Re: Beginner's Guide

#1
Anyone who frequents the Introduction sub-forum will know that, recently, I've been copying and pasting in the same basic advice on each new thread. Now, I'm aware that I'm possibly not the most qualified of people to be giving out advice on either visibility or RR, however, I do think that maybe we need a guide for beginners. Whether they're new to just RR or posting their fictions online in general. Also, if there's a thread, everyone with way more experience than me will be able to add their words of wisdom as well.

Royal Road Basics.
  • Get involved in the forums and/or the stories you read.
    These really are the best two ways to interact with the community here. All writers love to get comments on their fictions, and there are many good topics to engage with in the forums.
  • The FAQ page.
  • Reputation and user levels.
    The official blog post explaining the user & rep levels.
    Gej's guide to RR's rep system.

Visibility for your Fiction on Royal Road.


Royal Road actually has pretty good visibility in my opinion (certainly compared to other fiction hosting websites), but here's some helpful advice on how to increase this.
  • Get your fiction link(s) into your forum signature.
    There's an auto generate button, but there's also Xian's signature crafting guide for those of you who want to customise it.
    Don't forget to tick the box to show it on your forum posts though.
  • Be realistic about your expectations.
    Don't expect lots of readers/views straight away. Readers here like longer works, so the longer you've been posting the more readers you'll pick up.
  • Don't dump any backlog all at once. 
    Outside of the big lists, the most likely way to pick up new readers is via the latest updates page. So if you spread out your backlog you'll maximise your exposure here. It can also be worth trying a couple of different time zones.
  • Consistent updates.
    If you have a backlog this is easy because you can schedule your chapters up and they'll go out on time. More importantly, you want to set a release schedule you can keep up with (without burning out), so be realistic about how much you can write. Consistency builds trust with your readers, and that can convince people to pick up your fiction. Personally I don't think it matters how slow/fast your schedule is - so long as it's consistent - but I know some people disagree with this.
  • Check out the recommendations sub-forum.
    Not only does it have lots of good reads narrowed by specific tastes, but there's also a sub-forum within it for self promo, and some requests for fictions allow self promo as well as promoting your own favourites.
  • Get a cover.
    There's many sites that provide stock images that are free for non-monetised fictions. Some even have licences for monetised works.
    Artsymarsy's Covers Without Stolen Artwork guide contains some good resources.
    Also check out the art sub-forum because there's a lot of great artists here.

General Writing Stuff


Seriously, check out the Guides by the Community sub-forum, there are many good guides there. I can't catalogue them all (or can I?) here, but I've included a few that I think are particularly useful.
  • Getting Feedback on your Fiction
    Readers tend to be pretty quiet. So if you're specifically looking for feedback, head over to the reviewing sub-forum to organise some comment swaps.
    Review swaps can also be organised here, but these are less useful for feedback than comments (in my opinion).
  • FAHyatt used to mention a critiquing site called Critters.
  • Oskatat's Let's Talk About the Synopsis guide.
  • David Musk's Showing vs Telling guide (Ithere's also a part 2).
  • Ploopie's Improving Tables guide.
  • B.A. Tucker's Comprehensive Guide to Dialogue Tags
  • Starvingsloth's Royal Road Tags Description guide (it's the last spoiler tag that contains the table with the tag descriptions).
  • There are a number of grammar checking tools out there. Such as Grammarly or Prowritingaid, or even something as basic as gdocs/MS Office/Open Office's inbuilt checkers.
  • Writing a fiction is a lot of work. So don't be disheartened if you hit a block or stumble. If there's specific questions that are getting in your way, ask away in the forums. A lot of projects never see completion, so don't beat yourself up if that happens. It's all experience and there's only one way to get it. So write what you enjoy.
Sometimes people ask if their views are "normal" or if their fiction is "successful". Well, that rather depends on what you wanted to achieve by writing and uploading your fiction.
Some people write for a hobby and don't care about their views, some people want to get feedback, others want to hit x views in a month with a view to start supporting themselves financially. There's nothing wrong with any of these, but no one can measure something's success if they didn't have a goal to begin with.

