Re: Difficulties when focusing on Royal Road's chosen genres?

#1
I recently posted both, "Focus on Scifi?" and "Focus on Horror?", but one response had me thinking when mountains of people converge on a select few, similar genres, it must be hell to get noticed.  Since Royal Road is heavily focused on Isikai, lit RPG and fanfic, it must be a nightmare rising to the head of the pack.  There are probably some who fit in perfectly to these preferred niches, who are less popular than I am with my focus on scifi/horror.  Perhaps more than some.  When you face multitudes of similar genres, your work had better be epic and marketed across social media with impeccable efficiency, if you want to rise to the top . . . or so I assume.

I'm curious if I'm right.  Are there any who write in the genres Royal Road caters to most who have difficulty getting noticed?  If this post will help you get noticed, then please advertise here.  I don't mind.

Re: Difficulties when focusing on Royal Road's chosen genres?

#2
That's how most sites end up working.

A certain sub-genre becomes popular on the site, thereby attracting more readers of that genre, thereby attracting more writers, thereby... and so on. Other sites have their own focuses. Space Battles is great for superhero and sci-fi, Wattpad for cheesy teen lit, Scribble Hub for degenerate weeb stuff, and Royal Road for LitRPG and power fantasy.

It's a literal application of some market theories, and it's rather interesting to look at from a remove. When you're on the site though, you kind of need to prepare yourself for disappointment if you're going against the stream.

That's not to say that you can't write other genres, but you might want to consider maybe mixing them with one of the genres that the site caters to in order to have any kind of audience.

Re: Difficulties when focusing on Royal Road's chosen genres?

#3

RavensDagger Wrote: It's a literal application of some market theories, and it's rather interesting to look at from a remove. When you're on the site though, you kind of need to prepare yourself for disappointment if you're going against the stream.
Of course, you're right, but isn't it difficult to find an audience even when your work fits perfectly with the site?  Because of how incredibly many flock to it?  Or does everyone who writes Isikai, lit RPG and fanfic have an easy time of it here on Royal Road?

Re: Difficulties when focusing on Royal Road's chosen genres?

#4
I write a somewhat romantic, somewhat crime-focused urban fantasy and yes, truth to be told, it is hard to get noticed. I am not completely unsatisfied with the numbers my story produces, but I have seen stories with lower quality having much, much bigger audience because, I'm guessing, of the popular genre they were written in. It can be annoying. 
I looked around, however, and probably didn't find all the websites hosting web novels, but I did find a lot and tried most of them, and none of them was nearly as good for my story as RR. So I think RR probably as good as it gets for writers who don't write litRPG and/or isekai, even if it doesn't feel like it in comparison.

Re: Difficulties when focusing on Royal Road's chosen genres?

#5
I think there is an assumption here that there are people who aren't running out of things to read (that they enjoy reading), which I doubt, whether you're in the most popular genre, or the least popular genre; if you're in the most popular genre, people can afford to be more discriminating, and the genre starts dividing out.  For example, I enjoy LitRPG, but do not generally enjoy wish fulfillment anything if it's too obvious to me, which a lot of the stories here are.  I've started far more stories than I actually follow; it isn't that they don't 'stand out', it's that they're not actually what I'm looking for.
On the other hand, if you are writing/reading in a less popular genre, you have fewer available readers, but they can't be as, well, picky.

I think the net calculus favors the more popular genres; it's harder to be the most popular author in that category, but easier to reach a given number of readers.

Re: Difficulties when focusing on Royal Road's chosen genres?

#7

AdirianSoan Wrote: I think there is an assumption here that there are people who aren't running out of things to read (that they enjoy reading), which I doubt


Completely agree with this - Dungeon Core stories are my current favorite, but I've basically read all the ones I can find.  I really wish Royal Road had a Time Travel tag, because I love those, like life re-dos or fix fic or peggy sue or whatever you want to call it.  Any kind of game fic where the main character has save spots or checkpoints they revert to would also qualify.  RR just needs more official tags in general.  There are several types of fanfic I'd read if I weren't out of them too.

