Cie Sez: Popularity Does Not Equate to Writing Quality
Note: This is a direct copy of a post on my Netherworld Writers Guild Tumblr. I have provided links to all the participants.
How to know if my story sucks? It has about 100 hits and 3 kudos and no comments. Kinda frustrating. I like the story tho. Help?!
If you like it then it doesn’t suck. Those are the rules.
What you’re asking about isn’t about how good the story is, it’s about how popular it is. Those are two different things. Popularity comes down to the following (incomplete list)
a good, clear summary that describes the fic and lets the reader know what to expect. No typos. No grammar problems. No “I suck at summaries”
tags for the show and characters of course, but also tags for tropes that are used, genre (fluff, smut, angst, etc), episodes if it’s a post-ep, meta, timeline (if applicable) etc. Tell the people what’s in your story so that they can find it. Or avoid it if it’s not for them.
relevance to the fandom. The Silmarillion is a great work of literature, but how many Lord of the Rings fans actually read it? If you’re writing to make yourself happy, sometimes that doesn’t appeal to everyone - and that’s okay
You’re the first reader you need to please–if you like it, more will follow. :)
Try promoting it around–that always helps broadcast it to potential readers. Doesn’t even have to be online either–was at the pet store the other day, was telling this guy I was writing original fiction, he’s kind of politely listening; tell him I do fanfiction too? YOOOO he’s suddenly interested. XD
This is the thing I struggle with the absolute most. I’m not the kind of person that other people like, and I’m rubbish at self-promotion. My brain is weird. Consequently, my writing is weird.
Having rapid-cycling type 2 bipolar disorder, I tend to have three different approaches to the fact that my writing is not what the teeming masses want to read. Considering that the teeming masses seem to want rubbish like Twilight and its even more rubbish hellspawn, Fifty Shades of Gray, I’m rather sure I wouldn’t like any story of mine that happened to become popular.
When I’m hypomanic, I don’t give flea fart in a category five hurricane what people think of my writing. If they like it, fine. If they don’t like it, meh, whatever. I know it’s hella fucking great, or at least pretty good, or at least I liked it. That’s the only thing that matters.
When I’m euthymic, my thoughts are “if I build it and promote it, they will come. Or not. Whatever.”
When I’m depressed, my thoughts go a little bit something like this.
“I’m trash and everything I do is trash. I should stop writing and destroy everything I’ve ever written. Nobody will ever like me. I’m a thing that never should have happened. I even make my grandma sick.”
The fact of the matter is, the depressive thoughts have far less to do with the quality of my writing than they do with feeling unwanted and rejected. I was a weird kid who became a weird teenager who grew up to be a weird adult. I was badly bullied when I was younger and taken advantage of and abandoned by the kinds of soulless people who think nothing of using others and throwing them away when I became a needy adult with very low self-esteem. None of this has fuck all to do with the quality of my writing.
One of the things writers can do is to seek out beta readers. I do offer my services as a beta reader and a reviewer, but I don’t always have time to do it. Anyone who is interested can find the information on the http://horrorharridans.blogspot.com page.
The number of comments one receives has very little to do with the quality of the work presented. Unfortunately, it often boils down to how popular the writer is. New writers tend to get few if any comments. I’ve been blogging and sharing my writing since 2006. I’ve never been popular. I was very naive when I first started and believed that the Internet would open doors to finding all kinds of friends, including other people who were Just Like Me. Instead, I learned that most people really don’t give a fuck and that nobody else is like me.
This, however, is not an indication that your writing sucks. It’s an indication that people suck, and if you enjoy writing, you should keep doing it.
Jimi Hendrix once said that he found that compliments distracted him from the thing that was most important: creation.
Writers are often lonely and misunderstood people. We need to try and separate our personal need for acceptance from our reasons for writing. If we are writing in order to be accepted, we are going to fail. We need to write for the sake of the story which is asking to be told.
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