Readers

Because, let's be honest, our readers are everything to us. And I'm sorry I didn't include this in the original guide.

Ploopie has made a very detailed post on this thread for readers, which I recommend checking out. But I'm going to add a quick summary here.

Finding fictions
  • There are a number of lists available to browse; Best Rated, Trending, Ongoing, Complete, Popular This Week, Latest Updates, New Releases and Rising Stars.
    Once you've selected a list to look at you can filter it by genre.
    Some of these lists are on the home page, but they're all accessible from the "reading" option on RR's menu ribbon.
  • (Advanced) Search
    The basic search allows you to search by title, but the "advanced" button next to search opens up a lot of options. Using advanced search you can select genre, tags to include or exclude, content warnings you do/don't want to see, length of fictions, min/max rating, status, fanfic/original and how to sort the results.
  • The Recommendations Sub-forum
    Another option if you know what kind of fictions you want. There are many threads already that provide comprehensive guides for specific tastes, so have a browse, or create a new thread where you define the rules of what you want to read and if you allow self promotion.
  • The forums
    Many authors have forum signatures with links to their fictions. Also, some authors will promote their fictions in the self promotion sub-forum.

Interacting with Fictions
  • Once you click on a fiction title you will be taken to the fiction page. From here you have the option to follow, favourite, mark as read later or not interested.
    Once added to one of these user lists, you can access them from your profile for easy access.
    Once marked as not interested a fiction won't automatically appear on the lists or searches (advanced search allows you to include).
  • At the end of each chapter you have the option to leave a comment. This is after the banner advert & author bio.
    Generally speaking author's love comments, so please feel free to engage at the end of each chapter. Whether that's to say what you liked, point out typos, ask questions or leave constructive criticism. Just please keep it civil.
    Also comments can be given rep.
  • After you've started reading you also have the option to leave a rating or review.
    There are some rules for these in the FAQ section (last General bullet point, #8) which I cannot directly link too.
    However, there is a point of note that every user has a different opinion of what each star means. So anyone engaging in review swaps, bear that in mind.

Artists

Check out the art sub-forum.

Poets
Check out the poetry megathread.


I am aware I might have missed stuff, so do please add anything you think will make it easier for new members to find their feet.

Hopefully this was/will be useful.

Re: Beginner's Guide

#8

TripleSeven Wrote: Good guide! You should also include free grammar checkers like Grammarly or Prowriting aid. There are a lot of fictions in this site that can be drastically improved by just a single pass with a grammar checker.

A caveat to this:

Machine editors don't have the ability to determine whether something is a stylistic choice or it's genuinely bad grammar. Narrative/fictional writing gets a pretty big leeway on grammar vs. non-fiction/academic writing. That's not to say that fiction doesn't have to follow grammar, but you can get some quirky sentence structures that don't typically appear in nonfiction.


Take this sentence for example:

Quote:He was talking about the gift that all Seer possess, the ability to see into the future.


This is a sentence from an upcoming chapter. Google wants to correct "Seer" to "Seers" because it cannot distinguish between my use of "Seer" as a collective plural noun referring to a group of people (the Seer race in my story. Think words like "Irish", "Welsh", or "British". There is no "Seerish" in my story. "Seer" is used in the same context).


Machine editors are a "shortcut" but the best way to improve your writing is the same way you would learn a language: exposure. As in reading (or listening through audible) professionally edited books and using the language.

Re: Beginner's Guide

#13

Wing Wrote: Cool - Stickied! 
Though a suggestion, I think that it would be even more comprehensive if it included a reader's guide as well?

Good idea! Cinn has done a lot already, so I think I can cover this one.


