How does a novel get more popular?

#1
I've been struggling to find an audience with my story and was wondering just how exactly do some novels get thousands of followers within the first week, when I've only barely gotten 20 in a month? I'm not sure if it's because my writing is bad, because I've only gotten one review and it was pretty good, saying that it was written well and the grammar was fine. However, the lack of any other feedback makes me wonder if what exactly is the cause.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who's had this, so I would like to ask, what is it that makes a novel a hit?

RE: How does a novel get more popular?

#2
You are not the only one with this problem. A fiction of mine had only one follower despite good grammar and decent plot. From what I've learned from my new fiction, to get followers you must have an intriguing synopsis, an interesting title (my initial tile was 'Heavenly Swordsman' and I had only 1 follower, my title now is 'The Heavens Are On Fire' and I have 4 followers), lots of updates for the first few days (amass four or five chapters and post them in the first three days) and an interesting cover.

So, to get more followers, see if your synopsis is intriguing, change your title if it is too generic, have an attractive cover and frequently update. Unfortunately there is no easy or sure way to get many followers, but this should help. Good luck with your novel.

RE: How does a novel get more popular?

#3
Advertising.

Begging several people individually to look and review it shortly after posting.
(Maybe you've already asked these people to look at it before posting ;P

Posting chapters around the clock (at least to start it off), so more people have a chance to see it at least once.

Hype and luck. If you don't obtain the luck, then you have to do a little work for the hype. There's a strategy to it, and I don't think I know it all yet...

RE: How does a novel get more popular?

#6
I was just thinking about this. Being a new user on RRL and all, I suspect long-term, active users will eventually gain more popularity as the stories they write will have more content, exposure, and so on.

I guess another part of it is luck and how much exposure your novel gets.

Also, it seems like click-baity titles get more views, but tend to get low ratings depending on the (lack of) content itself.
Just my observation.

RE: How does a novel get more popular?

#7
- Visual appeal: Cover + title

- Synopsis: it needs to be short and clear. Don't make it too long, or most readers won't even bother reading it and will simply decide to skip the story

- Plot: there is a very specific audience in RRL, looking (most of the time) for a very specific kind of story. If your story doesn't belong to this kind of category (I checked your synopsis, and I believe this is your case), you will naturally have a harder time to find an audience. It's not impossible, but it's harder.

- Release schedule: No secret. A novel will gain more attention if it gets updated often, especially if it's a new one, in that case you should try to aim for daily releases (and slow down once you already have a strong reader base)

- Length: A lot of readers will choose to skip "new" stories, because there isn't enough material to read. In that case, just be patient. Those same readers will come back once your novel is long enough to really get into the story.

RE: How does a novel get more popular?

#8
Other people above already listed the most important ones, but I just want to add one more:

Plotholes.

Keep in mind that most readers had already read hundreds if not thousands of stories and they can easily spot things like this. I suggest that any new authors should think about this very seriously and simply not dismiss the plotholes found by your readers as unimportant. Sometimes, its a story killer.

EXAMPLE 1:

Author: My story is about the elite shadow users. They came out during WW2 and it's only because of them that the allies won the war. After the war, they form this organization and eventually became a powerhouse in the world that answers onlyto the United Nations. The MC is a young shadow user and he will start an epic adventure and-

Reader: So ah, where did they come from?

Author: What? 

Reader: The Shadow users, where did they come from?

They came out because well, they are fed up with the evilness of the Nazis. That is why they reveal themselves to the rest of the world, to defend freedom and save humanity.

Okay, then why didn't they reveal themselves during WW1 or during the height of slavery, or during...

Author: Because I want it that way, jeez... That how my story goes. Now back to my MC, he will have 3 girlfriends, but there will be no harems I assure you...



EXAMPLE 2:

Author: My story is set in the modern world and there are enchanters in the world due to a defect in the DNA that gives them the power to manipulate the energy around them. The world is also surrounded by huge forests where monsters come out and attack the cities. 

The enchanters fight the monster with enchanted weapons that they create, and although the swords and bows they magically enhanced are powerful, the enemies are too many and they are hard-pressed all the time. In this environment, our young MC is introduced and-

Reader: Why not just use guns?

Author: ... guns are ineffective against monsters. 

Reader: Yes, but why not enchant the guns or at least the bullets? The way I see it, the enchanters are getting overwhelmed because its hard to become one of them. They need to train in sword and shit. And therefore they are always outnumbered. Why not just give the civilians enchanted guns and be done with it. It is so much more practical to use guns since you don't need that much training with it compared to a sword.

Authors: Guns... guns are expensive and need special metal and shit to make. 

