What can I do (within my power) to reach Trending/Rising Stars?

#1
I guess you could argue that writing a good/interesting story with no errors, well-rounded characters, and a gripping plot are "within my control" but those are more subjective. What can I do, in terms of structuring/releasing chapters, to make it more likely to hit a list that will get my story more traction? I have a story I've been working on with a considerable backlog built up now. Chapters are mostly between 1,000 words (on the absolute lowest end) to 3,000 words or so. I'd say I have a decent mix of tense, action-driven chapters with a few slower, reflective, and even slice-of-life chapters in between. I want to start posting in May or June.

Do I release one chapter a day for 30 days and then maybe 2-3 a week? Do I release daily as many days as I have content and then a slower schedule from there? Do I release a few early on, then at a faster pace later on? I feel like the Royal Road algorithms have understandably changed over the years. I just don't know where they stand currently. I've been working really hard on this next story and I'd like to do everything in my power to see that it doesn't flop.

Re: What can I do (within my power) to reach Trending/Rising Stars?

#2

Raz Wrote: Do I release one chapter a day for 30 days and then maybe 2-3 a week? Do I release daily as many days as I have content and then a slower schedule from there? Do I release a few early on, then at a faster pace later on? I feel like the Royal Road algorithms have understandably changed over the years. I just don't know where they stand currently. I've been working really hard on this next story and I'd like to do everything in my power to see that it doesn't flop.
I tend to write shorter chapters of around a thousand to fifteen-hundred words. I'll tell you, releasing once a day at that length, doesn't gain a lot of followers, but when you release 3-4 times, that tended to help me a lot better.

When I got onto Rising Stars, I have around 2,800 views and around 65 followers. I suggest you try to beef up your views by posting a lot at first, and post on multiple platforms with links reaching back to your RR fiction. Also, do reveal swaps, as many as you can do. It's a lot of work, but getting the ratings are necessary, I think?

Re: What can I do (within my power) to reach Trending/Rising Stars?

#3
From a readers perspective:

Make sure you have a solid description.  It should both sell me on the work and explain what’s going to happen.

The first few chapters should be a hook.  Unless your world is exceptionally unique, you should take advantage of genre motifs to reduce needless explanation.  For example, you don’t need to start an isekai with the transition.  Hell, you don’t need to start it with the class system explanation.  More often than not we all know what’s going on, so don’t be afraid to throw us into the first adventure of the plot.

Quick upload schedule. Though this depends on how many chapters you can do this for.  Maybe if you have 30 chapters, then upload every day.  If you have 10, then every 3 days? Idk about this as much.

Re: What can I do (within my power) to reach Trending/Rising Stars?

#4
In (a very rough) order of how much I think it helps:
  1. Write fun/cool/interesting stuff
  2. Use popular trends/tropes 
  3. Post a lot of quantity (and/or very often)
  4. Get shoutouts
  5. Get a really good, attractive cover/blurb
  6. Write well (or learn to)
  7. Try new fictions until one becomes a hit
Some explanations:

1: If a story is boring, people will drop it fast. Entertainment value is the #1 reason why your readers read. They have to hvae a reason to care about your world and your characters, convince them, make them fall in love.

2. Know your audience. The popular genres/tropes are popular for a reason: the readers love reading them, and are always looking for "more of the same" but "with a fresh feel to it". The cat MC will be more popular than the turtle MC, any day of the week.

3. Every time you post a chapter, your title+cover appears on Latest Uploads, and people click. Early on this is the primary way anyone can ever find your story. So, it makes sense to post often to grow. But also, long chapters impress your readers and they notice: if your daily chapter is 500 words, people will complain "omg it's too short: by the time I got immersed, it's already done!"

4. Other authors shouting you out can give your fiction a lot of extra traffic. Especially if you get a lot, and the story is good, it will explode.

5. An attractive title/cover/blurb increases the % chance anyone will start reading when seeing your story. Improving it is worth it. You have hundreds/thousands of successful fictions as examples, learn from what they did right!

