In retrospect on writing a fan fiction story

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Re: In retrospect on writing a fan fiction story

Postby Mr. Goodkat » Sun Apr 24, 2016 5:26 pm

About two months after releasing War Games I received the statistics of the website for the first time and I had very mixed feelings when looking at them. So let's take a look at some of them together now (click to enlarge):
Statistics-1.jpg
Audience Overview (06-01-2015 - 07-27-2015)

About 1.800 people had visited the website which I think is quite a lot when comparing it to the SK stories released on SKFFA for example, having in mind that the release had only been two months ago at this point. So this is something that I was very happy about. But looking at the other values and at the pie chart was rather disappointing. When correlating the values of the Pages / Session, the Avg. Session Duration and the % New Sessions you'll probably come to this conclusion: about 94% of the visitors (~1.700) looked at the title page and maybe read the foreword or the first chapter briefly and then left without coming back. Most of the others who stayed a bit longer probably read a bit more of it but that's it.

I also checked how often the pdf had been downloaded. On the sheet that MoDaD had sent me there are two events listed: pdf-download (9) and another one (34) I wasn't sure what it is (a download event from somewhere else). So I concentrated on the first event mentioned and was also disappointed, thinking that this document included a lot of art besides to the story in which I had put my heart's blood into.

So this was actually really depressing and I started asking myself a lot of questions why people left so quickly:
  • Is it because of my writing style?
  • Is the foreword too long, thus boring?
  • Do people expect more action right a the beginning?
  • Is the scenario (video games an drones) explained in the promotional text not appealing to the majority of the readers?
  • Is the name Matthew Doubt for my newly introduced character not appealing for some reason?
When looking at these questions today, I think I can answer each of them with a clear "No" for the majority of the readers without having any doubts. I rather think that most SK-fans (including myself) simply can't spent so much time on reading such a big thing in just two months, having in mind that it's "just a fan work" and not the "real thing". I realized this when I did a review trade with Kooshmeister which I'd like to get into a bit more detailed in a later post. I think the size of the story and the fact it's "just a fan work" might even be a reason that some people don't want to read it at all.

When looking at these statistics again I realize that I made a mistake back then as I looked at the big number (1.800) while ignoring the small ones which are way harder to spot, but which are the ones that really count. Please ask yourself what would be more important: the 10 readers who really cared and hopefully remember it or the 1.790 readers who might have just slightly cared and forgot about it shortly after.

Concerning the pdf-downloads I wrote the following line to MoDaD back then:
I was hoping that it would have been downloaded at least 100 times by now, but I was probably expecting too much here.

When I look at this line today, I can just simply laugh about myself now, knowing that the Kickstarter campaign of the "real thing" only attracted about 2.000 people which news concerning it were partially spread through the same social media channels like the one concerning my story.

I admit that comparing the statistics of my story with the Kickstarter campaign is probably quite bold and shouldn't be taken too seriously. But if I add the 43 downloads together with the ~1-2% (~16-32 visitors) of the online readers who probably read all chapters I think it was already a success back then, but I wasn't able to see it.

In my next post I'm gonna talk about some promotion attempts I made on my own and more questions that started to haunt me.

I'd also like to invite you to answer the questions in the list above from your point of view and post them here. ;)
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Re: In retrospect on writing a fan fiction story

Postby Cait » Sun Apr 24, 2016 7:20 pm

Mr. Goodkat wrote:I'd also like to invite you to answer the questions in the list above from your point of view and post them here. ;)

Ok, here I go~

- Is it because of my writing style?
As I told you before, i really like how have you described some scenarios (cyberspace) or moments like the battle in the City Hall. I could imagine the whole story pretty well.

- Is the foreword too long, thus boring?
For me, this is the thing that will make me read the story or leave. Too much information is obviously not good (spoilers), and nothing at all can disappoint readers if the story itself isn't what they were specting. In my case, the foreword made me want to read it (specially being about videogames xD). I think your foreword is just fine.

If you're refering to the informative chapter (now that I see it, "foreward" is well written?), maybe it is too long, but just visually as it use a list with long spaces and short phrases. I have seen much larger ones in other fanfics, like the ones from Kristen Sharpe, which have not one, but two autor comments and even an OC comment :lol: Anyway, I like reading them as they sometimes can introduce you a little more in the story before starting. Again, that's me.

