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No, really, how do you get people to read your fics?

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by arkham618, Apr 29, 2007.

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  1. SithGirl132

    SithGirl132 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 6, 2005
    i don't really know how people read my fics! My Master has read and critiqued many of my fics, but I guess that's her job. I guess it's that people jsut see a title, character, or genre they like and from there, read it.
     
  2. DarthJishyWishy

    DarthJishyWishy Jedi Youngling star 1

    Registered:
    May 4, 2007
    what i do is scroll around and check out the stories that have only 1 or 2 replies.
    there was one story where i was the only reviewer and of course, the only one on the pm list.
    i read stories that don't get much comments and i hope they do the same for me.
     
  3. Felix_Crash

    Felix_Crash Jedi Youngling

    Registered:
    May 4, 2007
    Hmm. This thread is making me feel guilty about being a lurker. [face_worried]

    But something I'd like to point out is that I'm one of those readers that actually prefers to read OC fan fiction. As a matter of fact, I think we need MORE OCs! Soon they will swarm the boards! There's no escape! They're everywhere! Agh! One of them has got my wallet! Get back here...you! (Can't pronounce their name...)

    Alright, so maybe I got a little carried away there...
     
  4. Alley_Skywalker

    Alley_Skywalker Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 27, 2005
    On the OC topic?I have to admit to sometimes feeling a little guilty. I write OCs but I rarely read them. Not because I have a prejudice against OCs or their authors, as I am one myself, but simply for the same reason that I don?t read fics about canon/EU characters that I am not very interested in. It all has to do with preferences I suppose?

    I think the OC Revolution is great for supporting OC writers/readers. (as long as they -- em we -- don?t get too radical;) ). I think there?s a place for both canon and OC stories in the GFFA fanfic universe.
     
  5. yuna_kenobi

    yuna_kenobi Jedi Youngling star 3

    Registered:
    Aug 1, 2006
  6. ROTSFan

    ROTSFan Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 25, 2006
    Some excellent advice from Souderwan, as usual.

    I remember in particular that responding to comments midway through is a good way to "bump" and give the story visibility.

    I would also try reading some stories on the boards (vignettes if you have a low attention span) and posting thoughtful comments. It will get your name out there and if your story is advertised in your sig potentially get new readers interested in you.

    Post thoughtful replies to your comments; I know from personal experience (as a reader) that when I'm reading a story and put an effort into analyzing it only to be met with a smiley, it can get really annoying.

    Last, lurkers are OK-even if it does seem pointless. People can really surprise you-sometimes you have old readers (from a year back) coming out of the woodwork to suddenly leave a comment, and suddenly your most faithful posters will seem to disappear.

    Apologies if I'm repeating anything anyone else said previously [face_peace]
     
  7. Souderwan

    Souderwan Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 3, 2005
    That's just one of the 1000 things I like about you, MamaVader. :)

    On OC's: I've written just as many OCs as I've written canon characters. That said, they are usually completely integrated into a canon-character-centric story. For me, OCs are just as much of a plot device as scene setting is. I also get quite a kick out of grabbing "minor" canon characters and developing them. In any case, I do think that identifying a story as OC-centric is detrimental to readership.

    Exeter is one of the most amazing writers on the boards. His readership isn't bad, but he gets about 1/3rd of the readership a writer of his caliber probably could. He has all the right elements--great action, excellent pacing, superb storytelling, etc. But his work is OC-centric. That's the only explanation I can come up with, anyway.

    On lurkers: I?ve learned not to stress about it. I posted at fanfic.net and had something like a 500:1 hit to post ratio. On one story, I have over 40 people on my PM list but I get anywhere less than a third of those on the PM list respond (I get as many responses from people not on the PM list as I get from people on the PM list). There are any number of reasons why people choose to respond or not respond. The best I can do is to work on my story and make sure that it meets my standards. The rest out of my hands.

    I like to think of the fanfic forums like the books at a bookstore. There are a plethora of choices and people pick up stories and take a look to see if the story interests/moves them. More often than not, people put those books back on the shelf and move on to something else. Short of marketing (mostly a no-no around here), there?s nothing you can do about that decision.


     
  8. Space_Wolf

    Space_Wolf Jedi Master star 3

    Registered:
    Mar 13, 2007
    It is difficult to get readers for your story. I originally joined the boards back in 03, under a different user name. That was probably the time I had the most readers, but I had to interupt coming on here because of personal reasons. (Not going to go into that, though.) I returned in 05, but found most of the readers and authors I used to read had moved on. I had to stop writing stories then because I lost the use of the computer. This time round, I might have more luck, apart from the fact that there is so much stuff on here and it's easy to get buried, etc, but that problem's always been here and short of everything getting deleted and the boards starting over, I don't see how that's going to be overcome. My story Redemption didn't get any readers (at least ones that didn't post anyway. You get a lot of people who just lurk and because there's nothing that records how many veiws you get for a story, you have no idea how much traffic you get, which can make it look like the story's being over-looked.)

