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Ditmag

How do you know if people like your story?

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I’m new here and have only one story up that’s a work in progress. I notice that unlike many other sites, there’s no like or dislike buttons, no subscribing to an author, just reviews. And those reviews are pretty rare. The only thing we really have to go on is dragon prints. In that respect, my story seems to be doing moderately well, gaining about 40 dragon prints per day, which seems to be a higher rate than other stories in the “games” category where the story resides. But all dragon prints tell you is who has clicked on the story, not if they actually read it and enjoyed it.

So I guess my question is, if I’m maintaining a somewhat higher level of daily dragon prints than other newly updated stories in my category, does that mean I’m doing well? Or is that a completely meaningless measure?

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That’s the million dollar question, as your only metrics you have are dragon prints & reviews.  (There used to be “ratings” but that got abused by trolls.)

What I do is I record my dragon prints, daily, and plot them in a spreadsheet; I do this with all my AFF & AO3 stories, and it lets me know which stories gain X number of hits after a chapter post, that’s about the only way to measure interest.

Now, the other thing you can do is to read stories, drop reviews, and hope the karma comes back to you.  After all, a review is golden.

Edited by Desiderius Price

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One thing that make dragon prints a measure a bit tricky is that a large number of chapters in the story raises the effort to read it all. This mean that each time you post a new chapter you can expect a number of people checking the beginning out but not becoming fans so they drop out. The increased perceived effort to read the chapters will mean these random visitors lessens over time. In essence you can a growing number of regulars that read everything, but having a dragon print that is falling as fewer random visitors visit the story. If you keep a steady beat of dragon hints as chapters grow in number I would say it signals you are doing great.

From another perspective, exchanging reviews with other authors is a great way to making it more likely new people will check you story. If I have to choose between reading two stories and one of them has a review I will most only choosing the 0 review one when doing community-service-style-reading. Stories with reviews are generally a better read.

The thing lacking at AFF today is we don’t get dragon prints for the individual chapters. If we had those we could tell how many that read to the end. The tricky thing is that adding such feature afterward would imply that later chapters of all existing chapters has no dragon prints even while they could have been visited by loads of people.

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It’s the age old question, whether people are enjoying the story.  True, I’m writing for personal enjoyment, but there’s an extra level of effort required for polishing & posting (or publishing) a story; thus, some positive feedback is appreciated (& constructive criticism).  TV producers have the Nielsen Ratings, publishers have sales numbers, and we have dragon prints (other archives have hit-counter equivalents).

Discerning whether a dragon print is a hit-through, a random check, or a devoted reader is tough to do; similarly, book publishers don’t know from the sales figures, how many physical books are actually read vs those that are shelved away for “later” vs those that are burned or used to level furniture.  Now, AO3 also has kudos (likes), bookmark counts, & subscriptions – this tells a bit more to the general enjoyment.  FFN does have that per-chapter hit numbers, and they do show that there’s a lot who’ll click because it’s on the “updated” list but don’t click through to the freshly posted chapter.  (However, FFN’s numbers are now getting drowned out by bots...another topic for another time.)

In the end, for AFF, the best metric is recording the dragon prints, and relish when that occasional review comes through.

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Honestly, if we could implement it, a “like” button would be great. Granted, the lack of likes might be just as discouraging as the lack of dragon prints, but it would have far less potential for abuse than our old ratings system. I can’t tell you how many members had stories rated down for what I consider the stupidest of reasons: a disliked pairing, a character being too out of character, and on one memorable occasion, for writing too many stories. Yes, really, and the saddest part is that the author was an excellent writer who truly didn’t deserve to be ratings-bombed.

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I think a downvote button just opens for abuse. At the end of the day you can’t use the downvote metric for anythings useful since you don’t know why somebody downvoted the story/chapter.  The upvote/like is more useful for the author...but it can be abused by authors/readers who want to promote a story.

How about having a “like” button for the chapters where the result is only visible for the author? If you remove publicly visible aspect of the like/upvote you remove a lot of reasons for people arranging a bot that clicks on the like button.

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I’m one who was attacked by a rating bomb, the downvote would come in immediately after a chapter post, too short to actually read it.  Lemme tell you, it was very discouraging to keep posting.  (And this was in ORIGINAL fiction, where there wasn’t any “one-true-pairing” shipping nonsense – could’ve been a story-tag thing, but never really know why they attacked.)  Sure, a like button is open to some abuse, but any author who bots it will lose the reason it’d exist, to know how many people truly like their story – less of a downside than a dislike button.  Now back to this Hermione incest scene…. :devil:

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Oh, yeah, those rating bombs were not great. Only happened to one of my stories – went from like 4 stars/30 votes where it had been for months to over 100 votes overnight and 1 star. I tended not to pay a lot of attention to ratings, but it still kinda sucked.

A like button would be pretty good -might need to be tied to accounts tho’ like on Twitter, to reduce fake boosting (probably not all the way but some of the way!) I feel like it’s unlikely :(

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40 minutes ago, Sparrow said:

I don’t know how useful keeping track of dragon prints are- I used to get loads of hits on pastebins I hardly showed anyone, and I realised the numbers were just getting inflated by bots combing the site.

