Ditmag

How do you know if people like your story?

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It’s been ages since I posted anything on FFN, and I honestly don’t remember if they did have data on individual chapters. I refuse to post on AO3, at least until they start enforcing their ToS on an impartial and non-gaslighting basis, so your guess would be far better than mine as to how they track data. We don’t have anything in place to track hits on individual chapters on AFF at this time. I’m not even sure if our archive code would be able to do that, not being even remotely capable of writing code myself.

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5 hours ago, Wilde_Guess said:

Hi, all.

The “dragon prints” are fine for public display.  Being able to track individual chapter hits, visible only to the author would be more helpful, since the “typical” reader doesn’t seem to leave a review.  So, your dragon prints are going up.  Are the readers actually trying to read the whole story, or are they just seeing “Chapter 1,” and running away in fright?  If you update frequently enough, your story will always be on the first page of your “fandom,” and will get hits for that alone.  But, absent reviews, you don’t know if the reader is making it beyond Chapter 1, especially if you only see the total hits for everything.  If I have 2900 dragon prints for a 32 chapter WIP, did I get 91 readers reading everything, or 2850 hits on Chapter 1, with only my proof-reading and editing even making it to Chapter 2?

 

Thanks in advance.

“Dragon prints” is basically the “hit count”, to your story.  

5 hours ago, BronxWench said:

It’s been ages since I posted anything on FFN, and I honestly don’t remember if they did have data on individual chapters. I refuse to post on AO3, at least until they start enforcing their ToS on an impartial and non-gaslighting basis, so your guess would be far better than mine as to how they track data. We don’t have anything in place to track hits on individual chapters on AFF at this time. I’m not even sure if our archive code would be able to do that, not being even remotely capable of writing code myself.

AO3 has the same metric, as “Hits” whole story.  However, FF.net does have the per-chapter breakdown, which is more useful (that is until you start deleting chapters...)   Not only per chapter, FF.net breaks it down per MONTH, by day within that month, and by (most likely) country of the visitor.   FF.net’s breakdown is how I can tell bots are the primary readers of my stories there :(

 

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5 hours ago, BronxWench said:

It’s been ages since I posted anything on FFN, and I honestly don’t remember if they did have data on individual chapters. I refuse to post on AO3, at least until they start enforcing their ToS on an impartial and non-gaslighting basis, so your guess would be far better than mine as to how they track data. We don’t have anything in place to track hits on individual chapters on AFF at this time. I’m not even sure if our archive code would be able to do that, not being even remotely capable of writing code myself.

Hi, @BronxWench and @Desiderius Price

FFN does have the “by chapter” hit counter visible to the author.  They also figured out how to monetize the eyeballs out of content from unpaid authors.  I have no idea what AO3 has.  AFF has more responsive tech support to the authors, particularly since no one is getting paid to work on it.

Deleting or splitting and shifting chapters will ‘break’ your metrics if you try to watch them going back ‘forever.’  It isn’t quite as bad if you make notes of if, when, and to what degree you up-end your story because you had a near-catastrophic continuity mess-up, and the only way to fix it was to put in several entirely new scenes, and seriously flesh out a couple more.

“Whole story” counters are better than no counters at all.  But it still comes back around to the original question, or at least my version of it; How do you know if anyone likes your story?

Thanks again.

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19 minutes ago, Wilde_Guess said:

Hi, @BronxWench and @Desiderius Price

FFN does have the “by chapter” hit counter visible to the author.  They also figured out how to monetize the eyeballs out of content from unpaid authors.  I have no idea what AO3 has.  AFF has more responsive tech support to the authors, particularly since no one is getting paid to work on it.

Deleting or splitting and shifting chapters will ‘break’ your metrics if you try to watch them going back ‘forever.’  It isn’t quite as bad if you make notes of if, when, and to what degree you up-end your story because you had a near-catastrophic continuity mess-up, and the only way to fix it was to put in several entirely new scenes, and seriously flesh out a couple more.

“Whole story” counters are better than no counters at all.  But it still comes back around to the original question, or at least my version of it; How do you know if anyone likes your story?

Thanks again.