- Do people expect more action right a the beginning?
From my point of view, a good story doesn't need action right in the first paragraph, a good introduction is always better. In this case, first "action" scene came in chapter two in some way, so it's not too long before after all. For example, in The Ghost Pilot chapter of the series, action didn't take place till the middle of the chapter, and it was good anyway as we could learn more of our favourite characters and what they like. In fact, you did the same exact thing in the same exact order LOL (Introduction of the new character, our favourite dou seing it, Chance telling why he likes it, a scene with the new character and the begining of the chapter's issue, and finally some action :lol: ).

- Is the scenario (video games an drones) explained in the promotional text not appealing to the majority of the readers?
I answered this before, THAT'S why I have read it ᶘ ^ᴥ^ᶅ

- Is the name Matthew Doubt for my newly introduced character not appealing for some reason?
Are you kidding!? For something it's now my artist/youtuber name! :lol: (Matthew Clawson, as I didn't want to impersonate you in any way).


Aside of the questions, I think that if the story has not been read much it's cos of the lenght and that the Swat Kats in general being so old that actually not many people know about it or remember it. Not many have the time to read it with the desired frecuent to not forget about what happened before or just to not lose the interest on it (in my case I haven't read more fanfics lately cos of high school).
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Re: In retrospect on writing a fan fiction story

Postby Mr. Goodkat » Thu May 12, 2016 5:34 am

Thanks for answering these questions in such detail, Cait. :)
As no one else had anything to add to it I assume that the readers silently agree on those. :lol:
Cait wrote:Is the name Matthew Doubt for my newly introduced character not appealing for some reason?
Are you kidding!? For something it's now my artist/youtuber name! :lol: (Matthew Clawson, as I didn't want to impersonate you in any way).

I've noticed your signature in your get well post for Katrina and actually wondered if there's a connection. Now that I know for sure I have to say that this is quite an acknowledgement. So, thanks for telling me. :D

Cait wrote:Aside of the questions, I think that if the story has not been read much it's cos of the lenght and that the Swat Kats in general being so old that actually not many people know about it or remember it. Not many have the time to read it with the desired frecuent to not forget about what happened before or just to not lose the interest on it (in my case I haven't read more fanfics lately cos of high school).

These are also some of my guesses which I'm probably gonna discuss a bit more in a later post.
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Re: In retrospect on writing a fan fiction story

Postby Mr. Goodkat » Thu May 12, 2016 5:51 am

Part 3 (continued)

About a week after I've received the statistics I decided to release one of the images seperately at the swatkatshangar. And so I picked the one I like the most:

Image
(Here is the link to the tumblr page)

Thinking of it now, this was probably not the best choice, as I can imagine now that some of the viewers might be confused seeing Razor shouting at someone they haven't ever seen before and without having the story context in mind. Back then I hoped that it would make people curious, today I'm not so sure about this anymore.

Again I was disappointed that it was liked just 8 times and reblogged only once while others have been liked 50 times or even more with a lot of them having a rather unusual look. So this fueled my concerns, feeding me with even more questions:

  • Do the images I've commissioned look too common (missing a personal touch) for the majority of people to really notice them?
  • Are people confused when they see a third SWAT Kat on the cover image?
  • Or even worse, isn't it appealing to them, because this may have happend in too many fan fiction stories already? (As I haven't read lots of other fan fiction stories so far I don't know if every third story introduces a new character that becomes a SWAT Kat at some point)
  • Or did I even break an unspoken rule like "There can be only be two SWAT Kats, no more, no less, not even temporarily!"?
Furthermore these questions arose sometime later:
  • Are people expecting more illustrations than there actually are?
  • Or do they even expect a comic (e.g. something like Nova Squadron) when they read the phrase "an illustrated fan fiction" and are disappointed when they notice that it's actually a lot of text that includes "just" some images?
  • Is the golden age of SWAT Kats fan fiction writing over (assuming there was a golden age at all)?
Unlike for the questions in my previous post, I don't really have a clear answer for most of them, but I have the feeling that it could really be that the images are missing some kind of personal touch in order to attract more attention. Concerning the last question I can add that the SK fandom is rather small compared to others like Batman, TMNT or DBZ and thus the pool of potential readers is naturally smaller.

