Reaching Out to New Readers

Greetings everyone.


I'm new to Web Fiction Guide and I added my Web Novel Series, Arcana Magi to this websites list. I'm kind of seeking some advice on how I can reach out to get more people to read my story. So far, I created a Blogspot and a MySpace Account to give updates and news on all my story postings and of course joined you guys here. I also took advantage of my Group Section's Discussion Pages on Fictionaut to create Behind the Scenes topics on Arcana Magi to be more hands on with my readers and hopefully, fans.


But I was wondering if there other types of approaches I could make to advertise my story to the general public. Any advice on how I can maximize my stories exposure?


Make a nice skyscraper ad and stick it on some webcomics via Project Wonderful. You only need spend $2-3 a week to see some big effects. Play around and experiment to see what sites give you the best conversions - use something like Google Analytics to find out the gritty details.


I second the recommendation for using the advertising system at Projectwonderful.com. I've been happy with the traffic I get to one of my websites, and they are some of the most affordable clicks you can buy.


Also, I'll humbly point out that my new entry into the web fiction scene includes a page at the site where other web authors can comment with descriptions of their stories and links to their work.


http://fantasywebfiction.wordpress.com/more-web-fiction/


I checked out Project Wonderful. It looks good. There's a lot to check out.


I'll definitely check out Fantasy Web Fiction.


Thanks. :)


One question Mr. Braveluck, Do I have to sign up and log in to post in your More Web Fiction section?


Honestly, nobody knows what works. If you ask a hundred writers, you'll get a hundred different answers. Be on Facebook. Be on Twitter. Be here, be there. Advertise here! I'm not trying to be a downer. I've just read the same old stuff so many times that my eyes feel like puking.


Here's the uncomfortable truth: traffic means nothing if people leave right away. People signing up to friend you on Facebook means nothing if they don't actually read your stuff. No, you can't just "do podcasts" and "suddenly you're everywhere!" (in the words of a famous ezine author, who left out a whole buttload of steps between here and there).


I can only say this -- if you're going to advertise, you've got to make your ads more appealing than the ones promoting various serial fiction sites now. So look at those and then do better. That ought to get you some readers. Well, maybe it will. :)


More than 50% of the hits my story gets come via deviantArt. My co-author and I have been drawing as long as we've been writing so we post the illustrations that go along with the story (plus bonus illustrations). I figured that most of our deviantArt traffic would be people who are not all that interested, but the bounce rate is only 25%.


If you don't draw, you could always try to commission a popular artist to do work for you. They'll often link to your site when they post the art. Aside from that, we get a few hits a day from topwebfiction, and facebook (we post links for our friends when a new chapter is ready).


I completely agree Mr. Rhapsody in Blue. When I released the first Arcana Magi Zero Short Story last year te view count eventually made its way up to 143 today. But I do not know for sure if all 143 actually sat and read the entire short story. I have to assume that many looked at it and just moved on. I have to also assume given the word length that readers were taking their time reading it. Definately if I am to sell my work to the public at large I have to mak it something so spectacular people can't ignore it.


Ms. Lizzy, I have been trying to draw. I'm not much of an artist. My little title page drawing in my Group Site on Fictionaut is not exactly spectacular, but it's a start. If I can make good drawing and post it up in Deviantart, that would be great. Thanks for drawing me the map to this website. :)


Here's something that's a little ironic...


While on the one hand, if someone asked me, I'd say an appealing graphic for the ad is a necessity, my actions don't bear this out.


When Alexandra Erin had just started Tales of MU, she took out ads that were all text. I clicked on one of those ads and got sucked into the story. Since then, I've seen many ads with better graphics. I've seldom clicked on them.


So, while I think graphics can help, a compelling blurb might be just as effective.


Jim - you're totally right. I don't think it's our art that is particularly more effective than a good text ad. Rather, it's free, and allows us to reach the population of deviantArt - many of whom are avid consumers of stories (reading, movies, shows, videogames) as well as artists.


No-one has provided any real stats, though, so it's all still "surgery by guesswork". I could stand up here and relate to you my anecdotes on what I've done, but it won't help you and it might hurt you.


Now if we really want to measure INVOLVEMENT with the story, we'd measure not hits, not bounce rate, not traffic, but the number of individuals who comment upon specific things in the post. That's a much higher hurdle, I realize, but it's one that is absolutely measurable and absolutely meaningful. People who cared enough to comment specifically were affected.


I think if we measured the number of unique commenters per post, most webfic posts would have none.


You have to consider this when thinking about comments, though. Most people don't to comment.


And if you want some stats...


Webcomic advertising nets me anywhere between 40-80 new readers per week - by 'new readers' I mean 'people who read at least the first two chapters'. 20% of them don't stick around, the rest return at some point (people have different reading speeds XD) Now, advertising on webfiction sites got me a fraction of that - maybe 10-20 readers in a month, while not advertising and just listing myself in directories and posting around forums...got me around 10. In six months.


Plugging the main figures into the 90-9-1 rule turns out a pretty accurate result btw.


