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How was you first time — publishing on SOL, I mean

Hopeless Writer

It's been a few months for me now, so I felt detached enough to write about it — in the form of a story: "Scoring". While it's a pretty fictionalized account, I did try to capture some genuine aspects: the nervousness, the impatience, the hope, the over-analysing of each and every feedback, the downloads, votes, and, with extreme luck, public comments or feedback messages.

Does this in any way match your experiences (if you happen to recall them)? Or were you perfectly cool about it, casually completed the submission form, turned to something completely different and only months later remembered to check whether the story actually got published?

Switch Blayde
Updated:

@Hopeless Writer

How was you first time


Premature ejac—

Oh, you mean my first story!

It's been too long to remember and I posted on other sites before finding SOL.

Replies:   Hopeless Writer
Crumbly Writer

I'm not sure whether you're referring to posting STORIES on SOL, or posting stories about our FIRST TIME on SOL.

But I tend to write drama, rather than stroke stories. My first posting on SOL was was an extended series (6 books), and like all of my work, was finished and completely edited before I posted the first chapter. I hadn't finished what would become the 5th book and hadn't even started the 6th, but I was well on my way, so I may not be typical.

What IS typical, is that few of us ever expect to garner more than a few reads, so we're mostly universally shocked when our stories prove to be popular. In my case, I write using an older writing style with overly complex plots—the kinds of stories I prefer to read but didn't find as much of anymore—so I really didn't care whether many people read them or not, since I was writing purely for myself.

That said, almost everyone starts out writing about sex. It's only when they've been posting for a while that they feel comfortable modifying what they post by limiting the 'main draw' (i.e. the sexual content).

At the time, I cross-posted to SOL and ASSTR, so together I got around 12,000 downloads a week (which is much better than I've gotten since then, now that I'm only posting to SOL and it's sister sites). At the time, I would have been happy with a hundred and hopefully a few fan letters (I'd been lurking on the site for a long time, so I basically knew how everything worked and basically knew what to expect.

As far as how I reacted after posting, I watched every single download clock, waiting with baited breath, nervous how my material would be received. The first story had PLENTY of issues (it's been revised a number of times (twice before I ever posted anything), and once before I finished the entire 6 books. Even now, I'm contemplating revising the entire series to bring it up to my current writing standards while hopefully keeping the heavy character development which marked that first project (and was probably why it got so many downloads).

Switch, now that you mention it, having spent so long preparing for my first posting, I sometimes think of many newbie authors as 'prematurely posting' their stories, before they know how the story (like their initial erections) will hold up. 'D

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

many newbie authors as 'prematurely posting' their stories


That's how you learn to write. I'd cringe if I read the stories I posted 18 years ago.

Replies:   robberhands
BlacKnight

@Crumbly Writer

... waiting with baited breath ...


There's something fishy about that phrasing.

shinerdrinker

@Hopeless Writer

I'd have to say I had a few similar reactions when I first posted here to SOL. I also found myself facing: the nervousness, the impatience, the hope, the over-analyzing of each and every feedback, the downloads, votes and combing through all of the public comments and feedback messages. But that was a little more difficult back when I started since they all came to an email address instead of how it is now all filed through the site.

For that I honestly thank Lazeez for improving on a site that I found to be at already a top notch level.

I still tend to read into every comment sent to me with a fine tooth comb. I still often find myself working to calm myself down after I receive some derogatory feedback. Nothing about the story being bad but mostly people begging me to stay with one story line over the other.

If I could restart, then I probably would be writing two separate stories and post two separate books. But I chose to do them all in one all-encompassing book. So there!

The other thing I need to work on is that I take up to on average a month for a chapter. I know that is to long for most and that is the other complaint I get way too often. But once I do have the chapter complete then I send it out to the editors and I find myself wondering why weren't they patiently waiting by the computer and reloading their email pages anxiously waiting for me to send them the chapter then they could automatically have the chapter edited and ready for me to upload within the same day.

I'm still working on that.

But truly feel if I would have tried publishing the story anywhere else, I would not have gotten the great response and help to improve it anywhere else. The story would have probably died a quick death and i would have gone back to writing just for me.