At this point I'd like to note that I don't blame my illustrator for this, if my guess that the images look too common is right, as he delivered pretty much what I wanted to have. This is more of a doubt concerning my demand that they should be as close to the original as possible thus not allowing it to have that personal touch unlike the art you see from a lot of fan artists. If you take a look at the "My art"-threads here on MegakatCity.com for example you gonna notice that everyone of them has a very unique style interpreting SWAT Kats in their own way while the art in my story tries to emulate the original style which might not be so interesting for people to look at.


I've made another promotion attempt by mentioning the War Games URL in a comment on Kickstarter when the campaign was almost over and some other people had already started to use the comment section to promote their stuff too. In retrospect I have to admit that this might be looking a bit desperate or even pathetic. :lol:


At this point of my retrospection I would be really interested in hearing some opinions once again, since I might have stated some rather controversial thoughts in this post.
So what do you think about this hunch of mine concerning the personal touch of fan art and what would be your answers to the questions above that I've asked myself?

In my next post I'm gonna talk about the review trade between Kooshmeister and me which I have already mentioned at some points without having been gone into detail.
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Re: In retrospect on writing a fan fiction story

Postby MoDaD » Thu May 12, 2016 3:51 pm

Mr. Goodkat wrote:Do the images I've commissioned look too common (missing a personal touch) for the majority of people to really notice them?
I'll follow-up on this at a later time as there's something I've commissioned that could be pertinent to this once the artist has completed it.

Are people confused when they see a third SWAT Kat on the cover image?
I doubt it (no pun intended). Adding members to the SWAT Kats' ranks is a really common approach writers take.

Or even worse, isn't it appealing to them, because this may have happened in too many fan fiction stories already?
Ty-Chou wrote a very in-depth piece about the perils of writing, in her terms, "Mary Sue" fan fiction and ways to combat the stigma and even improve upon the genre. I'd link to it but that resource is currently unavailable.

Or did I even break an unspoken rule like "There can be only be two SWAT Kats, no more, no less, not even temporarily!"?
That's all a matter of personal preference. If someone has that mindset (and there are admittedly a lot of people who feel that way) then odds are no matter what your story is about people won't be interested in reading.

Are people expecting more illustrations than there actually are?
I think that may be a good insight. Anything visual is almost always a plus, particularly when they're mentioned as part of the overall package.


Or do they even expect a comic (e.g. something like Nova Squadron) when they read the phrase "an illustrated fan fiction" and are disappointed when they notice that it's actually a lot of text that includes "just" some images?
That's also very possible. A number of our highly talented artists (some of whom are/were members of this forum) have really raised the bar in recent years, so it's possible that expectations have also risen with them :lol:

Is the golden age of SWAT Kats fan fiction writing over (assuming there was a golden age at all)?
I like this question. It's something that's been on my mind as well, though I'd extend it to more than just fiction (because there's a number of people who've been consistently writing great work such as AkaneKitty, Ulyferal, Kristen Sharpe, Ty-Chou, Kooshmeister and others, who I apologize for not naming in this, for a long time) but also to overall fandom participation and projects. It's also likely to be highly subjective. For me, the "Golden Age" was probably 2003-2005, when the MBI was at its peak, swatkats.com was in full operation, and everyone was pretty much unified in one place.

When swatkats.com went away, there was a big void, and to this day I regret dropping the ball then because Razor/Xyanth asked me if I'd wanted to inherit the forum database and run it on my own. This was literally the same weekend I was heading off to my freshman year of college, and I didn't have the time or resources to devote to that. And, it slipped through the cracks. I'd assumed that "someone else" would step up and take care of things (an attitude I've had for some time that I've tried to abandon in the past 5 years or so). No one really did. Clint supplied swatkats.us and Kishi/Razaar took up Strike's stuff and forum, but there's never been that level of activity and cooperation since swatkats.com. That was around the time that social media really started to gain momentum, and ever since (particularly with the elimination of Geocities and other similar free web page services) things have never really been the same. At least not for me. The MBI chugged along, though the last year in 2010 attendance and participation reached new lows, and Sage correctly decided it was time to retire that. That's where the bulk of a lot of people's writing energy went, I think (I know that was true for me).

