Question for all the big authors out there

How long did it take for your story to go “viral”? and by viral I mean anything like above 20k reads? Did your story go big after a week of writing or did it take a couple of months?

also (I mean when you first started writing viral like your first big story that went viral like i know some authors stories go viral bc theyre known on episode with their other hit stories im specifically talking about your first big “hit”. How long did that take?

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I’m not a big author but from what I’ve seen, years is quite common.

Although I can give you a more specific timeline based on Caitlin’s “Milestones” highlight on her ig.
For her story The Infected it shot up to roughly 100k reads in about 13-ish weeks/3 months and hit 500k reads in about 20 weeks/4.5 months and then 1M in about 32-ish weeks/7 months.

Of course, this isn’t concrete and can’t possibly apply to every story. Her story was trending in the Horror genre for quite some time and it didn’t really have much or any competition as far as the genre and theme (unlike romance and drama), not to mention that she did regularly update the story as well at the time which would’ve helped with its popularity. I think she updated it weekly and maybe fortnightly sometimes.

All in all, don’t be disheartened if your story doesn’t go “viral” immediately. These things take time. Just keep writing what you love and eventually, you may see your hard work become fruitful and rewarding. (:

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My ‘hit’ story got to 20k maybe after a few months? I can’t remember as it was a long time ago.

I don’t think there’s any generally ‘set’ time for a story to go viral. It just happens upon circumstance and depends on if you’re active in the community enough for people to want to read it. Being active with the competitions and writing challenges help, though. Especially if you show the same effort to other stories that you want people to pay to yours.

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I in no way consider myself a “big author” but I do have two stories that are above 20k reads. One hit that mark after it was named a contest winner (Magicka). This was back when the app had way more readers and stories that were on shelves or contest winners got pretty decent boosts to their reads, unlike now. My second story took years to get over 20k.

It’s best not to compare yourself to others and their success. In reality, who goes “viral” and gets a large amount of reads in a short amount of time depends on a number of different factors. I know most people hate this idea, but in reality luck has more to do with that kind of success than anything else. Having the right story at just the right time matters. Which isn’t to say you shouldn’t work hard on getting new episodes out or promoting your story. You totally should. Just don’t get discouraged if you don’t see any immediate results for that work. Going “viral” is by no means the norm.

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I don’t consider myself a big author at all, but from my first story, I was trending in top fantasy, and what helped me a lot to trend were the gem choices. It was for the Heroic contest, and the gem choices were a requirement.

But trending, in my opinion, was not enough to get the number of reads I wanted. That’s when I realized that trending, in general, is not enough for the story to have a good amount of reads. The story itself has to be a good fit for the Episode’s audience.

There’s something called “adoption” which is based on how many people enter your story out of everyone who sees it. I think that’s what makes the difference. If a good amount of people enter your story, it will definitely be a hit. Even if the story is not the most amazing, trust me, it will do the trick.

So the first thing to do is to choose your story wisely. A few years ago, many types of stories could get 1 million reads very easily. But now, times are hard, and you must choose themes that will attract readers and make them want to try your story. I’ve been on Episode for nine (9) months now, so I’ve reached the point where it’s hardest to get reads.

But my first completed story “Swisher” is on its way to hitting 500k reads after a few months completed it and is still trending. One of the reason is that I added gem choices in my story. That’s what keeps it from dying. Gems take care of the story indefinitely when it is complete because it helps the story be visible to new readers to enter it. In Swisher, most of the gem choices are bonus scenes. The story has been on the back-to-school shelf, and during that time, I have had 20k reads. My story was already trending in Romance before that.

My story “Devoted to Her” is still ongoing but has surpassed 120k+ reads. It has been on the New year New me shelf and has gained over 50k reads in that time. Not going to lie; the shelf has helped this particular story and given it more exposure. Before the shelf, it was at 54k reads.

My very new story “I married the President” is a story that I think has a very good adoption. A good amount of readers keep entering this story, which has only eight (8) chapters at the moment. I’m already at almost 40k reads. I would like to say that, in my opinion, it’s not because of Swisher or Devoted to Her, but rather because the story itself is 100% a fit for the Episode audience, which means that sooner or later, it’d have been successful.

I’ve noticed that it’s a unique story on Episode, but it also has some very exciting tropes, and I feel that’s why it’s successful in its early stage. There is no story in Episode where the main character marries the president of the US. It’s different and naturally appealing! So I believe that to have a perfect adoption, you have to try hard and write something Episode readers NEVER read before in the app, but that also has good tropes. It’s hard but it’s possible.

And in the end, the promotion can help, usually at the beginning of each story. After that, as soon as it’s visible in the trending section and appealing, you won’t even need to share it. It’ll trend naturally with every update.

I wrote a lot, haha, but to summarize:

-You don’t need to be a big author to have a story that goes viral. Choose wisely what will appeal to the audience, add originality, put in gem choices, and take care of your first three episodes for good retention (if your story is good, it will probably be shelved, and that could boost it), choose a good title, have a perfect description and a perfect cover (I think after choosing your themes and what you want to write, these are the most significant thing to have a good adoption)

-Update regularly. Swisher didn’t even have 100k reads when it was completed. It gained almost 400k reads after being completed. Readers love completed stories, and many will wait until it’s completed before reading. But updates also help build a strong bond between you and your readers, and the more you update, the more you take care of your story. The fewer you update, the more readers you will lose.

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I have two stories that are “viral” by these standards.

The first story (Elementals) took maybe a 6 months to get to 20k or possibly even less? I would have to check my Instagram since I posted my milestones there. :sweat_smile: It’s at over 600k at the moment but it’s taken maybe 3 1/2 years to get to that point (since first published) and it’s slowed down recently because I haven’t updated it for ages. As for my second story (Roomdates) it took 2/3 months, I’m not sure if it’s because I got better at writing, or I was better known, or because I was on a creator shelf or what. I actually have no idea how many reads I have on it now, I haven’t looked for a while.

With both of these stories, they went through slow growth and then rapid growth within a short period of time and then slowed down once I stopped updating as frequently.

Something that helped a lot was instagram. I fully believe Instagram was the best tool I could’ve used to promote my story. Updating frequently also really helps, on Elementals I used to have an updating schedule of a new episode every fortnight. Now, I’m too busy to do that, so I doubt I’ll ever get back to that level of growth :sweat_smile:

For sure. My first ever story got 100 reads and I remember being so disappointed haha. It’s now archived out of embarrassment and also it’s just bad. :joy:

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