Re: How can I better market my fiction?

#1
Alright. so I've been posting here for about a month, and while people have consistently said they liked what I have written, I'm still trying to find an audience.

I know for a fact I need to get my cover changed asap, but cannot currently spend money on it currently, so suggestions are appreciated regarding making a cover for free until I can commission one.

Could my blurb be improved? Could my title use tweaking? I'd really like to hear any suggestions on what I can change about how I present my work to others.

Thanks!

Re: How can I better market my fiction?

#3

MalevolenceMau Wrote:
JMWebb Wrote: I know for a fact I need to get my cover changed asap, but cannot currently spend money on it currently, so suggestions are appreciated.

How many people gave you the same advice on that part?

A few. But what I'm looking for right now is a short-term fix to create a better cover until I can commission one, which is why I am asking if people here might know of good resources regarding making a cover for free. 

Re: How can I better market my fiction?

#4
Title: I wouldn't worry too much about changing the title unless you've got an incredibly good idea. Some people manage to come up with excellent titles, intended to draw in their desired audience (e.g., Defiance of the Fall, Everybody Loves Large Chests), but if you can't manage that, stick with what you've got. Don't change it just for the sake of changing it--there's nothing wrong with your title.

Blurb: Your blurb looks pretty good, but I'd recommend switching the first few sentences from past tense to present tense (the last few sentences are already in present tense). Also, the mention of "the thirteenth saint" without any sort of context is a little jarring, but I doubt that would prevent anyone from reading your story.

Story: I haven't read your story, but you've got some really excellent reviews. Way to go!

Release Schedule: This looks good.

Genre: If the story is traditional fantasy, it's harder to get a big foothold here. Not impossible, but harder. The bulk of the more active readers on RR prefer LitRPG and genres adjacent to LitRPG (someone called them "progression fantasies", but I don't know offhand what other sub-genres are included in that). Unfortunately, I'm not aware of any sites that are better than RR for posting traditional fantasy web serials.

Cover: As you note, you'll want a new cover--something more engaging, brighter, and preferably character-driven, to draw the eyes of potential readers. I actually really like the image you've got now (though I'd change the title font, and add an author name), but at thumbnail size, it's not going to do much of the heavy lifting for your marketing efforts. If you can't afford to commission a cover, you might consider looking at cheap pre-mades. Sadly, pre-mades aren't great for the fantasy genre because, by definition, a pre-made has to be somewhat generic (they work better for the romance or erotica genres). However, there are so many pre-mades available from different sites, you might find something that'll work, at least on a temporary basis (e.g., a woman who can pass for a necromancer, with some sort of fantasy-like background; the purpose of a cover is marketing--it doesn't have to be a perfect representation of the book).

Time: It takes time to build up an audience. Keep posting regularly. A more engaging cover will help because people will see it every time it shows up on the "Latest Updates" page.

Social Media: I don't have any good recommendations on what to do with social media, but it's something to at least consider. The trick is figuring out how to get people to see your stuff if you don't have a following already. Maybe someone else has managed to do that and can provide some advice.

Other: You might see if there are any other tags you can add to the story. That might not help too much, but maybe it'll help a bit.

EDIT: I just had another thought on the blurb. You might consider rewriting it from the main character's perspective rather than the village's perspective. You might want to at least give it a try and then decide which one you like best.

Re: How can I better market my fiction?

#6

Jim Wrote: Yeah, the cover is not doing you any favours. Everything else looks good.

I'd recommend signing up to  shutterstock.com  for a free trial. You can 10 royalty free images for free. Download an image you like and add text to it. Here's just a few I found that could work for you.

Thank you, this is going to be very useful. I will check back in a few hours when I can edit some images to make some covers (and get some thoughts on them)! 

Re: How can I better market my fiction?

#7
It might sound counterintuitive, but I think a lot of readers on royal road are hesitant to pick up a story with less than 200 pages posted.  

