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Updates and Life

Today’s blog post is just some updates on me, as some things have changed recently. I do plan to post a new topic soon about world-building and balance.

Here are the updates:

If you haven’t already noticed, my Wattpad account is deleted. After years of unhappiness there, I ultimately decided to let the account die. I wanted to pass it on, but I felt it’s best to have a clean slate. Over the years, there was too much drama, bad blood, and my fanfictions were always overshadowing my original work. Though I’m sad about deleting the account, it needed to happen.

If you read my stories on Wattpad, thank you for the support! I do have good news for my readers. I’ve joined a new website, and I’ve uploaded Love for an Angel there and my horror stories. In the future, I also plan to post the Clash of Tides ending too (and the unedited chapters). However, please know the story is going through a rewrite (that won’t be posted online), but any feedback I can get will be appreciated. If you want the link to the site, you can contact me here: Email Me. I’m still on Writing.com for improvement, but this new site is to build readership. Trust me, I won’t be moving sites anymore. I’m done now. Where I am, is where I stay.

I also have some new stories I plan to post in the future. I may post 9/Nine Realms there and Dawning Dragons.

If you want to know what sites I’m on, just email me or post a comment.

2. I got my first rejection a few months back. I didn’t say anything because I was too upset and busy, but I’m good now. Rejections happen, but you have to keep going. I’ll be submitting short stories again to magazines soon. 🙂

3. Writing contest!! Please submit your story! We want to read them and offer feedback if you request it =)

4. I’m taking a break from Twitter right now. I stretched myself too thin with so many social media sites. A smart writer told me once, “Don’t get so caught up in social media that you forget the writing.” I was forgetting the writing, so I’m taking a break.

That’s it for me! Recently, one of my readers reached out to me and encouraged me to keep on writing. I wasn’t fair to the loyal readers who supported me on Wattpad, and I apologize for that. There were many things happening in the background with other writers, so that added to my annoyance and frustration, but as I said before, I won’t be moving sites again.

Lastly, life is a journey, and none of us are perfect, so I ask for your forgiveness.

Other than that, I don’t have any updates right now. There are only five months left in the year, so let’s make them great ones!

Question: So far, what have you accomplished this year, and what left do you want to do? 

Goodreads, where should we draw the line? (For Writers)

Hey, everyone! It wasn’t my intention to post this topic today, but another writer and I have been discussing this recently.

To give you some background, and some of you may already know this, I learned a few weeks ago that stories posted on Wattpad are considered self-published by sites like Goodreads. You may be asking, “Aka, why is this important?”

Well, I’ll tell you. Some writers on Wattpad, mostly the popular ones, have been getting Goodreads reviews on their books. The issue here is, the stories they posted are first drafts, not finalized products. When we think of Goodreads, we think of a place to review published and finalized self-published books, not first drafts online.

Since the stories posted to Wattpad are free, we’re wondering if it’s right that readers are leaving detailed reviews on unedited work. The “where should we draw the line?” question comes from the fact these stories are free. It is right that readers are posting detailed reviews and rating on books that are still in progress? Giving feedback on Wattpad is fine, but should that also apply to Goodreads? To explain further, I mean that some writers may not want early draft reviews posted to Goodreads, as they still have time to edit and fix their work. Not only that, but the reviews may hinder the writer from posting their work in the future.

Also, Goodreads has confirmed they won’t remove detailed reviews for first draft Wattpad books, as they are self-published to Wattpad. So, even if you, as the writer, request these reviews to be removed, they won’t do. In short, “completed Wattpad books are considered self-published. The same also applies to other websites like Fictionpress.”

However, posting work online as become even more complex with Wattpad’s ads revenue program and websites like Radish. With the revenue program, readers click on ads in Wattpad’s popular stories, thus providing money for the writer. And with Radish, readers are actually PAYING for the story (for those who follow me, I covered this in another post.) On Wattpad, even if the readers aren’t spending their own money, they are providing money to the writers by watching the ads.

My writer friend feels that if a reader paid for the story through Radish (or other sites like Tapas and Kindle, of course, they have a right to post the review on Goodreads.)

