Re: First Impressions and Release Pace

#1
Salutations peeps!

I am a true noob to writing... like, I started writing in December. I had a what-the-heck moment last week and decided to start sharing my writing with more people than just my family. I'll be honest, I have no idea what I'm doing. So...

1) Might I humbly ask for some first impressions feedback for my story? Things like cover, description, if you're feeling generous, first chapter or two. I suck at self-promotion, but the whole point of sharing the story was to *gasp* have it read.

2) I've been seeing conflicting messages about ideal release schedules for chapters. To you readers, specifically, what is a good pace? Assume for a moment that it makes no difference to me how quickly I post new chapters. I'm currently on a one chapter a day schedule, but I've been debating whether or not to post more than that or not. The chapters themselves average between 3k and 4k words, though there are some outliers on both ends. On my end, I'm doing some minor editing while I wait for things to drop, but I'm also super excited to share the whole story and just want to publish it already... silly, but hey! (I have no patience. ūüėÖ)

Thank you for your time and feedback! 

Re: First Impressions and Release Pace

#2
Well, first of all, don't release so many chapters in one day like you did at the beginning. Every chapter is about 3 hours of 'recently updated' coverage. People do browse further than just the first page on that list, looking specifically for newer fictions. I know I do. I'd advocate no more than one chapter per day. Three per week if you feel more comfortable with a more relaxed schedule than daily. 

The most important thing isn't how many people read it, but if you'll keep enjoying writing your story.

Your blurb looks good. I'd phrase a few things differently to create more impact, but that's personal taste.

3k to 4k words is on the longer side for this website, but there are many who'll prefer longer chapters over short ones.

Re: First Impressions and Release Pace

#3

Oskatat Wrote: Well, first of all, don't release so many chapters in one day like you did at the beginning. Every chapter is about 3 hours of 'recently updated' coverage. People do browse further than just the first page on that list, looking specifically for newer fictions. I know I do. I'd advocate no more than one chapter per day. Three per week if you feel more comfortable with a more relaxed schedule than daily. 

The most important thing isn't how many people read it, but if you'll keep enjoying writing your story.

Your blurb looks good. I'd phrase a few things differently to create more impact, but that's personal taste.

3k to 4k words is on the longer side for this website, but there are many who'll prefer longer chapters over short ones.


The initial post explosion was to get part 1 out (of 8), and the rest of it can be posted on a schedule. (I have the entire story already completed.) But, noted! I will try to rein in my own impatience. I think the problem is that I already finished writing the story, so now I just want to share it.

I'd love some pointers on the blurb if you have more specific feedback?

And the chapters are already divided.... should I redivide them to make them shorter or just roll with it?

Re: First Impressions and Release Pace

#5
I would generally agree that shorter chapters are more popular...but, it seems to be correlation, not causation. Shorter chapters have more frequent release schedules, which displays them in recent more often, drums up more interest which translates to more popularity. It's the algorithm that inflates the popularity, not the chapter-length itself. You can lean into the algorithm to increase the traction of your story with new readers, and if you are in a position to do so, you should.

Some people generate a backlog specifically so they can maintain an initial burst of content. releasing a chapter a day plays into the algorithm, so it's pretty self-evident why it's to your benefit if possible.



Re: First Impressions and Release Pace

#6
I think your doing very well, you have some comments and your rating is very good. From what I read sometimes you go a little hard on commas or then fail to use them altogether, but like me you can improve in a lot of areas of you writing. I don't use enough or proper tenses I have been told, and we all have things we need to work on just ask some people to be honest we you, and do not get deterred from what they say! I would not know the first thing about proper grammar as I am still learning my self how to write, so i cant be much use there. But keep on working on your novel and continuing to improve, you are on the right road!

Re: First Impressions and Release Pace

#7
For your number 2, I did some stats crunching a few weeks ago by looking at trending and checking to see their post release history + some good old fashioned sleuthing. 