I'm guessing that there are a plethora of unfinished works read that left some readers feeling unsatisfied and that factors into the mentality.

For new authors posting on this site (unless they come with their own fanbase), alot of the initial visibility your story can get is based on how many readers you can catch in Latest Updates, or selfpromoting in places like Reddit groups, discord, or facebook.

Why is it counterintuitive?  Because for many authors positive feedback is the fuel desired to continue with that story.  And not getting it until later chapters can feel frustrating.

With your specific story,  I took a quick look and it seems like you have a good premise.  I see that others have already commented on your blurb and cover, so I'll give my opinion on a different part: the worldbuilding mythology / glossary that's your first chapter.

Is it useful for readers?  Absolutely.  Does it distract and detract - yeah.  If, as a reader, I click on thee first chapter, I want to see a prologue that hooks me.  Give me the worldbuilding first, and I'm just gonna click next, IF I click next.  Then after reading some, if I liked the story, I might come back to it, but if I don't?  Why bother reading through the glossary?  

So, my recommendation here is to move it.  Put in in the authors note section at the end of the prologue or first chapter behind a spoiler.  Those interested can easily click and get to it, those not won't be distracted. 

That's just my mediocre thoughts on it from an amateur internet author, in case it somehow helps.  If not, feel free to ignore!  

Re: How can I better market my fiction?

#8

Jim Wrote: Yeah, the cover is not doing you any favours. Everything else looks good.

I'd recommend signing up to  shutterstock.com  for a free trial. You can 10 royalty free images for free. Download an image you like and add text to it. Here's just a few I found that could work for you.

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https%3A%2F%2Fst2.depositphotos.com%2F1846803%2F78...forest.jpg

https%3A%2F%2Fimage.shutterstock.com%2Fshutterst...263296.jpg


https%3A%2F%2Fi.ibb.co%2FwCRDPLC%2FDoty2.png

https%3A%2F%2Fi.ibb.co%2FkKt0BHr%2FDab.png
Here are the two covers I've come up with that are probably more engaging, until I can get one made. Are these an improvement?


Allanther Wrote: It might sound counterintuitive, but I think a lot of readers on royal road are hesitant to pick up a story with less than 200 pages posted.  

I'm guessing that there are a plethora of unfinished works read that left some readers feeling unsatisfied and that factors into the mentality.

For new authors posting on this site (unless they come with their own fanbase), alot of the initial visibility your story can get is based on how many readers you can catch in Latest Updates, or selfpromoting in places like Reddit groups, discord, or facebook.

Why is it counterintuitive?  Because for many authors positive feedback is the fuel desired to continue with that story.  And not getting it until later chapters can feel frustrating.

With your specific story,  I took a quick look and it seems like you have a good premise.  I see that others have already commented on your blurb and cover, so I'll give my opinion on a different part: the worldbuilding mythology / glossary that's your first chapter.

Is it useful for readers?  Absolutely.  Does it distract and detract - yeah.  If, as a reader, I click on thee first chapter, I want to see a prologue that hooks me.  Give me the worldbuilding first, and I'm just gonna click next, IF I click next.  Then after reading some, if I liked the story, I might come back to it, but if I don't?  Why bother reading through the glossary?  

So, my recommendation here is to move it.  Put in in the authors note section at the end of the prologue or first chapter behind a spoiler.  Those interested can easily click and get to it, those not won't be distracted. 

That's just my mediocre thoughts on it from an amateur internet author, in case it somehow helps.  If not, feel free to ignore!


To be fair, the glossary says (multiple time) says for the reader to move on if they have not read the book. Is it distracting enough that they won't want to move another page?

Re: How can I better market my fiction?

#9

JMWebb Wrote: To be fair, the glossary says (multiple time) says for the reader to move on if they have not read the book. Is it distracting enough that they won't want to move another page?




For me personally?  No.   And if this were an ebook or traditional book, I wouldn't have brought it up.

But pretend you're a reader on royal road, and you're doing a search for necromancy or fantasy or [insert criteria].  

