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Bringing in Readers

Discussion in 'The Authors' Café' started by SceptileFan, Jan 3, 2013.

  1. SceptileFan

    SceptileFan I AM RACCOON MAN

    I recently posted my story-in-progress to the forums (you can read it here if you want to). However, I'm not getting many views on it, and I haven't gotten any replies at all even though four chapters are up. Which is quite disappointing, since I really want to know what others think of it.

    I'm somewhat new to the fanfic realm, so is it normal for fics to take awhile to pick up in popularity? Or is my title ("Stopping the Apocalypse") just not interesting enough to bring in readers? Are there ways to promote fics (other than in a signature)?

    Thanks for your help? And if this thread seems noobish, I apologize severely.
  2. Knightfall

    Knightfall Blazing Wordsmith

    Well, to me, being a first-time author myself, I would have to say that it does take a while for a story to develop a following.

    To get more readers, I'd suggest advertising your story in your signature with a link or getting a banner for it. If people like what they see, then maybe they'll click on it to see what exactly it is about. That's usually an effective way to get readers.

    Hmmm, maybe posting in the Review Exchange or in the Fan Fiction Catalog threads (if you haven't already), just to get your name and story around.

    Other than those two bits of advice, I really don't have much else. Those two helped me increase my readership over time. the key phrase there being "over time". If you keep updating, people will come and read eventually.

    Knightfall signing off... ;005;
  3. Quilava42

    Quilava42 Blazing Flowers

    I have the same situation as well. But I just put a link in my sig to entice people, even with the description. But think of how you write your story. Make it unique and good if you haven't done this. Request a person to review so it can help you if you are truly devoted, not just for attention.

    I am new of posting in this forum for two weeks, so I thought that I can't just give up posting. I do like hearing responses and good feedback, but it takes time.

    In other words, what Knightfall said. But probably some don't know of your story and things, so I suggest spreading it around and post updates.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2013
  4. JX Valentine

    JX Valentine ██████████

    Guys? Food for thought: it's the holiday season. Everyone's not getting much in the way of bites because no one's online except, well, the people who aren't reviewing anyway. It's just bad timing. :/

    If you really want to get reviews, though, I'd suggest reviewing each other or going out and doing a lot of reviewing in general. While I can't say you'll get a review for every review you receive or that it's a guaranteed way of getting more attention, it does get your fic out there, as Knightfall said. Moreover, just hanging around the forums, being a courteous and active member, and, well, trying not to complain too much about the lack of bites can help too. People will be more willing to look at your story if you're nice and outgoing to them because it sounds like you'd be more receptive to their advice, and avoiding complaining (for lack of a better term) also avoids annoying people (because not that many people are A-OK with that kind of thing, as it looks like you're just begging for reviews... which in other words means it's bad advertisement to you for so many reasons). Lastly, strike up conversations with individual reviewers. If you want a review, track down some people who leave them, chat with them, and maybe ask them to review. Nothing to lose by just asking, y'know? So in a way, you do have to be active with getting reviews, and part of it is just by making sure you stay a positive, active member of the community or at least reach out to people.

    But really, it's the holiday season. Folks are spending a lot more time with their families than on the forums (aside from, well, us), so you really shouldn't expect much activity.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2013
  5. SceptileFan

    SceptileFan I AM RACCOON MAN

  6. Firebrand

    Firebrand Indomitable

    Guys, it's really nothing to worry about. Yes, it's hard to get reviews on stories. That's just something you'll have to come to terms with. People can read your story, and enjoy it, but it takes a lot of time and effort to write a good review. The best thing to do, like Jax said, is be a proactive member of the community. My Review Game has been inactive for a little while now, but I don't think you'd get in too much trouble if you wanted to bump it back up (though I'd talk to bobandbill first), because that's a sound way to get a review.

    I've been posting my original stuff on Fictionpress for, god, going on five years now. I have... well, if not a lot than a fair amount of followers and subscribers. And yet, it is only recently that I started to get reviews on my work again. I got roughly 500-600 hits a month last year. Over the course of that same year, on the three stories that I updated weekly, I think I got maybe... 10 unsolicited reviews? Maybe? The point stands, you can have a lot of people looking your stuff over and reading it, but getting good reviews is something that takes a lot of work. It's easy to look at people on here who get a ton of reviews every chapter, and get discouraged. They've probably been working on those stories for years, being proactive members of the forum, drawing readership. Look at what they're doing, and emulate it.