That’s the question that even published authors have difficulty answering.   If you have fans writing wikis and fanfiction based on your stories, then you’ll know you’ve got an audience/fan base (or at least had one before going on homophobic/transphobic rants on twitter).  Movie deals help :) 

Per chapter & month does help, a bit.  Simply cause you know they’re at least hitting “next-chapter” button.  My main potter fanfic on FFN, for instance, has 420 views & 39 visitors so far this month.  Of that, I see 48 views/29 visitors to the first chapter, while subsequent chapters are 3-8 views/3-5 visitors.  The day-day histogram shows that about six bots came through, drowning out the metrics (or humans clicking next-next-next w/o reading or doing very-fast-skimming).  I do know, though, many of the “hits” come from people finding a link to the story, maybe from another author’s favorites, and deciding to move on (or bookmarking it for later).

AFF & AO3 only have the whole-story hit counters.  By recording these daily, I know that a recent post can generate one to two hundred hits/day, but it’ll settle down to the single-digits per day within a week or two.  However, as they’re only whole-story, I don’t know if it’s something browsing the first chapter & moving on, vs reading the whole thing & enjoying it.   AO3 has Kudos and number of bookmarks/subscriptions available, so that helps measure some level of interest.  FFN has the favorites & alerts, also relevant. 

But, when it comes to knowing that readers enjoy the story, reviews are that golden ticket, the best measure.  However, maybe one reader in a hundred will leave a review, if that.  (My *HIGHEST* review count here on AFF is NINE, the average is around 2-3 per story.  My biggest is that main potter fanfic on FFN, with 180.)

Moral of the story, if you want to trend set, try to always review when you read.

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Hi, @Desiderius Price

Reviewing what I read would be easier if I was finding time to read anything.The AFF exclusive story, after being neglected for over two years, got 14 chapters since February 8th.  These are not small chapters.  They also included a three chapter flash-back, the breaking of the “inner fourth wall,” the change from the regular first person perspective to the first person perspective of another character and back, making major changes in the life of one of the main characters, the introduction of a former off-screen villain as an on-screen semi-hero who is much more closely related to one of the main protagonists than previously known, completely changing the character of an off-screen event by presenting a different perspective… I suppose you get the idea, and none of these chapters were small or easy to write, even though they further fleshed out the characters as well as telling a story.

I did submit one review.  I won’t name the author or the work, though I’m sure you could figure it out easily enough.  Their ideas were fascinating.  Their execution was exactly that—you watched this “author” use third-grade dropout prose to hang their ideas by the neck until they were dead.  My first piece of advice to that author was to delete my review after he read it, because it was not a nice review.  The author deleted it after a day or two, so, hey!  At least the author could follow some of my advice!

Thanks. 

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24 minutes ago, Wilde_Guess said:

Hi, @Desiderius Price

Reviewing what I read would be easier if I was finding time to read anything.The AFF exclusive story, after being neglected for over two years, got 14 chapters since February 8th.  These are not small chapters.  They also included a three chapter flash-back, the breaking of the “inner fourth wall,” the change from the regular first person perspective to the first person perspective of another character and back, making major changes in the life of one of the main characters, the introduction of a former off-screen villain as an on-screen semi-hero who is much more closely related to one of the main protagonists than previously known, completely changing the character of an off-screen event by presenting a different perspective… I suppose you get the idea, and none of these chapters were small or easy to write, even though they further fleshed out the characters as well as telling a story.

I did submit one review.  I won’t name the author or the work, though I’m sure you could figure it out easily enough.  Their ideas were fascinating.  Their execution was exactly that—you watched this “author” use third-grade dropout prose to hang their ideas by the neck until they were dead.  My first piece of advice to that author was to delete my review after he read it, because it was not a nice review.  The author deleted it after a day or two, so, hey!  At least the author could follow some of my advice!

Thanks. 

Three chapter flashback?  I tried doing something similar in my original and got everybody confused (including myself), so I’m still in the process of breaking it apart into multiple back stories (it’s now nearly eight years in the making).  A reviewer noted the confusion, and that’s when I realized I’d do better justice breaking the stories apart.  Drawback is the main story’s languished since then, because I’ve been busy going down the proverbial plot bunny rabbit hole showing how messed up the society is.  Do I regret this choice?  No.  Each story is pretty strong on its own, though there are characters common to all of them.  Some are stories-stories outright, others are episodic serials, and some have become fodder for the Halloween & Holiday oneshots.  Though I might’ve crossedthe line when I threw that nun into a woodchipper…. (in one of the backstories, not real life).

I tend to not read much anymore, I’m much more of a creator than consumer, feels more fulfilling to me.  Though I’ll try to review when I do read.

