Silent readers

I’m growing frustrated with silent readers.

My most popular fanfic is starting to pick up steam. I’m not sure how, I haven’t been advertising it aggressively at all. I’m guessing that readers see it in other readers’ reading lists.

This is a 250k book so it’s a serious binge. I’m assuming that they like it if they read the whole thing, but they never say anything, they don’t leave votes. They just zip through…

And I realized that I am really not interested in the number of reads. What I want is an interaction and I’m not getting it on Wattpad. When the book is ongoing, some will say something, asking for an update, or making theories, etc. But a complete book is a big cricket field. It’s like I’m penalized for finishing it.

In the world of writing fanfiction, the reader interaction is my only payment. When I don’t get that, it makes me want to take the book down.

I find it quite interesting how my attitude towards sharing my work has changed. I love sharing my stories when someone appreciates them. If everyone just grabs the freebies without even an acknowledgment, I have no incentive to stick around.


Before you say it, I have author’s notes encouraging interaction. I don’t beg them to leave votes - someone begging has never made me hit the star if I didn’t want to, and it’s rather annoying to the reader - but I make it clear that I want to talk to them. It works on maybe 1% of the readers.

7 Likes

Hey!

As a writer, I do feel your pain. However, when I think about it, I myself consume a variety of content on other sites/apps from other kinds of creators (YouTube and podcasts, for example) without ever commenting or sometimes without liking the content in question. I’m not being mean, I just don’t think to do it!
And, sometimes, I like to read books on here without feeling that obligation to comment. I know that’s awful, but it’s the truth. Sometimes, we all just want to sit down with a good book or a light read and just read, mindlessly, and sometimes that means that we don’t want to stop to comment. Eek, don’t yell @ me for saying that! It’s just the truth!

In saying that, I’ve found that the most effective way of encouraging my readers to comment is to prod for it. Not to ask directly ‘hey, please drop a comment’ but, rather, to perhaps leave a question at the end of the chapter.
I have seen authors do a ‘question of the day/chapter’ type thing where they simply ask their readers to leave the name of their favorite color/band/film. I have also seen authors ask questions about the storyline/character e.g. ‘what do you think [insert protagonist’s name] is going to do about the wedding ring that they found in their partner’s sock drawer?’
Just little things like that take the pressure off of the reader to think of something to say, and encourages a natural, easy dialogue.

I definitely feel your frustration, though. I wish you all the best for your story and hope that your situation picks up. All it takes is a few eager readers to get the ball rolling!

Stay safe,

  • D x
6 Likes

I don’t blame readers for reading. It’s free content, it’s up for grabs so they do.

But for me, it’s a year of my work that I’ll never get paid for.

Hearing from my readers makes me happy. It’s the only payment I could get for fanfiction and it’s enough if it keeps coming.

I have no incentive to keep giving it away for free otherwise.

Wattpad has a nice set up for readers and for themselves. Not for the creators.

3 Likes

Some people just want to read, and I think that’s fine. You can’t force people to comment. (I also believe that people who read offline or without an account can’t even comment)

Don’t get me wrong, comments are great. I thrive on comments as well. But most of them are from people I interact with and whose stories I read as well. It’s an exchange of ideas and support I guess.

I do have one person right now who is commentating who is not an author herself and I live for her comments. Because she has no incentive to be polite or enthusiastic towards me and my story.

But what would the solution be? You can’t enforce commenting and even if you did, how much would those comments give?

It’s our choice as author’s to share our stories and it’s the reader’s choice to read them, and commenting and interacting with the author or not should also be their choice.

5 Likes

i completely understand that struggle as a fellow fanfiction writer. however, i agree with the other posts on here. it’s SO frustrating to pour time and effort into your work, only to realize that no one’s giving you feedback of any sort. but as an author, you have to ask yourself who you’re writing this fanfic for? i promise you, if it’s for the readers, then you’re only going to be disappointed in the long run.

1 Like

Well, it all comes down to the audience.

I have the same book up on fanfictiondotnet. There, books that have been completed for a while are only discoverable if you filter your search, but readers do find it and they do comment. They give me a reason to keep the book online.

The engagement of the fanfic community is the awesome thing about writing fanfiction. If you take that away, there’s nothing else left.

Who I’m writing the book for? I write stories to get them out of my head. It makes me happy.
I share them because I want to fangirl over the story and the characters with others.

2 Likes

That is true! FanFiction.Net has always been a much more active fan base at the expense of layout. Wattpad overall is a very dead community compared to even 2-3 years ago. Many people have been turning over to FanFiction.Net and ao3 because of the lack of interaction

6 Likes

Totally feel you! I got into a r4r book group as a way to get some more coverage. It got closed by an admin, but it’s still going on as pming and comments.

Yeah.

I hope those sites survive as not-for-profit.

1 Like

The site for ffn is already littered with ads the app is still pretty good though. I don’t really use them much because there’s a lot more digging that needs to be done to find quality content. I much prefer ao3 when reading fics revolving around canon characters. I’m a huge sucker for oc fanfiction though. Wattpad was the place for that because there’s a lot of quality oc fanfiction on here but with people leaving it feels like that quality is dying with them.

