I took the plunge into RRL with my first litRPG

Discussion in 'Royal Road Legends' started by Dangerhouse, Sep 20, 2017.

  1. Dangerhouse

    Dangerhouse Level 8 (Thug) LitRPG Author Citizen Aspiring Writer

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    I don't know a whole lot about RRL, or the community or quality of stories there. But I've decided I need real people who are invested and care about the genre to see what I'm making to know if it's worth its salt.

    I threw a cover together, and started posting today. I don't really know what to expect, or how to drive traffic to get people to give me their opinions. Let me know what I can do to improve my experience there, and discover if my litRPG is up to snuff.

    http://royalroadl.com/user/profile/69357/fictions
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2017
  2. VRRanger

    VRRanger Level 12 (Rogue) Roleplaying Beta Reader Citizen Aspiring Writer

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    Might check with the Admins on the various LitRPG fb pages to see about posting there. Great place to get word out, some may have restrictions on amount of self promotion, not positive. Congrats on taking the plunge!
     
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  3. VRRanger

    VRRanger Level 12 (Rogue) Roleplaying Beta Reader Citizen Aspiring Writer

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    @Beta Reader in case you guys have time to check the above out
    Peace Out!!
     
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  4. John Ward

    John Ward Level 12 (Rogue) LitRPG Author Citizen Aspiring Writer

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    @Dangerhouse I haven’t made the jump yet, but I think I’m going to post my book up there for pretty much the same reasons you’ve mentioned. Getting a response from a complete stranger seems like a good way to figure out if the stuff you’re writing is worth publishing or not. @Apollos was kind enough to answer questions I’ve asked about Royal Road. Maybe he can chime in and respond to your question.
     
  5. James T. Witherspoon

    James T. Witherspoon Level 8 (Thug) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    I have been posting on RRL since March, and I have my ups and downs with the community there. I've gotten some good feedback from readers, but very little in comparison to the "Write faster!" or "I don't like that this is different than what I am used to."

    Also, I've found the rankings on the site to be very discouraging. Getting frequent low ratings by people who have not read one page of the story is extremely frustrating to me.

    That said, my story has found a few readers who have supported me, and even some who have already pre-ordered the published version of the story, so it definitely has its uses. I hope I can get to the point soon that I no longer need the site, however, as I get depressed when I look at low ratings and scores that I don't feel are deserved at all, especially when compared to the stuff that is considered the best on the site.
     
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  6. John Ward

    John Ward Level 12 (Rogue) LitRPG Author Citizen Aspiring Writer

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    Hmm... maybe I shouldn’t post there.
     
  7. John Ward

    John Ward Level 12 (Rogue) LitRPG Author Citizen Aspiring Writer

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    I read the first chapter. It seems good enough. Lots of action and you really captured what it’s like to play a game like World of Warcraft or something similar. Some of the die hard LitRPG folks might ding you for not showing actual statistics (documenting how much damage your rogue inflicted when he scored critical hits, etc.), but I had no problem understanding that you were writing about a game world.

    The transition at the end is the only real quibble I have. It felt like he had just logged off the game and heard someone knocking at his door. I think that a day was supposed to have passed, but it doesn’t feel like that from the text. Was it supposed to be that quick of a change?
     
  8. Dangerhouse

    Dangerhouse Level 8 (Thug) LitRPG Author Citizen Aspiring Writer

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    Yeah, it's actually based on a MUD.

    I feel like listing actual stats may bog down the story and be a level of complication in writing it I didn't want to deal with. In the MUD I played you didn't ever really know what things did without using them and figuring them out, rather than the specific stats and effects people are used to now. I want to bring that mystery into it.
     
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  9. Zakyrie

    Zakyrie Level 5 (Veteran) LitRPG Author Beta Reader Citizen

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    Just like @Dangerhouse I recently started posting my work on Royal Road Legends and I've experienced a strange level of commitment from my readers. Hundreds of internet people read my fairly lengthy chapters (6K~) with very few ratings and comments frugal enough to make Scrooge McDuck proud. As I write this, I'm only a few chapters in (six if you count the prologue) but it's already 40K words.

    By now you'd think they'd have tasted enough to have something to say. But judging by what other lesser known (but good) authors on the site have in their stats, it seems to be the norm.

    But don't get discouraged. It's not that they don't like your work or that they're too busy reading other fiction. I explain why below:

    You can expect a steady supply of at least 100 readers - mostly new - per chapter release (regardless of chapter length).

    And ratings will come in when your work has reached at least 10 chapters, and if your chapters are short (under 1500 words) then expect to see real reviews come in around 20-30 chapters or so. If you haven't gotten ratings, try asking for them with an author note or in the forums (review exchanges are not uncommon).

