I thought I'd offer some observations of the genre from an outsider's point of view. I'm not going to be an outsider much longer, because I'm going to start reading stuff, so I thought I'd better get this out now: 1) Problems that naturally arise from being a small, niche community - A small number of opinion leaders have massive sway over the readership, creating cliques and unnecessary drama. - Everyone has some kind of stake in the game, authors and readers alike. Authors need to make a living off a relative small pool of readers. Readers are hungry for more stories, and feel the need to fanboy/fangirl their favorite authors and attack those who disagree. This is not specific to LitRPG, but since the community is rather small, this phenomenon can cause massive damage. Authors need to tread carefully, since they cannot afford to offend opinion leaders or any part of the readership, and this has created a rather uncomfortable egg-shell atmosphere. - Readers/fellow authors feel the need to support the genre, leading to heavily biased reviews on Amazon, and this turns away a lot of new 'outsider' readers since they cannot wade through all the stuff out there right now to find what they want. This also does not really help authors in the long run. If we want to compete with mainstream fantasy/sci-fi, we really need to push for real quality, and more importantly, we need to really better manage reader expectations (which leads to the next point) 2) Distinct groups of 'newbies' to the genre a) Those coming from general fantasy/sci-fi (mostly more concerned about story than stats -- the 'lite' crowd -- some of these readers are actually offended by pages of stats and think it's a cheap way to bloat word count) b) Those coming from web novels (might be expecting certain elements: fast-paced action, numbers, power fantasy, harem, etc.) Readers often cannot clearly articulate personal preferences and the fact that the community lumps all 'LitRPG' together is not really helping new readers find authors they like. I've been hunting down reviews of all kinds of things, and I've found that quite a few people who came from, say, Ready Player One or Awaken Online are generally looking for something different than the 'usual LitRPG' (not that I'm very certain what that is) and once they've tried a few of the more popular titles they just give up on the genre. 3) Lack of quality neutral (no-stakes) reviews and guides Apart from the brilliant and very thoughtful https://litrpgreviews.blog/ (which should be way more popular than it is, IMHO, because that's some quality content), I haven't come across anyone who can afford to be completely honest. This is no one's fault. The community is still so small and those who are dedicated enough to own/run a website usually are very much part of the community (and therefore cannot afford to offend, since they risk very dire consequences). I think what can be done is that there should be a platform to promote thoughtful well-written reader reviews as well as articles that talk about the genre as a whole, and not leave these scattered through forums and reddit. Maybe there really should be a non-biased guide on different 'types' of LitRPG and GameLit to help readers navigate the genre and find things they like. At the very least, a guide on 'crunchiness' will be helpful, since there are readers who go "This is a decent story but the pages and pages of stats are pointless and took me out of the story", as well as those who go "I don't see stats. This is not LitRPG!" 4) Reaching non-gamer readers (through non-biased guides) We can attract a wider pool of readers by starting them off on 'lite' stuff to get them used to the concepts and jargon. New to the genre? Never played an MMORPG? No problem! Start with these few books, whose MCs are as new to the game as you are. I've seen standard fantasy readers getting completely turned off by the first page of LitRPG because they just simply can't understand what is going on. At the same time, hardcore LitRPG fans are sometimes annoyed by noob MCs, leading to unfair reviews just because of poorly-managed expectations. 5) Reaching female/YA readers (through non-biased guides) I shouldn't be surprised that most LitRPG readers are male, but right now the genre's got a bit of a bad name for being unfriendly to female or young audiences. This is also not a LitRPG problem, but we should not have these things define LitRPG. Just like how video games shouldn't aim to only be associated with teenage boys, LitRPG shouldn't aim to be defined only by these labels, and there should really be better classifications to avoid offending potential readers and turning them off the whole genre. 6) The rising trend More and more people are playing games, AI is a hot topic, the future of the genre looks great! The Ready Player One movie will attract a lot of potential readers (maybe even non-gamers), so I think we should have those guides ready by then to help ease people into the genre. And more people means a wider and more diverse readership and this will help ease the clique/drama problems in the long run. So, I think what we really need is a neutral voice to write these guides. I'm not sure how we can do it, since it can't be one of the authors and can't be anyone who has stakes in this currently-fragile genre. I'm sure you all already know this. Just wanted to say something before I binge-read LitRPGs over the holidays.