6. Of course, the quality of your writing is an important factor. But for becoming popular, it's not the biggest thing. Lots of stories got big with pretty bad grammar (grammar score < 4), and plenty of mistakes/typos. It helps to have clean formatting and no mistakes, but it's not the main priority. "Readable" and "easy to understand" is the priority. If the writing is at a too-high level, and uses complicated words, chances are good it will never get popular. This is (was) an amateur writing platform, and our standards are "low". Don't make your writing "artistic" and don't go crazy with the metaphores

7. The law of big numbers, try again until you make it, don't give up. And also this will make you a more well-rounded writer, and you will rapidly get better. (Faster than if you just write one story for years. And much, much faster than if you just rewrite and reedit it again and again)

In my humble opinion as a long-time reader, hitting 3-4 of the points will likely put you on RS. The more the better. Cheers

Edit: these apply in general, less to you who laready has the backlog written. About posting, starting daily releases is good, 2-3 per day is even better. But suddenly cutting drastically to 2-3 chapters a week will destroy your growth. So, it's important to write fast, not just release fast in the start!

Re: What can I do (within my power) to reach Trending/Rising Stars?

#5

Raz Wrote: I guess you could argue that writing a good/interesting story with no errors, well-rounded characters, and a gripping plot are "within my control" but those are more subjective.

For one, stop pretending that this is something wholly subjective and out of your control. A good crit group and reading/practicing craft can carry you leaps and bounds upwards.

For two, I posted a reply but forgot to hit enter, but pretty much all of Arararas points. He covered everything I would mention. The only thing I would disagree with in Arararas post is:



Ararara Wrote: "Readable" and "easy to understand" is the priority. If the writing is at a too-high level, and uses complicated words, chances are good it will never get popular. This is (was) an amateur writing platform, and our standards are "low". Don't make your writing "artistic" and don't go crazy with the metaphores

Higher level writing does not mean using an excess of complicated words or become less readable. It should be more readable. 

Re: What can I do (within my power) to reach Trending/Rising Stars?

#6

Quote:Higher level writing does not mean using an excess of complicated words or become less readable. It should be more readable. 

I agree completely. But that's not the most popular stance. Like, those stories written in an overly convoluted way will have perfect 5.0 grammar scores. And 20 review swaps praising the writing quality. But zero readers nonetheless.

That's what I mean, don't write to impress literary critics, but write to make a 4th grader understand what you're saying at any moment. Clarity, flow

Re: What can I do (within my power) to reach Trending/Rising Stars?

#7

Ararara Wrote:
Quote:Higher level writing does not mean using an excess of complicated words or become less readable. It should be more readable. 




I agree completely. But that's not the most popular stance. Like, those stories written in an overly convoluted way will have perfect 5.0 grammar scores. And 20 review swaps praising the writing quality. But zero readers nonetheless.

That's what I mean, don't write to impress literary critics, but write to make a 4th grader understand what you're saying at any moment.

Absolutely agree

Re: What can I do (within my power) to reach Trending/Rising Stars?

#8
I heard that Shirtaloon, who makes more than the president of the USA on RR, posted 10 chapters of about 2.6k words at the start. He said to put out 25k words to start. Make the chapters about 2.5k words. Put out 2-3 chapters a week after that, and, when it gets popular, do 5 chapters a week, with two early chapters from your backlog weekly for your paetrons, weekly. Make sure you keep a large enough backlog that if you can't write for a week or two for some reason, you can keep your paetrons happy. Keep the paetron prices low, like $10/M. You don't always have to make it easy to read. In the only book I have out yet, in prophecies, (it is partlly fantasy and magic) I use words like "Pastiche," but I explain the definition in the author note. The only reason you wouldn't find it yet is the first time that happens is going to be released on Wednesday.

Re: What can I do (within my power) to reach Trending/Rising Stars?

#9
The original Rising Stars algorithm was entirely based on ratings and getting a lot of them in a one-month period. It also made it almost entirely impossible for a story to reach the list if it gained ratings too gradually or is many months old already. The algorithms have changed and have not been unveiled fully, but ratings still seem to be one of the most important parts now, and notably the stories on Rising Stars now tend to trend somewhere around 2 or 3 weeks in. Lately, people are posting 5-7 times a week with stories that have an intriguing (if not good) cover and title, a good blurb, and 150-200 pages of content minimum. Do that, and do the bare minimum to reach out for shoutouts from other stories or promote on RR-centric discords, and you'll be well on your way.

