I’ve been writing web fiction for a few years now. I’m juggling two serials: The Smell Collector and Bay City Runaway. I do my best to promote it without getting out of control with it, and I do have readers, but let’s face it, I’m not a writing a best seller.
I fantasize about The Smell Collector, in particular, becoming a huge success, but I believe that web fiction has yet to reach a critical mass. So what web fiction series is truly a huge success? [EDIT: It’s an honest question. How do you measure it? By the hundreds of readers? Thousands? Tens of thousands? A successful novel is read by hundreds of thousands or even millions] I know very few people who read web fiction, and to be honest, I don’t read it much. I do most of my reading with novels on a Kindle. So why should I expect droves of readers to be drawn to my web fiction? Perhaps it’s unrealistic.
The Smell Collector was recently featured on the front page of webfictionguide.com. Someone reviewed it very positively. This brought a little bit of traffic to my site. Several people have read through the entire series in the last couple of days, or most of it at least. This made me feel good. Like, really good. This begs the question, why do I write? Do I do it because I enjoy it or because I like the attention? I confess that I keep solid tabs on my blog statistics. It bothers me when I don’t get a lot of reads. But truly, I know in my heart that The Smell Collector is something entirely unique and that there’s an audience out there who would enjoy it if they had a little exposure to it.
Bay City Runaway, I honestly don’t even know what that is yet. I’m only four episodes into it and it’s getting very little attention. I was about to give up on it, when I ran into a friend who asked me about it. He said, “Hey, so is there a third episode to that runaway story. It really drew me in.” I had no I idea he was reading it. I haven’t even advertised it to my friends. I really didn’t want my friends to read it. Friends always assume that my writing is autobiographical. This complicates things. The lead character in Bay City Runaway is a mess. He’s a drunk and he’s entangled with and eighteen-year-old runaway. Some friends and family will read it and get the wrong idea. “Oh no! What has David gotten himself into now!”
My serials seem to be a niche genre. Both are literary. The vast majority of web fiction serials seem to be sci-fi and fantasy. People loves their aliens, zombies, and vampires. Is this a web thing or has the whole world gone vamp? I can’t figure out if that’s what people prefer to read or if that’s what web writers prefer to write. I’ve written a little fantasy. It’s fun to write. Nothing wrong with it. Just not my thing.
In the mean time, while I’m waiting for Bantam Books to call, I’ll be writing and checking stats and writing and checking stats.
Oh, and by the way, give it a read.