Then this story pops up.  

Title and cover? Does this anonymous reader click?  Why or why not?

Blurb?  Is in intriguing enough to want to read?  The reviews / ratings, are they good or bad?

The first chapter this random reader sees after they click "start reading?"  Does it hook them?   Does it show enough about the character to make them sympathetic? The scene, is it immersing?  The  glimpse into the plot - does it catch their attention?


And that's just what I consider I needed to do to get the readers onto page 2 when I write--and maybe it's an overanalyzation.  Probably is, lol.

Also, please don't get me wrong.  I'm not saying your story does or doesn't do any of that.  I clicked on it based on your post here and looked with a more critical eye than I think many readers would use because you asked for assistance and I wanted to help if I could.

 If my words help, great! If it doesn't help, no worries!   

Re: How can I better market my fiction?

#10
It is hard for me to judge between the two new covers that you have made because they are hugely different in style. They could both work, and I think they are more attractive to the eye than your current one. The trick is that you want the style of your cover to match the contents of your story. As IvyVeritas said, it's marketing.

I was considering doing some free cover art in my spare time--(no portfolio, but I made the cover art in my signature. I can do typography too.) I kind of want to test my idea on a smaller sample size of people before I make a post advertising my offer. (No idea if anyone would even be interested but I wouldn't want to fold and say 'sike, this isn't happening anymore' if I went in over my head.) I don't know.... What I'm getting at is would you want to be my guinea pig?

Re: How can I better market my fiction?

#11

Allanther Wrote:
JMWebb Wrote: To be fair, the glossary says (multiple time) says for the reader to move on if they have not read the book. Is it distracting enough that they won't want to move another page?




For me personally?  No.   And if this were an ebook or traditional book, I wouldn't have brought it up.

But pretend you're a reader on royal road, and you're doing a search for necromancy or fantasy or [insert criteria].  

Then this story pops up.  

Title and cover? Does this anonymous reader click?  Why or why not?

Blurb?  Is in intriguing enough to want to read?  The reviews / ratings, are they good or bad?

The first chapter this random reader sees after they click "start reading?"  Does it hook them?   Does it show enough about the character to make them sympathetic? The scene, is it immersing?  The  glimpse into the plot - does it catch their attention?


And that's just what I consider I needed to do to get the readers onto page 2 when I write--and maybe it's an overanalyzation.  Probably is, lol.

Also, please don't get me wrong.  I'm not saying your story does or doesn't do any of that.  I clicked on it based on your post here and looked with a more critical eye than I think many readers would use because you asked for assistance and I wanted to help if I could.

 If my words help, great! If it doesn't help, no worries!

This actually convinced me, and I'll move it Google doc. 

Re: How can I better market my fiction?

#12

Allanther Wrote: It might sound counterintuitive, but I think a lot of readers on royal road are hesitant to pick up a story with less than 200 pages posted.

And I'm hesitant to write for less than 200 readers. But I do it anyway.

Edit: To answer the OP's question, I think I kinda like your previous cover better. The title is interesting enough, and I like the old-timey vibe. As someone that struggles with blurbs (I've rewritten mine about a dozen times already), I understand that it's difficult to compress the entire plot and the main themes of the story into just a few paragraphs, but I think your current synopsis could be edited for clarity. I'm willing to try making you a cover, but my skills leave a lot to be desired lol

Edit #2: Okay, I just saw your second cover. I kinda like the minimalist one with the moons!

Re: How can I better market my fiction?

#15
Personally, the blurb doesn't necessarily catch my attention immediately. It's a bit winding, and reveals too much, I think. I had to re-read it twice because there was a tone-switch in the middle that went from the limited knowledge of the townsfolk to (what I read) as the secretive nature of the necromancer.

I revised it to what I as a reader would prefer, which was a focused perspective in the blurb, rather than omniscience. Feel free to take it or leave it.