Not to blow too much wind up my own skirt but I think a few people might not have liked that either. At least I hope so according to my score of fans!

Replies:   Hopeless Writer
robberhands
Updated:

@Switch Blayde

I'd cringe if I read the stories I posted 18 years ago.

I wrote my first ever story six years ago. I certainly would write it differently today but it doesn't make me cringe. It's like an old photograph of me as a little boy - dirty, torn clothes and a baby tooth is missing but I'm smiling. Besides, re-write or not, it's still a great story.

Unlike CW, I'm also not very humble. When I publish a story on SoL, I do expect thousands of enthusiastic readers. I don't need my stories published for my own viewing pleasure; they are already in my mind and I can look at them at any time. When I received the first score of 6.6 for my last story, I shook my head and wondered how long it would take readers with a better taste to discover my new offering - modesty be damned.

Replies:   Hopeless Writer
Hopeless Writer

@Switch Blayde

Premature ejac—

Oh, you mean my first story!

It's been too long to remember and I posted on other sites before finding SOL.


Yeah, I suspected some of the regulars can't remember anymore, but thanks for the giggle. ;-)

Hopeless Writer

@Crumbly Writer

I'm not sure whether you're referring to posting STORIES on SOL, or posting stories about our FIRST TIME on SOL.


It's nice to get the confirmation I succeeded in confusing people! ;-)

I was referring to the former. I have no preference for stories about first times.

What IS typical, is that few of us ever expect to garner more than a few reads, so we're mostly universally shocked when our stories prove to be popular.


Blink — do you mean this? I thought it to be most natural to expect that everyone will love your story, all the world will get an account at SOL just to read it, praise the author, make indece... Ahem. Mahna mahna.

No, I mean, that's good, of course, to be humble. I'd take the burden of success from you, anytime.

As far as how I reacted after posting, I watched every single download clock, waiting with baited breath, nervous how my material would be received.


Ah! Okay, I'm relieved; it does happen to other people too.

Banadin

After my first story I only checked the scores and posting every five minutes. Now that I'm a seasoned pro after three years I can go a day or two without looking!

My wife is pleased that I have stopped planning horrible fates for my critics. Of course the positive reviewers become gods in my land.

Hopeless Writer

@shinerdrinker

I'd have to say I had a few similar reactions when I first posted here to SOL. I also found myself facing: the nervousness, the impatience, the hope, the over-analyzing of each and every feedback, the downloads, votes and combing through all of the public comments and feedback messages.


So there are some slight similarities. ;-) Thank you!

But that was a little more difficult back when I started since they all came to an email address instead of how it is now all filed through the site.


Interesting. I knew SOL has changed over time, but I hadn't thought of changes in this respect.

I still tend to read into every comment sent to me with a fine tooth comb.


Right now I'd say lucky you for getting comments at all, but of course doing so is also another source of nervousness; I understand that.

I still often find myself working to calm myself down after I receive some derogatory feedback. Nothing about the story being bad but mostly people begging me to stay with one story line over the other.


Okay, now definitely: Lucky you!

And nicely depicted how other people are so unconsiderately impatient for you to deliver — and so infuriatingly slow to react! ;-)

Hopeless Writer

@robberhands

Unlike CW, I'm also not very humble. When I publish a story on SoL, I do expect thousands of enthusiastic readers. I don't need my stories published for my own viewing pleasure; they are already in my mind and I can look at them at any time.


Ah, yes, that's something I can relate to! Though I try to write down my stories, even if I'm not going to publish them, because after some time it can be amazing to see what once was in my mind.

When I received the first score of 6.6 for my last story, I shook my head and wondered how long it would take readers with a better taste to discover my new offering - modesty be damned.


You are angry about a 6.6? Well ... I happened to re-read the chapter "Jealousy" in Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott today. I understand it better now.

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Banadin

My wife is pleased that I have stopped planning horrible fates for my critics.

Not me. Sometimes, the best insights into a story are the "I was a longtime fan, but ..." letters, where they state they can no longer continue reading the stories. It takes a bit of work, as the reason they're having problems rarely are due to their listed reasons, but if you pry a bit, getting them to open up a little, you can turn up things you never anticipated about a story, giving you insights into ways, not only to fix it, but of things to avoid in future stories.