    Now, perhaps the best advice I can give to you if you want reviews is to enter into a contract. Find someone who writes a fic similar to yours, or at least one that you find interesting (it also helps to find things of a similar length). Propose to the writer that you enter into a contract, and if they agree, here's how it works. For every chapter they post, you review. And in return, for every chapter you post, they review. If you both uphold your end of the bargain, each of you are guaranteed at least one good review for every chapter you post. It's worked for me in the past.
  7. JX Valentine

    JX Valentine ██████████

    Y'know, I think part of the issue with you might actually be something a bit different. See, there's such a thing as over-saturation. What that means is you have to be very careful with how you talk about your fic.

    Put it this way. When you go into a thread, and all you have to say is, "That's an interesting topic! I do something like that in my fic, and here's paragraphs detailing just my fic," that is actually more likely to hurt you than help you. The reason why is because doing that tells everyone else that you really don't have much of an interest in participating in the discussion. How can people respond to you, after all, except to talk about your fic? It doesn't help you bridge connections with other members of a community, so in turn, people don't really take much notice of you except to go, "Seriously?"

    I don't mean to be harsh about that, but... yeah.

    Then there's also the fact that your Feli Chronicles story? In the wrong genre entirely. If you'll notice, the Non-Pokémon Fics forum is pretty sparsely populated. Fics are extremely lucky if they get feedback from more than one reviewer. That's because this is a Pokémon fic forum, so people are less interested in non-Pokémon fic than in something related to the fandom. Even if you write a Pokémon fic, though, you'll have to be careful about what genre you use. Serebii has a very high number of people who filter out stories based on extremely strict lists. Just take a look through the review exchange thread. There's a lot of people who will refuse to read fics that aren't trainer fics or PMD fics, and others will absolutely refuse to read fics set in the anime universe, that have fakemon, that are set in a fan-created region, that are about canon characters, that are written in the wrong POV... The list goes on, but the point is that if you're writing in the wrong genre, you've got to be very good to get a good following going.

    So yes. Feral's pretty much right. It's nothing to worry about. A lot of the time, it's natural for you to not receive reviews. I'm not saying that you should scrap your story and write something that's a bit more on the bandwagon. I'm saying the exact same thing I said earlier: that part of getting reviews is all in your attitude. Show us that you take interest in a discussion outside of what relates to your fic, don't be surprised when you don't get reviewers, and if you really want reviewers that badly, connect with us by talking to us. You can try asking us for reviews, but you'll also want to show us that you care about what we have to say by reviewing back and having something to say other than "this relates to my story." I guarantee you that some of us would be more willing to give you a chance if you reached out to us a bit more without talking about your story.
  8. TheSirPeras

    TheSirPeras The end of an era

    I have the same problem, though my new fic is new (2 days old lol). JX Valentine, after reading your post, I think I'll start reviewing others :D
  9. Most fics CAN get one review but fic are REALLY lucky if they get *followers* and get best friend reviews.
  10. Firebrand

    Firebrand Indomitable

    To elaborate a little on what Jax was saying in the second to last paragraph... writing for the internet, fanfiction especially, is not like writing a novel for the consumers market. In the latter case, you do have a lot of free reign and potential. I mean, you may not get picked up by agents and publishers for a long time, but you don't really have to play to what's hot in the market right now. Just because a huge chunk of the fantasy market nowadays is comprised of supernatural romance doesn't mean I have to write supernatural romance. I can write a high fantasy epic based on the Brother's Grimm fairy tales (which, ahem, I did) that, while not the hottest thing, are always a pretty popular topic. Or, you could tackle something else and maybe even form the new vogue.