Re: Difficulties when focusing on Royal Road's chosen genres?

#8
SF and Horror both have rich , enduring and historic communities both generally, and on the Web.  However you cant expect everyplace to be that place, if you get my drift. Or for those venues to be expressed in exactly the same way.  Here and now, RR does attract an audience in sync with its main themes the most, then fewer as the themes drift away from its focus, which is good for it.  This also means that there still is a reasonable community here that does follow the near fields of SF and Horror. Or at least, accept reading somewhat off genre works if they are well done. This just means success for those stories has to be gauged against the smaller society represented here. If it does well here within it, then it will do equally well before a larger audience once you discover it, create it or when it appears. Mean time, you can take advantage of the feedback and aid available on the scale available.  Meantime, just keep your eye open.

Re: Difficulties when focusing on Royal Road's chosen genres?

#9
I am sometimes a very self-indulgent author and it is hard for me to avoid putting in the very odd things that interest me. For instance, yesterday I had a nice discussion about vexillology and flag design. It will be highly likely that that topic pops up in one of my stories in the near future. Or, my inability to avoid queer characters even when doing so would certainly kill the story for a sizeable number of readers (hence why Reborn on a Systemless Earth... With a System is rank #2500 while my other stories are all sub-1000). My difficulty in focusing on genre is less the content and more the fact that the things in LitRPGs and light novels and etc. that interest me are sometimes not the things that interest readers on this site!

Re: Difficulties when focusing on Royal Road's chosen genres?

#10
Ironically, I think in some ways you're actually setting yourself up for a better readership if you aren't publishing the popular genres.

My first work started off as a rom-com slice-of-life with a genre-aware protagonist, and before I posted the first word I was secretly planning to pivot into a genre that's more popular here on RoyalRoad (one of the reasons I decided to post on this site). However, what I discovered was that the audience for my first volume was far more engaged (both positive and negative comments), and when I transitioned into the second volume I lost a lot of that and the readership numbers plateaued.

It was certainly a slog gaining my initial readership, but qualitatively the folks who were interested in off-genre stuff were more engaged readers. My current work is firmly isekai/lit-RPG and has received basically no recognition (although part of that is because I simply can't manage more than one chapter a week with my current life setup, so I lose out to the people who are putting out thousands of words a day).

Which is to say: I don't think that just posting an isekai or dungeon core or system story or whatever will do much for you. Write what you love, and see what sticks. peolove

Re: Difficulties when focusing on Royal Road's chosen genres?

#11

EO Wrote: My first work started off as a rom-com slice-of-life with a genre-aware protagonist, and before I posted the first word I was secretly planning to pivot into a genre that's more popular here on RoyalRoad (one of the reasons I decided to post on this site). However, what I discovered was that the audience for my first volume was far more engaged (both positive and negative comments), and when I transitioned into the second volume I lost a lot of that and the readership numbers plateaued.
Series or novels that change horses in mid-stream always lose readers when this change occurs, and have difficulty picking up new readers of the second genre.  Brandon Sanderson has discussed how this impacted the readership numbers of an author he met when the two of them were promoting their books which were otherwise similar and published around the same time.

Re: Difficulties when focusing on Royal Road's chosen genres?

#12

sunandshadow Wrote: Series or novels that change horses in mid-stream always lose readers when this change occurs, and have difficulty picking up new readers of the second genre.  Brandon Sanderson has discussed how this impacted the readership numbers of an author he met when the two of them were promoting their books which were otherwise similar and published around the same time.
Yeah, lesson learned on that one! Definitely won't be doing that again anytime soon. Very Happy

Re: Difficulties when focusing on Royal Road's chosen genres?

#13
I suspect that my stories will fall into the difficult to get noticed category twice over, or maybe even thrice over as I'm not actually a gamer,  MMO or RPG (except for tabletop D&D), and my stories reflect my exposure to  shojo, josei, shonen seinen and harem roma-com manga.   At least, manga and light novels that do not feature litrpg or isekai - I suppose I could try to build one of the latter, but it's just not my style, overall.