Review Request - Ketrin

My ongoing webnovel Ketrin has been listed ( ) for a couple of months now, and to date has attracted about as much attention as a fart in a hurricane. I realise it's very long and it would be a bit much to ask anyone to read the whole thing in one go. Nevertheless, I would welcome (though not without some trepidation) any constructive criticism.

To date the story has only garnered two "proper" reviews. Chris Poirier's mini-review on this site isn't exactly enthusiastic, but does find an "almost mythic quality" to the narrative; a previous review by Morgan O'Friel on Pages Unbound praised the plot and prose but found the story "out-right preachy".

Still, maybe not too shabby for a story that was originally conceived as a soft porn novella and then snowballed over the course of a ridiculous amount of time into a (still-unfinished) novel-length adventure story with literary pretensions.

As for the site design, I know it's a bit basic right now and I'm hoping to spruce it up a bit in future. I have made one alteration from the screenshot, which is to put all the navigation into a box at the top left of each page. It would be nice to give the site some more visual content; ideally I'd like to find a talented (and preferably cheap!) artist to provide illustrations, but where to find one?

And then of course there's the whole thorny question of promotion. Given the story's erotic content, where would be the best place to advertise it?

I'm probably not good for a review - just cause I'm generally not - but I want to say that I sympathize! It sucks, not so much NOT getting the reaction you hope for, but not attracting readers at all. I'd be willing to bet that 90% of the writers on WFG feel this, to varying degrees...

As far as promotion, I use project wonderful, which doesn't take much time/energy (but is pretty much a waste of the amount it does take)

I think the best thing you can do is visit the authors you admire here, and comment on their work whenever you're truly moved to do so, either in reviews, or in their comments section (where applicable). I don't even get much traffic from my (fair to midlin)reviews here. I've attracted the most REAL readers (people who stick around my site for more than :30 seconds)from a simple link on "Legion of Nothing".

I guess I'm saying - don't buy the hype about "tweets"/ facebook status updates about your work, etc. The old rules of social media still apply.

I'll second Joel's comment.

The key point being to be careful both with Project Wonderful and with what sites you add comments to in an effort to promote your work.

Joel's story probably got the reaction it did from my readers because we're both writing idiosyncratic takes on superheroes.

Your story probably wouldn't get the same reaction.

On the bright side, you're writing a fantasy with erotic content. The cool thing about that for you is that both Tales of MU and An Intimate History of the Greater Kingdom also share those characteristics. They're also (so far) the best known/most visited serials that I'm aware of.

There's a lot of potential there for taking out ads or becoming known in the forums.

I've considered taking out ads at both sites and even the rare posts I've made in both spots (which weren't primarily meant to promote myself) have resulted in people checking out my site.

This is despite the fact that I'm writing a superhero serial with basically no sex worth mentioning. The only thing it shares with Intimate History and Tales of MU is that it's a "coming of age" story.

Hi all,

Thought I'd add a few pertinent points about the WFG software. First of all, editor ratings determine participation in the "featured listings" sections on the home and listings pages. Stuff with higher ratings gets more time, and there is a lower cut-off -- 4 stars for the home page, 2.5 stars for the listings pages. I've been trying to rate up and down stuff as it is posted, where appropriate (the default rating is just under 3), to ensure that good stuff gets time and bad stuff doesn't.

Ranking in the listings is determined by a mix of editor rating and member interest (recommendations, reading status) -- if a lot of members like something, it will move up in the list quickly. Quality member reviews (stuff that is actually helpful, as opposed to "ra, ra! this is great!" will make the home page, and may attract new readers or a second look from an editor.

Reader participation is also important for the cross-linking. If your readers come by and recommend your listing, and then leave, well, you don't get any cross-linking benefit from that. The site software cares a lot more about active members than one-timers. If they come by, and discover other stuff they like, and recommend those stories, too, your listing is much more likely to show up in the "Recommendations" section on other listings. That means more traffic for you.

The problem is we have more stories than audience to support them. Every time we call reader attention to something bad, we are taking it away from something good. It's that simple. The site is designed to give more attention to the good stuff.

In terms of the specifics of this thread, if you get a low rating from us, it's not because we didn't like your story. It's because we didn't find the writing to be very effective. You can ignore our opinion (and that's perfectly valid -- we aren't gods, by any means, and we could be totally wrong); or, you might want to consider finding a good crit group so you can focus on improving your writing. And if you have a reasonable or good rating, and still aren't getting traffic from us, you might want to encourage your readers to come by and participate as WFG members -- where they can start to build you buzz, higher rankings, and accidental traffic.

That's not to say that WFG is a "if you promote us, we'll promote you" site -- it's not. The writing has to be there. But, yes, if you provide the writing, and promote us, we'll promote you.


I had a look at your site over the weekend, meant to reply to this thread, but obviously didn't get around to it (*sigh*).

I read the first couple of chapters, and I do get what Chris was saying in his review. The first chapter contains a lot of 'back story' in the dialogue, and while I think I see what you were trying to do, I think it'd flow better if you picked out 3-4 particulars that you wanted to get across, and make the conversation a bit less... flowy. These guys are on a strange planet, they're on guard, their conversation is likely to be short and choppy. Especially if they've had their argument a few times before.

Sometimes information is given when something occurs which requires an explanation... I think you might be better off disclosing it earlier, or trying to show it a little more seamlessly. I got a bit of a 'oh, the author just worked out he needs to give me some info' feel at times.

Minor point about the layout - maybe consider adding non-story-elements (your thoughts, quotes etc) in italics or something? Would make it clearer where the story actually begins.

All that said - I really like the concept you've got going on. I think it's well worth working on! :-)

OK, thanks to everyone for all the useful information and advice. Although to pick up on one of Nomesque's points, I don't see it as a case of just working out that I need to give the reader info, more a case of knowing that the info needs to be given, and trying to figure out where it needs to go - and maybe not always figuring out right.