Episode Analysis

Episode Writers: How to Get Story Reads

On Episode, promoting your story is a lot harder than it seems. Episode doesn’t do much to help their less known authors, so it’s down to us to make sure that we spread the word. That’s fine! At least it means we’re all in the same boat. But then how do some authors get so big while some amazing stories get lost in the shadows?

There are thousands of stories on Episode and it’s your job to stand out among the crowd. Woah. Crazy, right? No wonder there are so many amazing stories that never get the reads they should! How is one person supposed to stand out in a crowd of thousands when they have no help at all? Well, I’m here to tell you that it is possible. It will take you some work, but if you’re passionate about seeing the results, you can do it.

While I can’t promise you that I will make you popular, I can say that these are the best strategies for getting there. It’s all down to you and your story if they work. Stick around and I’ll introduce you to the Episode beast and show you how you can slay it for good.

Have an Interesting Story

I can’t stress this enough. Having a good story is the start of story promotion. What’s the point in spending all your time plugging a story that no one wants to read? You might say “well, I’ve seen loads of awful stories on the app with over a million reads,” and you’d be right! So many of the biggest successes on the app are poorly written. They have plots that have been used 5000 times before and their characters aren’t even well-written. Even Episode’s featured stories are guilty of this! So if they can do it, why can’t you?

Well, while the quality of their work is questionable (to say the least), they do have something that you can learn from: they know what sells. There’s a reason these authors are doing so well. They’re making what they know the teens on the app are going to want to read. If you promote a story you know people will read, of course you’re going to do well! It’s simple! But you don’t have to sell out to get results like that.

Every good story should have something that makes it worth reading. What is it in yours? Do you spice up boring cliches? Is your cast diverse? Is your MC a badass monster hunter? As long as you have something that sets your story apart from all the other stuff the reader could be choosing, you’re going to get reads. Don’t worry about the few people who aren’t going to like the idea. For every one of them, there are twenty people who will say “well that sounds different” and are willing to give your story a try.

New to Episode writing? Check out my post for more info!

Get on Instagram

Episode is a visual app. It’s not like Kindle or Wattpad because you can do so much more than just put words and photos on a screen. I like to think of it as a middle ground between a game and a book (two of my favourite things in the world) because you take a story and turn it into something people can play. There’s moving characters, music and so, so many choices. This means you need to find a way to promote it that shows how visual the app is.

Insta is the best fit for this! You can post pictures and videos of your story and easily find other Episode readers who might be interested in what you’ve written. The hashtags are great and the format is really easy to use. Plus, there is already a big Episode scene on the app that you can take part in. You’d be missing out if you didn’t join!

So set up an account just for your Episode work. As a reader, there’s nothing worse than seeing 400 stories full of stuff that has nothing to do with Episode. They don’t know you. You don’t know them, either! Do you really want random strangers knowing all about your life? I don’t! So it’s best to start an Insta just for your work to keep you on the right path. If you have any special bonds with your readers, you can always tell them about your other Insta later!

Get on the Forums

The forums are another great place for Episode writers. You’ll find lots of people like you who are in the exact same boat and show that you care about the community. That’s what a lot of readers are looking for! Lots of readers want to support writers they know they like. Join in with what people are saying and show how cool you really are. Be careful, though! It is very tempting to only go on the forums to promote your story, but this won’t help. Do not lurk on the Share Your Story section. You need to build up some relationships with the other users! Could you imagine if all users were promotion lurkers? There would be no forums!

Make some friends on there and chances are they’ll want to read your story. Help people with their own writing problems. If your advice is good, other users might want to know what you wrote. There are always people who are looking for something new to read, so keep your eyes open for the story requests. Only reply if it fits what they’re asking for, though. There’s nothing worse than someone who promotes themselves all the time and in the wrong places.

Post Screenshots of Other Stories

This works really well because it shows support for other readers and keeps your Insta new and fresh. If people know they can turn to you to find good stories, they’re going to trust you when you tell them to read yours. A shout out to other readers is a really good way to share your readers. The chances are that you’re not going to have all the same followers, so you can help them and they can help you.

How does this work? When you’re reading Episode stories, take snaps of the good lines and scenes. Then, add those to your Insta story with a caption of your own and @ the writer. Try not to spoil any of the big plot points. If you can, hint at the best parts of the story to keep readers intrigued. You have to strike the balance right because if you tell or show them too much, they won’t need to read the story.

Then, the author might reply to you in their story, showing you off to their readers. Plus, people will make sure to check out your Insta so they know if you post anything new. If you’re funny, show that in these promotions! This is a genuine, fun way to help one another. Just make sure that you actually like the story and you’re not just doing it to get reads.

Keep Active!