My 1-bombers, even though they're loyal fans, reading EVERY chapter only days after they're posted, don't offer much of value and are best ignored because they have nothing to offer, but dissatisfied, frustrated readers can provide insights into where you went wrong.

Positive responses, while pleasing, don't often give you much insight into your writing.

oyster50

first time?

I'd been a reader, never quite found something that rang all MY bells (a situation that no longer exists - I have a few fvorite writers) so I decided to write my own.

I started posting on ASSTR and Kristen's Archives, then decided to hit what I thought were the 'big leagues' - here.

I posted the first chapters, watched the scores climb, watched the popularity numbers, the downloads, and I haven't looked back.

As long as it's FUN, I do this.

I've had ONE story rejected. It worked on ASSTR, but SOL operates in compliance with Canadian law, so it was pulled, re-written, and reposted here. It did well, exceeding my expectations, and formed a foundation for follow-ons.

Oyster50

Replies:   Hopeless Writer
Hopeless Writer

@Banadin

I forgot to ask whether someone else had ever written a fictionalized account on first publishing a story online — and still here comes the answer walking right into the topic! Hi!

Checking only every five minutes — that's self-discipline! And a day or two without looking — unimaginable! One day ...

My wife is pleased that I have stopped planning horrible fates for my critics. Of course the positive reviewers become gods in my land.


That sounds a bit different in Unintentional Consequences II. I think you are onto something with your story: People are usually less motivated to send a "Well done" than a "There's a detail where you're a little bit completely wrong", and I agree with Crumbly Writer that if people detail that completely wrong, that's the most helpful of feedback.

Feedback where someone says, "You've got something wrong, but I'd need to re-read you story to say exactly what; maybe next life" — well, did you take notes of those planned horrible fates?

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Hopeless Writer

Feedback where someone says, "You've got something wrong, but I'd need to re-read you story to say exactly what; maybe next life" — well, did you take notes of those planned horrible fates?

Strangely, even when people hated what I did with a story, I've never had anyone who refused to discuss a story. In most cases, they don't need to reread the story to know what's wrong with it. Instead, when they decide to 'quit' a story, they typically list the first thing that comes to mind, but that's typically the most recent thing they encountered, not the thing that initially soured them on the story. That's why I get them to talk about it, as it doesn't usually take much to get them to open up, and the real reason soon becomes apparent.

And typically, no one says 'this is completely wrong'. Most of my editors were added by readers suggesting corrections. Often, someone will point out an inconsistency, or something I never realized, which often leads to entirely new story threads (now chapters in a new book, rather than additions to the book they were reading at the time).

Replies:   Hopeless Writer
Hopeless Writer

@oyster50

I'd been a reader, never quite found something that rang all MY bells (a situation that no longer exists - I have a few fvorite writers) so I decided to write my own.


That's another interesting aspect. The fun thing is that I'm not sure I myself can write stories completely as I'd like to read them.

Hopeless Writer

@Crumbly Writer

Strangely, even when people hated what I did with a story, I've never had anyone who refused to discuss a story.


That's different: most people can easily discuss what they love and what they hate, but what I mean is people who find a story "nice", only "something" is wrong ('completely' is optional hyperbole), but they don't care enough to remember exactly, but, as you asked so nicely, might check it again and report their findings on, say, St. Neverwhen's day.

PrincelyGuy

READER VIEWPOINT:

In feedback to an author regarding a story, several times I have stated that most of their stories were enjoyable and only a few I had not liked enough to finish. Several authors responded, and usually they wanted to know what about the stories prevented me from finishing the stories.

The dialogue back and forth left me feeling great that the author cared not only for their story, but what my opinions as the reader were. Since they asked, I provided my feedback what the reasons were for stopping, even if it entailed taking a second look at the story as it had been awhile since reading. Usually it was due to the content became something that I do not care for like rape and especially kids being abused or those dang zombies. Other times it was where the story was going. The authors seemed to be appreciative of what I thought.

Usually, if I do not like a story enough to finish it, I will not score it nor will I contact the author. Especially if it is due to going places that I do not care for.

One exception is if the reason for stopping is due to horrific problems that call for the author utilizing an editor. Then I "kindly" suggest that they find an editor to assist them with grammar and structure.

