Suspect I am wasting my time

#1
My book is already fully written (and published, for that matter).  I'm posting an update every other day to, in effect, get about half a year's worth of free ads, even if each individual ad does get very limited exposure.  At least, that was the plan.  The difficulty is that my book is really different from the common trend here--it's fantasy, but has no elements of progression, isekai, cultivation, xianxia, litrpg, or anything like that.  The MC, far from being super-powerful, is a desperate underdog who takes a ferocious beating from life at every turn (though he isn't merely a punching bag; he is resourceful and finds ways to fight back).  It opens with an action scene but the next one doesn't really pop up until the third arc, which will run about a month after the first update, and things continue at roughly that pace with action scenes every ten updates or so.  In between are dramatic scenes, the steady escalation of the plot, and worldbuilding--much of the draw for this story is exploring the unique world I built, and readers from elsewhere say they were drawn in by that.

Anybody else here had any luck peddling something completely odd, and if so, was there anything in particular you did?  PB's been running about two weeks, seven updates, just shy of 200 views as of this post which might be rather lackluster.  Five followers, three favorites, but I suspect some of those are people from my Reddit fandom hopping over to give me a boost.

Re: Suspect I am wasting my time

#3
Try switching up your cover every month or two. People might not click on one, but another could catch their attention.

If you're relying on recent updates as your main source of views, having a good cover/title combo and (maybe) interesting chapter titles can get you clicks.

If you're writing off-brand for RR, it does limit your viewership, but there's a decent number of fantasy readers too. You'll probably get a few hundred followers if the story's good and you keep marketing.

The other thing to keep in mind is that a lot of people won't give a story a chance until it's got 100+ pages; got to be sure there's enough content to be worth the time if the author disappears.

Re: Suspect I am wasting my time

#5
a year ago i started posting fantasy in verse
response was pretty slow, although it could have been much worse
what i've found is writing what you love does work in time
with persistence, you can even make it here in rhyme

sure, it matters that you write with good grammar and such
and one can never hang out on the forums here too much
but even non-game-lit fantasy can succeed on here
even if it can take some authors many a year~

DrakanWine

Re: Suspect I am wasting my time

#6
eric_river Wrote:
a year ago i started posting fantasy in verse
response was pretty slow, although it could have been much worse
what i've found is writing what you love does work in time
with persistence, you can even make it here in rhyme

sure, it matters that you write with good grammar and such
and one can never hang out on the forums here too much
but even non-game-lit fantasy can succeed on here
even if it can take some authors many a year~

DrakanWine

I wish I had access to your work when my autistic boy was young. He only liked stories written in verse for some reason and there was next to nothing out there at the time 

DrakanWine

Re: Suspect I am wasting my time

#8
Well, you've only been posting for 12 days. That's a very short span of time. Since you're off-genre for RR, I'd say don't expect astronomical view counts really early in the game--it's far more likely that your growth will be a bit slower, but you definitely can grow. 

You can get a lots of readers on RR without being "on-genre" (i.e. LitRPG, wuxia, etc.). Examples include Fox's Tongue and Kirin's Bone (#2 on Best Rated) and A Journey of Red and Black. They've both been here over a year. 

Here's my take. For context, I write The Stormcrow Cycle which is a slow-burn tragic romance-fantasy. Book I is literally slice-of-life, which is not something most of RR demands. However, I've been posting for about 6 months (and am currently on unofficial hiatus because life has been kind of crappy lately) and am at about 180 followers with 30K+ views. This is from posting every day for...I think it was two weeks or something like that to start, and then once a week (or so) after. I did not start snowballing readers until I hit 500 pages. As it turns out, a lot of readers on RR do not start reading work that is under 500 pages because they are worried the writer will abandon the work. There are also lots of bingers on RR, and most of my comments are from binge-readers. You won't get too much reader interaction before you draw in the binge-reading crowd (to my experience). 

Since you are finished writing your work, and since it seems like a more in-demand genre than TSC, I think you can have a good go, but you will have to be strategic. I don't know what your goal is with Pyrebound, but if you are trying to use RR to funnel readers to purchase your book on Kindle or some other platform, there are a few things you can try: 

1. In your author's note at the end of every chapter, have a link to your fiction page and ask for a rating if readers are enjoying your work. It cuts down on the number of steps a reader has to take to give you a rating, and to my experience, it works. This can be a bit risky if you're not confident about getting high ratings, because it will only increase the frequency of rating, not necessarily the star of the rating. 
2. I see no indication on your fiction page or in your fiction itself that this work has been published. I suggest you put an ad in your A/N just like in #1 or on your fiction page so that impatient readers can purchase the book outright. <-- I have never done this myself, so I do NOT know how well this works personally, but it is something I've seen talked about in online spaces here and there. I cannot vouch for it personally, so take this with a grain (or bucket) of salt. Please apply your own judgement. You may also want to be transparent about this in your synopsis or A/N so readers don't get offended, but again, I don't know how this would work. Do some homework around this one first! 
3. Do review swaps to get your first few reviews. Go into the review forum and sign up for every free review thread that's still open. 
4. There are a few shout-outs for review swaps in the review thread. Do those. Shouts from established authors are pretty powerful. 