    Here are some common traits of RRL readers that I gathered from my own experience and what other writers have said on the forums at RRL:

    - Readers want CONSISTENCY!
    They are more likely to stick around if you have a weekly or biweekly release (and daily works best).

    - Readers are hooked by interesting twists on established concepts.
    The usual fare (no matter how well written) isn't likely to gain a lot of traction as represented by followers and ratings. But for those who like your work, they are genuine fans who want to see you succeed. And you'd be surprised by what counts as usual fare. With so much out there, ideas that were novel a week ago are steeped in overused tropes tomorrow.

    - Readers will forgive poor (sometimes even egregious) grammar in favor of an intriguing storyline.
    There are writers on RRL whose first language isn't English, so readers are willing to accept unprofessional work so long as it entertains them. After all, they came looking for LitRPG there because they couldn't get enough of it elsewhere.

    - Readers are voracious.
    If you like writing bite-sized chapters indulge yourself. But if you prefer each chapter be it's own novella complete with Shakespeare's five act structure (it's three acts if you're a screenwriter that dropped out of highschool) - don't sweat it, they'll love you for it if you can churn out chapters by the dozen.

    - Readers are afraid of abandoned projects.
    If they see a wildly inconsistent release schedule or a huge gap in your releases they will likely shy away. And anything longer than 2 weeks will garner you comments that invariably look like "Write Faster!", "I hope this isn't the last chapter", "This guy is on vacation" and "Don't bother reading, the author dropped it."

    - Readers don't mind extensive alterations.
    Think a chapter needs to go? Axe it. Feel like your story deserves a new prologue? Shoot the old one in the back and pretend it ran away. The only rule is more is better and updates should include grammar fixes and the occasional author note if the direction of the story is drastically changed.

    - Readers are normal people.
    They have preferences that are in line with traditional genre fiction. If they came for horror they'll leave as soon as it's gone from your pages. If you wrote 'Romance' and 'Female Lead' as tags in the description of your fiction, and the star-crossed lovers literally go down in a blaze of fire five chapters in - expect them to rage quit.

    - Readers read reviews and trade recommendations but respond well to both low and high ratings.
    It might seem odd to see a three-star review inspire a slew of new readers because it seems illogical in abstract. Why would anyone be in a rush to eat at a 3-star restaurant? The answer lies in the details. And readers are surprisingly self-aware when it comes to what they like. Expect to run into reviews that look like these: "Excellent story, but too many POVs I couldn't keep up", "Grade-school grammar, but I couldn't pull myself away from the pages. Read the whole thing in one sitting", and "This is a Naruto/WOW/Something-famous clone. It doesn't have an ounce of originality. Loved it though, can't wait for more chapters!"

    @Dangerhouse - your cover art is awesome! Definitely among the best. Although not super important in RRL, it definitely helps garner a following and it's a condition for having your work featured in the 'Trending Fiction' section.

    You should start asking for reviews in RRL's forums when you have around 15 chapters. And you can always ask readers who left positive comments in your early chapters to revisit your work with the intention of leaving a review.

    Example: I completely revamped my Prologue and threw in a new monster weighing in at 11K words. I got zero comments after about a hundred or so views, so I asked one of my early commentators to give me quick feedback just in case I screwed up royally. Here is what he/she said, verbatim:

    "Great (new) prologue! Well-written as always, providing an interesting, information-dense peek into how characters will develop what will happen plot-wise in the future. An entertaining read while also serving to introduce a section of social and cultural trappings of the world and some of its major actors. "

    I strongly encourage anyone who's making their first attempt at LitRPG to give Royal Road Legends a try!

    P.S. Message me when you do, because I always prefer to sit at the head of the table when eating.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2017
  10. VRRanger

    VRRanger Level 12 (Rogue) Roleplaying Beta Reader Citizen Aspiring Writer

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    Thank you for this write up
     
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  11. John Ward

    John Ward Level 12 (Rogue) LitRPG Author Citizen Aspiring Writer

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    Hey @Paul Bellow what do you think about making a Royal Road subforum or whatever you call it?
     
  12. Paul Bellow

    Paul Bellow Forum Game Master Staff Member Shop Owner LitRPG Author Citizen Aspiring Writer

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    Done. ::PAL::
     
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  13. Apollos

    Apollos Level 7 (Cutpurse) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Zakyrie did a good job of explaining a number of the things to consider while posting over on RRL. Since requested, I'll give a quick guide, with some overlap.