Anyway, for a large chunk of people that "Golden Age" was probably around 1997 when there was still stuff being exchanged in newsgroups, Strike was running the SK Zone (still my favorite SWAT Kats site), the Fan Art Archive, and the SK RPG, and DJ Clawson was running the Fan Fiction Archive. I think that was probably the "Golden Age" of fan fiction for most people, because (if I'm not mistaken) within 5 years of that is when most of the stories on the SKFFA were written. Some of the fandom veterans like Felony, Koosh or Kris can offer more details, as I didn't start to become active in the fandom until late 1998.
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Re: In retrospect on writing a fan fiction story

Postby Mr. Goodkat » Sat May 14, 2016 4:15 am

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this, MoDaD (I'm curious if others gonna do that too). 8-)
Your answer to my "Golden Age"-question was quite interesting to read, since I've got active in this fandom only about a year ago and thus didn't take part in these events.
MoDaD wrote:
Mr. Goodkat wrote:Do the images I've commissioned look too common (missing a personal touch) for the majority of people to really notice them?
I'll follow-up on this at a later time as there's something I've commissioned that could be pertinent to this once the artist has completed it.

I'm already curious about what you gonna post. ;)
MoDaD wrote:[...] Anything visual is almost always a plus [...]

That's an interesting comment and I've planned to go into this more detailed in a later post.

MoDaD wrote:
Mr. Goodkat wrote:Or even worse, isn't it appealing to them, because this may have happened in too many fan fiction stories already?
Ty-Chou wrote a very in-depth piece about the perils of writing, in her terms, "Mary Sue" fan fiction and ways to combat the stigma and even improve upon the genre.

I've faced this test shortly after Ty-Chou posted it here in the forum and I've answered the questions with Yes and No as honest as possible.
For those (like me) who never heard of Mary Sue before: you might want to take a look at this article at Wikipedia first.

Here is the list of all questions I've answered with Yes and I also added comments why I did answer them this way:

Does the character have your hair color or style? [1]
I have to admit that the idea for Matthew's shirt is based on one which I actually own. :lol:

Does the character know one of the canon characters from school/childhood? [1]
Matthew knew Hard Drive when he was younger, but he doesn't recognize him at first when they meet again.

Do they have a very tragic past when they were children? [2]
Both worked together as hackers for fun, but when Hard Drive became greedy Matthew ended the friendship and betrayed Hard Drive (at least from Hard Drive's point of view).

Is your character in the first scene in the story? [1]
He's a speaker at the press conference at the beginning.

Is your character either present or mentioned in every single scene of your story? [3]
Maybe not in every single scene, but in the majority of scenes.

Does the entire plot evolve around your character? [2]
Matthew's AI and his "relationship" to it as well as Chance's excitement about Matthew's video game are very important key elements for the plot.

Do they become the third SWAT Kat? [3]
No doubt about that one :lol:, although I tried to keep a certain distance between them ("We're gonna contact you when we need your abilities.").

Do they save another character's life? [1]
Together with Professor Hackle he saves T-Bone and Razor from the drones at some point.

Do they save the city from certain destruction and the SWAT Kats could have never done it without them? [1]
He destroys his AI in order to save the citizens of Megakat City and he's the only one who was able to go into Cyberspace (being at the right place at the right time).

Do you plan to write many more stories revolving around your character? [1]
If I would write another SK story Matthew/Specter would probably play an important role again.

Score: 16 / 120


I didn't take a look at these result categories before I had completed answering the questions:
  • 1-10: You have avoided most of the overused Mary Sue tropes. You're likely to be giving the readers something they haven't seen before.
  • 11-18: Getting into dangerous territory. Check your plot and how you portray your character. See if there's some changes you can do to make the story more original.
  • 19-26: Your character and story have quite a few over used ideas. Time to take it back to the drawing board and think of something we haven't already seen 100 times before.
  • 27+: Major Mary Sue-ness. If you are not willing to change your story for the better, then please don't post it anywhere. We don't want to read it. There's too many fics exactly like it online already.