    Writing fanfiction is different. On something like FF.net, you've got to write solely in the vogue fandom to get any views at all (or so I've been told, I don't actually use the site myself). We've got a bit of an edge here in that pokemon will always be hot here because... pokemon forum. But yeah, if people come into this section here, it's probably with the intent to read pokemon fiction, not so much other fiction. That's what fictionpress and other sites of its ilk are for. Back on topic: simply by the nature of things, a fic that has tons of responses (and pages) of responses are going to get looked at first because on a cursory glance, people can tell the writer is not going to give up on the fic, and it's already got a sizable following so it must be good. Fics that are updated often will also get looked at more. So if you only update once every two months, yeah, things aren't looking so good for you, I'm afraid.

    Still, even if you're writing a pokemon fiction in the subgenre that's hot right now(would that be PMD? I mean, I guess it might be PMD) does not magically grant you a big readership. You've got to work at it, know your audience. When I was writing Hero's Path, the largest target audience was the people I had met in the Non-Competitive Trainer's Hangout, whom I had already worked on another fic with. I knew they would probably read it, and that would grant me at least a small readership. So I didn't worry about gathering readers so much. I picked up more along the way as I gathered steam, but I was never on the scale of some here. That's okay. I mean, the thing we've got to remember here is that while fanfiction is written for a fandom, like all writing it is done for the writer. Now, this is my opinion, so feel free to disagree, but I think that if you're writing fanfiction just so you can get messages like "great chapter, update again soon!" you're doing it wrong. Writing should be for personal accomplishment first and foremost.

    Jireh, if you're serious about getting reviews and readership on your original fic, check out Fictionpress. That's why it exists. The community there is massive, and I'm sure you'll find at least a few people willing to look it over. For the rest of you, remember what I said before about contracts? Well, it looks like you've all got the same issues here. Why not try it out? You'll get the feedback you want, and you'll start building community. That's something really important on internet writing forums like this. Feeling a sense of unity within the community is what keeps it going. By going out and reviewing other works, you make people more inclined to want to look over yours. As writers, we tend to get too involved in our own work to look into the larger community. But by going out and reviewing, not only are we helping each other, we're helping ourselves. By seeing what works and doesn't in other peoples' writing, we learn more about our own creative process. See where I'm going with this? There's a big world of fics out there. You can definitely find a writer you can learn from.
  11. JX Valentine

    JX Valentine ██████████

    Not to be abrasive, but please read what I had to say a bit more carefully, Gothitelle. :| I said that fics in the Non-Pokémon subforum are lucky if they get feedback from more than one reviewer. What you had to say (that fics can get more than one review) is true in the main forum, but it's not true in the Non-Pokémon subforum. Fics in the Non-Pokémon subforum get tumbleweeds normally, even if the author is popular in the community as a whole.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2013
  12. Kutie Pie

    Kutie Pie 桜咲くこの坂を今も上っている

    It's on the small list of threads that are allowed to be bumped as long as people follow the rules. No need to ask permission from mods :).

    Jax, as always, brings up good points, especially one that for some odd reason always seems to register on my radar: being a good, active member and reviewing other people's stories. I don't believe you are a new person, SceptileFan, and I could be wrong, but I don't think you're too active a member, in which there's nothing wrong with it, but now that you're a fan fiction writer who feels needs to survive on reviews, being active would be your best bet at this point in time. And also another problem is you feel you need to thrive on reviews to keep a fan fic alive.

    This is a poisonous mindset, and needs to be expelled as quickly as possible. Just because the ratio of views and reviews is always going to be heavy on the views doesn't mean that you should just raise your hands and say "I'm done". We have people who call themselves closet readers, and most of the time it's because they don't know what to say. So if anything, think about these viewers. As far as I know, on these forums, you can't check how many people view each chapter/page like you can on FFN. All you have going for you is the number of views. I'm not going to doubt that most of them click the back button after reading a few sentences, but that'll be because majority of the time, what your story is about is just not their cup of tea, though poor grammar/spelling is just as bad a contender. I took a quick look at your story, and I didn't see any jarring spelling or grammar errors, so that's out of the question.