    Posting on RRL


    How to Post
    *Consistency - (Stealing this from Zakyrie because its that important.) Whether you post daily, weekly, biweekly, or monthly, try and inform everyone when you are going to post.
    *Post bulk, or multiple chapters.
    *Its the most important to post in bulk when you first begin posting over on RRL to get more initial readers. Get maybe 5-10 chapters, or maybe 10k words written, and post them.
    *If posting multiple chapters in one day, schedule them with a few hours between each post. This will give your fiction more time on the front page so more eyes can see it. Each time you post it shows up on the front page until other new chapters from other fictions knock it off. Getting the most time on the front page is a big deal for getting the most reads.
    *Ask for feedback. Use the pre and post chapter sections to solicit feedback. Not just reviews.
    *Use polls to ask specific questions. People are more likely to click twice and give their opinion than write it out.
    *Use fun polls to build a group of followers that consistently comment on your chapters. Something that gets people discussing in your comments, especially about what your writing is huge!

    What to Post

    *Make sure you have a hook in the first chapter. It is especially important to have this when posting at RRL. There are tens of thousands of fictions so if you don't catch their attention quickly, you've lost them.
    *Make sure your first 2-5 chapters are in decent shape. (Well edited.) Not perfect, but don't give people an excuse to move on. The later you get into the story, if they are already hooked, you can get away with a lesser degree of editing.
    *Burn info dumps! Don't start the story by just telling someone about the world, character or game system.
    *Show not tell. This is one of the most common pieces of advice that you will get. Now it is actually appropriate to tell in some cases, but new authors almost always got to the extreme of telling. As you practice, you will learn. At first, focus on writing a scene, similar to a movie. You will have to go back to getting this right for the first few months your writing. Not a biggy, just do the work and you will keep getting better and better.
    *If you are just starting, you may or may not have a plot in mind for your story. Some people are more discovery writers and won't know the plot until they get to the end. Often they will have to go back in their revisions and rewrite and tighten the plot. Others are extensive outliners and you may have the plot for an entire trilogy already in mind. Most of us fall in the middle. RRL is plagued with fictions without any plot, just episodic chapters that sometimes are only tied together by the timeline. If you want to write a novel you need a plot. (Go to youtube and search for Brandon Sanderson's lectures on writing. They will prepare you for everything you need to get started.)

    Final Advice

    *Remember! The first draft is garbage, even if its entertaining. A lot, maybe most, Litrpg authors don't take this seriously. They may revise a little and even get their stuff edited, but its still just a cleaned up rough draft. Most of the successful litrpgs have one thing in common. They were rewritten or extensively revised.

    If you are interested in publishing. What this looks like is different for everyone. Here's a few methods others have, and then I'll give you mine.

    Step One: Feedback
    *They write the draft and send it to their content editor. They give them feedback on the plot, characters, etc. and give them an idea what needs to be fixed to get it publish worthy. (This can be expensive.)
    *Other's use RRL feedback to find out what works and what doesn't.
    *Some use beta readers.
    *Others do nothing and fail! Muahahaha!
    Step Two(or Three and Four): Revision/Rewrite
    *
    Rewriting - Taking the feedback, and the first draft as a skeleton, you completely rewrite the entire fiction. This is a hard process to begin, but as you get close to complete it becomes very obvious how much better the story has become. (Not all people do, are willing, or need to do a full rewrite.)
    *Revising -Very strait forward, but a lot of people don't do the work. I have found that most issues work themselves out if you are willing to sit down and just work on them.
    Step Three(or Four and Five): Beta Readers
    *In other words, another round of feedback, or eyes on the document to start cleaning it up and fix any remaining character flaws and plot holes.
    *Some beta readers are more technically minded, so you will have people that start to copy edit your work even if there are still revisions you need to do. This isn't a bad thing. Just try to use the technically minded before you send the document off to get it copy edited and proofed.
    Final: Copy Edited/Proofread
    *Now this can be split up into two really. Sometimes the editor will find further revisions to fix before you publish. There is overlap between what editors do and are willing to do. *Sigh*
    *You know what Proofreading is. :D
    Publish!

    Here's my process.
    RRL feedback on rough draft.
    Rewrite/revise
    Beta readers
    Revise
    Second round of technically minded beta readers
    Revise
    Editor
    Revise/clean up typos
    Publish

    Hope this helps!
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2017
  14. John Ward

    John Ward Level 12 (Rogue) LitRPG Author Citizen Aspiring Writer

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    Any chance you could link to examples of fun polls like you talk about? I’d like to see what that looks like.

    Also, I plan on enrolling in KU when I publish. When that happens, do you remove the story from RRL?
     
  15. Apollos

    Apollos Level 7 (Cutpurse) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    BTW, in regard to editors, their are three major kinds.

