Linked: The Problems of Going Indie

Ergofiction’s Jan Oda has written a brilliant piece on being independent:

If you browse around webfiction stories you’ll see the same tricks and ideas almost everywhere. Donation buttons, incentives ranging from becoming a fan on Facebook to tweeting about the story and so on. If you’ve been around the block a while, like I have, that becomes repetitive. And it stops working.

That bit jumped out at me, and I think Jan’s right. MeiLin (of An Intimate History of the Greater Kingdom) chimes in at the comments – saying that it’s something she’s experienced as well.

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  • Letitia

    If the same old audience has seen the same old tricks ad nauseam, is it finally time to consider reaching out to an audience from outside? AFP even goes on the telly.

  • Eli James

    That’s what I’ve been saying for sometime now.

    If you do have any new ideas I’d love to hear about them. =/

  • Letitia

    Ok then, I’ll leave you to it.
    That link only discusses websites that are sources of readers and describes two pools of readers online. The responses and additional links only refer to online ads and online communities and ideas for expanding online.
    I actually said and meant outside. Readers who do not know webfiction exists and haven’t heard of MU or webcomics. There really is a community who reads and does not know anything about this.
    You might not find access to them on yet another website.

  • Eli James

    I’m tempted to say that I have some idea of how to do that – reach out to audiences outside the community – but the truth is that most of my ideas are unfounded. And so right now what I’m trying to do is to try them out in a controlled fashion first, before talking about them on Novelr.

    It’s very indirect, and slow, though. And I’m not even sure of the effectiveness. And so when I said I’d love to hear some suggestions – I really mean it: the hows still puzzle me.

  • Jan Oda

    Ahh, I didn’t see the comments here until now. Slow as always! :)
    One thing I learned is that just talking with people does a lot. Like when I was preparing my WFG relaunch surprise in february (which is still being worked on, since the WFG is being worked on :p ). I was walking around the streets with a WebFiction banner, and people asked what it was all about and were genuinly interested. Don’t think any of them actually visited some (the most interested people didn’t have a computer lol) but that has more to do with the fact that they all spoke dutch, and weren’t really good in English. Often they were disappointed that there wasn’t any around in Dutch.

    Sooo, why not walk around with a banner in English speaking towns? Why not visit cons and talk with people? Why not leave cards in libraries (I did this once — illegally — in mine, and Chris reported a surge in Belgian visitors then.

    I think we have might better luck with converting fiction readers to digital readers, than converting digital readers to digital fiction readers.