    I write OCs and they are usually (I hate to use the term,) aliens!

    I tend to write long stories, partly because I just seem to do them naturally and partly because I don't tend to like my short stories very much. There's no meat on them, I find I rush them and half the time readers don't know what I'm getting at, with the characters being OCs, so I have to write long stories, anyway.

    It's probably best to only post finished stories (not all in one chunk, obviously), as when I've had to take a break from writing in the past (never because I wanted to, however), I also left a bunch of them unfinished.
     
  9. Alley_Skywalker

    Alley_Skywalker Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 27, 2005
    The problem I have w/ hit counters is, though, that they merely show how many people clicked on your story link. I might have been because they saw a certain character of something like that that they usually read about and their interest was grabbed. Maybe they even got as far as reading the header, maybe even the first paragraph. But nothing about a hit counter tells you if these people actually stayed around to read the whole fic/chapter. So, technically, hit counters aren?t all that telling.
     
  10. Onoto

    Onoto Jedi Knight star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 7, 2004
    I'm an OC writer myself (mostly because readers can't complain about them acting out of character ;)), and I've been lucky enough that I've won some contests and gotten some regular readers that support me and my characters. I've only been posting my stories since February, so I've been pleasantly surprised with everything.

    The best way to get regular readers, which I think is every author's goal, is to write well. Seems pretty obvious, right? But believe me, good writers will attract good readers, even if only a few. Bad writers probably won't, and mediocre ones probably won't if there's enough other stories to choose from, and there are. All it takes is a profile click here, or a reader with some popularity there, and people will find your fic. I firmly believe that the best stories rise to the top, so make your story as good as you can, because...

    If you write it they will come.:p
     
  11. yuna_kenobi

    yuna_kenobi Jedi Youngling star 3

    Registered:
    Aug 1, 2006
    its more than true

    its a law of the universe

    *i couldn't have said it better Onoto*
     
  12. Souderwan

    Souderwan Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 3, 2005
    I'd only add to that, Onoto, that it's more than just writing well. There are a lot of wonderful writers who have very little readership and there are a lot of sub-par writers with readers out the whazoo. What usually keeps people around, I think, is good storytelling. You may or may not have meant this, but I do draw a distinction between good writing and good storytelling. I could wax philosophical about storytelling all day, but I'll just say that a story that pulls the reader in and engages him/her on a pyschological, emotional, intellectual, and visceral level will almost always be successful.

    Of course, the trick is to write like that. I'll let you know if/when I ever figure that out. :p

     
  13. Onoto

    Onoto Jedi Knight star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 7, 2004
    Excellent point. Sometimes it's hard to separate the two, but their is a distinct difference between technically good writing and good storytelling. The best example I can think of is "The Da Vinci Code". Dan Brown, while not a bad writer, probably isn't the best in the world, but it was a fun story and really sucked me in.
     
  14. ROTSFan

    ROTSFan Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 25, 2006
    Oh I hate you:p

    *bows before Souderwan's intellect*
     
  15. JadeSolo

    JadeSolo Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 20, 2002
    Da Vinci Code is actually a great example, I think. Angels & Demons in my opinion was a much better written book - decent amount of detail and plot, no ridiculous cliffhangers at the end of every chapter...

    I think of DVC like this: good idea, bad execution. For many people, that was enough. They read it, liked it, hello NY Times Bestseller List. First time I read it, I felt the same way. You can grab a lot of readers by presenting something new and off the wall. Maybe some will still say, "I've seen that idea before" (just like many said "Jesus was a father? I knew that already."), but others will go wild over it.

    So when it comes to ideas and executions, I say at the very least have one or the other because you can still pull in readers with great writing and generic idea or vice versa. But the best, of course, is to have both a good idea and a good execution, and for that I point to Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield. Great book and bestseller. :D
     
  16. Space_Wolf

    Space_Wolf Jedi Master star 3

    Registered:
    Mar 13, 2007
    I generally avoid those kind of books. Even if there's even a whiff of it getting on the bestseller list, I don't read it. But part of the reason why I don't read those type of books very often is because I read Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Horror, which usually don't turn up on the bestseller list, at least they don't in the UK.

    I read through those tips earlier and although some of them will be usful to take on board, I draw the line at writing popular characters just for the sake of more readers, as I believe my writing would suffer for it. I'm also happy enough reading about Luke etc, in the offical novels and I don't see any point in writing about characters like that in fan fiction, at least for me, anyway.
     
  17. MsLanna

    MsLanna Jedi Master star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 8, 2005
    No, really, how do you get people to read your fics?

    Honest answer?




    I don't.
    [face_plain]
     
  18. Aiel

    Aiel Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Oct 14, 2004
    If it helps, I've learnt something valuable from six years of fanfiction or so, I highly believe in some published authors philosophy that they write their stories for themselves, so I've taken that idea and ran with it.

