Types of exposure? How long did it take?

Hi all,

I just started my own writing website. I won't list the link because I'm not sure what the forum rules are yet. Actually, I'm a fan of a prominent writer featured on the site who told me that this is a great community for online fiction.

Anyway, my questions are to others who have taken the plunge and started posting online.

1. What is the best ways you have found to promote your stories that also maximize ROI?

2. How long did it take you to start gathering a dedicated fandom?

I'm brand new and I'm realistic. I know these sorts of things don't happen overnight. Any insight or advice would be appreciated.


Hey Blaise, welcome to the community. I'll try my best to answer your questions. Keep in mind that I'm considered a bit of a black sheep around here. ;)

Nice site by the way. I think it's one of the best around.

1.I briefly looked over your stories and I think Delvers LLC especially would be a good fit for RoyalRoadL. If you post your chapters there you will get a lot of views quickly. Just add a link to your site and only post the latest chapter there. I'm also on that site so me feel free to message me there. Especially if you post more than 25,000 words, then I can invite into my group: http://royalroadl.com/forum/showthread.php?tid=48100

Ranking high on topwebfiction also draws in a fair number of views, so adding a voting link for topwebfiction is a good idea. Also a lot of people recommend making a TvTropes page but it might be a little early for you to do that.

2. Not an expert on this but I'm going to say, a long time. If your talking about patrons though take a look at my page. I saw yours and it looks like you could use some ideas for rewards and such. https://www.patreon.com/Clearmadness?ty=h

I've been posting for about two months, but I'm well ahead of the curve that way.


Thank you for compliment and thank you for the tips! I discovered a few stories on RoyalRoad and I was actually thinking about at least putting the first few chapters of 'Delvers on the site.

I definitely want to make it clear that my focus right now is writing. I have about 35k words written on 'Crimson Artifice (which is more of a traditional format). I want to get to 40k words on Delvers LLC before I really start pushing hard on exposure. I think it's a good idea to have goals and a direction I'm moving towards, though.

It also takes me a while to figure out and optimize anything on the website because I'm such a noob at it. I will start looking into creating a voting button for topwebfiction.

I think I will end up being a lot less high strung about everything than I am now once I start seeing some evidence that anyone is reading my stuff. I had a few fans on Wattpad but they may take a while to transition over to the site.


Worm is one of the more popular web serials around. It took some time before I had a serious readership. You can see the graph of said readership here, with views in May 2014 (story ended November 2013): http://i.imgur.com/PZ2FVvQ.jpg - The story is now holding firm at 25-30k views/day, with 23 million views total.

Be patient, wait for a while. I wanted eyeballs on the initial chapters so I could figure out what I was doing right and doing wrong, and ended up joining a writer's circle to do just that - even though I already had a fledgling readership by that point (early 2012).

In my case, though, I relied on word of mouth, with a few mentions on reddit and on various forums my readers recommended (I didn't ask, but when they brought it up, I participated or started a topic).

I've written a series previously on my experience with paying for advertising, and you can find it in the forums here. But the blanket summary is: Paying for advertising online for a webserial is basically pissing your money down a hole*.

*Some exceptions apply, see posts for details.

Absolutely nothing will crush your readercount records like getting pegged up somewhere high on a high-traffic aggregator like Reddit, Boing Boing, Metafilter, Slashdot, etc. The more you can do to bring those eyeballs to your content, the much better chance that readership and money(hypothetically) will follow.

Pay attention to your site design. Look at the ten most popular sites and note the things they're all doing right, and make sure you emulate that. Make it *easy* to use your site.

Relentlessly and creatively self-promote. If you're going to push yourself on Reddit, mind very carefully the 10/90 rule, because you don't want to end up shadowbanned.

Hi, Blaise. Welcome and good luck!

The very best thing you can do for advertising is to focus on your story. Like Wildbow said, word of mouth is very, very powerful in web fiction. Don't worry about ads or self promotion. It's a bottomless hole that doesn't net long term results, and most people ignore self promotion because it's everywhere and considered spam in most places. Even if it's allowed, hardly anyone will click on it. The best thing that can happen to you is readers recommending your story to friends and classmates.

Thank you to everyone for the advice! I'm going to take it to heart and write my ass off. I will probably eventually post to RoyalRoad too, but only after I have enough written that I can keep fresh content on my site (as a reader, I noticed this was particularly effective for stories I enjoyed reading).

This has been a pretty inspiring week for me. I think I need to write my ass off this weekend. I just hope I have the time to keep up with all the serials I like to read. :)

Six years ago, when I was last serialising, I would have wholeheartedly recommended spending a few dollars on some webcomic advertising. When I started serialising again a few months back, I took another crack at it, and it's fair to say it's not in good shape.

