Discussion: Weekly (and monthly) shelves

Since I’m obsessed with the shelves and we’ve been doing V2 discussions anyway, I wanted to bring this thread back. I guess we all noticed that the reads have dropped lately, and some stories don’t even reach 5K while being featured. And this bothers me a lot more than it should, lol.

So questions:

  1. How often do you read stories from the shelves? Does it depend on the shelf theme?
  2. When you choose what to read from the shelf, what grabs your attention? How important is the cover, the title and the description to you? CC? The genre? The author?
  3. Are you more likely to read a story if it has a lot of reads?
  4. When you have the time, do you give a chance to all stories on the shelf (and read at least the first chapter), or do you read only the ones that look the most interesting?
  5. What can authors do to be more successful while their story is featured on a shelf?
  6. What themes would you recommend to Episode that might attract more readers?
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Not as often as I used to :grimacing: My reading list is too long these days and it’s hard enough to keep up with all the stories I’ve already started reading. Though, a lot of those are ones I started reading from past shelves haha.

Yes and no. There are certain themes I am drawn too and certain themes I actually avoid. But ultimately it depends on the stories featured and their descriptions above all else.

Less likely lol. I always just feel like, eh, they don’t really need my help to gain reads, especially because they’re on a shelf. So unless the description sounds exactly like what I would like, I probably won’t read it.

I used to do this back in the old days when there was usually only 6 stories week, specifically so I could comment on the Let’s Talk About topics, but then they started featuring 9 stories and it was too hard to keep up to date with them all, so now I only read ones where the description appeals to me.

I mean, I don’t want to pressure them because sometimes the amount of feedback you get while being on a shelf is overwhelming and stressful but updating would give you twice the boost.
If that’s not possible though, engaging with your readers is probably a good back up. Like maybe host a giveaway or some kind of competition?

Idk, I think they usually have a good variety of shelf themes, even if they do tend to repeat some. But I feel like possible reverting back to 6 stories per shelf would help. Orrrrrrrr, like, stop making every single new reader have to read a certain amount of episodes of official stories before unlocking community stories.

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What a great solution :yay:

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I try to read stories from every shelf. Now, that I have less time I stick with one or two that catches my attention.

Or for discussion matters one that hasn’t been read/commented yet

To me what matters the most is the description and what used to matter was if it was completed or not.

Not really, as someone wise once said cough cough @Annieways
the number of reads doesn’t mean that it is best story in the world. I actually go looking for the ones with less.

I try to balance these two. But I give priority to the ones that I find more interesting.

Based on @amberose analysis thread, I would say updating while in shelf I know it isn’t easy or having more than 10 episodes/be completed, I have seen many people say that a story with few episodes that hasn’t been updated for long is a turn off I used to be one of them…

This excellent idea :point_down:t5:

Shelves are easier to look at than the trending section

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I hate admitting this because I feel like a hypocrite because I really want to support smaller authors, but I’m the worst about reading stories on the app in general. :woozy_face::upside_down_face:

I think a good plot description can do wonders, personally. If I’m not hooked from there I’m less likely to actually open the story up and start reading.

I actually don’t really know. I strive to support authors at all walks, though I do think that I’d be more inclined to help the smaller authors since I know from experience that when you’re smaller (reads wise) that literally every read feels special.

See 1. with my hypocritical a$$. I will say I tend to consider reading the ones that spark my interest though.

This has been mentioned already, but I think updating while on the shelf can do a lot. I’m also going to add that good social media skills can help a lot too. If you know how to work social media and you’ve got the benefit of being on a shelf on your belt that could just be another way to gain more readers.

I’m actually not sure. :woozy_face: I think sci-fi as a shelf would be cool, but I’m not naive enough to imagine that a shelf like that would get as many reads as a romance based prompt. I personally think all the shelves I’ve really seen so far are good, the only issue is not enough people (me included) giving them a chance.