    Could it be the content of your story? Absolutely, but it's nothing bad, trust me. People have different interests and tastes, like Jax brought up--especially the pickiness of people. The forums doesn't have a drop-down on genres like FFN has, so if someone wants to look for a specific genre in a story, they'll be clicking on the thread with a title that catches their eye and hope it's what they're looking for. I'll be honest that I'm a bit picky about stories myself. I'm more likely to read a story with certain Pokémon as the main characters, certain storyline, or even a certain author. Genre also plays a big part in this. I love romance stories, though here we have a specific section just for romantic-plot stories, and I hang around there a lot. I even have a few stories there that have been positively received.

    But I also have a story at the moment where I haven't gotten reviews yet, and I think that's because it's not a Pokémon story. I was aware of what I was getting into, and I did it anyway. I'm not regretting my decision. I understand that this is a fandom that is fairly young, and that this particular fandom is not world-wide just yet. Most of the members here are either from North America (mostly consisting of America and Canada), Europe (especially around Great Britain), and Australia. This fandom was just recently released in theaters in Australia, while it's been in theaters here for about two months now. Great Britain is getting it next month. Thus, my audience is fairly small, and I'm okay with that. The story is still rather new anyway, so I have plenty of time to get at least one review by the time I finish it. Even then, I'm not worried about it, so I don't particularly mind if I get a single review or not.

    I used to care about reviews when I first started, but over time I came to learn this for myself that I can't please anyone, and thus my audience is a small niche. Fan fiction is a niche in itself, but with sub-niches with their own sub-niches. Obviously, you're not going to have a cult following unless you get really-really-really lucky--and there is an extremely small list of well-known fics out there, especially in the Pokémon fandom. But that shouldn't have to get you down in the dumps. If anything, it should just get you pumped up and excited, and give it your very best. And perhaps one day, with enough experience and maybe some familiarity under your belt, you may have that one special story that gains fandom-wide attention--or even better: creating your own original story and publicly publishing it for a world-wide audience. But for now, just write for the pleasure of writing and telling a story. Someone out there will appreciate you for it, even if they don't get the chance to tell you.
  13. Quilava42

    Quilava42 Blazing Flowers

    It's the same with me. I wrote a story that wasn't Pokemon while it was in a Pokemon website, and I noticed that more focused on other Pokemon stories. So I understood, since more people are into that. I'd say to just wait. Sceptile, If you want a review right away, just ask a person or post it in the Review Exchange thing. Just don't rush them or plead

    But the real reason is, do you enjoy writing them? Enjoying writing them because you like writing since it's your art is good. I mean, that's the important part of the writer. Or, why are you writing? I mean, just show it to those who are interested anyways, and think of the content of your story to see if it's bad or needs work.

    I don't review much unless I need to help that person.
  14. Diddy

    Diddy Renegade

    Just pointing this out.

    Getting readers/reviewers etc has nothing to do with quality. At all... okay, maybe a tiny bit (your fic has to at least transcend the realm of lolwut grammar trollfic) but having a gift for writing doesn't secure you anything. The only advice I can give you is to pay very close attention to fandom shifts in interest and GET AHEAD of the wave. If you can do that and you get very lucky, you have yourself a popular fic. It might not be a good fic, but you can shove your thread reply numbers in peoples faces to shut them up if they tell you otherwise. It's not pretty but it is what it is.

    OR, you can work hard to improve your skills, write a fantasticly original idea with a gripping plot and relatable, realistic characters and make your fic good and just roll with whatever you get. If you get popular, kudos to you, you'll have deserved it.

    That's just my opinion though.
  15. Firebrand

    Firebrand Indomitable

    That's a little cynical. Maybe not completely wrong, but I'd like to think that people are able to judge a fic more than it just being something in vogue. If it's well written and tells a good story, then I think that it has a good chance of at least gaining some steam. It may not be earth-shattering, but it certainly can pick up reviewers and followers if it updates frequently and is of a high quality.
  16. Dilasc

    Dilasc Boip!

    I think a big thing about getting readers right now is the fact that the award nomination process is going on. As we all want to be nominated (whether you choose to admit it or not) it is only natural for people to desperately want to have readers. After all, if they've read your story, they're likely to nominate it.

    I could, of course be swinging right in the dark here and be entirely wrong though but I get the feeling it is a factor as to why this topic sprung up now.
  17. diamondpearl876

    diamondpearl876 → soul sick.