For myself, I have mixed feelings about this. It’s a known thing in the internet world that if you post your work online, you’re opening yourself up to this – getting bad reviews, people stealing your work, and losing first publishing rights.

Also, since this mostly happens to popular writers online, it’s to be expected. Honestly, you can’t get 1M+ reads and think you’ll get away unscathed. Some think the number of reads shouldn’t matter, but what do you think?

I do know this has happened to lesser known writers online, too, but not as much. In the end, it’s a moral argument. I’ll be honest about my feelings, though, when you post your work online, anything can happen. Some Wattpad writers and other writers on different websites feel readers are entitled, and I do agree with this.

We can’t stop readers from posting reviews on our stories, free, first drafts, or not, but what do you all feel about this?

The important discussion for today: Do you think first drafts posted online should receive reviews on Goodreads? Where do we draw the line with Goodreads reviews? Do you feel these reviews will hurt the writer’s future with trying to publish later?

(If you have an opinion, please post it. We want to know what other writers think about this. And as a warning, please be careful when you post your work online. We both didn’t know about the Goodreads thing. For this reason, I’m very glad I no longer post my long stories on Wattpad.)

Blog Tip Series: More than One Account

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Hi! How are you doing today?

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As I mentioned in my other post, I’ve been MIA because I was working on contest entries and submissions for Writing.com. Also, last week was insanely busy! Needless to say, I’m glad it’s over.

And, I just realized this blog is going to be a year old next month. Honestly, I can’t believe so much has changed in a year. It was around this time last year that I wanted to leave Wattpad behind for good, but I didn’t know what to do. Luckily, someone told me about WordPress and advised I create a website here. Ya know, sometimes I do miss the old writing site I was on because it was easier to meet other writers (sad, I know), but overall, I still prefer WordPress. It’s nice to write the stories I want without dealing with annoying rules and popularity contests.

Anyway, today’s post isn’t about my blog anniversary, it’s about more blogging tips!

Today’s blogging tip may be a strange one, but it’s something I feel is important. To summarize the tip, it’s “Have more than one Account.” To explain further, I feel many writers have their main base for all their work. Now, that may work for some writers, but I feel it’s important to expand your platform online. For example, if you stick to one website, then you are missing out on other followers and readers.

Let’s say you only have your WordPress blog – that’s all you use. You get a few followers and some readers, but it’s only other users on WordPress, which limits you. If you want to capture potential readers outside of WordPress, then YOU, as the writer or blogger, need to do the work. Remember, we want people to read our content, so we have to search for them. Yes, I know it sucks, and it adds more work, but that’s part of an Author Platform.

We can’t stay in one place and think people will come to us because it doesn’t work like that. If you compare “real life” to the “online world,” then writers in real life essentially do the same thing. They go to writer’s conferences, library events and even ask local bookstores to stock their stories. Hell, I know one writer got popular on Wattpad because they were PMing other users (just readers), to check out their stories.

So, throughout those different avenues, they are finding readers for their work. And when they do that, best believe they are mentioning their website and any blogs they have. So if you do decide to expand outside of WordPress, mention your blog. That way, you’ll bring more readers to you. On my many different websites, I will tell readers about my blog. In the future, I plan to use Instagram to expand myself, and hopefully, grow my blog. Personally, I’ve tried to use Twitter, but I don’t like Twitting every day. Also, I’ve noticed some writers on Twitter are so desperate for readers, they’ll follow a bunch of people and then unfollow them. That’s actually a pet peeve of mine.

However, don’t let my experiences discourage you. If you want to find more readers for your blog, then step outside, and find new places to expand your content. ^__^ After all, finding more readers is like this:

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(taken from https://giphy.com)

What websites do you use to find readers, and have you enjoyed the experiences there?

Measuring Accomplishments

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Recently, I’ve been dealing with my self-doubt again. You know, the classic, “I’m a horrible writer,” “I haven’t accomplished anything,” and “I should give up writing and save myself the pain.”

