As you probably know, I have a Patreon. One of the reasons I decided to get one is that I figured it might be an effective way to get me to Make More Stuff. Because if people are giving you money on a regular basis, you will owe them Stuff and you will therefore have to make Stuff. Anyway, that was the theory.
A couple of Saturdays ago, I attended a lecture about writing LGBT characters by Brij Bautista and Ronald Jeffrey S. Lim. It was great. I’m a cisgender heterosexual romance author, I’m grateful for any wisdom I can get from LGBTQI authors about writing LGBTQI characters, especially in romantic situations. [read more]
I’ve decided my free writing-related posts on Patreon will be going up on Wednesday every week. Writing Wednesday! It did not get off to an auspicious start, as I barely made it yesterday — I published the post five minutes to midnight. Oh boy.
I didn’t want to wake up one day and find out that the platform I’ve worked hard to cultivate and get followers to is suddenly gone and there was no way my readers could find me. Twitter and Facebook and Wattpad are owned by companies — we have no control over their business decisions. But my website? I have control over that.
People ask me how I’d gotten all those reads for my story The Billionaire’s Price. These are usually new writers who ask me this, or writers who have had their works up for some time but haven’t gotten as many readers as they would like. It’s quite frustrating, I know, spilling your guts out in a story and posting it online for everyone to see only to get a handful of reads after several months.
TBP has racked up 18.5 million reads as of this writing. There was a time when it didn’t have even a million reads. There was a time when it didn’t have a thousand reads, or even a hundred. When I started posting TBP, I didn’t have any followers on Wattpad because I was new and TBP was my first story.
This is what most new writers have to deal with in the beginning. So don’t be discouraged! There are steps you can take to find your audience, it’s not all dependent on luck. Everyone could use some luck, of course, but if you rely entirely on luck, you probably won’t get anywhere.
First, I will tell you what I didn’t do. I didn’t go around Wattpad posting links to my story on people’s account pages. I didn’t message random Wattpad users with links to my story, begging them to read it. (I’m not sure spamming Wattpad users and begging them to read your story works, but let me tell you this: if some random person spams me with a link to their story, I ignore it.) I didn’t even have a Twitter or Facebook page in the beginning, so I wasn’t able to promote my story in either of those platforms.
Q. Will you read my story?
A. Probably not. I don’t like unsolicited advertising (a.k.a. spam). Some authors don’t mind if you send them a message asking them to check out their stuff, but I do. When I get messages like this, I normally don’t bother replying.
Q. Will you ask your readers to check out my story?
A. Probably not. If I do endorse a story (I haven’t yet), it’s because I have read it and liked it a lot. There are some stories I like, and I will put them in a reading list which you’ll be able to see on my profile. I have a couple of stories on my one reading list so far, but I will add more.
Q. Will you read my story and give me honest feedback?
Q. Why are your updates so short?
A. They’re not! All my most recent chapters are the longest in the story — each is approximately 2,000 words long. With fiction, a chapter may seem longer or shorter depending on the pacing.
Q. Could you write longer updates next time?
A. I could, but I don’t want to. With this story, 2,000 words is a good length for a chapter. This 2,000-word limit is not arbitrary. A story chapter’s length is as long as it needs to be for the author to tell a certain beat, scene or event. This length works for TBP, and I will probably stick to it.
Q. Why can’t I see [chapter/update/etc.]?
Q. Are you Filipino?
Q. When is the next update of The Billionaire’s Price?
A. Usually about five days from the day the latest chapter was posted, give or take a few days.
Q. Can you update TBP every day please?
A. While I would love to be able to do nothing but write, I have a job. I need to make time for fiction writing. Sometimes I skip parties and meeting my friends just so I can write. So, no, I can’t update the story every day.
Q. Why do you do this to me? (A.K.A. Why must you end the chapter with a cliffhanger?)