Shameless promotion

Hi people. A lurker coming out of the darkness here, and with shameless promotion on my mind. After reading and following a bunch of web serials I finally sat down and started one of my own. As it's still a baby, and can't quite crawl on its own (two chapters published, one already written and waiting to be published and one being written now) I'm not sure if I'm breaking some rule by promoting it at this stage, here, without having ANY audience yet. If I am - sorry.

That being said, I think it's worth a read so I'd appreciate if you give it a peek. Here it is:

But this does raise a question I could really use some answers to: how did you get readers to come and read your web serial (other than writing a good story. That's worth several other discussions)? Do you use social media? Which? Are there any other good forums to shamelessly promote in? Is there a "successful web serial FAQ" I missed? XD

I'll emphasize - I'm not talking about getting millions of readers. If some people find my writing interesting and read it - that would certainly be enough.


I guess I count as a successful serial. I have a good few readers - 3,500 unique visitors on a good day, 18-19 thousand views. (This is a fairly recent development, as I sat around 3,200 visitors and 14-16k views through July/August).

I don't use social media, excepting reddit. I focus on the writing and let things spread largely by word of mouth. Above all else, this is my advice to you (and anyone else). That lame line, 'if you build it, they will come'? You need content before you can have readers.

My stats:

Note how many months (6-8) went by where I had virtually no viewers. Not a concern. Not a cause for worry. I didn't give it a second thought because, going in, I expected no viewers at all, virtually no comments. I was pleasantly surprised, thrilled to have any reviews at all. When I started getting raving reviews (like Gavin's), my mind was blown.

It's continued to be blown since. I'm sure you can see some points on the graph.

But what the graph doesn't show is the output - I'm essentially writing a book a month, and have been for a while. My story is 1,500,000 words long (and change).

Build it, they will come. I stress consistency and frequency as well. I haven't missed an update. For readers who've made Worm a part of their routine, I've not given them a real excuse (beyond points in the writing that may have crossed a line for them, tastwise) to stop reading. No breaks where they can go find something else to read with their tea two or three times a week.

In terms of spreading the word, some of the more helpful areas have been:

? Webfictionguide. I owe Chris/my reviewers a lot. Get involved, help others out. I wish I could review more myself, but it's worth reviewing so you help bring attention to other authors in turn, and this may get you more reviews/attention as a consequence.

? Readers mentioning the story on forums. So long as discussion is happening, it's a steady influx of viewers, as people come in to see what others are talking about.

? Fanart, fanfiction. I can see why people would be leery about having people make stuff based on their own works, but I've written a story that lends itself to fanfiction and I've given permission (even encouraged, carefully) for people to make the stuff.

? TV tropes - not just being there, but having a mess of links. I'm forever grateful to one reader for adding extensive amounts of my stuff to the site. People wiki walk their way to Worm with some regularity. One of the big leaps in the image linked above is due to TV tropes (March/April 2013 - pretty much doubling my viewership).

? Reddit - I get involved in the community, offering advice on writing subreddits and sharing honest input on my own experiences. People will often ask for a link to my story, which makes for new readers.

But above all else, write. It's the solution to all your problems. Write, write, write.

Thanks Wilbow. I'm one of your "unique visitors" and am humbled.



Anyway, I can't, and won't attempt writing a book a month. I'm hoping to succeed in writing a 2000-3000 words chapter every week. But I take your strict adherence to schedule to heart, and I will really try to stick with the chapter-every-week-even-if-it-means-chapters-I'm-not-totally-pleased-with. :)

I get most of my viewers from my listing here or the sister site TopWebFiction.

For the first 6 months I didn't get much from TopWebFiciton - it took getting up to the top 10 before I saw any traffic from that:

Last 30 days, topwebfiction has outweighed here: 239 153

Private networks 69 (this I assume is a reading app)

Search Engines 20 15 (some little art I put on) 12

But all time it is still in the lead: 808 646 201 (some fanart/desktops I did) 166

But I do get referrers that the system doesn't seem to count, including a review/'try this' on a harry potter fan fiction forum that got me a lot of new readers!

I've yet to try redit, I might take the plunge... TV tropes is something you have to be doing really well to get a page on, in my experience. You need a fan community to start building and updating it (unless you do it yourself, but for some reason that seems wrong to me...)

At the start, for the first few months, you really don't have more than one person if you're lucky.

I will say I do like your Topwebfiction banner, AGreyWorld. Very clean.

I, too, have had referrals that didn't get counted by the system. Frustrating, because it's hard to track what's working or what's happening when I get some of the huge leaps in readership.

Thanks, It only took a few minutes. I kept making it more complicated then going back to how it was.

Yeah, I don't know why it only counts some. I guessed some were from browser bookmarks and similar but the peaks when someone put a post in the forum confirmed that it just misses some sources. Seems to manage fine with others like here though... Mystery

Meanwhile, I'm definitely in the "just starting to build steam" category. It's only been the last month or so that I've had readers come to my site and leave feedback. Reddit looks like it should be on my list to try next. I have a small presence on Facebook and Tumblr but couldn't say that they're bringing me any readers.

I can, oddly, recommend Twitter. At first I was put off by all the hard-sell promotion that some authors do and the 140 char limit still drives me batty sometimes. But among the mounds of spam, I found a few people talking about topics I was interested in. I replied and actually got into conversations with people. (Replying to Tweets is the only way to connect at first because somebody with 38,000 followers is not going to see your independent Tweet, no way). Being nice and displaying a modicum of wit and thought, I found people actually asking about my work once or twice, checking it out and telling the world they liked it.

I know I should review other people's work. I haven't yet because when I'm done with writing and all the other commitments in my day (I'm also a storyteller and math/science tutor), I usually just want to relax with a beloved favorite. It takes a lot to draw me into a new story.