Anyway, hope that helps. I also hope you don't yoink PB too quick since it's on my read list--I was intrigued by the Faravahar on the cover. (I also draw on Zoroastrianism for TSC, so I was intrigued!)

Cheers, 
bokhi 

Re: Suspect I am wasting my time

#9
Thanks for that excellent and comprehensive reply!
I know twelve days isn't a lot of time, I was just comparing to what I've heard of others' progress at equivalent time periods.  I feel a bit behind the curve, so to speak.

PB isn't exactly Zoroastrianism-inspired; it's generally ancient-Near-East.  The original "mascot" of the story was the Mesopotamian sun god Shamash, but the picture I had of him for my cover was very brown and low-contrast and didn't show up for squat on RR searches.  The Zoroastrian symbol seems to be a descendant of the winged-sun motif present in my Shamash pic (and was colorful and available from depositphotos), so I went with that.  Now, there are probably some similarities there just due to "drinking from the same well," but I didn't consciously evoke them.

Re: Suspect I am wasting my time

#10
You said your book is finished? It's only 18k words at seven chappies. This is a short story? Your views are roughly where I was when I hit seven chapters; don't sweat it, and keep writing. From what I can see from other authors, posting more often, e.g. every couple of days, causes massive booms. When I look at my own analytics, people often search and sort by the latest updates. You're not wasting your time; just keep at it, and good luck! 

Re: Suspect I am wasting my time

#12
You've done better than me as far as engagement with one book and less pages. So I don't know. Maybe third time will be the charm for myself. I'm not releasing it anywhere until I pay a professional editor and I'm thinking of taking some writing classes to get my work up to snuff. If I do that and a lot of rewrites and nothing happens at least I will have given the process an honest go.

Re: Suspect I am wasting my time

#13
J.Weed Wrote: You've done better than me as far as engagement with one book and less pages. So I don't know. Maybe third time will be the charm for myself. I'm not releasing it anywhere until I pay a professional editor and I'm thinking of taking some writing classes to get my work up to snuff. If I do that and a lot of rewrites and nothing happens at least I will have given the process an honest go.

It's always good to improve your writing and whatnot, but I took a peek at Salted Shores and I think in your case, it really is a platform mismatch. There doesn't seem to be any fantastic elements which is bread and butter for RR (you'll notice if you start going through lists that fantasy is nearly a mandatory element, regardless of the primary genre). There are contemporary fics that are occasionally placed highly on lists, but they usually have at least one fantastical or magical element OR basically harem prawns. In other words, there is always some element of fantasy or fantasy wish-fulfillment (but usually together). It looks like Knights, Nobles, and Cannibals is closer to what RR likes, but the title may be off-putting (particularly the "Cannibals" part) and it doesn't strike me as a power-fantasy (which is what RR usually likes, as I've said) and has elements of sci-fi and fantasy. Sci-fi is a harder sell on RR than fantasy! You might want to hit some of the community guides, which will help you tailor your title, blurb, and cover to what RR likes. I also recommend you do the steps I've already outlined. 

Now, I don't know what your goal was in coming to RR. If it was feedback primarily, you're probably better off on a platform like Scribophile, which runs on critical feedback as a type of currency. If you want followers, though, you're probably better off on RR still than anywhere else, except maybe Reddit Serials or something (I'm not on Reddit much so I have no idea how they run or what that's like. Might be something to look into). 

Anyway, hope that was helpful. Good luck! 

P.S. These are all opinions. 

Re: Suspect I am wasting my time

#14
bokhi Wrote:
J.Weed Wrote: You've done better than me as far as engagement with one book and less pages. So I don't know. Maybe third time will be the charm for myself. I'm not releasing it anywhere until I pay a professional editor and I'm thinking of taking some writing classes to get my work up to snuff. If I do that and a lot of rewrites and nothing happens at least I will have given the process an honest go.