Hmm, looks like I'm right in the middle of some dangerous territory here. :lol:
It's interesting to see how quickly you can get into that region, having in mind that these are only 10 out of 69 questions.

When I did another run on the remaining questions I've also picked those which needed some explanation from me why I've answered them with a No:

Are you so obsessed with your character's appearance that you forget to describe anyone else? [1]
No, although I only described the new characters (Matthew and Lt. Sawet) as much as necessary to imagine them, because I assumed that the regulars are known well enough... I was just lazy, alright?! :lol:

Can they fly any aircraft despite no previously mentioned training? [1]
No, but he flies an imagined Turbokat (and also rides on an imagined Cyclotron) in Cyberspace however. So, does this count nonetheless? :lol:

So what happens when I'm being hard at myself and count these as a Yes too?
Score: 18 / 120

Phew! Close, but it would still be in the same category. :lol:

Although I'm in dangerous territory according to that test, it seems that I was still able to avoid just doing things which have already been done 100 times before. Guess that's quite okay, having in mind that this is the very first fan fiction story I ever written. ;)

Now that I'm aware of this test, let me add another question to the ones in my previous post (I know that I might be asking for a beating with this one :lol:):
Is Matthew/Specter a Mary Sue (or rather a Marty Stu) in your opinion?
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Re: In retrospect on writing a fan fiction story

Postby Ty-Chou » Sun May 15, 2016 1:22 pm

As I mentioned previously in the litmus test post, I don't consider litmus tests an accurate way to measure how good your character is going to be in the story. It's more an activity to make you aware of what's going on in the fandom and, hopefully, make the writer try a little harder to be creative and original.

It is very possible to hit a large amount of the tropes listed and still write a good story. It's also possible to use very few of the tropes listed and write a terrible story. The score doesn't matter, only the final product matters. Was the character likable? Did the character work in the story and was the story engaging and well written?

To answer your question, does your character meet the Mary Sue/Gary Stu trope? Yes he does. Is that a problem? Not necessarily. I have written many Mary Sue-type fics in my writing career, most of which were well received in their respective fan communities. I've even been told by readers they have wished my characters and stories to be part of the official cannon.

The Mary Sue/Gary Stu trope can be a hard thing to sell. Some readers turn up their nose at the first whiff of it. But it can be done. There's no reason the character can't be solid, likable and an asset to the story. I always tell writers to worry less about the labels you're trying to avoid and worry more about producing a good product other people will want to read.
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Re: In retrospect on writing a fan fiction story

Postby Mr. Goodkat » Mon May 16, 2016 4:57 am

Thanks for clarifying this and for your reply on my question, Ty-Chou.

Your Litmus Test was an interesting experiment to do and I'm actually satisfied with the result. I knew that Matthew would be a Mary Sue although I didn't knew the term for this kind of character back then. So my foremost concern and challenge when writing the story was that he doesn't steal the show from the canon characters, especially T-Bone and Razor. According to the feedback I've received I was successful with this, fortunately, and the test seems to confirm this.

Thinking of it, when I started writing a succeeding story that has it's focus on the relationship which has been established between Professor Hackle and Matthew in War Games, I've noticed that it's gonna be very hard if not even impossible for me not to shift the focus on Matthew. This way it would be a story about him with the SWAT Kats still being an important part of it, but they wouldn't be in the focus anymore. That's why I already wrote a small foreword for it explaining this problem.