Replies:   Hopeless Writer
Bondi Beach
Updated:

@Hopeless Writer


I did try to capture some genuine aspects: the nervousness, the impatience, the hope, the over-analysing of each and every feedback, the downloads, votes, and, with extreme luck, public comments or feedback messages.

Does this in any way match your experiences (if you happen to recall them)?


Short answer is "Yes," to all of the above. It's gone away [ETA: mostly, not entirely], but I continue to track downloads and scores, and to read feedback carefully and thank readers for it.

I've been fortunate that most of my feedback has been positive and even when neutral or negative almost universally has been civil and clear, i.e., offered with reasons for it.

bb

Replies:   Hopeless Writer
Goldfisherman

My first time posting on SOL took a bit of rewriting before posting 4 of my short stories I had not posted elsewhere in their current form. I never got any indication of how many downloads or even a response of like/dislike. I posted one of my newest first as just a short story. Then I submitted 4 more stories as chapters. "Boxer Walker" I wrote sometime back in 2011 and just posted it last week, after rereading ans a couple of touch ups to insure with the rules.
I would like a little more feedback as in "worded replies".

Crumbly Writer

@Goldfisherman

I would like a little more feedback as in "worded replies".

Ensure you have 'feedback' and 'comments' turned on, then you should post a message (either via a blog post or the story end-note, specifically asking for feedback, critiques and corrections).

Readers respond to authors who are OPEN to comments. Since so many REFUSE comments, or won't respond when people DO contact them, many are gun-shy, so they need to be encouraged to communicate.

That means Do Not ignore the posts, criticize the suggestions or comments. In my case, each time someone suggests corrections or changes, I'll respond with HOW I used the information. If I couldn't use it, I'll explain why not, and if I DO use it, I'll show them exactly HOW I incorporated it.

That response tends to encourage others to respond.

You'll also notice that, while most stories get few comments, once one story gets several responses, those responses increase. In my case, most of my stories have ZERO story comments, a few have 3 - 5, while a couple have from 20 to 50 comments.

Hopeless Writer

@PrincelyGuy

READER VIEWPOINT:


Thank you for providing a different perspective!

Since they asked, I provided my feedback what the reasons were for stopping, even if it entailed taking a second look at the story as it had been awhile since reading.


Lucky, lucky bastards!

"Ohh! What wouldn't I give to be spat at in the face! I sometimes hang awake at night dreaming of being spat at in the face."

Well, sort of.

Hopeless Writer

@Bondi Beach

Short answer is "Yes," to all of the above


Thanks for sharing this!

I continue to track downloads and scores, and to read feedback carefully and thank readers for it.


Reading feedback — yeah, I would like that too! And I would read it carefully too, promise! Oh, well.

Hopeless Writer

@Goldfisherman

I never got any indication of how many downloads or even a response of like/dislike.


I think you can hardly help to see the number of downloads, but, as Crumbly Writer guessed, you haven't turned on any feedback mechanism: no Email link on your author's page, no feedback option at the bottom of the story pages, no public comments turned on. Can't expect much this way ...

I would like a little more feedback as in "worded replies".


Me too (with all of the above turned on...)

ProfessorC

@Hopeless Writer

A complete shock. I posted my poor effort expecting to get ripped apart, and found that everybody liked it. I'm still in shock over that, but gratified.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@ProfessorC

A complete shock. I posted my poor effort expecting to get ripped apart, and found that everybody liked it. I'm still in shock over that, but gratified.

Apart from the few 1-bombers, readers generally won't attack you outright. If they don't like your story, they're more likely to simply bypass it without venturing an opinion.

If you want to be attacked, your better off getting decent editors. But if you want a real fight, then find yourself some content editors. Those tend to be bare-knuckle, drug you down into the mud scrawls. But, in the end, your stories will be much better for the effort. (I tend to think they get paid the big bucks, simply because of the time they spend arguing with the fragile egos of authors (though, realistically, they simply charge by the hour, and content generally requires multiple passes, thus taking up much more time. The arguing with authors they generally do for free!

blurred

@Hopeless Writer

Painful, like taking a baseball bat up the ass... not that I've ever done that mind.

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