Don't release faster for a while then slow down. You will risk burning out at the halting and annoy some readers. This is exactly what I did last fall and I greatly regret it. I highly recommend picking an update schedule that you can stick to for at least a year (or until completion if the story isn't that long), preferably 4 a week or up. You might have to build up a backlog ahead of time to make sure you can pull it off though... I also recommend in that case chapters that average at 1500-2000 words (your two stories have averages of 2,700 and 3,000 words per chapter which would be totally unsustainable at 5-7 times a week and no patreon income lol)

Re: What can I do (within my power) to reach Trending/Rising Stars?

#10
Thanks to everyone who replied so far. I guess I should have specified, I'm mostly interested in learning the optimal release rate/schedule. Trust me, I am constantly working on everything else in the background, and writing on Royal Road has helped me greatly improve a lot of aspects of my writing. I don't think I have no room to grow; I'm merely looking for clarification on things that I can't research or workshop myself.


Thedude3445 Wrote: Lately, people are posting 5-7 times a week with stories that have an intriguing (if not good) cover and title, a good blurb, and 150-200 pages of content minimum. Do that, and do the bare minimum to reach out for shoutouts from other stories or promote on RR-centric discords, and you'll be well on your way.



Thedude3445 Wrote: Don't release faster for a while then slow down. You will risk burning out at the halting and annoy some readers. This is exactly what I did last fall and I greatly regret it. I highly recommend picking an update schedule that you can stick to for at least a year (or until completion if the story isn't that long), preferably 4 a week or up.


So is posting daily early on, and then tapering off to 4/week a good strategy? I know I can't maintain a daily upload schedule unless I write, like, two or three of the books in the series before releasing anything lol. And I've definitely shortened most of my chapters for this next story compared to my usual average. Would you recommend 4/week right out of the gate, or daily for a while and then tapering it off to a substantial 4/week cadence? I think I could manage 4/week but I'd have to build up a bigger backlog first.

Re: What can I do (within my power) to reach Trending/Rising Stars?

#11

Ararara Wrote: . The law of big numbers, try again until you make it, don't give up. And also this will make you a more well-rounded writer, and you will rapidly get better. (Faster than if you just write one story for years. And much, much faster than if you just rewrite and reedit it again and again)
To echo this. I wrote nineteen fictions before this latest one hit a list. Further advise would be, write because you love writing. Goals are good, but don't make a getting your fiction on a list, the important factor, because the truth is, my story might be on Rising Stars right now, and I am seeing nice growth, it's not explosive growth.

So just temper your expectations, lol.

Re: What can I do (within my power) to reach Trending/Rising Stars?

#13
I'll preface this by saying I'm purely a reader who is posting about their own habits and have zero knowledge about any algorithmic inner workings of anything on this site.

But when I look back on what gets me interested in a random ass stories (see: Rates and Follows) on New that I had zero expectations about because I was just browsing for a few moments for the hell of it; the hook, frequency and format of the first couple chapters trumps everything else.

Like you could have the greatest cover, synopsis, grammar, reviews ever but if I'm reading a slow introduction to what is clearly an even slower buildup, my first thought is "Hmmm I should just wait for a month if this is good it will show up again". But if a story even with terrible grammar and some stupid "I'm isekai'd what a mistake" premise/title is starting in medias res with some outlandish premise... I'll follow just so I can find it easier to check for the next couple updates.

Now that might sound paradoxical, and again I'm only speaking for my own site use habits, but if I'm actually browsing the random stories on a whim it's because I burned through my follows and am searching for something to hook me in (at least temporarily) before other stuff updates.

Re: What can I do (within my power) to reach Trending/Rising Stars?

#14
A longtime friend of mine is currently on Rising Stars, and we were a bit surprised he hit it so early. He's been doing daily updates, but I think the main thing that mattered was that he already has a substantial following from other sites. The favorite and view numbers are still not as high as I imagined they'd need to be to make it on the list, so it seems like the algorithm favors a growth/time ratio rather than hitting certain numbers. Fast growth in a short amount of time will make the algorithm happy.

To that end, I think good labeling is more important than most people think. If you have a fun premise within a popular genre, make sure your cover and synopsis clearly communicate that. Most people click on things when they have some idea of what they're signing up for -- if you're too mysterious, they'll just skim past the story. Try to make sure the cover at minimum communicates genre.

