Re: A Guide to be Successful on Royal Road (Not Clickbait)


Serion Wrote:
HereBeTreasure Wrote: But when that reward system is put into a human context we just devolve into pretty hilarious language like positive vibes and basically distance ourselves from our reward systems. In actuality we're no different from dogs.
And that is where I'll disagree with you. People are people, and I respect my readers for who they are. Not all of them will be amazing people, and I can never even get to know most of them. The human brain can only really know 250 people or so. But they are my readers and they enjoy my story and what I create. Most of them are also quite positive with only a few undesirable people mixed in with the bunch. 

I also think that mass produced content is not the only way to do well. Webfiction is purely speculative fiction and has a certain kind of audience, but that audience is not just looking for fluff, they can appreciate well written stories too, when done a certain way. That way is not the way trad pubs and stories like LoTR are written. 

Worm is by no means fluff, and it is one of the biggest web fictions. The money definitely lies in the fluffy content, but it is on your to decide who you'd prefer to be. I do not think of myself as some sort of drug dealer feeding people somehow under me because they enjoy what I create. That is both disrecpectful to my story and my readers. But I certainly know that these readers enjoy some aspects in a story more than others and I add those in to enhance my story. 

I prefer to think of myself as just a guy who has read more than most, and has been a part of the community for a while. When I ran out of things to read, I began to write. And since I primarily read Web fiction, what I wrote mimiced that. 

Web fiction and the novels have the difference of an art piece in a museum, or a wide spread comic book that brings joys to millions outside of that niche group of artistic people. It's meant for a wider audience, but that certainly does not make the audience be liable to be equated to dogs. (Well tbf, being equated to dogs is a step up in some ways with how adorable and floofy they are)
I don't know if you've followed youtube at any point, but youtubers fall under the same vein of amateur individuals turned content creators as royalroad creators. In that we are all amateur individuals that have delved into this field of designing attractive content for people's consumption. 

If you look at how youtube videos have evolved, those amateur creators are still very much there to bring joy to millions of people, but the way that it is being done these days is kind of hilarious and more predatory by the day. You have people like MrBeast who have monetized charitable reactions, which of course started out of good intentions, but have now started an entire trend of basically monetizing that feeling of good you get from helping someone (for example MrBeast gives someone poor a house) and instantly record their reaction to it to share with the general population in a way that nets them more money from the views. 

Now this precision targetting of the human emotional framwork for ratings or views is not necessarily a bad thing per se, literally all of us like content that makes us feel good, I am not above it and you are not above it, but I think it's important that we understand the underlying principle behind it. 

It's the same reason why sports exist. Sports are basically the human equivalent of dogs playing fetch. Our biological reward systems heavily reward "hunting practice" or "practice" in general in the form of play, it helps us develop skills that can be used later on. So that's why we get a high off playing competitive video games or sports, very much like dogs playing fetch. 

Also the words "bring joy" and "set off biological reward system" are basically the same thing, except one is more euphemistic and nicer to hear as a human being, because you guessed it we like to distance ourselves from the truth through euphemism. 

It's the same thing politicians do, you can take the same concept and then make it a positive or negative connotation based on the verbiage used. Sometimes both the positive and negative connotations are technically true, buuuuut as humans we like to hear the positive one because it's a "good vibe". Simple and transparent but very effective manipulation method. 

Re: A Guide to be Successful on Royal Road (Not Clickbait)


Serion Wrote:
Asviloka Wrote: Your initials are SL... Who else do we know with those initials? SHIRTA LOON! You've been found out. :-3

Shitaloon is one word- cough  I meant to say. Oh no. I exposed myself. I wonder what I'll ever do now as a million trolls come after me. (I'm not shirtaloon for those of you who can't catch the subtext)
Also just to follow up from the last comment I made about euphemism and truth, if you really think about it, think about what was done here. You took a new account to write about the truth of how to get popular on royalroad, that maybe you normally wouldn't have done under your normal account. Basically, you really want to talk about the truth of how you really feel about these subjects, but realize that truth doesn't actually do well with readers and can attract trolls. 

So the real account sits upon a bed of euphemism and distance from the truth and what we call "positive vibes", because that's what is received better. 

And the fake account actually talks about your true feelings about the system and whatever else you wished to distance from your real account. 

There's nothing actually wrong with this. I think this is totally reasonable and normal, although tbh I don't see anything particularly offensive in your first post that would attract trolls, it seems innocuous enough. Now the real politician type people would keep tight lipped completely about their true feelings, but we're just amateurs here that like to vent  

Re: A Guide to be Successful on Royal Road (Not Clickbait)


Serion Wrote:
Ayer12 Wrote: Huh. I guess that explains the sudden influx of a few followers per day I've been getting. Still, only the main page of rising stars matters, and three months is a long time for a RR novel. Most in Rising are like 1 month old or something.