I didn't continue writing it, because of other projects and various real life issues I've had to take care of. But if I do continue writing it someday these insights from that test might be helpful to avoid overstressing the Mary Sue trope.
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Re: In retrospect on writing a fan fiction story

Postby Mikazo » Mon May 16, 2016 8:42 pm

Mr. Goodkat wrote:About two months after releasing War Games I received the statistics of the website for the first time and I had very mixed feelings when looking at them. So let's take a look at some of them together now (click to enlarge):

(snip)


Can share a few thoughts here, in no particular order. I've been in a little bit different situation but can see similarities in what you are raising and what I have wondered too. It is very easy to get hung up on numbers and statistics. Ideally you want to write first for fun, and when you have an idea to put on the table. I like the saying that wise people speak when they have something to say, and fools speak when they have to say something, and all that. Still, you can't help but wonder about the kind of audience your works are reaching and how they are responding to it. Particularly if say, you want to have some kind of effect on the reader, really captivate and move them, you want to know if what you wrote is doing the job. What I have found though is that unless someone actually shares a comment or feedback, it is really impossible to know what impression your story left on the reader. You are left to guess.

I had a short story get a boatload of hits recently. In fact, I think it ended up garnering more hits than a larger, more ambitious multi-chaptered story I had posted previous to it. The reason for it I think was that somebody compiled a list of stories for that particular fandom, and since my story started with the letter A, it went to the top of the list. Not quite the same as some prominent fandom member heartily endorsing my little tidbit, but hey. All the traffic was quite a nice surprise, and welcome at that.

Out of that, no real comments or feedback on the site where it got the most traffic. People did occasionally leave a kudos or favorite it, which certainly helps stimulate that reward system in the brain, but it's still difficult to gauge exactly how people responded on that alone. Also, it makes you wonder - if it *only* got such-and-such number of likes relative to the number of actual views, does that mean it fell short and could have been much better?

Without any actual comments, it was really hard to tell. I could only speculate. Did they click it and back out? Did they click it, read it, and decide it wasn't great? Did they really like it but not bother to say anything? Who knows?

Now, on that list I mentioned earlier, it only included the title of the story. No other details, such as the plot summary, word count, or anything. So that means many probably blindly clicked on it, saw the summary and tags, and thought, "Nah." On the other hand, had it included a more thorough description of the story, it may have drawn in fewer readers, but ones that were more likely to be interested in the subject matter and more inclined to comment.

Even so, it is very subjective. I have had stories receive gushing praise from some people, and very harsh, critical feedback from others. Did the people who loved it miss all the stuff that was wrong with it? Are the people who criticized it just being cruel and sadistic? Who is right?

Writing is abstract. It's not like math. There is not really a *correct* answer per se. Everyone is different and responds differently.

Might be worth mentioning that I rather abhor this tendency to focus on "getting likes" on anything posted in social media. I love getting them! But that can be a distraction. You can create one thing and stop to see how good you did, or you can keep creating more things. In my case, I didn't stop at my initial story - I got more ideas and ended up writing four different pieces, including a joke poem which got very positive feedback, and broadened things out. Sometimes if people see that new story you posted and they like it, they may go back and check out your other, older pieces as well.

You were mentioning the size of your story. I have found that larger stories are probably more likely to get feedback, at least on the fanfiction sites I have been on. I understand your situation is a little different than that. But at first when I wrote, I wanted to be concise, feeling that people didn't want to take the time to read something larger. Didn't want to scare them away with some monstrosity. However I notice on one site where I have several stories posted, the largest one gets the most hits. Also when looking at other people's stories, I find that the larger ones can net a lot more traffic. Many people *do* look for bigger works, counter-intuitive as it may be. So I am not inclined to think that the size of your story would necessarily have been a turn-off.

In your case, I would be more curious to know if your story succeeded in reaching the correct audience. Taking your numbers, let's say a fraction of a percent of your readers really liked it, and the others shrugged it off. Why isn't that number of readers who liked it larger? What would it have taken to get your story to reach more people who were more likely to be interested?
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Re: In retrospect on writing a fan fiction story

Postby Mr. Goodkat » Mon May 30, 2016 3:42 pm

Thanks for sharing your thoughts in that extent, Mikazo.
And sorry that it took me so long to reply to it, but I was quite busy in the last few weeks (and still am ;)).

Mikazo wrote:[...] What I have found though is that unless someone actually shares a comment or feedback, it is really impossible to know what impression your story left on the reader. You are left to guess.

Exactly. It can be somewhat discouraging not to know what impression a story has left.

