Jeff Seymour - Author of Fantasy, Literary Fiction, & c.: The Grand Experiment: Week...um...well, update, anyway.

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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Grand Experiment: Week...um...well, update, anyway.

Phew! I am completely and utterly exhausted tonight, with more work ahead of me, but I'm going to try to squeeze in a quick update on The Grand Experiment.

First, the numbers:

There are currently six chapters of Soulwoven up on Wattpad. They have received a total of 434 reads, 23 votes, and 20 comments. As I write this, the book is ranked #25 in Adventure and #26 in Fantasy, out of 168,402 and 330,776 stories, respectively.

More on the ranking system later, but may I say---booyah.

On Authonomy, there are still only five chapters up, because time is short for me right now and updating on the site is a pain. The book's rank is 5543, which I'm fairly certain is where all books are sitting right now that have seen no activity whatsoever. I'm neither surprised nor disappointed---I haven't engaged with the site at all yet, but it's good to know that absolutely nothing is going to happen until I do.

So, my thoughts so far:

First and foremost, I think Wattpad is a much, much better fit for Soulwoven than Authonomy is. I can't say that will be true of all writers, but for me it is. Authonomy, so far as I can tell, is a community primarily of writers. I love writers. They make great books. Every once in a while, one sends me an amazing manuscript and I get to recommend it for publication and help him or her make it better and share in the joy and delight of it getting out to the world.

But writers are no better arbiters of what readers will like than editors and agents are.

Which is to say, they're not bad, but their judgment pales in comparison to that of large groups of readers themselves, which is precisely what Wattpad has. More specifically, Wattpad has large groups of teenage readers, who are the people I wrote Soulwoven for in the first place.

The second reason I prefer Wattpad to Authonomy is its rating system. As far as I can tell, Wattpad's ranking algorithm tallies up the number of people who have either voted for (indicated that a book is good) or added a book to their reading list over a rolling two-week period. And it doesn't take much (right now) to move into the higher rankings. One vote (I think) in the period was enough to push me to around a rank of #100. A few more got me to around #50. Since then it's become much more difficult to keep track, but I still only have 23 votes in total (since I started posting, not in the last two weeks), and I think I'm on fewer reading lists than that.

But because Wattpad places 15 books on each page of its listings when you browse, I'm on page 2, well within standard browsing range, and I'm getting hits, votes, reading list adds, and fans from complete strangers in faraway lands.

A.) That's very, very, cool and helps me keep slogging through revisions even though I'm having near-nightly crises of confidence about my writing skills.

B.) That's what I need to go viral, and I haven't even pulled out everything in my bag of tricks yet. The book isn't complete, which I've heard tends to really boost readership. I haven't added photos, maps, background material, or a soundtrack (I will though---I was planning out which chapters are going to get which songs today) either, which are other things I've been told will help draw attention.

Wattpad doesn't have metrics, and my brain is flying in a thousand directions right now between trying to meet various work-related deadlines and finish a full, three-read revision (more on my shiny new revision process, perhaps, in a later post) of Soulwoven before BIG NEWS in September, but I'm fairly certain that when I posted Chapter 6 of Soulwoven to Wattpad yesterday, I had 314 reads.

I'll leave the math to mathy people, but I'm very, very excited.

P.S. Some of my new readers/fans have mentioned that it was the cover that drew them in initially. Thanks to all who helped me pick it.

P.P.S. In the time it took me to write this blog post, Soulwoven got 7 more reads on Wattpad. Did I mention that I'm excited?


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