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Responses to what attracts people to read stories

November 23, 2014
Posted at 3:01 pm

A few weeks ago, I asked for feedback about how to write descriptions that encouraged people to download, and preferably to vote. Thanks to everyone for an interesting range of comments.

:-) One comment was appealing, so I shall try:

Begging seems to help. Ask your readers to comment
and vote. It seems to work for me.

Other commenting

Don't tell the story in the description. Just
enough about how it starts to make the reader look
at it. Cut down on the keywords drastically.

Shorten the length of the sentences in your
descriptions. Some of them are almost unreadable
which really discourages further reading!

(On voting)
About 18 mos ago Laz changed the voting scheme.
6.00-6.99 is ranked good, over 7.50 is hard to get

Look at the downloads, when you get over 250,000
score should go up. Some stories get over
1,000,000. No 7, the author is one.

For me, the worst story descriptions are the ones
with spelling and grammar errors. For some
reason, authors apparently don't think to have
their editors review the blurbs. What is a reader
to expect of the story when the description is
buggy? It's an instant turnoff.

Other than that, how about a little cliffhanger?
A little dot-dot-dot?

All SOL authors should have a chance to be read.
Thanks for writing.

You have to ask yourself the simple question to
find the answer to that.

Do you write to satisfy yourself (nitch writing)
or do you do it to entertain others (mass appeal

If you enjoy what you're writing (your nitch)then
and you're not attracting readers then that will
have to suffice (It is a nitch after all).

If you want to be heard/read by more then write to
what attracts them (mass appeal).

You can see that in your own work so far.
I'm generally attracted to descriptions that give
a little bit of a story overview.

Now that I've said that, I should add that I
prefer longer, romantic or science fiction
stories, some coming of age, et. cetera.

Here's my suggested formula:

Introduce the main characters.

Give a sense of how it starts.

Hint at where the story is going.

Here's an examople I just made up wholesale:

Bert is a lonesome man, just going through the
motions as he trudges down the road of life.
Ernie is a happy-go-lucky girl just fruisin' in
the fast lane, until her metaphorical car breaks
down and Bert helps her out. Now they're
traveling the road together, but where will it
lead them?

You can be more concrete about the plot, but
probably nor more vague.

The same thing can apply to stories about one
person, or even three or four. For ensemble
casts, you need to focus either on one or tow of
the characters, or on what brings the group

They were drawn to each other, discovering that
they shared an attribute that made the group
enearly unique: They all had a hand up their
asses. Join Kermit, Gonzo, Miss Piggy and the
rest of the troup as they live, love, and lear
about life as Muppets.

Does that help any?

Honestly, what synopses I remembrer of yours were
pretty good. Amuwau. gppd ;icjl wotj tje

[Above is probably from a feline reader]

Make sure spelling is correct.

Certain universes I always read - the Swarm being
one. I see the one you have isn't showing as
visited in my browser, so time to read it again
Nice and long too... Damsels in Distress is
another universe that will always get a read from

Checking your other work, I see the LeMarquis
series/universe - looks promising, but how about a
numbering on them so I get them in the right
order? I guess I can always look at dates
published, but ... Anyway, will start reading
these, and vote as well when done.

Thanks for writing and sharing.

For one thing your titles are abominable. Just
the titles have turned me off from reading your
stories. Apparently the same applies to others
based on the number of downloads that you have.
Only two stories have more than 10K downloads and
one of those is in what is probably the most
popular shared universe on SOL. Despite that you
have more readers than I do (Velused Wittledick)
but I apparently have more responses and higher
scores. Still, I don't write for high numbers of
readers or high scores. I write when I have
something to say, either in an essay or as
fiction. If I get my thoughts across to the
reader, be they serious or humerous, I feel that I
have succeeded.

I looked over your home page in response to your
blog entry about story descriptions. Since you
asked, I'll toss in my two cents.

Personally, I think the biggest problem with your
descriptions is that they are way too long. The
goal of the description is to entice, not lay out
the entire plot line. The description is not the
place to explain everything that will happen,
right up to the epilogue. I think you'll find that
people get tired reading the description, or get
bored by it, and don't bother with the rest of the
story. Leave something for the person who reads
the story. Two buzz phrases to remember: "less is
more", and "always leave them wanting more".

Another point is that the description must, and I
mean absolutely MUST, be grammatically perfect,
with correct spelling and punctuation. If your
description has grammatical errors, people will
figure that the story needs serious editing, and
they will simply move on to something else.

My own descriptions (and I'm not trying to promote
myself, they're just easy to refer to), are
typically no more than two lines. As an example,
the longest story I've finished (The Benefits of
Friends) has a two-line description, has been
downloaded nearly 200,000 times, and has over
1,200 votes. Many of my stories have one-line
descriptions. You'll find similar descriptions in
Don Lockwood's stories. His "Dance of a Lifetime"
is an epic of 171 chapters, has over 200,000
downloads, and the description fits on one line.

A smaller issue -- you really don't need to list
every single code for the sex that occurs in the
story. I found that all the codes made the listing
cluttered, and I tend to ignore most of them
anyway. I let the story speak for itself, and if
there's something in there that I don't get, or
don't like, then I'll just skip over it or move
on. Poor English and bad grammar are the main
reasons I abandon stories, not the content.

Don't mean to pound too hard, but you asked for it
I hope this helped.