I also think that by making less romance/drama prompts for shelves (and I’m saying this as a lover of both genres) that it might start becoming easier for people to get used to other shelves. I feel as if there’s so much rom/drama based content getting pushed that the moment a lot of people see something different they don’t know what to do with it. I think by changing the status quo a bit eventually we might get to a place where the scales are a bit more balanced. :woman_shrugging:t2:

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Right? I don’t consider myself a small author, but since I’m not that popular either, I still feel the same way sometimes. I’m glad to see that more and more authors get recognized by Episode, but after that it’s us who can help them to feel even more special.

Yes, it would. Moreover, I want a sci-fi themed contest :eyes:

And I agree with this so much. You’re making really good points.

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I read stories from each genre’s section a lot more often than shelves. It does depend a lot on themes as I’m a rather picky reader.

Cover is very, very, very important. Generally I like it when authors include characters on their covers, because it gives me better idea of what happens in it. Unclear descriptions are also pretty big turn-offs. It doesn’t have to exclaim if the story has CC or choices matter etc, but it has to give me some idea of what the main character does or what happens to them in the story. Who the author is doesn’t matter any bit.

No. I’ve learned very well that you can’t judge a story by the number of reads.

Only the most interesting :sweat_smile:

Give effort into making an awesome cover and interesting description. That’s it. Also, congratulations!

I think the themes thus far are pretty interesting, though I agree with @Baleigh_episode about not overusing romance/drama related ones.

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  1. How often do you read stories from the shelves? Does it depend on the shelf theme?
    I don’t read stories from shelves often tbh and it does depend on the theme of the shelf for me although sometimes, I run out of stories to read so I then check the shelf if it’s a theme I’m not really interested in for new stories.

  2. When you choose what to read from the shelf, what grabs your attention? How important is the cover and the description to you? CC? The genre? The author?
    I check the genre and the stories description. If it’s a genre that I really enjoy then I automatically save the story for me to read later. If it’s not in a genre that I’m interested in at the time, then I’ll check the description. If I like what it says, I’ll save it for later and if it doesn’t, I won’t read the story. If I see an author where I’ve previously enjoyed their story or stories, then that also grabs my attention.

  3. Are you more likely to read a story if it has a lot of reads?
    Nope. Nowadays it’s been the complete opposite.

  4. When you have the time, do you give a chance to all stories on the shelf (and read at least the first chapter), or do you read only the ones that look the most interesting?
    If I’m really really bored and desperate for a new story to read, I will. I’ve actually done that before and lost interest in some of the stories. Not because they were not good, but because they just didn’t interest me personally.

  5. What can authors do to be more successful while their story is featured on a shelf?
    Probably update as frequently as possible.

  6. What themes would you recommend to Episode that might attract more readers?
    Honestly, I don’t know.

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I’ve seen a couple people mention updating your story while it’s on a shelf as possibly being a boost. I actually did this when mine was on the Magical shelf and I didn’t really notice much of an increase beyond what I was already getting (I updated the Wed. following the shelf’s release). Then again, I only had about 200 reads when it got chosen so I’m guessing that may have had something to do with it. :woman_shrugging:

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Lmao I only got access to weekly/monthly shelves a few months ago, it’s cool to have them after wondering for months what this “shelf” thing was all about. :joy:

How often do you read stories from the shelves? Does it depend on the shelf theme?
Every time I see a shelf, I check over the stories on it. Of course, if the shelf specifically highlights something that interests me, I’m more likely to add more stories from it to my favourites (and then read them like 3 months later lmao). But I investigate regardless of theme.
When you choose what to read from the shelf, what grabs your attention? How important is the cover and the description to you? CC? The genre? The author?
Description and genre only (and maybe length a little, I don’t like to wait. :upside_down_face:). I’m a little biased toward fantasy and adventure, and not against drama, mystery, or thriller. Description is by far the deciding factor on whether or not I add the story, it has to be interesting and well-written. I also have a small bias to Limelight lol.
Are you more likely to read a story if it has a lot of reads?
No. When it comes to stories on shelves, I imagine they’re all similar quality, whether the author is popular or not.
When you have the time, do you give a chance to all stories on the shelf (and read at least the first chapter), or do you read only the ones that look the most interesting?
Only the ones that grab my attention. The rate is pretty low, less than 1 per shelf tbh. A writing fanatic with a day job does not simply “have time.” :upside_down_face:
What can authors do to be more successful while their story is featured on a shelf?
:thinking: I don’t know, I never even imagined myself getting that far…
What themes would you recommend to Episode that might attract more readers?
Imo, they seem to be doing pretty well. They’ve got ones for irl events/dates (BHM, Pride Month, etc), some for different themes (Glow up, the new Short Stories one they’re doing…) and also just random (Editor’s picks, hidden gems). It’d be cool if they made shelves of stories that are rare on the app, but only if they can find enough gems, and idk if that’d necessarily attract more readers. :thinking: Idk what exactly I meant by ‘rare stories,’ maybe ones that focus on religious diversity or a particular small world religion, maybe sub-genres that aren’t done often like sci-fi…