Mikazo wrote:I had a short story get a boatload of hits recently. In fact, I think it ended up garnering more hits than a larger, more ambitious multi-chaptered story I had posted previous to it. The reason for it I think was that somebody compiled a list of stories for that particular fandom, and since my story started with the letter A, it went to the top of the list. Not quite the same as some prominent fandom member heartily endorsing my little tidbit, but hey. All the traffic was quite a nice surprise, and welcome at that.

I think you're right about your Letter-A-theory since it's actually a plus having a title that starts with a letter A (or a number) whenever it's mentioned in an alphabetically ordered list. In this context War Games is probably not a good choice for a title on such a list, but if everyone would do that on the other hand it would be the second character that would decide about where your title would be placed on the list and so on and so on and so on... :lol:

Mikazo wrote:Now, on that list I mentioned earlier, it only included the title of the story. No other details, such as the plot summary, word count, or anything. So that means many probably blindly clicked on it, saw the summary and tags, and thought, "Nah." On the other hand, had it included a more thorough description of the story, it may have drawn in fewer readers, but ones that were more likely to be interested in the subject matter and more inclined to comment.

That's an interesting insight that's quite similar to my own experience. I actually think the number how many times a story has been viewed doesn't give you any information if people liked it or not. It's just an indicator for how well your story can be found. If you take a look at the statistics screenshot in one of my previous posts you'll see that the page had been visited about 1.900 times (in March 2016 it had been about 4.300 times!) which is quite a lot thinking that this was about two months after its release and when comparing it with a lot of stories (of seasoned authors) which have been released way earlier on SKFFA for example. But I'm sure this is not because my story is way better than theirs. It's probably just because it was in the head of the old swatkats.info website for several months. Therefore it would be quite bold of me to compare the views of my story with the ones of a story at SKFFA for real as the latter is probably less often found/visited than swatkats.info I assume.

Back then people needed to click on the link in order to get to the mainpage of War Games that shows a plot summary and a chapter listing. At this point probably the same effects happened which you've described and thus only just a few of them really get themselves into reading it.


Mikazo wrote:Even so, it is very subjective. I have had stories receive gushing praise from some people, and very harsh, critical feedback from others. Did the people who loved it miss all the stuff that was wrong with it? Are the people who criticized it just being cruel and sadistic? Who is right?

Writing is abstract. It's not like math. There is not really a *correct* answer per se. Everyone is different and responds differently.

I agree, there is probably no *correct* answer for that and I think this is a very good comment as I don't know what else I could add to it. ;)

Mikazo wrote:You were mentioning the size of your story. I have found that larger stories are probably more likely to get feedback, at least on the fanfiction sites I have been on. I understand your situation is a little different than that. But at first when I wrote, I wanted to be concise, feeling that people didn't want to take the time to read something larger. Didn't want to scare them away with some monstrosity. However I notice on one site where I have several stories posted, the largest one gets the most hits. Also when looking at other people's stories, I find that the larger ones can net a lot more traffic. Many people *do* look for bigger works, counter-intuitive as it may be. So I am not inclined to think that the size of your story would necessarily have been a turn-off.

That might be true, but if you write a larger story I think it is important that you release its chapters periodically such that the readers who got hooked can "digest" it easier and stay with you the whole time. This probably also encourages them to write a comment which will probably be even more likely if every chapter has some kind of cliffhanger. And I think it's probably also important how "hip" fan-fictions are in that particular fandom.

Mikazo wrote:In your case, I would be more curious to know if your story succeeded in reaching the correct audience. Taking your numbers, let's say a fraction of a percent of your readers really liked it, and the others shrugged it off. Why isn't that number of readers who liked it larger? What would it have taken to get your story to reach more people who were more likely to be interested?

Without having the feedback from the visitors who decided not to read it this is quite hard to tell. It might be that when people clicked on the link at swatkats.info that they didn't expect a fan fiction with some illustrations, but something more comic-like like Nova Squadron. That's a reason why I've re-released a text only version a few months later on FanFiction.net which I assume is the first place where people are looking for SWAT Kats fan-fiction stories. I think I actually reached some readers there who would have missed it otherwise, but it didn't outperform the illustrated version which might be a bit surprising as this is a place where people are actually looking for and expect to find fan fiction stories.
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