For readers:

General
So, you've stumbled across this little old site, have you? Looking for some cool LitRPG light novels to read? Perhaps you like sci-fi? Not to worry. Royal Road has you covered. But wait! You're confused? You don't know how to use this site? Well, lucky you came across this thread, eh?

If you've been hasty enough to come into this forum without knowing what the follow, favourite, read later, and not interested buttons do, I suggest you didn't come into this forum in the first place. Oh, you're here anyways. Oh well, here you go. The favourite button adds the book you've clicked it on to a special part of your profile where the whole community can see. This is a button you should use when you're really enjoying the story and want to somehow support it. The follow button adds the book to a personal list (that no one else can see). This list will show you when the author has updated and if there's a new chapter. Great for organising your reads. The read later button adds it to a list where you, of course, read it later (also personal). The not interested button... I have no idea. On lists, it will show a canceled eye icon next to it, reminding you that you didn't like it.

Alright. Now that that's over with, lets get onto finding your first read. If you're not looking for anything specific, I suggest reading below to find out more information about the lists... Oh yeah, they still have genre filters so that should help.

Apart from that, if you're looking for, say a few specific genres or some tags, you can go into the advanced search, which is next to the search bar. This will help you with finding the most ideal book you're looking for. 

I don't really have much else to say. This site is relatively simple to use for readers, so.... eh.

The one thing I do want to say is, you may want to check out the Recommendations forum. This, I guess, is when you really want to find something specific. Also, you can ask the community here to make a better decision before starting that 1000 chapter book.

Lists
There are eight lists available on Royal Road for reading. These are; Best Rated, Trending, Ongoing, Complete, Popular This Week, Latest Updates and New Releases. Each of them tend to suit different people, but some overlap with each other. Here's how I've deduced it.

If you're looking for the best on this site, the tippity-top quality fictions and serials to read, head over to Best Rated. It's got the classics of this site, and is, well of course, the Best Rated. This is the best to go to if you're looking for ongoing books with already a bunch of chapters. It's really high quality and you'll find plenty of exciting content to binge on.

If you're looking for something to binge read and really get into the whole story, you'll probably want to head over to the Complete list. It's probably the most guaranteed place to find long stories. Note, these may not all be long stories. Some could be short stories as well.

Now here's the part that isn't so self explanatory. The Trending, Rising Stars and Popular This Week lists are all really good to find new fictions to follow. Trending is usually a little bit older of a list, meaning that the fictions will probably have been on this site for a while longer than on Trending. Usually, this is the case because the authors will release their chapters slower, meaning there's more of a wait. If you're willing to wait, go for it! I'm sure you'll really enjoy what you see there. For Rising Stars, the books there have mostly been out for a month or thereabouts. This means that the chapter update schedule is probably quite frequent, which should be a sign for you if you don't want to wait long. Trending is a great place to get a really good taste of this site! 

For Ongoing, I find that you'll find a lot of the fictions that were on Best Rated, with some additional ones. This is a list that doesn't have those that are on Best Rated and have stopped posting. It's a great place to find out what's popular here.

Popular This Week is also quite similar to Ongoing, but I find that there are more books that have been on Rising Stars but are too old to stay there, and are still posting.

Latest Updates are... well, latest updates! This list is totally different to any other and I don't really have a recommendation for it. Personally, I'd just skim over it and see whether any cover or title interests me. This is a list that kind of acts like a 'Surprise Me', but you get to choose what surprises you!

Now finally, we reach the New Releases list. This is a list for samplers. People who just want to try something out and if it's interesting, leave a read later or follow will like this page. I guess this page isn't really frequently looked at, since there isn't much to do on it. New releases will release with one chapter- or even just a prologue, and it may not be enough to get you engaged. I'd recommend it to those who just want to have a look.

Well, yeah! That's all I have to say about reading. Feel free to add some more stuff to it if you feel like it. Thanks for the hard work, Cinn. Keep it up! (You can copy paste this in)