To get noticed, it goes down to a few things that start being very common: 

1) A previous following is the single highest outliner of getting ahead of the curve. Every story with a pre-existing following (Had a shoutout done on reddit, had been previously posting on spacebattles for months, or was an already known author who could plug in their new book to their existing fanbase) - all of them get on trending. It's the single highest factor that nearly guarantees getting high up there. No story that had a previous following failed to get on trending. (Staying on trending is another thing though. More on that later)  

2) Second highest factor after that was release schedule. If you don't have a following or a link to your story anywhere else in the world, then the only place you'll gather views is from the recently updated list. That didn't seem like it was much of a thing - but you can get on trending sheerly through perseverance by posting 2-4 times per day, at different time periods to maximize your view count. Even if your ratings go to under 3 stars, there's been people that get on trending regardless. 

3) Third best correlated stat with success is the type of story you write. And it basically follows this trend: GameLit = Cultivation = Reincarnation > Fantasy >> Sci fi => VR >>>>>>>>>> romance.

So if your story is gamelit or cultivation, you've automatically got a pretty drastic leg up over the others when it comes to views from the recently updated pool of demographics. I didn't think it was that much of a thing - but it is once you actually look into the number. And numbers don't lie. A no-cover, generic synopsis, "I-will-piece-the-heavens!!  (Gamelit)" title will get roughly double or triple the view count of something different. 

They don't lie when they say RR has a specific demographic. Can you be successful with another title? Sure, but you'll have to bank on another powerup source then the recently updated list. 

4) Near last would be what I'd call the 'decorations' on a story, which are roughly ranked in this order: Catchy title >>> Catchy cover >= Catchy synopsis.
A clever title would have some sort of twist to it that hasn't been seen before. Like "I reincarnated as a turtle!" or "I'm a vending machine in another world!" After that you've got cover and synopsis at roughly the same correlation. And to be fair, that's more subjective because I was the one doing judging on that while gathering metrics. So these stats could be in different orders. 

5) At the actual dead last would be the story writing itself. Here's the unpopular opinion - Good writing will not generate new readers. It will keep old readers. As in, the only time good writing kicks in as a factor in your views is once you hit trending and people can actually find your story. The percentage of people that will spread your story by word of mouth is one in a thousand or less. Don't expect your readerbase to mobilize itself. 

----

(Also here's some tricks to internet sleuthing: Google fic names first using "" to force a direct match. If the name is too generic to find anything, google up parts of the synopsis, or character names. Do the same for author name too. That'll let you know where else on the internet it's been shared/posted or what community is behind the fic.) 

Those stories that employed a mix of the strats above had the highest chances to get on trending. (An outcast is a textbook example of this, gamelit, catchy title, had a spacebattles following for 2 whole months before moving on RR - and posted 3-5 times per day to clear out that backlog. Instantly got on trending within days.)

For an example of previous following carrying a story up the ranks, check Daybreak on Hyperion - which is a book that's had a previous following for quite some time. It got on trending within three days of posting. 

You've got outliers of course, like any data set. Evil eye for example is the hero you should look up to. It made it up the ranks without being posted anywhere else that I could tell (that mattered - they do have it on novel updates iirc) on a release schedule of about 1 chapter per day. Fics like those should be the gold standard for david beating up goliath and coming up on top - a breath of hope for the rest of us plebs that it's possible even on hard mode. 

Ultimately getting on the trending list is a mostly completely different skillset then staying on the trending list. I didn't see any traction on my fic until I went outside RR to give other people a possible link to find it.  
  

Re: First Impressions and Release Pace

#9
That feeling when you do a search for your story on the forums and it's being used as the 'villain' in comparison to the 'hero' Evil Eye which got to trending by pulling up its bootstraps...

It's not wrong though. In very general terms: while staying on trending is about having a story people actually care about, getting on trending is about advertising. I would highly recommend putting your story on other sites outside of Royal Road and directing them here. There's no such thing as too many eyes on a work.

