Writers poll: Have you ever had someone claim to read your story when they clearly hadn't?

  • Yes
  • Perhaps (Couldn’t confirm it)
  • No

0 voters

If yes, did you ever find out their motive?

Yup! It was always other writers who’d been told in these forums that if they commented on other people’s work it would help them get reads on their own work.

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How would you know?

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Motive can go for a number of things. Honestly, it’s probably around the lines that they more or less wanted to attract me as a reader. Pretty much it was a way for them to get more eyes on their work. Using the forum as a guide, it was not difficult to figure it out.

Now how I figured it out. That is quite simple, as I write, I leave indirect checkpoints. Someone who is reading, even when unaware, will land on these checkpoints as intended.

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That’s easy. You suddenly get reads, votes and gushing comments out of the blue when you haven’t had any interaction on your book in months. They gush and gush about how awesome your book is for five, ten, fifteen chapters and then suddenly disappear, and you get no more reads for months and months again.

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I know on fanfiction.net there are the people who go around posting “Cool story, it was amazing you’re so talented. BTW can you read my story it’s about (insert entire plot summary here)” on every other story in the fandom, because they think the other authors will be flattered by the compliment and read their story.

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Yes. They were involved in a book club and just copied what other people were saying without any specifics. He did it too many times to too many members that by the time he reviewed my book it was soooo obvious.

I was on the board, so we never gave him his shot to have his book reviewed.

(BTW, same person was in 2 different clubs with me and did the same thing. We later had reports that he was doing the same thing in multiple clubs.)

Motive: reap the benefits of whatever they would get out of it without putting in the effort to return the effort.

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I would think that meant they read it and got bored. Typically I don’t know where my reads come from I don’t get many comments unless from people I know I guess I didn’t think about it. I wouldn’t take it personal probably wasn’t their cup of tea.

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They wanted me to read their story because they’d apparently read mine

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What does this mean?!

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When I write, I weave into my writing indirect checkpoints. These points sounds like normal story progression. It was even more tricky at first to avoid info dumping with it. Anyway, these points will more or less stimulate a reader, and cause them to pause. Negative or positive it matters little. It will gain a reaction out of them, based on how the story is going up until that specific point. Some may even serve as foreshadowing.

Through this method, I can tell if a reader is reading or not. Even if they don’t quite understand, I can tell if they are making an effort. It’s a good method to weed out people who simply try and skim the book.

This is actually how I discovered a previous contest I entered skimmed my book, rather than reading it.

Can you give an example? I just don’t understand how that works or how you’d know a reader paused.

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Sure

Here is an example.

Summary

Let’s take this apart. This is a bit later down in the line.

Looking at the first monologue in this scene. While on the surface, it seems more endearing. Indirectly, it will cause a reader to pause, and process it in.

A reader who simply skims will jump past it, without fully understanding, or even partially understanding the severity of the situation at hand. While on the surface it appears more like a learning situation, on the inside, a reader will be able to at least perceive a more sorrowful tone.

Now let’s look at the final monologue here.

Once again, this on the front appears more like a growth moment. While yes, it is in some way. Below the surface, it will cause some level of nervousness. Which is the intention, even if a reader cannot describe it well.

Summary

As you can see, this reader read the chapter. Even though, they did not comment much. They hit some trigger points. One it was intended as a nice chapter, that they hit. Though, the second part is the nervousness. Due to the build up from previous information, and the monologues, it creates a sense of expectance, which is the intention towards the final phase.

There are many more examples, but I just used a recent one.

I could tell that someone barely skimmed over my work. This person, this child, this FELLOW HUMAN BEING-- so my prologue starts with this scene where someone is dramatically throwing their medication away and proclaiming that she was going to ‘beat’ someone in a game. It is sad, powerful, and overall full of anger. This, this, this person messaged me after to give their review and the first thing that was mentioned on the prologue was ‘I loved how relatable and kind of funny it is lol’…

BRUH!

I had ONE semi sarcastic joke in the beginning of the first paragraph.

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All the time. What really irritates me is when they pull the bait and switch saying they’ll make it a priority to read their reader’s stories if they leave comments on their own book, then don’t follow through with those promises. Just very annoying. I’m almost to the point where I’m considering ignoring any reading requests and putting a no reads request message in my profile bio.

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Yes. Tons of times. xD

And their motive was always the same: to get me to read theirs.

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Yes.

And now she’s my ex-wife!

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…honestly, I don’t think not commenting on specific elements means they didn’t read your story. It’s also possible your work isn’t communicating what you want it to, or that they skipped one paragraph—I often catch myself doing this by accident! This doesn’t at all seem surefire to me. Especially given silent readers; I wouldn’t be so quick to judge based on whether they pick up on the tone of those paragraphs—it might be the lack of context, but I don’t get them either @_@

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From my perspective as a random user—when it comes to the people I speak to, they’re absolutely my priority! I say that totally honestly. If I talk to you on the forums I’m more likely to read your work than some random person’s whom I don’t know.

But what if I check out your profile and I don’t like your genre? What if I try a chapter, and the pacing’s not my thing? What if my list is so long that ‘priority’ for me means the bottom of five other books? These have all happened to me!

I think it’s easy to assume the worst of people on the ‘Net. It’s certainly easy to fear that any action (or, in this case, inaction) is a rejection. Please don’t let yourself believe that! There are so many reasons that doesn’t have to be the case.

As I said, this is just one example. Even if someone doesn’t feel a connection, they will no doubt pause on a specific point as intended. These are checkpoints I put into place, and tested over time. Every reader who comments, and are going through it, they stop on each and every single part as intended. Readers who skim, skips past these checkpoints, are usually left lost.

Now I am not counting silent readers, since there is no way to tell if they are reading it or not. I count readers that specifically comment.

The tone isn’t even it, as I stated above, these have been tested over time. Readers that are at least well reading it, and even if they don’t fully understand it, they will stop on these points.

There is always some sort of reaction. Which then I can use to gauge their understanding. Though, readers that skim, will no doubt miss these points, and will end up lost as they go on, or simply try and make something up.