Something here sucks.

So I’ve written 17,649 words of fiction and published them as a serial novel online. It’s about half way through.  Some people like it and I think it’s pretty good but not enough people are reading it.

Which is leaving me with kind of a problem. I’ve written stuff online before but I never used to care much about who read it. In fact I often take measures to reduce the numbers of people reading it because most of what I’ve written up to now has been either for my pleasure or just to get the stuff out of my head.

So I’ve finally got round to writing in the hope that other people will read it and I don’t know what to do about that. I post something new every weekday. I try to keep the length in that sweet spot that’s long enough to satisfy without being too long to read on a screen but to be honest I have no idea what that is. I try to finish with a cliffhanger but I don’t really know how well they’re working.

So part of the problem is that I’m getting no feedback. Which is largely because no-one is reading the fucking thing. And I don’t know why that is. The few people who read it regularly, I know of 4, seem to like it quite a lot. Some of them donated money to keep me writing it when my laptop got damaged. Therefore some people like it quite a lot which is great. But if only 4 people in the entire world like my writing then I have no future as a writer.

My big question is this: Is the problem that my writing sucks or is the problem that I suck?

Is the reason that more people don’t read it that most of the people who read it once don’t come back? Or is it that most people never follow the link to the blog because no matter how many times I wave it in front of their faces they don’t care and they have no faith in any link I post?

Either way it’s not a comforting thought. Either my writing sucks or I do.

I don’t know what to do. Stopping would be really easy but at the moment it’s the only thing that gives my days any shape. I could just give up on posting the links and then I can pretend that no-one reads it because I’m not publicising it but then what’s the point at all.

Am I still a writer if no-one ever reads it?


4 Responses to “Something here sucks.”

  1. Hi. Don’t ever based your identity as a writer by the numbers of readers you have. If you want to reach more audience, do a little self-study about how to “market” your work. The fact that you’ve completed one of the series is a good start. Not a lot of writers are able to finish their books due to a lot of reasons and alibis.

  2. Seventeen thousand words is incredibly impressive – you certainly have more willpower than me.

    I can understand your plight, I really can. I’ve published things online before and had them completely, utterly ignored. I really does make you feel hollow, sometimes.

    Sorry if this comes across as patronising; it’s really not meant to. This is just basically what I’ve discovered from my time writing stuff on the Web:

    – It’s pretty much never because your work sucks. Especially if you’re putting it on a well-frequented site such as WordPress, Tumblr, FictionPress or Wattpad. Sometimes there’s simply just too much content swimming around out there, and your voice is drowned out by the millions of others.

    – Sometimes people can be dicks. Some people have a “tl;dr” attitude even though they’re writing themselves, some people regularly read and enjoy stuff but can’t be bothered to comment. I made a shocking discovery recently when I counted up stuff such as regular stats and Likes and realised that for every person who commented/Liked, about ten people were reading silently. Even if they clicked the Back button after a little while, it’s something.

    – It’s really not worth writing for feedback or large readerships online. As said, sometimes there’s just too much of it. Many – if not most – well-known authors never published their writing on the Web (even today, when it’s a viable option), and yet were published by professional houses and read widely.

    Sorry for the wall of text, and again, sorry if this comes across as patronising or pep-talky; just wanted to say that it happens to all of us, and it’s almost never as bad as you think. Don’t lose heart!

  3. Just to add: With the last bulletpoint, what I actually meant was that few readers don’t mean you’re a bad writer. I didn’t mean it wasn’t worth publishing stuff online at all.

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