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Hi, @Desiderius Price

The three chapter flashback is quite literally one of the main characters relating the events of a very traumatic day in front of most of the other main characters.  This scene had already been described from the viewpoint of a different character.  But different people have different perspectives.   Here’s a “quick” sample…

“I made my way back to the punch bowl for cups six, seven, and eight.  I was starting on number nine when an older girl that looked like the electric piano player’s older sister grabbed my wrist and made me pour the punch on the ground. 

“She told me ‘Go.  Away.  Now.  Twerp.’

“I didn’t realize then just how drunk I was starting to get.  I knew I wanted to say something to get her just angry enough to follow me away from the punchbowl so I could lose her in the crowd and come back for just one or two more.  What I actually told her was ‘Great boobies, honey pie!  My lower intestine is full of spam, eggs, spam, sausage, go fuck your mother on a merry-go-round, and scram!’

“The look of shock on her face told me, even as drunk as I was starting to realize that I was, that she would enjoy breaking my nose so much more than she ever enjoyed Monty Python’s Flying Circus.  So, I twisted my wrist out of her grasp before she recovered and walked away at almost a run.

“She stopped following me just a few yards later, but I wisely kept going.  I could see my busted and bloodied nose in her eyes, and I wanted it to stay there, even if I did deserve it for my rude introduction to her.  I grabbed another Italian Beef along the way and almost inhaled it.  I looked at the punchbowl, and didn’t see her, or anyone else guarding it.

 

The biggest pain with those chapters is getting the stacked quotation marks in the right places—and I’m still finding ones I missed.

Thanks.

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I might be the odd man out here, but I actually just want to know if people have reacted to my story at all. I don’t care if they don’t love it, and I’m generally not surprised if people hate it, but I’d love a reaction.

Back when I had more time, I tried to read more and I’d make a point of reviewing when I read. (Thanks to a hiccup, my account was inadvertently deleted, which left all my old reviews anonned, but hopefully that won’t matter to the authors I reviewed.) Sometimes when I was sweeping in the archive, I’d come across a new story in a fandom I might not normally have pursued for leisure reading, and I’d make a point to go back, read properly, and review. I’m fairly specific about fandoms, however, and I have my personal squicks which I will avoid diligently for leisure reading, so I might not get around to reading everything. I’m hoping I’ll be able to find more time to just read again, and when I read, I review!

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15 minutes ago, BronxWench said:

I might be the odd man out here, but I actually just want to know if people have reacted to my story at all. I don’t care if they don’t love it, and I’m generally not surprised if people hate it, but I’d love a reaction.

Back when I had more time, I tried to read more and I’d make a point of reviewing when I read. (Thanks to a hiccup, my account was inadvertently deleted, which left all my old reviews anonned, but hopefully that won’t matter to the authors I reviewed.) Sometimes when I was sweeping in the archive, I’d come across a new story in a fandom I might not normally have pursued for leisure reading, and I’d make a point to go back, read properly, and review. I’m fairly specific about fandoms, however, and I have my personal squicks which I will avoid diligently for leisure reading, so I might not get around to reading everything. I’m hoping I’ll be able to find more time to just read again, and when I read, I review!

Guess “appreciated” the effort I put in, is closer to the mark than “rave/love” it, and the gist is how to tease this out from the information at hand.   A review/comment is definitely the gold star here, presumably they’ve read the material (aside from the flaming trolls).  AO3’s kudos are an easy “like it” for the readers.  Subscriptions/alerts hint they’re interested in the next installment.  A public bookmark/favorite is an endorsement IMO.  Even a private bookmark means they’re wanting to find it again (only AO3 seems to count those).  Tallying dragon prints & hits is a last resort hint, because my stories don’t attract reviews.

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3 minutes ago, Desiderius Price said:

Guess “appreciated” the effort I put in, is closer to the mark than “rave/love” it, and the gist is how to tease this out from the information at hand.   A review/comment is definitely the gold star here, presumably they’ve read the material (aside from the flaming trolls).  AO3’s kudos are an easy “like it” for the readers.  Subscriptions/alerts hint they’re interested in the next installment.  A public bookmark/favorite is an endorsement IMO.  Even a private bookmark means they’re wanting to find it again (only AO3 seems to count those).  Tallying dragon prints & hits is a last resort hint, because my stories don’t attract reviews.

Trust me, if I was able to write code, I’d be working on a few projects for AFF, based on the number of people who are asking for the same thing: recognition that their stories are being read.

Part of the problem with reviews, and I’m opening a can of worms here, I know, is the ever-popular cancel culture mentality.