Also, this may go against the algorithm, but I get burned out on stories that update 4+ times a week. For the first week or so, I'd understand as a reader, but I don't enjoy feeling like I'm constantly running on a treadmill just to stay up to date with a story. I prefer stories where I'm excited when the update shows up in my inbox, rather than one where I inwardly groan because I visited friends over the weekend and so am already 4+ chapters behind. Hype levels in a fan base -- which I imagine are important for Patreon -- need a  bit of time to actually build.

Re: What can I do (within my power) to reach Trending/Rising Stars?

#15
You do need to dump a chapter every day, but you should have a large enough backlog to do it.
LambentTyto Wrote:
LambentTyto Wrote:
OVDC Wrote: I heard that Shirtaloon, who makes more than the president of the USA on RR, posted 10 chapters of about 2.6k words at the start
Do you mean like dumping them in a single day?!

I do,but after you get a huge backlog (when I published, my backlog was fifty or so chapters).

Re: What can I do (within my power) to reach Trending/Rising Stars?

#17
I have similar questions too and i know many have answered you. But when i look at novels with bad rating while still in rising stars, i question myself. Is it the computer algorithm of the website that randomly makes a story known to everyone or just out of nowhere a chapters starts to get more views.

For 20+ days i am posting my story in this website and my story is having a roller coster ride of views reaching above 100 to like 50.
Continue decrease in views is understandable but why is it that like this is out of my reach.
I tried posting on days when i saw the view rate is more, didnt work.
I shortened my story title too, as i saw the titles in rising star having small length titles, didn't work.
I tried to release regularly, didn't work.
I made a cover too, didn't work.
Shortened the chapters 1000+ words, didnt work.

So i decided that not to pay attention anymore. It is a bit sad that my story that i am writing with everything is not getting enough views but it is my hobby, and who knows about future.

So my advice(as a noob) is to diligently write and post the story while improving also in every aspects that some viewers complain about.

My novel:-
https://www.royalroad.com/fiction/52690/strongest-npc-returns-as-a-player

Re: What can I do (within my power) to reach Trending/Rising Stars?

#18

ViraticFrog Wrote: For 20+ days i am posting my story in this website and my story is having a roller coster ride of views reaching above 100 to like 50.
Continue decrease in views is understandable but why is it that like this is out of my reach.
I tried posting on days when i saw the view rate is more, didnt work.
I shortened my story title too, as i saw the titles in rising star having small length titles, didn't work.
I tried to release regularly, didn't work.
I made a cover too, didn't work.
Shortened the chapters 1000+ words, didnt work.


Rising Stars is based on sharp growth. Something like 10 followers to 100 followers (1000%) in a week is better than 100 followers to 150 followers (150%). That's why newer stories can get up there. Sometimes, being bad/mediocre results in a lot of ratings and the rating count ends up getting the story up on Rising Stars. People are less likely to rate a decent story than they are to rate a bad one. 

Getting on Rising Stars isn't about what you do, but how much your story grows (per week, most likely). You have to get more traffic to get on Rising Stars in the first place, which in turn guarantees more traffic.

Re: What can I do (within my power) to reach Trending/Rising Stars?

#19

ViraticFrog Wrote: I have similar questions too and i know many have answered you. But when i look at novels with bad rating while still in rising stars, i question myself. Is it the computer algorithm of the website that randomly makes a story known to everyone or just out of nowhere a chapters starts to get more views.

For 20+ days i am posting my story in this website and my story is having a roller coster ride of views reaching above 100 to like 50.
Continue decrease in views is understandable but why is it that like this is out of my reach.
I tried posting on days when i saw the view rate is more, didnt work.
I shortened my story title too, as i saw the titles in rising star having small length titles, didn't work.
I tried to release regularly, didn't work.
I made a cover too, didn't work.
Shortened the chapters 1000+ words, didnt work.

So i decided that not to pay attention anymore. It is a bit sad that my story that i am writing with everything is not getting enough views but it is my hobby, and who knows about future.

So my advice(as a noob) is to diligently write and post the story while improving also in every aspects that some viewers complain about.

My novel:-
https://www.royalroad.com/fiction/52690/strongest-npc-returns-as-a-player


One of the things that I saw posted above looms large over your story - following trends. VR isn't really the hot thing in LitRPG at the moment.