    I haven't read all of the other posts in this thread, so sorry if this is a repeat. But I glanced at your thread and it looks like you've updated 5 chapters in a relatively short span of time. This can be intimidating to readers, because it means that they will be reviewing very often, which may not be the best impression to make, especially during the holiday season, as JX Valentine said. I would suggest updating every 2 weeks or so, and using the time in between to do things outside of your thread to get attention, such as getting graphics made, checking out the review exchange thread, or reviewing other peoples' fics. I'd also suggest putting your fic on other websites so your potential audience isn't limited to Serebii.

    And if anyone is reading this and wants me to review their fic, let me know. I have a lot of free time in the next two weeks and will review whatever.
  18. Sid87

    Sid87 I love shiny pokemon

    I feel there is a bit of an "I want the reward without the work" sentiment here, because it's REALLY not that hard to get readers around here if you want to. You just have to be more proactive and introduce yourself to others. Find other fics, like yours, that are just starting out and read and review them. Are you concerned you aren't a great reviewer and wont have much to contribute? That's okay! Just contribute whatever you have. Even if it is just "Nice story, I especially like [moment]. It made me feel [happy/amused/sad/etc]". Just let people know you are contributing to their works, and it exponentially raises the likelihood that they (or one of their readers) will like yours. It's the GOOD kind of clique-iness around here that a lot of people who join or start stories at the same time all kind of bond together. You end up making friends on here, learning more about writing since you are reading and seeing what others do, and get yourself a bigger audience.

    I guess what it boils down to is, if you want readers, be willing to put in the work to cultivate relationships around here and get your [screen]name out there for others to see. From there, as others have mentioned, having a banner in your signature is a BIG help, too. You can message people after you've commented on their stories (and don't forget to comment! Other people want reviews just like you do!) to say "Hey, I really enjoyed [aspects of their story]. Do you have time to help me out with mine and let me know what you enjoy and what you think I could fix?"

    DP876 brings up a good point, and I used to council new writers here on that a LOT: If you're story is new, I know there's an urge to refuse to let it sink down the forum, but DON'T update it super frequently. I know you're thinking "This will make it more visible at the top of the board", but what it actually does is scare readers away. When I see a story get updated multiple times per week, I think "Geez, I'll never be able to keep up with this story; no sense starting it when I'll get drowned in new chapters before I have a chance to read and comment".

    The Review Exchange (sticky'd on this forum) is your friend. Find other writers who want readers and say "Hey, want to exchange readership?" But don't just post in it and ignore everyone else's requests; be proactive and look for the requests of others. If everyone just posted their own request and ignored the requests of others, it'd be a pointless thread.
  19. Skiyomi

    Skiyomi Only Mostly Dead

    I think a lot of people in this thread have already given you some great suggestions, but I just wanted to pop in with one elaboration. Now, I can't front, I love receiving feedback. I think that's the way for most fanfiction authors. But during a dry-spell like the one you're experiencing, it might be a good idea to take the opportunity to learn something that you're probably going to have to do anyway somewhere along the line if you decide to keep writing, and that is to, on some level, be your own critic. I'm not for a moment trying to take away anything from the value of getting fresh eyes on your work and an outside perspective--that's great, that's really really helpful. But to improve, a writer kinda needs to grow that inner-critic who can find the faults in their own work or simply the parts that aren't as good as they could be and figure out how to fix and improve them. Rereading your own fic with a critical eye and engaging in some re-writing exercises can be a good way to do it, but also...

    To develop the skills to read your own work critically, it's a good idea to, yes, review the works of others. Learning how to identify and best articulate what needs improvement in other people's stories will carry over into your revision and continued writing of your own stories. Added to that, if you become really good at analyzing other people's stories in a thoughtful, intelligent, and compassionate way then, as other people have indicated, more people will want to check out your fic or engage in review trades. So it's win, win. You get better at analyzing your own work, therefore filling some of the void left by a lack of feedback, and you get your name out there and possibly attract people to your fic.
  20. SceptileFan

    SceptileFan I AM RACCOON MAN

    Oh. Huh. Didn't think about that. Crap.

    All right, looks like I'll be spacing out my updates from now on. Thanks guys!

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