I can assure you that in Fictionaut, people don't post comments to stories in great frequency. I've seen one story posted there with over 200 views and only 5 comments overall. And if a comment does happen, well to heed the warning of Jack M. Bickham's The 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes' Chapter 30: Don't Take it to the Club Meeting. That's not to say that posting up a story on the internet is a bad thing, it is a good thing, but the point the author tried to make was that the people in said club meetings don't provide constructive and helpful criticism. There are some people who write, never get published, and try to talk like experts to other prospective writers who try to meet their own success. Some may be jealous if the work and story is good. It is subjective and as one Fictionaut member told me, a writer has to trust his/her instincts. I was aware of Bickham's warning but I did not take heed in Fictionaut because I kept reading comments from other stories that were positive to those writers.


I really needed to know from someone, if my writing style was bad, if my grammar was incomprehensible, if my storytelling and characters were flat, but no what I get is, 'there's too much details in your story and you should go to another website that specializes in detailed stories'. The last I check you need to write details in some compacity for readers to know what's going on in the story. And unfortunately I can't remove that comment unless I Delete my Short Story and re-post it in Fictionaut. Which would then reset the View counters to 0 and with all the other Short Stories and chapters from Arcana Magi Universe having between 22 and 58 views, it would confuse people who would be interested as to why that Short Story has 0 view and the rest have a lot more.


I openly admit, I have been writing since 1999 and have struggled to get published in the houses. This is primarily due to my content editors felt were not marketable, they liked my writing but felt that readers would not read the type of stories I had written. But I kept writing, I kept training, I kept learning, and did a lot of content research so I can be a better writer. The advice I give is based on what I experienced first hand. I don't go around to a topic that I did not experience like say, if the topic is on a rock and roll story. I don't know rock and roll, so what does my uneducated advice on rock and roll say about me.


That is why now I prefer not to seek short random comments. I favor Web Fiction Guide because I know that the people write reviews, which is part of the territory in media, and I trust will give good constructive critique of my work, that will allow me to see the totality of where I stand as a literary writer. If I have to improve in certain areas, if my grammar is bad, or my story falls flat on its face, I know can do it wither for I am writing currently or for the next story I write. The last thing I want is someone with "professional experience" or "professional knowledge" come to my face and say my work is good keep it up, creating this false sense of confidence while everyone in his/her group and people outside their circle snicker, laugh, and say my work sucks, give it up, thereby making a fool out of me.


After having having read that little comment about their problem with my detailed work, I kept going and made the Arcana Magi Group Page. I don't give up so easily and I'll always train hard. Training hard in writing is the best thing you could do.


I look at webfic as like a forum or a social media site. Those communities thrive because of the number of participants and their active involvement with the site; they upload files, comment, submit content, and so forth. To know that I get 300 hits a day versus 500, or that this IP addy comes back every week or so, just doesn't do much for me as a writer. I appreciate that cookie setups give us the best stats available (and thank you Dary for giving evidence as to what works), but that's cold comfort to me. It would tell me I'm more popular than I was in some abstract sense, but in terms of knowing, without a doubt, that someone found my writing interesting -- even the best stats don't tell me that.


This is a great thread. I had asked the same questions to myself and this thread gave me some pretty good ideas on how to get more traffic. Thanks guys.


I've got a Facebook page and have submitted my story to various web sites... I've only got two chapters up so I think I'll wait a bit longer before really plugging myself.


To answer H-M Brown's question about having to sign up to add a comment with a description and link to a web fiction at http://fantasywebfiction.wordpress.com/more-web-fiction/ , I think you would need a wordpress account to add the comment. I'm new to wordpress so I apologize for not being precise. If you want you can email me the info and url and I'll add it to the page. Use tracy [insert AT symbol] falbepublishing [dot] com


You don't need a wordpress account to post comments to wordpress blogs. I find the whole process of internet promotion baffling. But you won't hear me say that elsewhere. (this place just feels safe to me after reading the threads). I made my first professional sale in 1979, hit a prolonged (15 years) period of writer's block and returned to find that the world had changed. However, it looks to me as if there are no clear answers as to what and why some things work.


Use what you're good at to promote, and try to work with communities you already have a foothold in, because then you're playing to your strengths. Or spend a lot of time learning something new and turning that into a strength, but remember that time itself is an investment. In a choice between working with a community that knows me already and I know the system of, and learning something I don't use that isn't guaranteed to work and is already pretty glutted with promotion, I go with what I'm already strong at.


Be creative with what you already have. Be the one that invents the promotion technique.


...and that's the point. There's no magic potion. There's no smoking gun. There's no "and one day I was everywhere!" There is a lot of self-deceiving fantasy (dirty little secret: did you know that a lot of people who now write webfic used to write fanfic?), a lot of shooting in the dark, and generally, a lot of people using people. I won't venture to guess what goes on behind the scenes for series that suddenly get a lot of reviews, but I'll bet it's not pretty. Probably the best way to sell your work, though, is to make sure it's pervy -- and extra points for being weirdly pervy. That sells, as a look at the most popular series attests.