    I only post what stories I'd like to read myself, I'm completely full of utter delight when after going over potential scenarios I come up with a new twist in my stories. Because really in the end I know when I'm happy with the story, there are people out there, lurkers and wonderful reviewers, who are happy with it as well.

    If they're not, I don't mind being told what they liked and disliked, that's the great thing about what the internet has done for writers, they can know what their readers feel about the chapter and how the story is progressing. (Feedback is awesome, I really do get a kick out of it, and suggestions can alter how the next chapter is written and what happens.)

    I just believe when a story goes unreviewed, remember that ultimately it's you that has to be happy with your stories, in paperback or online. :)
     
  19. Souderwan

    Souderwan Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 3, 2005
    Now you're just making me blush! :p

    I wholeheartedly agree with Aiel, who makes an excellent point. There are writers out there who write a formula--hero/heroine + worthy cause + insurmountable odds + [insert genre appropriate exiting battles here] + romance + angst = high-post volume reading. To be honest, my little list back there is somewhat of a tongue-in-cheek observation of this phenomenon. Truth be told, you can get a lot of readers that way. But for that to work, you really have to like the story. There are far more people who have tried such formulas and failed at it than there are people who have succeeded. A reader can tell when you're forcing the issue and it can be a big turn off.

    I once read a fic where the author did everything in his power to have a cliffhanger at the end of every post. It was so obvious that he was doing this that it just became an annoying distraction from the story (which happened to be rather good). In the end, I just couldn't continue to read it because I knew some ridiculous situation would develop in the last two paragraphs in order to create the inevitable cliffhanger.

    So..yeah...don't force it. Just write what you like and write what you know. The rest will take care of itself. Or it won't.


     
  20. Onoto

    Onoto Jedi Knight star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 7, 2004
    Well put. Good writing can save just about anything, and bad writing can ruin just about anything.
     
  21. DarthGaul

    DarthGaul Jedi Master star 3

    Registered:
    May 25, 2004
    People either read them or they don't. If they do...at least they let you know if they're enjoying it or not. No answers mean...gosh...dunno...maybe they don't mean anything, maybe their the greatest bit of fiction they've ever read in their whole life!!

    Nah.

    If your passionate in your writing (and avoid spelling and grammar erros...dang nabbit!), they'll read your stuff. It's just a lot of fics going on out there.
     
  22. Vongchild

    Vongchild Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 2, 2004
    It takes a lot to admit this, but...

    I solicit all my fanfic-writing friends on AIM with links, beg them to read, and see what happens, usually by offering to share the wealth and give them a read and review in exchange. Almost every poster on these boards who is on my buddy list has probably been hit with a link at least once. Am I pathetic? Yes. Am I ashamed to admit this? Yes. Is this a good way to get a lot of people very annoyed with you very fast? Yes. Is this the right way to get readers? No!

    Since I'm Zonoma's apprentice, I have to put a plug for the Creche in. If you go over there and snag a master (it can usually be found on page one of the resource), they can help you with your writing. As you improve, a master generally will generate some good word of mouth for you and will also be a reader you can always count on to give you a review and a thumbs up. However, apprentices are expected to read their master's work (or at least, I'm pretty sure this is common courtesy.)

    If you start out as a terrible writer and make no effort to prove, well of course you're not going to get readers. But if you make an effort to constantly improve your work, even if you're one heck of a writer and get involved in the community, people will eventually start looking at your stuff. It's a slow process. No one starts out immediately popular unless they're like, God. George Lucas could join fanfiction and even he wouldn't have instant popularity. The most popular authors are the ones who have been around for a long time and who have made the effort to get their name out their, make their stories constantly improve, and come up with consistently fresh material.

    If you write it, they will come. They might take a while, but they will come. :)
     
  23. AnakinsFavorite

    AnakinsFavorite Jedi Knight star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 10, 2006
    Chocolate/cookie trails also work :p

    I have learned to let my stories run it's course without bumping and such. It often takes them longer to take off, but when they do... I know that I did so without being annoying.

     
  24. StarWarsIsGood

    StarWarsIsGood Jedi Master

    Registered:
    Feb 22, 2006
    take me to your cookies! [face_dancing]

    i totally agree with your call, but at the same time i'm one of those people who love to bask in the glory of a popular story they've written (good bad or ugly)... god i hate people like me :oops:

    it makes me feel all warm, gooey and soft inside... like a well made cookie.

    hmmm, this plug for creche i read about sounds promising.
     
  25. AnakinsFavorite

    AnakinsFavorite Jedi Knight star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 10, 2006
    I'm going to refer to a fic of mine as an example...

    It is really dark and discusses things we want to forget about. For that story, I am happy to have five readers- if they can stomach it, they will be with me to the end. I don't want to shove my story in reader's faces... I want them to come to me willingly.

    I think that's how it is with dark stories... I mean, oqidaun is a respected writer about here, but she works for her readers. She doesn't flaunt her great stories but waits for the readers to come to her...

    Somehow, I have a feeling that this would all make more sense if I talked in spanish...8-}
     
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