Most short story authors write stories because they want their stories to be read. And they want their stories to be read by the masses. It’s a fair expectation from an author that her work is read by thousands and millions. Many authors write us to know how to increase the reads of their stories. Well, the first most answer I can think of is literary superiority of the story. Nonetheless this alone is not sufficient because of the two obvious reasons – firstly, literary superiority is a subjective measure, varies from one set of readers to another, and secondly, the readers should know that there is something superior available to read. Our article How to Write Short Stories explains the key elements of a short story and few tips to hone your short story writing skill. Additionally, following “easily-doable” tips will help our authors to increase their online reader base. These tips assume that an online reader, who is casually surfing internet, has very short span of time to decide which story to read.
Write Catchy Excerpt
Online readers have almost no time for an unknown, unsolicited content. No matter how good a short story is, if it doesn’t catch, in split-second, attention and interest of a reader, who is looking for some random content in her leisure, it will not be read, at least by that reader. Therefore, a catchy and interesting excerpt is a must for the short stories published online. Our statistics shows that almost all the stories submitted for our review miss the excerpt from the author. Although our editing staffs add the excerpt, typically they just pick a line or two from the content that may not appeal to the intended readers. As the author of your story, you are the best person to decide for which type of readers you have written the story and what their interests are. A good excerpt is 140-150 characters in length that’s typically shown as preview on our website and also by search engines. Ensure that the excerpt contains the key words and key phrases of your story.
Example of a good excerpt:
Psychological thriller short story of an insomniac and schizophrenic whose life changed since he met a beautiful girl during his mother’s funeral. Next came series of surprises.
(Excerpt of Dream Girl – Psychological Thriller Short Story)
Choose an Interesting Title
Although title may not have much to do to increase your reader base, in online publishing it does matter especially if you as a short story author aren’t known to your readers. Here I suggest no specific rule because for some set of readers cliché such as A sweet Love Story or Love at First Sight works and for other more interesting and never heard titles such as Tender Whispers or The Missing Petals. Interestingly number of online readers is large for the cliché, probably because hardly anyone searches a story with never-heard titles. You may consider combining both, for example OH MY GOD! ANOTHER LOVE STORY! In any case ensure that your story title is not too short or not too big. I shall recommend a title of around 40-50 characters in length that contains common reader’s interest along with a surprising element.
NOTE:Avoid spelling mistakes and special characters
Show Yourself, the Real Author, to Your Readers
Our statistics shows that online readers tend to follow those authors with whom they can relate to. We recently modified our site design to show Gravatar or profile picture of our authors in various archive and story pages as shown in the image below. Therefore update your profile picture by your real, latest and attractive picture. Read how to update your profile picture.
Let Your Readers Know about Yourself
Once you catch the eyes of your readers, tell them more about you, your hobbies, your literary achievements and your journey as an author. This may let your readers follow you. If they follow you they come back for your next work or read earlier ones. You might have noticed that on the author archive page at the top and on your story page towards the bottom, we showcase about you as shown below. You can modify your description in Biographical Info text field available at your User Profile page.
Use YSC Writer’s Community
Review other budding writers’ stories and post your review as comment on their story pages and then you can request them to do the same for your story. More often than not, they do, and so too their readers do, following their favourite authors. Also participate in and start discussion topics suggesting or seeking tips for the story writing using the references/snippets from your stories.
Spread Your Work to the Masses
Don’t limit showcasing yourself to YSC. Create your author website. I know that it doesn’t come cheap and as an alternative you may start your author page by posting your real story under Your Story category with your pictures and other details. (Please note that to publish your pictures in your post you may have to send the pictures by email mentioning your post that you submitted for the review).
To publicize our short story authors we post link of all the stories on our social network (Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Tumblr, Stumbleupon, Path username: ysc, Linkedin and many more). Connect with us on our social network and share these posts on your own social network asking your friends and followers to review and comment on your stories. We also added feature to easily share stories directly on your own networks. You might have noticed many sharing buttons at the end of your stories as shown in the figure below. Use these buttons to share your stories.
NOTE: Whatsapp share button appears when you view your story in your mobile phone’s browser.
To further enlarge your online reader base, share links of your stories and your author page on internet with other writer’s communities which you have to search yourself.
Hope this article helps you in increasing your online reader base and thus establishing you as a famous short story author. Do write your comment about this article and share your experience to the success. Best wishes!