Reader: maybe, but its total war. They are fighting for their lives. Tanks are also hard to make and are expensive, but during WW2, both the Soviets and the US found ways to make thousands of them and...

Author: Look! Guns are lame and swords are cool! That is the only thing that matters, can I go back to my story now?!

RE: How does a novel get more popular?

#9
11/13/2017 6:23:41 PMTanaka Tomoyuki Wrote: [ -> ]The second example isn't exactly fair. It could easily be explained that the enchantment can only affect simply made materials such as swords and melee weapons, but fails on more complex mechanisms such as bullets that rely on chemical combustions and gunpowder. Sort of why Archer can only reproduce blades and swords with Unlimited Blade Works and not guns, cannons and missiles. Perhaps the explosive energies of gunpowder combustion cancels out the enchantments?

It sounds more like you wanting to force guns into a modern fantasy story than actual "logic" or plot holes. As long as the author obeys the rules and logic of their fictional worlds, and keeps things consistent, I see no reason why they should be forced to use guns in a modern fantasy story. Lots of manga, light novels and anime do that anyway, and guess what? Nobody cares about the logic. They just want to see swords and magic. And that's what makes them popular.

You miss the entire point. If the author is able to explain the way you do how the system works then there will be no problem. What I am getting at is the fact that this kind of questions will occur many times either because the reader nitpicks the story or has a genuine question about the plot. I am just saying that it is best for the author to answer this kind of questions in the comment section or in the actual story itself. If they already answered that particular question in the story then maybe they can refer them to the page where the explanation is. 
either way, ignoring or dismissing a reader's question about possible plothole is not a good idea and may affect the overall popularity of the story.

RE: How does a novel get more popular?

#10
11/13/2017 9:22:16 PMbatotit Wrote: [ -> ]
11/13/2017 6:23:41 PMTanaka Tomoyuki Wrote: [ -> ]The second example isn't exactly fair. It could easily be explained that the enchantment can only affect simply made materials such as swords and melee weapons, but fails on more complex mechanisms such as bullets that rely on chemical combustions and gunpowder. Sort of why Archer can only reproduce blades and swords with Unlimited Blade Works and not guns, cannons and missiles. Perhaps the explosive energies of gunpowder combustion cancels out the enchantments?

It sounds more like you wanting to force guns into a modern fantasy story than actual "logic" or plot holes. As long as the author obeys the rules and logic of their fictional worlds, and keeps things consistent, I see no reason why they should be forced to use guns in a modern fantasy story. Lots of manga, light novels and anime do that anyway, and guess what? Nobody cares about the logic. They just want to see swords and magic. And that's what makes them popular.

You miss the entire point. If the author is able to explain the way you do how the system works then there will be no problem. What I am getting at is the fact that this kind of questions will occur many times either because the reader nitpicks the story or has a genuine question about the plot. I am just saying that it is best for the author to answer this kind of questions in the comment section or in the actual story itself. If they already answered that particular question in the story then maybe they can refer them to the page where the explanation is. 
either way, ignoring or dismissing a reader's question about possible plothole is not a good idea and may affect the overall popularity of the story.
So you're saying that where some writers only see someone bringing a plothole to them as a negative criticism, it is also an opportunity for the writer to creatively expand their world-building in a way they hadn't thought of before? Interesting. I dig it.

RE: How does a novel get more popular?

#11
I don't to sound sour (specially because my amount of followers has doubled in a week, thank you so much, guys!), but most of the people want to amuse themselves with more of what has amused them before.

They go watch anime, see X aspect of the story (Isekai, Harem, MMORPG...) and get amazed by the concept; then they watch all that there is to be watched from said anime. Then they want more. So they watch similar anime and seek similar ideas in order medias. That's where you come in.

The reason why so few original books are published is because people have methodic tastes. They want more of the same. That is neither good, nor bad; it's a trait. Why do you think, per example, that Divergent got published so many years after it was written? It was just a means to profit on the YA market while they waited for the new books to come out.

What you can try doing, OP, is to create transitional works. That means you use the popular concepts from RRL as a masquerade for an original story. Can't write a story about medieval China? Have an MMORPG in medieval China, done. Who knows? Maybe they'll find the next big thing that amuses them in your work.

RE: How does a novel get more popular?

#13
Striving to write a popular story, in my opinion, is like creating the same old soggy, bland oatmeal because that's what a whole lot of people want to eat.  You start making changes to the recipe, and expecting readers to 'change' their tastes, chances are your story will be rejected by the majority as readers return to what they want.  In the end, it comes down to one decision:  Do you want to write a story that strives to be different, that excites you into writing it regardless if it ever takes off, or, do you want to write to please the masses, gain popularity for another brand of the same old thing, and eventually despise your own work?