Well, take care of the good authors to give them a reason to stick around.

Hence, this thread.

1 Like

I feel the pain, too. I put in so much work for my fan fictions, and then not many people come to read them. It’s like my hard work has gone to waste :pensive:

3 Likes

I feel you OP. I do.

I first posted on AO3 and Fanfictiondotnet. I write in a small fandom compared to some, but the feedback has been really great on those two sites.

But I want to get better as a writer and maybe do it for real. FF and AO3 are not designed for honest critique. People tend to react very negatively to it and so there is a strong don’t like don’t read mentality there. Wattpad is HUGE and so I thought it would = to more readers. And more readers = more feedback. Sure, it would be swell to connect with other RDR2 fans, but the main pay off I’m getting from Wattpad is that the writers here are more serious about their craft. The conversations I’ve had here have been lovely.

1 Like

I agree.

Wattpad’s size makes it hard to get noticed, but it also means that it’s a good playground. I’m testing out my original fiction here. I don’t expect to get easy readers like fanfiction does, and the engagement is not of the same kind. It’s a very different world. But it teaches me how to pitch my stories better.

Just the other day, I was telling my critique group what I liked about writing fanfiction, how happy reader reactions made me, and that I was looking forward to taking a fanfiction break. I never realized how much not getting reader reactions would bother me.

It bothered me too when I first came to Wattpad. It is incredibly frustrating to spend so much time on something, especially a work of fan fiction, and have people take what you offer them without even a thank you. I equated it to having invited a large crowd of people over for a meal. You worked hard for days, even weeks preparing, shopping, cooking. The works! Then, when the big day comes and the guests arrive, they sit at your table, eat all your food, but don’t talk to you, don’t look at you, and worst of all, don’t thank you for the meal before they leave.

I doubt the large majority of these readers do this because they’re takers who don’t care. Some of them are shy and don’t know how to put their thoughts into words. I can get not commenting, because there are times when I don’t comment myself. I get too caught up in the story sometimes and won’t comment until the final chapter, or I’m just testing out the first five chapters to see if the story is something I’ll enjoy.

I’ve found AO3 to be better when it comes to reader interaction with fan fiction in particular. It’s not as in-depth as what you might get here on Wattpad from, say, fellow writers, but it’s something. My Mass Effect and Assassin’s Creed fanfics don’t get much love here, and yeah, I do get my silent readers (mostly on AC), but it is what it is, I guess. :woman_shrugging:

Though I have to be honest, it boggles my mind when a reader cannot be bothered to vote, especially when they like your work enough to read it 'til the very end. It’s such a simple thing to do and doesn’t take but a second of time to do it, but it shows appreciation. It’s a way of saying thank you without actually saying it.

4 Likes

I’m wondering if this happens because readers don’t actually know how to vote, or what it entails (which I must admit I don’t really either… does it matter for ranking for example?).

I recently started part 2 of my story and I can see that some silent readers seem to have migrated from part 1, so they obviously like the story quite a bit. One silent reader recently started to comment (which I love, because it’s great to get the perspective from someone who I don’t blab with constantly which I do with a lot of my other commentators), but she still doesn’t vote.

I added a note now at the end of the last chapter asking people to vote… I guess it’s to see if it lures out some silent readers :slight_smile: . I kinda hate to ask for it though…

1 Like

I don’t honestly know if it affects ranking or not. If your the kind of reader, though, that likes to see what your followers are voting on, you can see it in the newsfeed. I sometimes go there to look for new reads. I do believe it helps with gaining new readers.

It’s more of a gripe. I won’t beat somebody up if they don’t vote. I’ve had the same kind of readers as you, who’ve read silently for a while and then out of the blue they either vote or comment. It boggles my mind because it is so easy to do. For someone to say they don’t know how would be like not knowing how to “like” on a comment or post when there’s a heart at the bottom. Everyone knows what it means. Its a conscious decision one makes not to vote. What they’re reasons are, is hard to say. The only time I don’t vote is if I don’t like what I’m reading. But that’s me.

1 Like

Feeling similar.

In one book, I made it into a joke: Every time you vote, a kitten smiles.
In fact, I’m the one that smiles, but I hope that they’ll be more attracted to kittens than needy authors.

I don’t think voting matters in ranks but it might matter in attracting new readers. When your vote to read ratio is low, it looks bad. With the 87 chapters, I see that readers often don’t feel like voting on each one. They’ll vote on the first few and the last one…
Sigh.

Someone a while ago had the idea for Wattpad to have ”Vote for all chapters” button. It would help that issue.

2 Likes

I get you. I don’t like to ask either. If I’ve gotta beg, the vote kinda counts for nothing at that point. I think what it most probably boils down to is that either some people just don’t like to connect in any way (which I can sympathize with; I deal with social anxiety daily), or people either don’t care or really just don’t understand how important even a simple vote is to a writer, especially a writer who is posting chapters as they complete them. They yearn for those votes because they’re motivating. It keeps them going. When the votes and comments stop, the story will most likely come to an end too.

2 Likes

Hey, I like that idea!

1 Like