However, today, when I logged into Facebook (which is rare for me), I saw a post my friend wrote. In her post, she mentioned never giving up. She also said if you want to change your life, you have to go out and make that change.

For the past few years, I’ve been trying to change my writing life. Today’s post is more of a personal piece, but I’m posting it in hopes that others will be inspired.

In my writing journey, I’ve been on various writing websites, and I’ve met different writers. For a long time, and even still slightly today, I don’t feel like an accomplished writer. Compared to most writers online, I don’t have millions of people reading my work, I don’t make any money from my stories, and I don’t have any complete stories to publish, yet.

Like most writers, when I first started writing, I was hoping readers would like my work, and I would gain a decent following. Well, that didn’t happen, at all…or so, I thought.

Earlier today, I checked my stats from last year and wrote down a list of everything I’ve accomplished. And well, to my surprise, my own numbers blew me away.

Below is my blog stats for last year…

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Clash of Tides had over 4,000 page views, and the Clash of Tides chapters had over 300 views. In a way, I had a part of what I wanted, but I was blinded by what was in front of me. You are probably wondering why this is important, and I’m going to tell you.

When you measure your accomplishments, look at WHERE YOU CAME FROM, AND WHERE YOU ARE NOW. The key here is don’t compare where others are, but just look at yourself. I know most writers know not to compare themselves, but I always do. Compared to when I first started, I’ve accomplished more than I thought I did. So from now, I’m going to make a list every month of what I’ve done. If you feel your writing isn’t getting anywhere, make a list of your accomplishments. Look at your list and let it fuel you to keep moving. After all, if a car doesn’t drive, then it will never reach its destination.

Here is my writing list of accomplishments. For this list, I’m going to include everything so far that I feel is important to me. These accomplishments have been throughout my writing journey online.

Wattpad:
– My old fanfictions reached over 1M reads on Wattpad.
– I won an award on Wattpad for one of my fanfictions.
– Clash of Tides was a finalist in an Under The Sea writing contest.
– Clash of Tides was added to the Wattpad Fantasy profile of high ranking stories.
– Clash of Tides was added to the Tales of the Deep Wattpad profile.
– Love for an Angel was added to the New Adult Reads profile.
– Love for an Angel was added to the Paranormal Wattpad profile.

WordPress:
– In less than a year, my WordPress blog reached over 1, 200 followers.
– My posts got reblogged on various writing advice sites.

Writing.com:
– Won one writing contest.
– Honorable mention in another contest.

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– I submitted my first submission for publication on the website.

When I look at this list, I don’t see someone who was ever a failure, I see a writer who was blinded by everything they accomplished. So to my readers and followers, thank you so much for supporting me. 

If you don’t mind, can you tell me what you have accomplished with your writing? I would love to read everyone’s list.

Are Serialized Stories the Next Big Thing?

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Hey, everyone! Today’s post is long, but I hope you’ll still enjoy it!

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First, I want to start off and say I haven’t been in the writing world that long. If you have been writing for 10+ years, then you’ll know more than me. However, I am noticing a trend towards posting serial stories online, and there are companies trying to capture this market.Which by the way, it’s very popular in some Asian countries.

You may be wondering what I’m talking about. Well, if you didn’t know, there are a few new websites offering to pay writers for their work. As in, if you post your serial story online, you can earn some money. Now, whenever you tell someone they’ll earn money doing what they enjoy, people jump on the opportunity. So, let me explain how this all works. Two websites, Radish and Tapas, will pay writers for posting their chapters (fyi, they are both startups) From what I’ve seen, writers online feel it’s an honor to post on these sites because you have to be “invited.”

Sorry guys, but here is my feeling on that:

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Why do I feel this way? Well, it’s simple, these websites are only inviting writers that already have huge followings online. Ok, so I know you are thinking, “But Aka, that makes sense.”

And yes, I agree with you. However, it’s clear these websites are exploiting other people’s hard work to make themselves known. Not only the writers, but also the readers, too. Most of the writers getting “invited” already offer their work for free. I get that readers will want to support the writers, but let’s be real for a second. For every 20 readers you have, only about, maybe 3 will probably pay for content. The same could be said of receiving comments. When I posted on Wattpad, my chapters would get 500-1000 reads. Guess how many people commented, like 10. Frankly, that’s one issue I have with this model. My next issue is how the “paying writers” works.