Untrue, 3 months while not exceptional is still decently above average. Most that make it under 1 month either get shoutouts from big stories, or do a lot of advertising etc to reach there.
I'd argue their authors simply got lucky. I've seen quite a few stories succeed under one month with no advertising or shoutouts. It's just the way it is sometimes.

Re: A Guide to be Successful on Royal Road (Not Clickbait)


Asviloka Wrote:
Ayer12 Wrote: Still, only the main page of rising stars matters, and three months is a long time for a RR novel. Most in Rising are like 1 month old or something.
If you're unable to be satisfied with small achievements now, you'll be unsatisfied with bigger achievements later. Try to celebrate each step without worrying about what isn't happening fast enough for you.

Not every story makes it to main rising - though yours seems poised to do so - and it's not the end of the world if it doesn't.

You'll be far happier in the long run, whether successful or not, if you can decouple your satisfaction in your work from its reception by others. Not to say you should stop trying to reach higher, but don't get so caught up in chasing the next milestone that you get discouraged when you don't make it. There are always options for what to do with a finished story arc; if it doesn't work out well here, you can edit it into a book and post to amazon, you can shop it to publishers (just be sure you mention that it's been posted already), or you can just keep going forever.

The vast majority of successful writers weren't successful from the very start. The handful of first-time winners makes it easy to assume if you don't make it big at once you're failing, but that's not how it is at all. For most it's a long slow path, but it's not a hopeless one. The most important thing is to manage your expectations and focus on what you can control rather than stressing about what you can't. The story, the words, those are in your power. The ratings, readers clicking or not clicking? You can make new covers and adjust your blurb, but in the end nothing you do will make them read it - it's out of your control. Try not to tie your ideas of success or failure too tightly to any one milestone.
I couldn't have put it better myself. I completely agree with everything you said, though I'm not always able to follow it.

Re: A Guide to be Successful on Royal Road (Not Clickbait)


kanadaj Wrote: Following reviewers is another matter, I think it's in the backlog. They both are, really, but I have no big hopes for lists to make much of a difference at scale.

Thanks for your hard work! Hearing that there is a back log you are working on is super cool! More improvements to this great site!
kanadaj Wrote: On one hand, who decides what's good and what's better? Should we put the website's - and the staff's - face on what's ultimately an opinion towards the work of our own writers? Would you want to post on a website where the staff proceeds to take your work apart and point out all the flaws? And if we don't do it, aren't we right back to trusting reviews by users, which we already do?

DrakanThinking I mean, I wouldn't mind the staff picking apart my story so I could improve, but I'm not going to make you with how busy you are. I think user reviews is good and the reporting system seems to be working too my experience. 
kanadaj Wrote: We used to have a sanctioned group of reviewers with the goal of providing objective reviews, and the authors absolutely hated it, feeling that we were out for blood for the kicks. And how about all the works that don't get reviewed/promoted? Remember, we have forty thousand novels on the website.
I never heard of these reviewers before! Like Royal Road Jaegers. People were a bit to sensitive about it from this perspective. 

kanadaj Wrote: On our end, the budget for a single book is measured somewhere between cents and single digit dollars, and even with a monetization model, I don't expect this to change significantly.

Reading on a budget I guess. 
kanadaj Wrote: Remember, we already rely on user reviews to build Best Rated, and authors are already vehemently against the entire rating system as a whole.

I kinda like the rating system. Watching the numbers go up like brrrrrr. I think there is a fair spread of discoverable books on the site. 

Re: A Guide to be Successful on Royal Road (Not Clickbait)

To the original poster - Thanks for sharing the results of what looks like many hours of data crunching and analysis.

To kana - thanks for all your hard working keeping royal road going.

To the person who said that there's no good lotr or harry potter level stories in the top popular rankings, I offer my cry face.  It's not a pretty cry face.

And for everyone else, I offer my thoughts:

This mysterious author has shared their analysis with no intentions to garner profit or additional readers from it.  I didn’t read anything intentionally misleading, and I certainly didn't sense any malicious motivations.  If some of it isn't helpful, no worries!  If some is, great!  

For me, it's a strong signal that our writing community can work together to build each other and our works up.  A rising tide raises all ships.  

Re: A Guide to be Successful on Royal Road (Not Clickbait)


Ayer12 Wrote: Necro bumping this thread to say that while I did get on Rising Stars (like 2 days after my comment), I have also stagnated. This is as far as I'll go. RIP
I've kept an eye out. That's just how it goes sometimes. Perhaps read the more popular stories, and try to see what's so appealing about them. Focusing on your crafting and gaining a good grasp on prose, characterisation, grammar, progress, story beats etc will also help with this goal. 

Not all stories will do amazing, or else we'd be flooded with thousands of stories with tens of thousands of followers across them. Doesn't mean that you can't do well. Just have to keep at it. 

Another note, RR is not always the right audience for your story. And you may find other places that're more receptive. Publishing might help you reach out to more people as well.