Just focus on the writing. Time you spend worrying about numbers is time you're not spending on your story. Better a strong story with dedicated readers than a weak one that bleeds them.

I started personified math back in July 2011 and it still doesn't have a fandom. Well, okay, that's not entirely fair - firstly because a post tends to eke out 50 views, and there's even the occasional comment out of the blue, and secondly because it's been reinvented at least twice as I've battled with depression and other issues, which tends to lose followers. (It's now a webcomic, not a serial.) I won't get into the actual serial site I've been running for over 16 months, because it's still struggling for 10 page views and WFG forum regulars are probably tired of hearing about it. (I do try not to come across as a broken record.)

What I'm getting at here is, keep at it. Also, related to what Dary mentioned, the landscape of the internet is constantly shifting. I don't think social media is what it used to be... it's so easy to be buried. Your best bet may be to have bigger names linking in to you. Perhaps the prominent writer you allude to. At some point, the system will (hopefully) tip in your favour, word of mouth leading to people actively seeking you out. Could be years. But perhaps not. Nice logo, by the way.

Thank! I like my logo too. I'm probably especially proud of the cover art I commissioned for my two serials. See, I had been planning all along to self publish so when I finally took the plunge to make the site, I had a lot of collateral on hand already.

Sticking with it definitely seems to be a recurring theme. I personally hope I will be lucky enough to get enough positive feedback that it won't require digging too deep to keep writing at a decent pace.

As a general question, how much did your visitor charts changed after making it into the WFG directory?

@Wildbow, by the way, astonishing readership stats. I really wish to get there some day.

@aclouis - I think the answer to your question will vary a lot.

I've seen a tremendous increase in traffic after getting approved for TWF, but my readers are also awesome, voting people and I've tried a few other promotional venues too.

When I originally posted this question, I took the advice to write like crazy to heart and I've done over 50k words in a month. To be honest, I'm not sure whether the writing or the promotion is more effective at getting views but the two together seems to be working.

It helps that my readers are amazing and helpful too.

On the other hand, I've never had much success from my WFG listing XD When I was putting stuff out around 2009-2010, I had maybe twenty or thirty readers who found the site through this place, out of about fifteen hundred. I don't think (m)any of them rated me here, and I don't recall reviews from anyone but the editorial team (who reviewed most new submissions at the time iirc).

Whether that's a question of (lack of) visibility or simply not appealing to the site's demographics, I don't know.

I think the key way to look at things is that what you really want to do to maximize exposure is to open the doors. Being on WFG gives people a chance to find you. Same idea for other sites, for TV tropes, forums, etc.

WFG got me started. It was the only place I put myself for a while, and virtually all of the word of mouth spilled out from this one point, from people who read my stuff and then recommended it.

Looking at more recent stats, another possible place to get readers (which might not be obvious from its name) is Comic Rocket, which mainly caters to webcomics, but has its own literature section. (I only found out about it because somebody else submitted my site and it started to crop up on my referrals list.)


I am a new writer and don't know jack about stuff. I host my story on a popular hosting site for the type of stories I write. Question is, I don't seem to get much traffic even after shooting up on the TopWebFictions list. I mean, #5 on weekly should count for something, no? But the increase I am seeing is zero, zip,zilch, nada. At this point, I am wondering, do I need a wordpress to get people to read it?

I wish I had 190 votes! I've never been in the top 5, and I've been writing this series for nearly 2 years. :(

If I understand correctly, you're not seeing any increase in stats / readers since you got listed on WFG? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I looked at your story and it appears to be Anime-inspired. I don't think light novels have ever been 'big' on WFG like they were on other sites, so it could be a genre clash.

Likewise, my story isn't doing very well on RRL, but made it into the top 15 almost instantly on TWF. I don't think superheroes are a thing over there. :)

I don't think your site is a problem at all. It's perfectly readable. No issues there.

With the incursion of Royalroad writers, it's very possible that WFG may see a trend toward anime-ish/light-novel style works. I know we had a big phase of zombie stories (I'm so very tired of zombie stories) and superhero stories in the last five or so years.


It's also possible that you are getting an increase in readership, but without any analytical tools you don't have an easy way of tracking that. With Google Analytics or Statcounter set up, you can track where your readers are coming from...I don't think this is something you can set up on a forum if they don't allow JS or HTML in posts, though. WordPress comes with its own analytics so measuring all of this will be easier when you make the switch.

I know that Wordpress, for some reason, isn't tracking views from TV Tropes to Worm. Even though I know for a fact that I get a metric fuckton. It was my #2 or #1 referrer, before TV tropes disappeared from the referral list.