readers already!
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Submit the story with an attractive cover (keep in mind that the image size is pretty small, so complex images will not work too well), a good blurb (no more than two short paragraphs, describe your premise without being vague, introduce your MC in an appealing way), and the correct tags. Your title, cover, and blurb are of the utmost importance to attract browsing readers.

















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Things you should not do
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[link]






Make multiple accounts to give yourself high ratings. This will get you banned.


Obsessively check your view count and statistics page. This is not good for your mental health and will not help you grow faster.



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Other things people have done
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[It was for me, but only because both of our serials have a heavy amount of humor in them -revfitz].

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ADDENDUM
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A list of our resources mentioned throughout the guide



https://revfitz.com/how-to-set-up-a-mailing-list-for-your-web-fiction-or-serial/


What constitutes a good review:

http://forums.webfictionguide.com/topic/what-constitutes-a-good-review


Advertising for authors:

https://www.thecreativepenn.com/2017/03/20/advertising-for-authors/


Pinterest for authors:

http://selfpublishingformula.com/pinterest



http://royalroadl.com/fiction/98/fantasia/chapter/88326/chapter-46

http://royalroadl.com/fiction/98/fantasia/chapter/81454/chapter-45

http://royalroadl.com/fiction/98/fantasia/chapter/27832/chapter-35

http://royalroadl.com/fiction/98/fantasia/chapter/55554/chapter-40

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Hope this helps you in your web fiction journey! Please fill in any gaps with your own experiences :D


Well done...very thorough!




Thank you, unice5656 was a huge help in this (literally authored half of this giant post).


Yeah, all of the tactics I have heard for building up a twitter platform for writers just did not seem worth it to me (there is a good resource on that here: https://selfpublishingadvice.org/how-to-sell-books-on-twitter/ but it is more geared for book selling). The bottom line for me and any Social Media is that you should only be doing the ones that you enjoy. They are places to be social, and people don't like self-promotion.


Let me know how well you do! :)


It takes a very specific kind of user to utilize Twitter properly, I see more artists on it do pretty well on it. Hell, I see some fan-fic writers get more engagement than others, but again, it takes a very specific kind of user.


Thank you Revfitz and Unice5656 for putting this together. Lots of good info here. I especially appreciated the reddit tips and links since I feel lost on that site ;)


@nippoten

I am DEFINITELY not that kind of person :P


@Scott Scherr

I am glad to give back :) I think you would KILL IT on r/nosleep (your serial is HIGHLY aligned with it). Something I forgot to mention in the guide was that if you set the "flair" in your story there to "series", and then write multiple parts (they have to be at least 24 hours apart) readers on the subreddit will have the chance to "subscribe" and be notified there when you update. After you have written a few stories to get a feel for the audience (and what works well), start to write in parts to gather these subscribers. Do this a couple of times and you will find that your next stories will do better as now you have a group of people being notified by your updates who are more likely to up-vote your stuff (and give you better momentum and stay).


Here is a link to my highest rated 3 part story which sits at around 2k in up-votes: https://revfitz.com/nosleep-my-fathers-nanny-cam-part-1/


A link to my best "short" story, about 800 up-votes, which was enough to stay in the #1 spot for about four hours: https://revfitz.com/dont-check-the-locks-dont-look-at-the-door/


And a link to my personal favorite. This only got around 400 up-votes, but the percentage of people who up-voted versus down-voted was the highest (98%). My theory is that because it was longer (around 3k words) that the length scared off those most likely to down-vote it before they had the chance: https://revfitz.com/youth-group/


I hope this helps. I HATE the titles on r/nosleep, but you have to treat them different than you would a short story.


Hope this helps :D


@Revfitz Well, I took another stab at reddit. I opted to post a 375 word sci-fi tale I'd written titled, The Black Sea, over at the sci-fi link you mentioned, adding a link to my serial in the comments. I think I'll wait on the horror reddit until I've got time to write a ghost story or one that actually happened to me a while back that would seem to fit the 'true story' vibe of the place.


Surprisingly, my horror serial, has done considerably well over at Royal Road. I'm not reeling in the numbers other stories are getting over there, but considering my 'black sheep' status, I've already received several reviews, comments, and have picked up several loyal readers from over there. Last I checked, I was ranked #44 on the 'active only' list, which puts me on page 3, so I must be doing something right over there... lol.


Nice work! FWIW, I think Twitter is better for people who already have an audience than those searching for one. Like all social media, it also helps if you know the right people: a plug from an influencer with lots of followers is going to do you a lot more good than posting hashtags, which inevitably get lost in the deluge.


I keep going back and forth on whether to upload/promote stuff on other sites (Wattpadd, specifically - I'm pretty much the complete antithesis of a teenage boy's escapist fantasy!). It opens things up to a wider audience, sure, but I like having control over my presentation - and the option to mess with things if I so desire.


Overall, though, promotion is hard when you don't fit into a(n easily marketable) genre XD


Haha I don't have much experience on Wattpad (posted about 10 chapters and gave up because of an extreme lack of views) but I believe that the main readership there is teenage girls.


I've not had good luck with Wattpad either. If you don't write in the top three genres there, you struggle.


Interesting that all these aggregate sites each seem to stabilise around a specific set of genres.


It's interesting and disheartening when you realize what you write isn't what everyone else is writing and is what reader there want to read.


I remember my time on DA seeing the shifting trends in what people wrote on there. Fan-fic writers always seemed to chase after what everyone like in terms of anime, videogames, books, and movies. A portion of original fiction writers tended to follow book trends. It went from Harry Potter, to the supernatural romance type things, to dystopian right before I left.


@Dary

Thank you!

TEL ME ABOUT IT! Not writing in a genre made my life 100% harder than it probably could have been. I am banking on creating a brand around my voice so that I can genre hop, but that makes it a longer path than strict genre writing.


I totally get where you are coming from with your website. I personally don't like the idea of digital crop sharing and I like having control of my own platform. I still think your site is one of the best out there, by the way.


@LadyAnder

I remember watching those DA trends myself. I was making webcomics then and was still frightened to get my writings out there. I really REALLY wish I could do well on that platform, but fan-fic is not something I am interested in.


Wow, this is a really great post. Definitely widens the field for promotion -- I hadn't even thought about using Reddit! Nice.


Royal Road Legends is one that I've been on the fence about. It doesn't seem like my current serial would be their cup of tea, though, which is good to know. Posting on Wattpad has already made me feel like a massive failure (even despite my attempts to give it more appealing tags for that particular crowd).


While a story that's not in the wheelhouse of your average otaku teenage boy won't become a huge success on RRL, I should mention that my two other works that are high on the Best Rated list are extremely sugary-sweet fantasy romances with a couple hundred followers (apparently teenage boys both hate and enjoy being made to cry). I like it better than Wattpad because you actually get visibility when you update. With Wattpad, I got literally one viewer after posting my full novella and 10 chapters of Fantasia and I'm not willing to spend time to do the self-promotion that appears to be necessary over there. Though if Rev could find someone to write "How to get followers and become famous on Wattpad", this guide would be complete.


@unice5656

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.


@otherworlds

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!


@unice5656

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


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!


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!


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.