What Happens To Stories When They Are Featured On Shelves

I’m sure a lot of people have probably wondered what actually happens to a story when it’s featured on one of the weekly shelves. IF you’re like me, you probably wonder how many reads they get each day or if the payments program magically unlocks. @FallenAngelNight13 even once did a graph showing the read growth for stories that were on the Love Yourself shelf here back in May last year, which I found really interesting to read.

Anyway, I was one of the lucky ones to be featured on the At Your Door shelf two weeks ago and I was also crazy enough to track all the reads of my story and the stories I shared the shelf with so that I could present you all with this.

On the first page, it’s broken up to show everyone’s read counts. I was trying to make a log of it every four hours, but sometimes I slept so there’s a few 3am and 5:30am’s in there instead of the 4am I was aiming for. There was also one day where I dreamed that I woke up and wrote it down, but when I checked in at 8am, the whole column was blank. I also missed the final hour because I was out getting dinner and was too lazy to search up each individual story now that they weren’t all in the same spot.

The second page is, like, graph frenzy! And it is also the reason I’m posting this a week later because building graphs is time consuming. I did do a couple of versions without one story as that particular story had over 2 millions reads to start with, so the massive outlier made it really hard to tell what had happened to the other stories because it made their bars tiny :slightly_frowning_face:

The third page was more just a personal interest thing. I’ve always been really proud of the stories I recommend. I feel like the majority of you who will read this probably already know that by now haha. And for the week that I was on the shelf, my profile avatar was dedicated to my recommendation shelf, so I wanted to see if by being on the shelf, I’d have enough power to get other stories read too. So on that third page, you can see what all the stories on my own shelf started with before I was featured and what they ended with after the shelf was taken down. I added notes to some of them- mostly because I feel like I can’t take credit for the reads gained on stories that consistently update. For the ones that haven’t been updated in a while, well, yeah… I feel like I may have had some sway there? I also made notes of ones that I specifically mentioned in my fanmail as I had a few readers message me asking for story recommendations wanting a certain type of story.



Feel free to discuss my findings. I could have probably done a lot more different graphs, but I had to control myself. There’s still quite a few conclusions that can be made based on this information anyway.

If anyone else has been featured, you’re welcome to share your own experiences (or graphs! Love me some more graphs). And if anybody ever gets the “we’re considering featuring you” email and wants to track their reads, I can easily turn my spreadsheet into a template for you to do this too.

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This is so cool! Thanks for taking the time to do it! Just a little question: did the payments feature unlock?

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Thank you!
Not for me personally, but when when my reads count hit 100000, a notification popped up saying to check out the writer’s payment as I was “close” :sweat_smile: So I guess now it feels like it’s actually attainable…?

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I’m actually kinda glad you mentioned this because I have been noticing for a while now that there seems to be some themes that don’t get nearly as many reads as I expect. The All Able shelf is the one that comes to my mind. And I really just don’t understand why that is. Is it the theme? Is it the time of the year?
I do think the amount of people on the shelf plays at least a small part, because when there was only six stories a week (which they used to do all the time, now only for the editors picks) they seemed to get more reads than the 9 story shelves and the contests shelves. So to have two shelves up at a time would also affect it I think

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Ooh that’s a good point. I didn’t think of that I also noticed that stories that have lots of episodes generally experience bigger spikes too.

No, I didn’t know that :flushed: But I bet it would have contributed because even before I was featured, I would get random spikes and could always track it back to a well-known author giving me a shoutout

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I’ve been on two quite different shelves and had very different experiences - one was hidden gems, and one was an editor’s pick :joy:
For my Hidden Gems one, I started off with about 10k reads (I think? My memory is blurry) and 7 episodes. I think I got about 30k reads over the course of the week.
For the editor’s pick, I think I started with around 90k? I got 140k reads over the week and at the time it was featured, I had 6 episodes (published the 7th while I was on the shelf).

But Editor’s Picks will always outperform other shelves because they’re selected due to a high user rating and high retention, so they’re already on the way to success, even if they don’t have many reads to start (I think I’ve seen two editor’s picks with under 1000 reads before, but you wouldn’t know it now).

Anyway, comparing these experiences, I’ve come to the conclusion that, while shelves will always boost your reads due to exposure, some stories won’t ever be a hit with readers (regardless of whether they’re good or not). Being on a shelf just won’t help with that. It definitely didn’t help my first story - 30k reads over a week is actually very few for a story with a spot on that main page.

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What I kinda find funny about that is that personally the editor’s pick shelves usually don’t interest me as much as themed ones. I’m lucky if there’s one story I read out of the monthly picks hahaha.

The hidden gem shelves I find interesting. It’s possibly one of my favourite themes actually. I always thought that if you didn’t have that many reads, you had more room to grow, so I always expect stories on the Hidden Gem shelves to blow up, so to speak. But from my experience, the story that started with 2.3 million reads gained more in just one day than some of the others did over the course of the entire week that the shelf was up.

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We already know you love to search for underrated authors though. :joy:
A lot of people equate more reads with a better story ( like, “other people must like this story, maybe I will too”). And then I guess there’s just the fact of… if the story was a hit without a shelf, why wouldn’t it be an even bigger hit given more exposure?