Don't know how much author interaction/friendliness affects reader retention, but it can't hurt.

Re: First Impressions and Release Pace

#10

KamikazePotato Wrote: That feeling when you do a search for your story on the forums and it's being used as the 'villain' in comparison to the 'hero' Evil Eye which got to trending by pulling up its bootstraps...

It's not wrong though. In very general terms: while staying on trending is about having a story people actually care about, getting on trending is about advertising. I would highly recommend putting your story on other sites outside of Royal Road and directing them here. There's no such thing as too many eyes on a work.

Don't know how much author interaction/friendliness affects reader retention, but it can't hurt.
What other sites do you like sharing your work on?

Re: First Impressions and Release Pace

#11

Lmarief Wrote: Might I humbly ask for some first impressions feedback for my story? Things like cover, description, if you're feeling generous, first chapter or two. I suck at self-promotion, but the whole point of sharing the story was to *gasp* have it read.
I'm a lazy git, so I'll look over your description and cover.

Starting with the cover art: It's really good. It's remarkably good. I really like the vibe it's going for, and it's very stylish. Personally, I think it looks like a very, very old painting, like something painted on a wall in a cave or primitive art by a tribal culture. That feeling comes from the natural shades of color, like reds and browns and yellows, and the blue is sort of faded, like old indigo dye.

What I don't like is the font. There's something about it that detracts from the cover itself. I think it's mostly the way it handles the As and Ls. They look almost like they're going for a "modern" or "futuristic" vibe, and I don't know if that's what you're going for, but it doesn't fit with the art behind it.

I think the textured look is a good idea that adds a lot. It adds to the whole "real painting" vibe that I'm liking out of it, and it adds some much needed uniqueness. So many stories either do flat text or overly shiny metallic text. I think this looks pretty nice and I like the shade of red you used.

Now onto the description: If I had any technical nitpicks, it'd be the line "making friendships", since I usually hear people say "making friends". That, and the line "during her five years in the summer training exchange." Does she spend five years at a summer training exchange? Or does she spend five summers at the training exchange? Not trying to be rude, I just think it could be a bit of a confusing line.

Other than that, this seems to be standard and par for the course. It doesn't entirely leap out at me, but I am a sucker for those "power of friendship" stories, so I think I have a positive bias. I think it's vague enough to sort of lose its identity among other story descriptions. It's definitely hard to balance detail and secrecy, though, so I can't be too harsh on you for it.

This isn't a critique or anything, just something I thought I'd ask about. Why 6:03 AM? That's such an oddly specific time.
Also, the book will be finished on my birthday! Nice!

Re: First Impressions and Release Pace

#12

Lmarief Wrote:
KamikazePotato Wrote: That feeling when you do a search for your story on the forums and it's being used as the 'villain' in comparison to the 'hero' Evil Eye which got to trending by pulling up its bootstraps...

It's not wrong though. In very general terms: while staying on trending is about having a story people actually care about, getting on trending is about advertising. I would highly recommend putting your story on other sites outside of Royal Road and directing them here. There's no such thing as too many eyes on a work.

Don't know how much author interaction/friendliness affects reader retention, but it can't hurt.
What other sites do you like sharing your work on?
Literally anything you can find an audience on. Shop around and see what works. Spacebattles, various subreddits, Wattpad, Scribble Hub, Archive Of Our Own, Sufficient Velocity, Questionable Questing, and really anything you can find. Just throw it up on places and see if they take to it. If they don't, just prune it out of your update rotation and focus on whichever places have built a bit of a fanbase.


It doesn't guarantee success, not at all, but it helps.

Re: First Impressions and Release Pace

#13

KamikazePotato Wrote: That feeling when you do a search for your story on the forums and it's being used as the 'villain' in comparison to the 'hero' Evil Eye which got to trending by pulling up its bootstraps...

It's not wrong though. In very general terms: while staying on trending is about having a story people actually care about, getting on trending is about advertising. I would highly recommend putting your story on other sites outside of Royal Road and directing them here. There's no such thing as too many eyes on a work.

