Discussion: How to Grow Your Story?

I have been trying to figure out the answer to this question for a while now, and I haven’t found the answer to it that will benefit me and my story. People that I’ve done read for reads with in the past, have grown in the number of reads their story has. I am not hating on any of the authors that I’ve done read for reads with, but it makes me wonder how their stories gained a lot of reads in a short period of time, while I’m still struggling. I’ve done read for reads with new authors who started off with reads that weren’t even close to 100, but now that I look at them, they have thousands and thousands of reads. I’ve been writing stories on Episode for 4 years, and I’m still having a hard time gaining reads. I don’t want to keep doing read for reads every time I release a new story just so my story can grow. I don’t want to struggle like that. I don’t want to say that I get jealous, but I do just a tad bit… I’ve been puzzling my brain for the past couple of months about the key to growing my stories because nothing is working for me. No matter how much I promote it on here and on Instagram, it doesn’t help me; that is so demotivating.

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Yeah, I see it too. I mean, i dont know how it gets that high, I guess they started doing r4rs early and still continuing. But don’t give up, keep on promoting and reading others stories, that’s the only way to gain reads. Keep on showing sneak peeks, keep on updating your story, keep going, keep writing, if u need to take a break, then do it. It will take time to get to that amout of reads. If you have a new story coming, start showing sneak peeks of that one when your finised with yr previous story. It all takes time, reads dont go up that fast.

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I agree with you 100%, Lana. Sometimes it seems like it authors gain thousands of reads over night, you know…

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Yeah.

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Same here, I struggled a lot but it’s all about the connections in the community. What really helped me was to get a story review and it helped realize some mistakes and maybe why I don’t have thousands and thousands of reads, not to mention it sorta helps cause people who follow the group who does my review will see my story
I’m sorry to hear your struggling but again as I said, it’s about having the right connections. A story might have great coding, a great plot but maybe not a lot of people read it because of the cover or maybe because they don’t know the story exists.
My advice would be keep writing and keep coding because it will pay off, normally people like to read stories with at least 16 chapters already published so they don’t have to wait and maybe a good tip is to not have many ongoing stories at the same time because it takes longer to update, and well good luck to you❤️

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Certain stories are just going to take off, particularly ones with clickbait covers and descriptions.

I’m going to use my most recent as an example. For context, I do have a decent following (I had 4.5k readers at the time of publishing), but the majority of my reads have come from contest wins (so- being on a shelf) which are mostly thriller stories. My newest story isn’t like my other stories at all, so I attracted new readers rather than my regular readers. This was a bit of an “experiment” story for me. I’ve always said that the following helps you get reads:

  • “Sexy” clickbait cover
  • Description alluding to steam/romance/popular tropes
  • Update FREQUENTLY (I’ve sucked at this recently, but I got my first 8 chapters or so out very quickly)
  • Shorter chapters (<10 minutes- easier to binge, but still >5 minutes)
  • Romance or drama (harder to trend, but those are the readers you’re looking for. Putting a romance story in adventure to trend honestly, IMO, actually doesn’t help.)

This story doesn’t have millions of reads btw, but it’s easily done the best out of all my stories including all the ones that have been on shelves (this story has not been featured). If I’d kept up the updates, I think it would be doing much better. I’ve lost a lot of momentum and I think some people are waiting for me to finish first lol.

My experience

With my new story, I commissioned a cover (it’s steamy, I’ll add it below) and had 7 chapters ready to go when I published. I published just 3 chapters because I wanted to get reviewed. I was lucky here, and this is where having a following does help- I got enough reads to get reviewed. Without a following, I would have had to resort to read-for-reads (which I hate). Took me 4 days to get reviewed (at which point I only had 400 reads). Then things went nuts.
I double updated the day I got reviewed. I gained 10k reads in a week (with most of that being on the day or 2 after being reviewed). The visibility helped here- I watched in shock as I started flying up drama lol. And why? Because of my cover. It’s the only explanation, really, because it wasn’t my regular readers giving me 10k reads in a few days when I only had 400 reads after 4 days. I hit the top 20 in drama and was in the top 100 overall for a few days which is better than I’ve ever done even when on a shelf. I then updated 6 a week later, gained 10k reads just from that, and double updated a week after that. (So after chapter 6 I already had 20k reads- not a lot to some, but a crazy amount to me.) The double update (7&8), gained me about 20k reads, so I doubled my reads. I lost a bit of traction after that because I couldn’t keep up the updates. I wish I’d done what I’d intended and written more episodes before publishing, but I just didn’t want to wait anymore.

My clickbait cover

In a nutshell- an attractive cover helps. CC probably helps. Shorter “bingier” chapters. Update frequently!! My reads per update have dipped significantly and I only update 2 chapters a month now (as a double) and I think that’s why. I think people lose interest if you don’t keep the momentum up.

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I think it really depends on three things:

  1. How many friends you have in the community/if you are well known
  2. How good your directing and plot are
  3. Your cover

A lot of people say to do read for reads, instagram promos, reviews, and stuff like that, but in reality that will only help you gain about 50-100 reads (sometimes this does work, I’m not saying it doesn’t, but most of the time it doesn’t have much of an effect)

A few more things that cause a story to get famous (in my opinion) are

  • A great description that grabs the reader’s attention
  • CC
  • Multiple Love Interests
  • Advanced Directing

That is just my opinion, I may be wrong

My suggestion for Episode

I also think that Episode needs to find a way to help new authors gain reads (my suggestion would be a story of the day kind of thing where there is a pop-up when you open the app promoting a small story - lots of people would probably just click by it, but I think that would be a major boost for small authors)

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I feel like now, a clickbait story cover will benefit authors because readers will fall for it, of course. Personally, I’m a very cheap person and I don’t really want to pay anybody to make a story cover for me. But, it’s all about investing in yourself and your story. Many popular authors will tell you how they’ve gained thousands and even millions of reads based on their story cover. I think it’s true.