I actually also thought the same as you about having more room to grow - before The Infected got on the November picks it was actually already #1 or 2 in horror, so I was actually a little nervous that everyone who wanted to read it would have already read it. But then my reads doubled, so obviously I was wrong :joy: I guess most users really don’t look through the genre shelves. Probably just at the weekly shelf and main trending section.

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Hahahaha, yeah that’s true about me :blush:
I think a combination of having a lot of episodes plus a decent amount of reads prior to the shelf attracts a lot of readers to a story. When I say readers, I mean people who don’t write their own stories and simply just want something to binge read that gets updated often.

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I always check shelves to see how reads climb for people, and I do think a lot of it has to do with the story premise like @Caitoriri said. Because there will be stories on there that I think should or will do really well, and the reads don’t really climb like that.

I know from my own experience, my reads really climbed like crazy when I was on the Hidden Gems shelf. I can’t even remember how many I got but it was a lot lmao. I think part of that had to do with the fact that I had a lot episodes out at the time for people to binge, and I was determined to double update while I was still on the shelf. So I think it depends on a lot, but like Cait also said, being on the shelf doesn’t automatically always = lots of reads.

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You had the right idea😂
Everyone I know who has been featured recommends double updating while on the shelf, on the Friday or Saturday if possible. I couldn’t get it done in time because I doubted my friend when she said to have two chapters ready by the time November editor’s picks came out. I was like, “lol you can’t know for sure that I’ll be on— oh. Okay. Never mind.”
Still regret it.

The shelf plus a boost from your regular readers can really propel you up the trending ranks and the higher you get the longer you stay up there. I definitely recommend to anyone who thinks they might get on a shelf to have two chapters ready to publish if they can.

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Yes! I got up to #2 in mystery that week.

I was going to double publish anyway, but the shelf surprise only motivated me to work harder :rofl:

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This was me. I don’t know if you could tell by my charts, but I barely slept because I was so scared to so motivated to write. lol, it was a bit of both if I’m honest

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My story was featured on the July editor’s pick, when my story had exactly 137 reads. At the end of the week, my reads count hit 4000+, which is way less than other stories that had been featured (although for me 4000 was still a lot :joy:).

Then again, my story was featured 2.5 months after the first episode was published, had under 200 reads & only 6 chapters.

I NEVER expected I’d get featured that soonand had already double published a few weeks before my story was on the shelf. It took me 3 whole months to publish the next episode :sweat_smile:

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There is a question bugging me for a while now: Why do you think some stories on a shelf get only a very few reads compared to others? What is the reason behind? I noticed this with some stories that I really consider to be unique and well-written. @amberose, I think you may have an idea of some I’m thinking about, I saw that one of them is still in your recommendation list (so still under 5K) after getting featured.

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Interesting info.

Yeah, my story unfortunately wasn’t affected, since I get the same amount of reads consistently. (10-15 a day). @Mehasels promoted my story in her last chapter, and as she has a wide audience (over 300K reads for this particular story), I got a lot of reads for the last 2 days (593 reads on the moment her chapter was published, and at this very moment 1265), so go figure :smiley:

U can try to do the same, Miss Popular :smiley:

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Gurl, yesssss! This has been bugging me for a while now too and I’m really upset (I know you know the story I’m upset about). I see this happen a lot with shelves as a whole, not only just a few stories per shelf. Like I’ve noticed the current shelf BHM doesn’t seem to be doing too well in terms of reads gained while on the shelf. I noticed the All Able shelf also didn’t seem to “perform” that too… as well as the Rising Star shelf only seemed to have a couple stories that seemed to take off. Tbh, I should really track every shelf for a couple of months so that we can get a better analysis of this :thinking:

I have two theories:

  • People don’t seem to read the theme shelves that don’t really have a set theme across the stories. With the shelf I was on, it was about Neighbours and Roommates, before that, it was a shelf about Makeover and Transformations. Both preformed better as a whole than the Hidden Gem shelves have. Which baffles me because the Hidden Gem shelves are ones everyone’s usually so supportive of and wants to see more of. I feel like this month’s shelf is also a good example. So many unknown authors and stories are getting featured, yet don’t seem to rack up that many reads during the week they are up… Whereas the contest winners on the Missed Connections shelf (which had a lot of stories with less than 5k reads) seem to be getting a lot more reads in comparison. Is it because there’s a theme for the contest about having a missed connection whereas the BHM isn’t as strict on what’s in the story line?

  • Something @Caitoriri had said earlier in this thread:

This goes completely against my first theory, as the editor pick shelves don’t have themes across the stories… But maybe it actually just comes down to higher user rating and retention? Or maybe a genre thing even… The romance and drama stories, from my experience, had more growth than the comedy, fantasy, mystery and horror ones.

Man, I really should start tracking these :crazy_face:

What do you think? Any theories?

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Who is this to? Me? :rofl:

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yes u :smiley:

TBH, I personally rarely check out authors shelves, dunno bout others tho.

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Hahahha, so you mean for me to promote a story at the end of an episode to see if it affects it more?

(I check out everyone’s shelves lol. Like religiously. Anyone who follows me on the app, I scan through their stories and their shelf and pick up anything I find interesting)

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