For example, you post your story, and if readers want access to your newest chapter early, they can pay a small fee (between 1 cent to 99 cents) or they can wait 5-7 days for the chapter to be released for free. Of course, a percentage of that goes to the writer. It sounds good, right? But in today’s world, most of the people who read online are teens and young adults. Well, most teens don’t have money, and if they do, they don’t have a lot of it. I’ve actually heard writers who use these websites say that don’t make much money. Generally, it’s pocket change.

Another factor is if you have to wait for chapters to be released for free, you can just read something else. In the internet age, you can binge watch and binge read thousands of different shows and books. And if a teen or young adult lives at home, it’s more likely they have access to Netflix, Hulu, Kindle Unlimited, etc. So, they have many avenues of entertainment while waiting for FREE chapters.

To illustrate my point, think of the game, Candy Crush. When it first came out, it was huge! And yeah, some people spent money on the game, but it also reached a wider audience. If I recall, it was a unique game idea at the time. In fact, I remember people would ask others if they spent money on extra moves. If the person said yes, the instant response was, “Why would you spend money on that?” Sadly, the same thinking can be said of stories online, especially since most work online for free is first drafts and unedited.

As writers, we are dealing with other entertainment mediums where people can easily binge read while waiting for our content. More importantly, you can get published books off Amazon for .99 cent to $2.99, plus no waiting for the next chapters. Or you can go to your local library, which I’m sure most teens and young adults still in school do.Not to mention you can also read manga and comics online, too. Last time I checked, the anime industry was suffering because so much anime can be found online for free now.

Oh, and I did check out Radish for myself. Of course, since writers need to be “invited,” I was thinking there would be quality stories on Radish, right? I was wrong…so wrong. I saw a book of BDSM one shots that caught my eye and thought meh, this should be an interesting read. And well, the words “one shot” should have given away who was the writer of these stories. Needless to say, the first story I read was about a 16 (or 17 years old, I can’t remember for sure) year old that was in high school and her boyfriend, who she called, “Daddy,” dominated her life. Yes, you read that right, my fellow writers, it was a high schooler and her relationship with “Daddy.” I don’t want to get into the subject of BDSM high school stories, but you catch my drift. And yes, this was a “trending” story on Radish.

My thoughts were:

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(Yes, it was scarier than the trolls in Nilbog)

Don’t get me wrong, anyway a writer can make money is good, but I wouldn’t use these sites as your saving grace. From what I’ve noticed, it’s best to still pursue publication through Amazon or a traditional publisher. Yeah, use the little money making sites on the side, but don’t hold out for a huge payout. At the end of the day, if you want to be seen, you have to reach the big boys and make a name for yourself.

So, I’ll let you decide what avenue you feel is best for your writing, but be cautious of serialized websites promising to offer you money for your work. Please, if you have experience with either Radish or Tapas, please leave a comment because I would love to read a different perspective.

Question of the day: As a writer, would you be willing to try a model like Radish or Tapas, or would you rather do self-publishing or traditional publishing?

How to Measure a Writing Community

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How is everyone doing? Sorry, I’ve been off the WordPress grind for a while, but I’ve been working on my submissions.

Basically, this has been me:

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Oh! I also won a writing contest on Writing.com, and I got an honorable mention in another contest :3 I’m super happy about it, and I didn’t expect to win. Everyone there has been supportive and it actual inspired today’s blog post.

Today, I want to discuss how to measure a writing community.