Popular fiction is not all it appears to be.  Most popular fiction I've read is very bland and predictable... but very popular.  I say, spend your time and effort writing the best story you can, one that you, as a writer, can stay invested in, one that you believe in even if no one else does, and if nothing else, maybe a few others looking for something different will appreciate your efforts.  As writers, we learn from each of our own works, taking away valuable lessons and applying them into the next journey.  I think with perseverance, you can find a way to write what you want, as long as it's a great story, and still find readers who want to read it.  

In a nutshell, if you're not enjoying what you're writing because the comments section is quiet, the stats next to your fiction are small, or you can't stop comparing your fiction's success with those 'popular' titles, then perhaps you're writing for the wrong reasons to begin with.

I'm five books into the longest story I've ever written (and one of the longest stories on this site), in a genre loaded with lots of 'oatmeal' that tastes exactly the same.  My challenge is to stay true to the story that I wanted to write, the one that inspired me to dare writing it to begin with.  I have continued to enjoy writing it, bringing my characters and plots to life and watching my story  evolve.  Others have enjoyed sharing that journey with me.  Is my story popular?  No.  Does that mean it's a bad story?  Again, no.  It just means that my story remains undiscovered in a large sea of popular works, most of which will fizzle out and die eventually due to formula writing designed to attract a crowd.  In the end, regardless of my tale's popularity, it will still be around long after those oatmeal tales run their course, with other stories just like them, ready to take their place.  

I'm not speaking out of arrogance, simply belief.  If you start a story and commit to it, and if your story manages to endure the long silences from inception to the end of your first story arc and beyond, your faith in said story will increase, as you continue to enjoy discovering where it takes you.  Bad stories have nowhere to go.  You'll know when you're writing one of them.  But if you tap into something that excites you as a writer, and enjoy reading it (since you are it's 'first' reader), than that's a guaranteed win.  Everything else is just gravy ;)

RE: How does a novel get more popular?

#14
As a new writer to RRL myself, I have been thinking about your question a lot as well. What I have noticed from my short time here, is that Consistent and Frequent Uploading of chapters goes a LONG way toward garnering attention.

Until today (and tomorrow, due to holiday stuffs), I've uploaded 2 chapters per night in one of my novellas. This has put it on the "Latest Updates" list of the Homepage and I can usually see increases on the Dashboard within a few hours of that.

Unfortunately, so many stories are being updated that my cover really only displays there for a good 20-40 minutes before it's pushed out.

I have the expectation, that by skipping tonight and tomorrow, come Saturday I will not have seen any kind of change from yesterday.

SO, what I will aim to both continue to do (and do the next time I get a new story going) is update more than once per day (perhaps by scheduling releases), and ensure that I don't actually start uploading my story until I have enough written to support the continuous updates on a consistent basis.

RE: How does a novel get more popular?

#15
12/22/2017 2:49:12 AMDrew Walker Wrote: [ -> ]As a new writer to RRL myself, I have been thinking about your question a lot as well.  What I have noticed from my short time here, is that Consistent and Frequent Uploading of chapters goes a LONG way toward garnering attention.  

Until today (and tomorrow, due to holiday stuffs), I've uploaded 2 chapters per night in one of my novellas.  This has put it on the "Latest Updates" list of the Homepage  and I can usually see increases on the Dashboard within a few hours of that.  

Unfortunately, so many stories are being updated that my cover really only displays there for a good 20-40 minutes before it's pushed out.  

I have the expectation, that by skipping tonight and tomorrow, come Saturday I will not have seen any kind of change from yesterday.

SO, what I will aim to both continue to do (and do the next time I get a new story going) is update more than once per day (perhaps by scheduling releases), and ensure that I don't actually start uploading my story until I have enough written to support the continuous updates on a consistent basis.

Hey man, on a side note I did check out your story, "Shadowstep" because I did see it in the "Latest Updates" category. Now, my default language on my browser is set to French, so pardon moi si j'ai les erreurs but would you like me to PM feedback or give a review, I don't really want to write a review yet as I've only read the first nineteen chapters. I may understand the one reviewer's frustration with the lack of followers for your story. PM me, if you get the chance.

RE: How does a novel get more popular?

#17
Write what readers in RRL love. This is the current trend of genres that I can see right now. See it for yourself if it's true.

The most popular
1. LitRPG
2. Reincarnation
3. Isekai a.ka. summoned hero.

Popular - rivaling for top spots.
4. OP-ed MC
5. Wuxia/Xanxia theme
6. Fantasy

Write what the readers want to read, you will have more followers. Write what you loved and cared for, and it happened not to be in the most popular genre, like mine, well... all the best. Just keep it up until the trend changes.

And the rest are like what the other posters said.

Good luck!