Only thing I can suggest to get more readers is to make sure the event shelves are released to everyone. :joy: Every time my app goes haywire and kicks me out of the beta groups, I lose access to event shelves too, so I’m pretty sure it’s still not a universal feature on the app.

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*How often do you read stories from the shelves? Does it depend on the shelf theme?
I try to read at least one from each of the weekly shelves. I used to read a lot more, but I’m so busy nowadays that I don’t get to read them all. However, depending on the theme, I may read more.

*When you choose what to read from the shelf, what grabs your attention? How important is the cover and the description to you? CC? The genre? The author?
The cover does have a little impact on me deciding to read, but the description is the real clincher. If I don’t like the way the description sounds, I will keep looking. I don’t care about CC and genre is questionable because I try to steer clear of more cliche romances. The author’s name is definitely something I consider, honestly, if I haven’t read that particular story from an author that I’ve enjoyed in the past.

*Are you more likely to read a story if it has a lot of reads?
Nah, everyone has to start somewhere, and there are a lot of great stories with very little reads. I actually steer clear if the story has TOO many reads because I find that most stories with over 500k reads that haven’t previously been featured are very cliche, clickbait stories with all action and no actual plot.

*When you have the time, do you give a chance to all stories on the shelf (and read at least the first chapter), or do you read only the ones that look the most interesting?
When I did have more time, I would read at least the first chapter of every story on the shelf. That’s how I found some of my favorite authors and stories. I can usually tell by the end of chapter 1 if I’ll enjoy the story or not.

*What can authors do to be more successful while their story is featured on a shelf?
Update their story while it’s on the shelf. I mean, if it’s complete, there’s not much to do.

*What themes would you recommend to Episode that might attract more readers?
This is hard, because, in reality, the majority of Episode readers want the cliche, sex-filled stories. That’s why they trend so high and have so many reads. I think it would be great if Episode actually featured more quality stories with impactful plotlines. They used to do a rubric for stories on shelves, but honestly, some stories I’ve seen on shelves couldn’t have scored a 2/4 (horrible grammar and cringy directing). I hate to say, but ever since Episode started asking for community recommendations, vs stories that made it to the review table and scored a good rubric, I am far less inclined to read shelved stories because I know not all are QUALITY stories.

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How often do you read stories from the shelves? Does it depend on the shelf theme?
Not often, but I don’t read much at all right now.
I’ll check out the description of every story on every shelf, regardless of theme, and add any story that sounds interesting to my favourites. I just rarely get around to reading them. A short complete story that grabs my attention will get priority.

When you choose what to read from the shelf, what grabs your attention? How important is the cover and the description to you? CC? The genre? The author?
Like I mentioned above, I’ll read every description so the cover doesn’t matter. I add stories to my favourites that sound interesting to me. For example, from the BHM shelf, the clue entry grabbed me straight away. Anyone who knows me knows that mystery/thriller stories are my favourite and the plot of that one grabbed me instantly. I haven’t read it yet, but I will.
Completed stories will also tempt me because I like knowing I won’t have to wait for updates, I won’t have to worry about the story being continued and I won’t have to worry about forgetting what happened lol.

Are you more likely to read a story if it has a lot of reads?
No.

When you have the time, do you give a chance to all stories on the shelf (and read at least the first chapter), or do you read only the ones that look the most interesting?
I have done this before, but now I’ll just stick to what seems interesting. Whenever I’ve been on a shelf, I’ve always tried to check out the other stories.