Quote:Wracked with misfortune, a nameless village along the edge of the Gray Spine rejoiced at the arrival of a paladin. His companion, though, soured their joy, for the shining knight led an unknown into their midst: his wife, bearing the grave markings of necromancy and the thirteenth saint. Who is this woman and why has she come to their village asking for their trust?



I write traditional fantasy shorts and have had a slow time finding an audience here, but that's OK. Those who are reading seem to enjoy. I'm not sure how much the blurb or cover actually help, personally, but I wish you good luck!

Re: How can I better market my fiction?

#16

JMWebb Wrote: Alright. so I've been posting here for about a month, and while people have consistently said they liked what I have written, I'm still trying to find an audience.

I know for a fact I need to get my cover changed asap, but cannot currently spend money on it currently, so suggestions are appreciated regarding making a cover for free until I can commission one.

Could my blurb be improved? Could my title use tweaking? I'd really like to hear any suggestions on what I can change about how I present my work to others.

Thanks!


A big part of it is a genre issue. Based on the title and cover I'm making the assumption that this leans grim, dark, and maybe dark fantasy horror. There was a post on 20booksto50k not that long ago about market share by genre/subgenre and Grimdark/horror have the smallest market share. Which is to say, higher floor to get noticed, and lower ceiling of total fans once you do get noticed. 

IE, Mark Lawrence, the author of Red Sister and Prince of Thorns can be found in the Dark Fantasy Facebook Group posting about his books all the time, why? Because even he, a trad published guy who wrote some good stories, struggles to find readers because that corner of the market is so small. 


Do with this what you will. 

Re: How can I better market my fiction?

#18

Sake Wrote: I have the same issue. Based on low reader retention, I have a feeling I'm attracting the wrong crowd.

You may find adding your fiction title and author name to the cover will bring in a better readership. With just an image, it just feels like it was pulled from the internet with no inclination to it being a written work. Though that is a personal opinion, depends on the feeling you want to impart. The white background is also rather plain, and painful for dark-readers who'll be "blinded by the light" as it were.

As for your blurb, it could do with breaking up a bit better, more paragraphs that start a new "segment" each so Race > MC > Time Jump > Story Start. They are very much a "block of text" right now for the blurbs you'd find elsewhere. You also reveal a bit too much about the backstory and current story in both the blurb and the writing thereafter for my tastes, those should be explained more in the story in my opinion. 

Outside of all of those points, your fiction is two days old with five chapters, really early days and not indicative of your future success. Another suggestion would be to space out your releases more, once a day at the most frequent, more than once a day and you lose out on the daily bumps in lists.

Re: How can I better market my fiction?

#19

MalevolenceMau Wrote: You may find adding your fiction title and author name to the cover will bring in a better readership. With just an image, it just feels like it was pulled from the internet with no inclination to it being a written work. Though that is a personal opinion, depends on the feeling you want to impart.

I noticed the opposite for my own fiction. I did nice typography for the title and my author name, but the image alone brought in more people without text. I do think that each would be slightly more inclined to attract different audiences, whether you want to go for more of an official book sort of feel or not.

Re: How can I better market my fiction?

#20

kieranpierce Wrote:
MalevolenceMau Wrote: You may find adding your fiction title and author name to the cover will bring in a better readership. With just an image, it just feels like it was pulled from the internet with no inclination to it being a written work. Though that is a personal opinion, depends on the feeling you want to impart.

I noticed the opposite for my own fiction. I did nice typography for the title and my author name, but the image alone brought in more people without text. I do think that each would be slightly more inclined to attract different audiences, whether you want to go for more of an official book sort of feel or not.


Totally acceptable approach as well, either way does bring in different audiences. It'd be hard to find what types of readers you'd get versus what you want with either style though. Could probably find online research that delves into that deeper. Your image is more evocative with the use of colour, characters, and background, so it fits nicer as a standalone cover.

In my taste, the top portion of the cover is too barren, and I'd slap the book title there or fill it in, with the idea of thirds still prevalent though.