It’s unfortunately the case that some writers do NOT respond well to anything other than a complete squee. If you aren’t gushing about their cleverness, or the adorableness of their characters, or the genius of the pairing they chose from their fandom, the reaction to the review will be either a deletion of the review, a huffy author’s note mention of people who can’t accept artistic quality without complaining, or a combination of both. Even the mildest of questions can provoke a fit of pique from these writers, and after a time, most reviewers will quietly move on to another story. For myself, I adore constructive criticism. Tell me what didn’t work for you, because that’s how I can continue to hone my own writing. Squeeing about my work tells me bugger-all.

On the other hand, we have reviewers who, quite simply, can’t write a review. A personal attack on the writer is not a review; it is a personal attack on the writer and deserves deletion of the review and quite possibly the reviewer’s account as well. A review berating the inclusion of something that was quite clearly covered in the story tags, tags which the reviewer managed to overlook in their entirety, is not at all helpful to the writer, and only serves to highlight the reviewer’s own lack of mental acuity. As an example, I detest scat. If a story is tagged for that particular content, and I read it anyway, I have NO right whatsoever to berate the author for having scat in the story. I’m the idiot who ignored the tags, so shame on me for being feckless.

The biggest issue for me is always going to be the motivation for me to write. Do I write to collect dragon prints, or hit points, or kudos? Or do I write because the stories in my head won’t go away otherwise?

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2 hours ago, BronxWench said:

Trust me, if I was able to write code, I’d be working on a few projects for AFF, based on the number of people who are asking for the same thing: recognition that their stories are being read.

I know I had offered at one point, however, that faded and I’ve been focusing more on my own world-building software assistant (ie, database + wiki + cool analytics).  Not asking for new features, simply illustrating how I use the existing features to try to crack that same question.

2 hours ago, BronxWench said:

Part of the problem with reviews, and I’m opening a can of worms here, I know, is the ever-popular cancel culture mentality.

That is a can of worms, I’m not of fan of canceling/scrubbing-from-history of things I don’t agree with.

2 hours ago, BronxWench said:

As an example, I detest scat. If a story is tagged for that particular content, and I read it anyway, I have NO right whatsoever to berate the author for having scat in the story. I’m the idiot who ignored the tags, so shame on me for being feckless.

I’ll err on the side of over-tagging instead of under-tagging.  Though I’ll now categorize the tags in the opening of the story, noting which ones are more (CYA) and which ones are “features”/main-themes.

2 hours ago, BronxWench said:

The biggest issue for me is always going to be the motivation for me to write. Do I write to collect dragon prints, or hit points, or kudos? Or do I write because the stories in my head won’t go away otherwise?

I’d love to say I write fine in a vacuum, but I don’t.  I do need that occasional pat on the back, the kudos, to keep the motivation.  Otherwise, I’ll drift away with “got better things to do at the moment?” which morphs into “why bother?” and I move along.  Thus, I record my dragon prints every so often, which helps, to a degree.
 

What *does* help is that as I’ve been squeezing on the finances, it keeps other distracting hobbies at bay.

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So six stories and 800K words later, I accumulated a few reviews, all very positive. I also got suggestions to post to other sites, so i started posting my work to AO3 as well, which netted a LOT more reviews and comments, a couple hundred to date, also very positive except for some beef with story choices. I’m starting to appreciate how so many TV shows are great untilthe end, when the most brilliant writers often blow it. That’s happened to me a few times. First ten chapters-Awesome! Second ten chapters-Even better! Third ten chapters-Best story ever! Last chapter-WTF?! Why would you do that?!  STicking landings is hard.

I’m noticing that my latest story is getting single digit dragon prints per day, as compared to 40 a day for my first one. On AO3 my readership is only growing, but here it’s declining. I’m also noticing fewer new stories posted on the site in general.

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6 hours ago, Ditmag said:

So six stories and 800K words later, I accumulated a few reviews, all very positive. I also got suggestions to post to other sites, so i started posting my work to AO3 as well, which netted a LOT more reviews and comments, a couple hundred to date, also very positive except for some beef with story choices. I’m starting to appreciate how so many TV shows are great untilthe end, when the most brilliant writers often blow it. That’s happened to me a few times. First ten chapters-Awesome! Second ten chapters-Even better! Third ten chapters-Best story ever! Last chapter-WTF?! Why would you do that?!  STicking landings is hard.

I’m noticing that my latest story is getting single digit dragon prints per day, as compared to 40 a day for my first one. On AO3 my readership is only growing, but here it’s declining. I’m also noticing fewer new stories posted on the site in general.

Congrats, that’s good work to write 800k!  Single digits...that’s my rate :(  

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