Not saying it’s the greatest idea ever, simply what I do because there’s no other metric here, aside from reviews.  (And don’t think asking the reader a comprehension worksheet would work either.)

Now, FF.net has good enough statistics for me to ascertain that bots are coming through.  I mean, I doubt humans are reading my 700k potter fanfic in a day.  It was meaningful the couple of times I watched a slow progression through the chapters, that did let me know that somebody was willing to hit “next chapter”.  On FF.net, though, they have other metrics, like alerts & favorite counts, to help know that readers are liking it.

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21 hours ago, Sparrow said:

I don’t know how useful keeping track of dragon prints are- I used to get loads of hits on pastebins I hardly showed anyone, and I realised the numbers were just getting inflated by bots combing the site.

I wish to apologise to everybody if reading my porn is what causes SkyNet to try to exterminate us all.

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Wouldn’t bots be scrubbing the site systematically though, so that every story sees a certain number of dragon prints? I’ve kinda been hoping my story is doing moderately well because it’s gets more daily dragon prints than most other stories that are regularly updated.

For example, I’ve got 1288 in 25 days, whereas another story in the games archive has only 650 in 29 days. Of course, there’s a Skyrim story with 11k in 100 days, which is doing better than both of us.

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4 hours ago, Ditmag said:

Wouldn’t bots be scrubbing the site systematically though, so that every story sees a certain number of dragon prints? I’ve kinda been hoping my story is doing moderately well because it’s gets more daily dragon prints than most other stories that are regularly updated.

It is easy to find stories that have got between 100 and 200 totally after being online for a year so bots in general is not a significant problem for dragon hits. Possibly there could be some tailor-made bot that is specially looking for the word Skyrim or something similar, but that is life.

As a funny notice I used to frequent a now gone story site where the email was visible with the story but you could not see the equivalent of dragon prints. This meant that I received spam proportional to the number of hits from readers with malware on their computers. Good chapters got lots of more spam than the bad ones…. a very different time.

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8 hours ago, Ditmag said:

Wouldn’t bots be scrubbing the site systematically though, so that every story sees a certain number of dragon prints? I’ve kinda been hoping my story is doing moderately well because it’s gets more daily dragon prints than most other stories that are regularly updated.

For example, I’ve got 1288 in 25 days, whereas another story in the games archive has only 650 in 29 days. Of course, there’s a Skyrim story with 11k in 100 days, which is doing better than both of us.

I’ve got stories posted to three archives, AFF, AO3, & FFN.  Only FFN with my main potter fanfic seems to be getting hit by bots.  AO3 & AFF both seem to be bot-free.  11k in 100 days might be bot driven, however, some fandoms are more active than others.

 

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I’ve commented a few times that multi chapter stories seem to get more hits overall because they get a boost from being pushed back to the front page each time the oneshots don’t get. If you guys mean Skyrim: Plaything as the Skyrim story – that’s had 36 chapters for 12k hits which works out (average only!) 333 hits a chapter from folks clicking on the front page which is still impressive and more than most of mine ever did but possibly not as intimidating a comparison as it looks.

...I gotta do a Skyrim story sometime. I got Morrowind, I got Oblivion… including Jar Jar Binks crossover request bah.

 

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12 minutes ago, JayDee said:

I’ve commented a few times that multi chapter stories seem to get more hits overall because they get a boost from being pushed back to the front page each time the oneshots don’t get. If you guys mean Skyrim: Plaything as the Skyrim story – that’s had 36 chapters for 12k hits which works out (average only!) 333 hits a chapter from folks clicking on the front page which is still impressive and more than most of mine ever did but possibly not as intimidating a comparison as it looks.

...I gotta do a Skyrim story sometime. I got Morrowind, I got Oblivion… including Jar Jar Binks crossover request bah.

 

Jar Jar Binks meets Dragon Priest?

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2 minutes ago, JayDee said:

They’d treat him worse than the Argonians up in Windhelm!

Think I spent way too much time playing that game.  Preferred the stealth/sniper build myself, and got annoyed at mandatory companions who’d ring every doorbell, set off every trap, and push me over cliffs.

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35 minutes ago, Desiderius Price said:

Think I spent way too much time playing that game.  Preferred the stealth/sniper build myself, and got annoyed at mandatory companions who’d ring every doorbell, set off every trap, and push me over cliffs.

When you start praying to the Night Mother for a contract on the heavy footed fuck alerting every Falmer in Blackreach that you’re there to loot their shit.

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28 minutes ago, JayDee said:

When you start praying to the Night Mother for a contract on the heavy footed fuck alerting every Falmer in Blackreach that you’re there to loot their shit.

@Ditmag You can tell how the interesting conversations go around here, start off with a good question, and now it’s skyrim tactics :)

 

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9 minutes ago, Sparrow said:

Guh, because of course you did. I must be the only person who played that game as someone who just hit things with a big hammer.

Grind your character high enough in any skill set and it’s nearly a one shot/punch to take out a dragon; two if you’re not quite there yet.

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