    A Content Editor - Plot, characters, your voice, etc. (Expensive.)
    Copy Editor - (Overlap with a Line Editor) - Help with grammar, formatting, spelling, etc.
    Proofreader - (Can be overlap with Copy Editor) - They help with spelling, punctuation, and formatting.

    If you can afford a content editor, you won't need as many steps as I use. Well maybe as many, but you won't be using RRL and beta readers, you will be just using them. Your beta readers will then be used just to give you feedback on what they like or not. Still important.

    I'd recommend a Copy Editor. They can be affordable. .002 - .004 per word.

    More to it than this, but mentioning just incase.
     
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  16. Apollos

    Apollos Level 7 (Cutpurse) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Sure. http://royalroadl.com/fiction/8397/...r-die/chapter/160406/chapter-22-the-long-term

    This one is a mix of both fun and directing people to think of my story. You can literally do anything though.
     
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  17. Matthew Siege

    Matthew Siege Level 10 (Filcher) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Yes. If you don't, Amazon can (and will) hold your money hostage, as you will be in breach of the exclusivity you grant to them by enrolling in KU.

    Also, I'd drag the stuff off of RRL a week or so before it goes live on Amazon. I took it down a couple of days prior and Amazon still sent me a nasty email saying my work was on other sites, even though it no longer was...
     
  18. Apollos

    Apollos Level 7 (Cutpurse) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Yeah, I second what Matthew is saying. Leave up a few chapters and just direct it to your new amazon link. You can post future chapters for book 2, but no content that will be considered as apart of the published book. As example, if you were going to add bonus chapters to book 1. That can't be online or amazon could "get" you.
     
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  19. Zakyrie

    Zakyrie Level 5 (Veteran) LitRPG Author Beta Reader Citizen

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    I'd like to thank @Apollos for his detailed outline of what to do if and when you begin posting work on RRL.

    I learned a lot from the outline he wrote and I'd like to emphasize the Rewriting Stage as being most significant before you consider other avenues (whether it's self-publishing or pitching your work to publishers).

    Here's my (intended) process:

    **Current Piece - The New Guild Master (TNGM)**
    Chapter Outline
    Rough Draft of Single Chapter
    Proofread (by myself) x2 (once after completing the draft, and once again before uploading)
    Post to RRL
    Get Feedback from readers
    Have one or two fellow authors or experienced Beta Readers look through my work (LitRPG Society is a great place to find dedicated help)
    Write First Draft of Single Chapter (assuming that for every three new chapters I write, I review a single chapter)
    Upload (technically, reupload) First Draft Chapter to RRL
    [Start a Patreon somewhere around 80K words, and a newsletter to alert my fanbase of new chapters and upcoming work]
    Rinse & Repeat until Manuscript is Completed
    Announce an intention to move to KU and provide a means of purchasing on other platforms (mine will be Itch.io) before retracting TNGM
    **Second Piece - Summoned by the Demon King (SBTDK)** [Not published anywhere]
    Remove the previous work - TNGM and post it to KU, leaving a few chapters as a sample on RRL
    Post 4 Chapters of SBTDK immediately on RRL (with a couple hours between each post) to garner an initial following
    Direct new readers to KU for TNGM while asking for support for SBTDK on Patreon
    Rinse and Repeat the entire process for the **Third Piece** and so on...

    I know some might argue that setting up a Patreon AND using KU is a bit unfair to readers, but I'll just give the Patreon supporters free digital copies of the book in whatever format they want if they aren't already on KU. Their donations are supporting NEW writing while a reward that includes copies of previous work can be worked into one of the lower tiers of my Patreon page.

    And last I checked, you can opt out of KU anytime you want so there's no risk involved with experimenting.

    You can still pitch your work to publishers even if you've been on KU / Patreon - although it might involve shutting down both programs if you do land yourself a lucrative deal.

    I believe that my readership wants to see me succeed and will be supportive of whatever means I use to make an income so long as they have access to the latest and greatest.

    I for one intend to keep writing LitRPGs on Patreon while writing other non LitRPG stories that I will pitch to editors with the intention of publishing under my real name.

    Would the following I've built up until then be wasted if I started writing under a different name? Yeah, probably. But I'll keep writing LitRPGs in the form of Web Novels and do what I can to keep that separate fanbase happy while still exploring other genres creatively.

    At the end of the day my goal (like most writers) is to live off my work. Even if it means barely scraping by, I'd be content writing for two distinct audiences rather than none at all.

    Have you ever heard of Edgar Allan Poe? He wrote Horror to earn a living so that he could find time to write what he loved: Poetry.

    So, while I do love LitRPG, I still have other types of stories to tell.
     




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