Don't know how much author interaction/friendliness affects reader retention, but it can't hurt.


Oh, I absolutely didn't mean it that way!  DrakanSigh

You did all the right steps in addition to writing a great story, that's what I'm pointing out. So it's more like "If you want max success, do what Outcast did because they get the gold medal of nailing everything a story should. If you didn't do that, then your story could still pull an Evil Eye so don't get depressed!" 


Re: First Impressions and Release Pace

#14

Mark Wrote:
KamikazePotato Wrote: That feeling when you do a search for your story on the forums and it's being used as the 'villain' in comparison to the 'hero' Evil Eye which got to trending by pulling up its bootstraps...

It's not wrong though. In very general terms: while staying on trending is about having a story people actually care about, getting on trending is about advertising. I would highly recommend putting your story on other sites outside of Royal Road and directing them here. There's no such thing as too many eyes on a work.

Don't know how much author interaction/friendliness affects reader retention, but it can't hurt.


Oh, I absolutely didn't mean it that way!  DrakanSigh

You did all the right steps in addition to writing a great story, that's what I'm pointing out. So it's more like "If you want max success, do what Outcast did because they get the gold medal of nailing everything a story should. If you didn't do that, then your story could still pull an Evil Eye so don't get depressed!" 
No worries, I knew that's what you meant - I wasn't actually upset or anything, was just playing along with the 'bit'. I have a weird sense of humor!

Re: First Impressions and Release Pace

#15

MarikoRawralton Wrote:
Lmarief Wrote: Might I humbly ask for some first impressions feedback for my story? Things like cover, description, if you're feeling generous, first chapter or two. I suck at self-promotion, but the whole point of sharing the story was to *gasp* have it read.
I'm a lazy git, so I'll look over your description and cover.

Starting with the cover art: It's really good. It's remarkably good. I really like the vibe it's going for, and it's very stylish. Personally, I think it looks like a very, very old painting, like something painted on a wall in a cave or primitive art by a tribal culture. That feeling comes from the natural shades of color, like reds and browns and yellows, and the blue is sort of faded, like old indigo dye.

What I don't like is the font. There's something about it that detracts from the cover itself. I think it's mostly the way it handles the As and Ls. They look almost like they're going for a "modern" or "futuristic" vibe, and I don't know if that's what you're going for, but it doesn't fit with the art behind it.

I think the textured look is a good idea that adds a lot. It adds to the whole "real painting" vibe that I'm liking out of it, and it adds some much needed uniqueness. So many stories either do flat text or overly shiny metallic text. I think this looks pretty nice and I like the shade of red you used.

Now onto the description: If I had any technical nitpicks, it'd be the line "making friendships", since I usually hear people say "making friends". That, and the line "during her five years in the summer training exchange." Does she spend five years at a summer training exchange? Or does she spend five summers at the training exchange? Not trying to be rude, I just think it could be a bit of a confusing line.

Other than that, this seems to be standard and par for the course. It doesn't entirely leap out at me, but I am a sucker for those "power of friendship" stories, so I think I have a positive bias. I think it's vague enough to sort of lose its identity among other story descriptions. It's definitely hard to balance detail and secrecy, though, so I can't be too harsh on you for it.

This isn't a critique or anything, just something I thought I'd ask about. Why 6:03 AM? That's such an oddly specific time.
Also, the book will be finished on my birthday! Nice!
I agree on the font. It's what I had to work with that didn't look outright dumb... I'll have to try some different software to find new fonts.


And I'm tickled that you like my cover art. I actually painted it myself. And then photographed the painting and ran the picture through a filter.

I will have to take a closer look at my description. Thank you for taking the time to give me feedback!

Oh, and 6:03am was literally just a random time. I don't know why I chose it, but it stuck. ūü§∑ūüŹľ‚Äć‚ôÄÔłŹ