What can authors do to be more successful while their story is featured on a shelf?
Update, update, update!!!

What themes would you recommend to Episode that might attract more readers?
The cliche themes would honestly probably attract the most readers :rofl:. E.g:
Office Romance
Billionaires
etc

Yeah. This. Reads have definitely gone down since this happened.

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I guess so :confused: Updating definitely helps more to authors who already have some fanbase before they get featured, but still, it’s worth a try.

Are you serious? I’ve never seen anyone saying that they don’t have access to the shelves :open_mouth: I thought it’s just at the beginning before a new user unlocks community stories

I… Why is this true? :weary:

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1. How often do you read stories from the shelves? Does it depend on the shelf theme?

Not as many as I used to :grimacing: The shelf theme definetly matters, cause some of themes are pretty boring for my taste :woozy_face:

2. When you choose what to read from the shelf, what grabs your attention? How important is the cover and the description to you? CC? The genre? The author?

The author matters most. If I’ve read something of that author previously, or someone had recommended that I try that author’s story before I’m more likely to read that.

3. Are you more likely to read a story if it has a lot of reads?

Nah. I usually go for stuff that has less than 100k reads on a shelf.

4. When you have the time, do you give a chance to all stories on the shelf (and read at least the first chapter), or do you read only the ones that look the most interesting?

Yeah no, I only read stuff that interests me.

5. What can authors do to be more successful while their story is featured on a shelf?

I guess they should try to update while on a shelf and keep updating after they get featured. I’ve noticed that sometimes they’ll just update that one (1) time it’s on the shelf and never touch the story again. Unless its a completed story, then you can’t really do anything about that loll.

6. What themes would you recommend to Episode that might attract more readers?

I actually made a thread about what new themes they should do :laughing:. Not counting the usual heritage month/week/day themes (which should continue), they have been repeating a lot of themes. Idk if these will attract more readers but there should be more variety in themes. Since a lot of the regular cliche things are already popular and trending high, I don’t think they need to do shelves for these lol.

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I agree with this wholeheartedly.
The cliche themes don’t need the extra push of a shelf.

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I will share my answers too, since I forgot to do that in the previous thread.

1. How often do you read stories from the shelves? Does it depend on the shelf theme?
I read a lot of stories so most of the time there’s at least one story that I already read before the shelf comes out. I usually try to read some other stories too while they are on the shelf, and yes, I’m more likely to do that if I like the theme.

2. When you choose what to read from the shelf, what grabs your attention? How important is the cover and the description to you? CC? The genre? The author?
The description is the most important to me. And actually the title too, and I have no idea why I missed to add it to this question, but I’ll do it now.
The genre used to influence my choice too, but it doesn’t really matter anymore, since I figured I can enjoy reading in any genre if the story is well-written. The author matters too sometimes, and not only if I already read something written by them. If I see a story being featured that was written by a friend of mine or someone I had interactions with on the forums, it automatically goes to my reading list.

3. Are you more likely to read a story if it has a lot of reads?
I usually only read the ones with less reads. It’s not because I have anything against popular authors, but because I know they don’t need the boost. I mean, their stories are already in the trending so I don’t really see the point in featuring them, unless the theme is so specific that it’s hard to find many stories that would fit.

4. When you have the time, do you give a chance to all stories on the shelf (and read at least the first chapter), or do you read only the ones that look the most interesting?
Well, I try to. It usually takes me 2-3 minutes to decide if I like a story or not, so checking out six stories normally doesn’t take a lot of time. But if there are 9-12 stories to choose from or even two shelves, then I give up, and I just choose the ones that grab my attention.

5. What can authors do to be more successful while their story is featured on a shelf?
Everyone mentioned updating, and I agree that this is what probably works best. I actually asked this question because I really don’t have other ideas, so if anyone has, please let us know :upside_down_face:

6. What themes would you recommend to Episode that might attract more readers?
I said this already, but I would love to see a sci-fi shelf. I have no idea if it would attract more readers though. It would be also interesting to see stories that are set in different eras, and stories that focus on family. But then again, I feel like these wouldn’t be popular at all :sweat_smile: Honestly I thought this question was clever, but after reading Elise’s reply I’m having second thoughts, lol.