It's always good to improve your writing and whatnot, but I took a peek at Salted Shores and I think in your case, it really is a platform mismatch. There doesn't seem to be any fantastic elements which is bread and butter for RR (you'll notice if you start going through lists that fantasy is nearly a mandatory element, regardless of the primary genre). There are contemporary fics that are occasionally placed highly on lists, but they usually have at least one fantastical or magical element OR basically harem prawns. In other words, there is always some element of fantasy or fantasy wish-fulfillment (but usually together). It looks like Knights, Nobles, and Cannibals is closer to what RR likes, but the title may be off-putting (particularly the "Cannibals" part) and it doesn't strike me as a power-fantasy (which is what RR usually likes, as I've said) and has elements of sci-fi and fantasy. Sci-fi is a harder sell on RR than fantasy! You might want to hit some of the community guides, which will help you tailor your title, blurb, and cover to what RR likes. I also recommend you do the steps I've already outlined. 

Now, I don't know what your goal was in coming to RR. If it was feedback primarily, you're probably better off on a platform like Scribophile, which runs on critical feedback as a type of currency. If you want followers, though, you're probably better off on RR still than anywhere else, except maybe Reddit Serials or something (I'm not on Reddit much so I have no idea how they run or what that's like. Might be something to look into). 

Anyway, hope that was helpful. Good luck! 

P.S. These are all opinions.
Will have to post over there to scribophile. I don't really have goals other than get as good as my mind allows in this lifetime, probably need to do some self reflection to figure out what I'm actually looking for long term. Last year I was just sharing my short stories with Google drive links so it has been an improvement on views but not in feedback. Reddit isn't really built for stories longer than a few thousand words from what I've seen, but maybe it's an ok place to advertise (it's where I saw someone praising royal road a couple months ago). The writing subreddits I've seen seem to be either very short horror, memes, or talking all about the business end of publishing. While I'm still young I want everything I make to be free to view on the internet so that doesn't interest me too much at the moment now whether time and if opportunity comes will it corrupt is just part of the ride of life I suppose.  Thanks for the comment and good luck with your goals.

Re: Suspect I am wasting my time

#15
YMMV and what is true for one reader might not be for another. So fixing things for one reader can make it worse for many others.

For me, to start reading a fiction via latest updates, it usually needs two things: A cover/title to catch my attention and a synopsis that does not make me turn away.

Your cover/title is nothing that would me personally take a look at it.

What works best for me is covers that are different by a very casual look. Strange colors work well. (I don't think I could go past Mark of the Crijik without clicking on it) Easily recognisable shapes or elements can work well (just some clear white lines on a black background worked well to attract me in the past). I even started reading a fiction just because it was the only fiction I saw that day on last updated without a cover.

Your cover works reasonably well after I took a very good look at it to determine why it did not attract me. That iconography is unusual here, while both giving a feeling of familiarity and being exotic. It's just to tiny to work for me on Last Updated. Looking at the whole list it is some yellow horizontal bar on black background. A casual look at the the cover shows some wings on black background with some round noise in the middle. If it always appeared next to another fiction I'm looking for I might take a closer look at it and get interested, but somewhere randomly on the Last Updated page would not work.

The title is also not able to catch my attention. (Though most serious titles that you are able to get published are not very attention graping. The titles that are good with that are usually quite silly if you think about them. And with the way Last Updated is presented here, the cover is usually more important anyway).

The effect of an synopsis is even more personal in all liikelyhood. For me your synopsis did not work at all. After reading this thread and deciding you give it a try, it took my three times to get past the synopsis, because I gave up the first two times there. What does not work with me is the first paragraph (was the second paragraph already there when you started the thread? I might have already been on autopilot there). The first paragraph has some world building. World building can work to attract me to a fiction, but this does not. It does not make me curious for more. If I think about it, it actually fills me with a bit of thread. (What might be easily be opposite for other readers. Or it might be a audience thing and generally not work for may RR readers but actually work elsewhere. I honestly cannot say). The second paragraph works a bit better. At least now. Though that might be only after I read two chapters. Reading the first chapters makes me a bit invested into the MC and curious how his personal journey will turn out. Those aspects that might make me want to read your story is nothing that I find within the synopsis, though. The synopsis also has quite a strong appeal to mystery, which I personally am a bit allergic, too. (Perhaps I do not like mystery, perhaps I simple read too many bad stories where beginner authors tries to make of for missing plot with mystery shrouding the missing plot).

The synopsis might still be good for your story. More important than attracting readers is attracting the right readers. Ideally the synopsis attracts the readers that will love your story while it keeps those away that hate it. Your story is a bit too heavy for me in most moods. It's not feel-good story but has some themes that most of the time are just a little bit too depressing to just keep reading it by inertia. But then judging for the first few chapters, your story might be something I might enjoy reading in the right mood, while the synopsis does its best to never make me try.