I'm a blogger that loves books and am fascinated by the publishing industry. In this current age of technology and digital media, many stories have shifted to self-publishing. While this makes writing and finding an audience more accessible, it's also easy for stories to get lost and buried under the hundreds of thousands out there. Thus, I created a website last year aiming to connect avid readers to undiscovered stories in an effort to assist them in finding captivating new stories as well as to encourage emerging authors.
Due to various life occurrences, I was unable to keep up the website's functions (assessing, organizing, and curating stories) for the entirety of the year after beginning this project in March 2019. But in the few months that I ran this by myself, I was honestly amazed by the positive feedback and unexpected surge of website visitors in the thousands per month.
And so, here I am to start up this project again by asking for your help in recommending stories right here on Royal Road!
All stories are assessed with the human touch and indexed accessibly. I also used to offer in-depth reviews in the past, but I couldn't keep up with demand as each would take a minimum of an hour to write, disregarding time reading the entire novel.
Just reply to this thread with any number of stories you want to recommend. In advance, thank you for your help! Let's support hard-working writers and connect their stories to enthusiastic readers! Besides general exposure on the website's index pages, a monthly feature of stories is also created to highlight new and upcoming works as well as older, undiscovered/underrated ones. Lastly, I do plan to compile reading lists directly on RR once I have a suitable amount of stories.
If you want to learn more about this ambitious project, or if you want to be a part of the new Virtual Bookshelf community or staff (voluntary, not paid as I don't solicit money), then visit our website or join us on the official discord.
Main Website: https://archdale.home.blog *We rebranded to Archdale and are no longer simply Virtual Bookshelf.
Sister Indexing Site: http://virtualbookshelf.home.blog
Community Discord: https://discord.gg/QQSpcmu
Hope to see you there! :)
The only stories that come to mind as complete are Epilogue and Mother of Learning - I know there must be more, did Veinqueir finish recently? I haven't read it yet myself - and honestly for a general rec list if you wanted incompletes you could just go down popular and read a few reviews to get an idea for if it's the kind of thing you want to promote.
Or, y'know, advanced search. You're the best one to find the books that fit your requirements, a bunch of random recs will be unlikely to fit as well. If you're just throwing in whatever, it wouldn't really count as curated any more, would it?
Good points you both made! The site is basically an indexing one, so the actual curation is in the reviews (for this site, this part is less useful because compared to other sites, the reviews here are generally more in-depth with less spam ones that get pushed to the back) and in the Monthly Spotlight feature. It's true that many people like completed stories, but with self-publishing, a lot of stories are serials or still ongoing because this isn't traditional publishing where it has to be complete. Many writers are testing their skills and ideas out, and the main problem I've heard is getting audience or feedback to which they'd be able to learn and or be motivated to actually finish until the end. While stories don't have to be completed to be indexed on the site, stories which are completed get much more exposure.
In short, there are five levels of exposure where stories can be listed onsite:
1) Only on the assessment posts containing batches of new stories > those that are very poorly written (below a score of 5/15) aren't additionally listed elsewhere
2) On the Developing Releases webpage/index > stories under 20 chapters/20k words
3) Story Posts webpage/index > over 20 chapters/20k words, each story gets a dedicated informational post which includes a link redirecting to the specific writing platform in order to read it
4) Excellent, Great, Good, Fair webpages/indexes > incremented groups of similarly scored novels that are either complete or very recently ongoing (not hiatus/dropped)
5) Monthly Spotlight > highlighting complete or very recently ongoing novels with high scores but low statistics (views/reads, reviews)
In short, the site isn't so much as to promote popular stories which already are in a position of high exposure on their specific writing platform, but for the more undiscovered ones that are high quality, but for whatever reason (inconsistency of releases, niche genre, author's real life issues, etc.), aren't getting read. Virtual Bookshelf rewards complete stories of high quality and pushes ongoing ones to continue and improve.
As you can attest on RR, specifically, the Popular stories list hardly ever changes, so the Trending list is generally where one can find new and rising stories. But once a story falls from Trending, it can only hope to gain more readers through outside marketings/social media, personal recommendations, the Latest Updates (chance), or Popular this week (competitive) lists. This might sound like a lot, but from what I've observed, very few stories get there after Trending. And for other sites which have no Trending, stories are in worse positions to be found and read.
In asking on-site through the platform's forums, I'm giving authors another avenue of exposure and hopefully motivation. Otherwise, I hardly doubt I'd have the time or ability to search through thousands of stories to find "undiscovered" quality stories on each site. I still do that to some degree, but I have more luck with the former. It's also a better connection to the community while giving readers a way to support smaller authors through their recommendations.
Hope that explains a little more! Thank you for your interest and feedback! It's most appreciated and any suggestions/improvements to Virtual Bookshelf are welcome.
Most stuff on the best-rated list is also quite good.
Other than my own, I personally recommend, in no particular order:
Nanocultivation Chronicles: Trials of Lilijoy
Prophecy Approved Companion
The Menocht Loop
and more that I don't remember at the moment, but that should be a good list.
More exposure sounds like a good thing, since it means more people hopefully enjoy my story.
Today, however, I took a break from reading and listing stories on my blog in order to write an article and allow visitors time to read it. The article reviews why and how the first story scoring a full 15/15 on Virtual Bookshelf got it. If you're interested on my thought process using an actual story as an example, feel free to read it as I wrote it with the hopes of helping writers and readers alike to reach this final goal of 15/15 on VB.
Do let me know if it helps/clarifies how I assess, or if I should any any more explanation about something.
Title: Embracing Tears
Synopsis: The modern world of magic has moved on. Magic of old no longer allowed in the new age. Deemed too barbaric for the contemporary world, magic skills and formulae have taken the country of Idraver by storm and with their arrival, heralds in a new age of magic.
Decades later, a young man named Keldon, born without the ability to use skills, begins to experience strange dreams, and with them came the return of an ancient magic. Given an impossible task, what do his newfound powers mean?
Or is their merely a signal for the beginning of the final end.
Both of your recommendations have been read and listed on our index. Thank you! They were a nice mix of stories and overall well-written.
And to everyone, yes, it's okay to recommend your own story. :)
In addition to being listed on the Virtual Bookshelf website, you can also receive bullet-point feedback in relation to your story's given assessment score through our growing community discord (link on profile). Here you can receive writing and publishing support/advice as well as simply being a place to relax. No one is obligated to join, but all are welcome.