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  • Not often, I’m the author and have a work to so my time is really limited. I usually read on mid night or weekends. Does it depend on the shelf theme? Probably.
  1. When you choose what to read from the shelf, what grabs your attention? How important is the cover, the title and the description to you? CC? The genre? The author?
  • First is the cover, Cover is everything to me. It is the cover look cool and proper I will read it.

  • Second is the genre, I usually read comedy first. Then go to fantasy/ horror/mystery. But I’m not read Rom/drama, (I write Rom as well, but, I try to be different from other stories. No mafia and billionaire. Hohoho). If I want to read Rom, I read the first chapter first. If it okay then okay. XD
    if have the same plot. improper scene and make me to streamy, I stop immediately. (That why I’m not read.)

  • The third is the story completed or not. I rather read short stories and completed than a long story that has 50 or 60 episodes. Because I’m the type of person who immediately gets bored. I also not write a story with 40 or 50 or 60.

  • Fourth - The plot. If I found out the story has the same plot but just better. I stop. That it. Even tho he/she is a big author. I just don’t care. I only read a unique story.

Are you more likely to read a story if it has a lot of reads?``

  • Not actually, I’m usually only read the first chapter. If the first chapter is good, then I read further.

When you have the time, do you give a chance to all stories on the shelf (and read at least the first chapter), or do you read only the ones that look the most interesting?

  • I would love to, but I only read less then 15 episode. :rofl: :rofl: Sorry, my times are limited.

What can authors do to be more successful while their story is featured on a shelf?

IDK about this, a lot of you saying is updating. I have been in the shelf before but that time my story is complete. So IDK.

What themes would you recommend to Episode that might attract more readers?
I think I love more to comedy. Sci-fi sounds good. but it’s hard to write, sometimes is hard to find the background also.

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I’m not entirely sure if this is a widely available beta group (like 99%), or if it’s just a bug when it disappears.

It’s noted in the live issues page:

But the article about it hasn’t been updated since June, so they might have ironed it out.

I lost the shelves when my app went haywire in October, but that was only for a few days, I got them back.

The only other person who I’d seen missing shelves is our very own Toasties:

(At least I think they’re missing shelves, they’re pretty easy to find. I thought I couldn’t find them either until someone showed me it was a bug lol.)

But people with missing shelves are/were hard to spot, because we often don’t know what we’re missing. :joy:

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How often do you read stories from the shelves? Does it depend on the shelf theme?
Not often. It’s due to the fact that I’m lazy, haha. I typically find stories through people’s links or recommendations. I only ever read stories from the shelf when you or Amber make posts like this one.

When you choose what to read from the shelf, what grabs your attention? How important is the cover, the title and the description to you? CC? The genre? The author?
I’m a whore for aesthetics. So, if the aesthetics look good, I click on it. The author plays a huge part in my decision when reading a story. The title doesn’t matter to me at all unless it is very problematic. “Pregnant by my Father.” I would definitely not read it. Covers? So So. Description? Yeah, that plays a huge part.

Are you more likely to read a story if it has a lot of reads?
Lmao not all. I’ll be real, stories that tend to have a lot of reads are always, in my opinion, not good. Unless I know the author. But, I gravitate more to stories with about 100-10k reads.

When you have the time, do you give a chance to all stories on the shelf (and read at least the first chapter), or do you read only the ones that look the most interesting?
Lol, I only read the ones that look the most interesting. I hate too many stories in my favorites so I typically only read the first chapters of some of them.

What can authors do to be more successful while their story is featured on a shelf?
Start updating regularly to keep the hype around their story.

What themes would you recommend to Episode that might attract more readers?
I feel like everybody is going to say Syfy. But, I say keep it up with the hidden gems shelf. If you mean in general, then idk.

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:flushed: Well, I hope you enjoyed the ones you read because we recommended it :blob_hearts:

Oh yes, I didn’t explain it, but this is basically what I meant when I said the title might influence my choice. I also avoid the ones that suggest erotica, or anything that has mafia in it :woman_shrugging:

This took me a few seconds to process :smiley:

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