Yeah, I agree with you. Doing tons of read for reads will get an author nowhere depending on their status as an author. For me, Instagram promos, read for reads, and reviews haven’t been working out so well for me. I’ve been doing those things for years and I still haven’t gained anything.

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I think the issue with me is that I’m an less known author; nobody knows about me. Yes, people are reading my story but I’m not gaining reads because don’t know about me.

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My story mentioned above has 21 episodes and 220k reads. It’s nothing crazy, but I also update pretty slowly now (2 episodes/month). I attribute most of its early “success” to the cover just because it wasn’t my usual readers clicking on it, so what else would draw readers in but the cover?
I don’t think you necessarily need a digitally drawn cover (and there have been top trending stories without one), but a nicely edited cover that’s eye catching would definitely help.

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hey i think so people nowadays want an interesting content to be read by them and they are impatient for waiting of updates. Its best to start a story with 5 - 7 episodes then do next week single update and try your best to not make episode too longa and too short. Expect 15 - 20 minutes episode reading time is good per episode/ chapter. And try your best to update your story once or twice a week. Or make a specific date on which your story will be updated every week.
Make sure Just write what your heart and soul agrees on it. It’s not about read, it’s about that you love writing and therefore your fam and readers will enjoy the content the way you loved it.

I hope this tip helps.
Follow this quote in your life by me
“A story is a platform which takes us to that magical world in which that story is playing and we are enjoying each & every moment of it.” - Marine Diamond.

Those new authors you mentioned weren’t known either.
I mean I agree- visibility helps tremendously. So just getting onto the trending section is a big part of getting reads. That worked for me- I got visibility (just by being on the drama trending) and my cover brought in more readers. This is why people pay for promo lol. Just having the story out there can really help get reads. (I haven’t personally paid for promo, but I’m also not against it. People can do what they want as long as it’s not against the guidelines.)

IMO, you don’t necessarily need to be known, but you need to get seen. I have to agree with that. For Episode’s part, I think they’ve been doing a fantastic job with shelves recently. The majority of stories seem to have very few reads.

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i suggest reading this thread

hope this helps guys! lmk! :star:

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Yeah, same here, but a lot of the most recognized authors started just like we did and it’s all about time really

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I really think this whole “people don’t know me so they won’t read my story” mindset needs to go away. I know it’s easier said than done but when people think this, it seems like they forget these popular authors or those with thousands and thousands of reads were once nobodies. Do you really think those more popular than us had a huge following when they first started? No, but it’s possible. But I haven’t seen it happen like that in this community (could be wrong.)

I started 4 years ago as well. I had 0 followers and I didn’t know anyone in the community. But once I started writing my very first story (terrible story lol) I didn’t think it would ever get many reads, ~30k reads total I think. I never did r4r (never knew that was thing back then). I never promoted it on any social media either. I was simply just writing because it was fun.

The only story that I have which reached over 500k was the one I wrote in 2018. But like I said previously above, I never promoted it or did r4r. I just wrote my story to the audience/followers I had at the time. It wasn’t very much, I only had 100 followers on insta and idk on the app at the time I started it. I also didn’t have an eye-catching cover. It wasn’t digitally made or anything.

It could be because of the content I wrote. It was a bad boy/girl story. Maybe that was the reason it got so many reads. To this day, I still don’t promote myself. So I guess you could say I’m a nobody lol. It’s okay if you don’t read what I say because I’m a nobody… :pensive:

Anyways, I guess it all comes to down to what your purpose is here on episode. Is it because of the reads and being popular or is it because you have a passion for writing and enjoy it? I get you want to be as successful as others but just focusing on the status of your story (reads etc), I don’t think you will get where you want to be. This is just my opinion so I could be wrong, I only know what I know. But if I had a passion for something, I shouldn’t care about the status that comes with it. You don’t see people doing what they love to be successful. You see them do it because they love it.

Don’t get discouraged with your reads and those of others. Life is not about the numbers, it’s about the experience. If you are enjoying your experience, numbers will never matter. :slightly_smiling_face:

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I suggest reading this thread!

Yeah, true. But for some authors, it seems like their gaining reads overnight and quick.

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You are 100% correct. I agree with you. I’ve been writing since I was 11 and 12 years old, so that’s a long time. I came into the knowledge of the Episode platform back in 2014 when it first came out and started my author career towards the end of 2015 when I was 15 at the time. I think it’s safe to say that the episode community’s taste in stories has made a drastic change from what it used to be. You might have noticed this too as well since you’ve been here the same length of time as me. Stories that were original and unique, were very successful back then, but now, they aren’t unfortunately. Cliche stories are taken over and some authors think that they have to write cliche stories in order to get them noticed :disappointed:

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Some people get lucky.
Some people just have stories which seem more appealing (even if it’s not your cup of tea).
Again, updating frequently helps. There’s one author who’s quite big now who I believe released something like 18 episodes in her first 2-3 weeks?

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