When I say measure a writing community, I mean how to measure if it’s good, or if it’s bad. Now since I’ve found a good community, these are things I will look for in the future:

  1. Does the community inspire you to be better? – To emphasize my point here, I’m going to take an example from my own experiences. On Wattpad, I was never inspired to be better or to improve my writing. This was because so many poorly written stories were popular. Not only were the poorly written stories popular, the website was also giving them awards based on their reads and votes. Sadly, that didn’t inspire me to improve. It inspired me to write a cliché story and not worry about grammar and spelling. Needless to say, that didn’t work for me. On Writing.com, thanks to the reviews I get, I am inspired to improve my craft and master the written word.
  1. Are you able to find others that support you? – To be fair, I feel like you can find supportive people in any community, but those friendships shouldn’t turn into a competition. In the writing community, it’s easy to turn against one another or get discouraged by another’s success, especially someone who’s a friend. Thanks to my past experiences, I know what to look for in a writing buddy. All I can say is be cautious and watch people’s motivations. Have fun in your writing community, and try to find others who genuinely appreciate you.
  1. Are you progressing? – If you follow my blog, then you know progression is an important goal to me. In your writing Community, you want to measure your improvement. You can ask yourself the following questions:
  • Are you gaining more followers and readers?
  • Are you uploading new content faster? (motivated for your readers)
  • Are you winning any writing contest?
  • Are you inspired to be involved in the community?
  • Are you making genuine writer friends?

If you answer no to any of those questions, then ask why? You may find the community you are using isn’t right for you. If it isn’t, remember, that’s ok! There is nothing wrong with feeling like a certain website isn’t the place for you.

I can say from my own experiences that leaving behind some writing websites worked out best for me. When I originally started writing fanfiction on Wattpad, that community worked for me. However, now since I’m older and working on original stories, Writing.com has proven to be a better environment. On Writing.com, I won 1st place in one writing contest and got an honorable mention in another. So, you see, leaving behind one community for another isn’t a bad thing ^__^

I hope this post will help new writers and experienced writers find a community that works for them. There are many websites out there, so don’t limit yourself to a place where you are not happy.

What writing community do you use, and are you progressing there?

 

Blog Tip Series: Responding to Comments

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Hey, everyone! Did anyone watch the game yesterday? I’m not a big Superbowl person, but the ending was so wild! It reminded me to never give up :3

Anyway, back on topic! Over the weekend, I reached a milestone on this blog I never expected. Thanks to all of you wonderful readers, I have 1,133 followers. That may not seem like much, but it’s huge to me! This blog is my first online accomplishment, so, I want to give back by sharing more blogging tips. =)

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Now since I’ve reached all my blogging goals, I want to focus on my writing goals. Don’t worry, I won’t be giving up my blog =)

Today, I want to talk about responding to comments. If you follow my blog, you know I mentioned this in the past, but I want to have a deeper discussion about responses.

When you think of your blog, what words come to mind? For me, I think of the word “Social.” After all, having a blog is part of social media. That tells me I need to converse on my blog. Now, I’m sure you are wondering why that is important. Well, it’s simple, really.

If you want to gain more followers for your blog, then interact with your readers. And when I say “interact,” I don’t mean responding to comments with “Thanks for reading.” I’m saying have an actual conversation with your readers. I won’t lie to you, it’s a big pet peeve of mine to see bloggers respond to long comments with “Thanks for reading.” If a reader takes the time to write a long, thoughtful comment on your post, then have the same decency. Showing you care about your readers goes a long way.

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Here are some tips on how I respond to readers:

  • Respond to every comment on your post. It may take a while, but it will show to your old and new readers you care.
  • Actually read the comment and respond accordingly. Don’t respond with a simple “Thanks for reading.”
  • Make time to respond. Finding time can be hard, so maybe take an hour every other day just for comments. (This is the technique I use)
  • Engage in conversation. Have a discussion in your comment section. If the reader responds to you, keep the conversation going (for as long as you can).
  • Visit the reader’s blog! Visit your readers’ blogs and comment on their posts.

Honestly, I have unfollowed bloggers who didn’t respond to their comments. I know it’s hard sometimes, but engagement is important. My blog wouldn’t have grown without it. So next time you get a comment, respond to the reader. I’m sure they’ll appreciate it :3

P.S. After jumping around to different writing websites, I feel the WordPress community is the best one to engage with.  And also, Clash of Tides will be finished by the end of February!! Super excited!

How do you handle comments on your blog?