I’d like to start this off with saying that if you are writing on Episode because you want reads, and only because you want to go viral, you are most likely going to be left quite disappointed and have a very frustrating experience. Getting a lot of readers can be a very gratifying, exciting experience, but only when you are writing for the sake of writing something that you love first, and the amount of reads that you get second.
I am not a “viral sensation” on Episode by any means - especially compared to some of the other stories on here with 10, 20 million reads, but I have learned quite a few tips and tricks on getting the most readers possible and seeing as people are always asking about how to get more reads, I wanted to write down some of the things that I’ve learned help to make your story more popular.
My first story got around 1.5k reads. On my second story, I eventually reached about 120k reads. The difference between the two, writing wise, wasn’t anything drastic, but this is what I’ve learned.
- Your cover art, description, and title are EVERYTHING. If nobody notices or even gives your first episode a chance in the first place, how will you get anybody to read to the second, third, fourth episodes?
I’ve noticed a trend in what cover art attracts people. First of all, characters on the front of your cover are a must. Your cover art should be intriguing, it should draw people in. Look around for inspiration in the trending section on the Episode app. I’ve noticed that people tend to like when a choice in the story is shown in the cover art.
As for the title, my tip for you is simply this - make it short and sweet. Stories with titles like “Dear Dahlia” tend to do better than stories with titles like “Dahlia And The 47 Love Letters”, for a few reasons - one being that people are just attracted to simplicity. And just like the cover art, make it intriguing. At least, as intriguing as you can in the 1-4 or whatever words you use in your title.
For the description, a few things are key. A lot of people might not like this, but you sort of have to conform to the mainstream Episode audience if you’re really looking to get a lot of reads. This can be pretty difficult, but you just have to learn what kind of descriptions draw people in. Let’s say my story is about a girl who is an undercover cop, and it’s a mystery/thriller type story. Here’s the description that you may be inclined to write:
“After your father passed away, you didn’t ever want to go back to work, but that’s not how it works. What happens when a day at work as an undercover cop turns sour?”
Fine, that might be what happens, but it’s not going to draw in the same episode readers that trend cliche gang-badboy stories. Even if your story is about something that isn’t cliche at all, you have to sort of make it sound cliche. Here’s a description that might help you out more:
“Lies, secrets, and drama. They told you that being an undercover cop would be easy, but what happens fall in love with a hot criminal? YOU decide!”
I know, I know, it’s a little bit cringey. But notice how I emphasize the fact that the readers are making important choices in the story, and the romantic aspect of the story, which readers tend to like.
Read for reads/review for reviews will only get you so far. However, it’s a good way to get your story out there and give it a little boost. Obviously, you aren’t going to be able to get 3 million read for reads, but even if it’s just 20 or so, it will give your story that little push it needs to get out there. And when it comes to advertising your story, try not to be too…persistent. People will be more likely to read your story if you are kind to them.
Tags, tags, tags. This is where your inner cliche-oh-god-am-I-really-writing-these-tags can come out. Even if it’s a story that has nothing to do with pregnancy - put pregnancy in the tags. Bad boy, highschool, mean girls, teen, drama, romance, teacher, hot, sexy, kidnapped, put all of these in your Search Keywords. And more. These are the stories that people are searching for, god knows why. But it’s simply a way to get your story out to the most people possible.
If you didn’t know already, the first episode that people read doesn’t even count as a read. So, if you want even one read, you have to make your reader want to read to the next episode. In your first episode, you have to make your reader care about your MC enough that they will read to the next episode to see what happens to her. Meaning, you have to end the episode with a conflict, a cliffhanger, that will make the readers worried and want to resolve things by reading the next episode. However, if your character development is horrible and the only thing your readers know about your MC by the end of the episode is that she likes pizza and the color green, being honest, they probably won’t care if her father gets shot or not, or if she gets accepted to that program or not, or if her best friend is okay.
I guess that’s all that I can think of for now. Again, I do want to stress the fact that reads are really not all that important. While they can be gratifying, they don’t matter too much in the long run and you should just write because you love writing. If you have any tips and/or tricks that I didn’t mention, please share them!!