It’s all well and good having an Insta account, but no one’s going to care if you don’t stay active! You need to keep up that bond with your new readers to let them know you aren’t going anywhere. Why? Well, many writers just drop off the radar. They stop writing and don’t touch their Insta again. There’s often a good reason for this, but the readers don’t see it! All they see is yet another writer who didn’t bother to say they were gone. And you might not have even left! They just know to expect that.

So keep your readers in the loop if you can. Are you out of the country? Let them know! Maybe show them on your story. Are you taking a break for the holidays? They wanna know that. A new chapter coming out soon? Give them a sneak peek or a silly blooper. Hold Q&A sessions as much as you can. Post frequently. Readers like that!

What Makes You Unique?

No two authors are the same. You are unique! Use that to your advantage! If you live somewhere that isn’t the US, show that in your stories and in your social media. Let people know what life is like for you as someone from London or Mumbai or Cairo. This can be one of the Unique Selling Points of your story. Most writers set their work in the US, so why not change that up? If you’re from the US, focus on what makes you, you.

This can include:

  • Location
  • Age
  • Sexuality
  • Gender
  • Languages you Speak
  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • Special Talents
  • Hobbies

There are going to be people who relate to you better and there are going to be people who want to know more about people like you. Show your individuality in your story and on social media for the best results.

Ask for Reviews

There are many Insta accounts that offer reviews for free. It’s a great way to get your name out there, especially if you reach out to a popular reviewer. They’ll help you to make your story better and they post it to their account so their followers can see, too. That way, you can iron out any of the issues in your story and get the chance to draw in readers who might like the sound of your writing.

This might time some time, though, as there are going to be loads of people who want reviews from the same profile. Keep patient and don’ pester them too much! But don’t feel afraid to call out some reviewers, either. Drama isn’t the best thing in the world, but if there is anything shady going on (like copy and pasted reviews), you’re going to get a lot of good karma for warning other writers not to waste their time. This gives you lots of trust points and shows other users that you care about them.

Update Regularly

Now onto what you can do with your story. If you want the reads, you need to make sure that you add chapters as often as you can. You’ll keep readers interested and build trust with people who might want to read. There are many readers on both Episode and Wattpad who only read stories that are complete. Why? Well, then they can be sure that they won’t start to love and care about a story that will never be finished. However, if you update really often, they’re going to trust you to finish your story more and they might just read it anyway.

Plus, it keeps your rank up. When you put a new chapter up, your reads spike. This can last a few hours, a few days or even a few weeks. In that time, your rank is going to get better on the app, so more people will be able to see your story. If you update again when this spike is still happening, your rank will stay good for longer and you’ll most likely push it even more.

My advice to do that well is to have at least two chapters done and ready to publish at all times. Then, when you upload a new chapter, you can wait until your reads start to slow down again. As soon as you see that happen, publish the next chapter and it should boost your reads back up.

If you’re really savvy, you can have a writing schedule that you can send to readers if they want to know when you’re going to update. Then, making sure to have lots of finished chapters is even more important! You’ll need them to make sure you don’t fall behind if something happens.

Choose a Good Time

This takes some trial and error. For your first few chapters, post them all at different points in the week and different times. Take note of how many reads you get in the first 24 hours after you update and see what time works best for you. Then, once you have that info down, you can publish at that perfect time to make sure that you’re getting the most from your reads. It’s all about knowing how to use the Episode ranking system and algorithm.

If you’re looking for a place to start, try updating on a Thursday a few hours after the art update. This works well for me because I know for sure that fans are going to be on Episode or Insta talking about the new art. Plus, it’s close enough to the weekend that people will save my story for later, but it won’t get drowned by all of the Friday night and Saturday morning updates. But now that I’ve told you all that, it might change and there might be 400 updates on a Thursday, so it is best to figure it out for yourself.

Make Backgrounds

If you’re good at art or Photoshop, it’s time to make your own stuff for Episode. People are always looking for backgrounds and overlays that they can add to their story, so having your own “shop” full of stuff is a good way to get followers and shoutouts. Set up a Google Drive folder and fill it with new art that you own. If you want a place to start, download the Episode art or some royalty-free pics and edit them. Give people links to your Drive folder and ask them to plug your story or profile if they want to use your art.

Not only will you get free ads for your story, but you’ll also find that people follow you to find out when you update the Drive and to keep track of your art. That’s perfect because it’s a lot easier to get people to read your story if they’re already following you!

Perfect Your First Chapter

Readers don’t need to use passes to read your first chapter, so it is a great way to draw people in. Personally, when I’m looking for a new story on Episode, I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt for that first chapter. If I don’t like it after that, I’m not going to spend a pass on it. Author’s notes that say “the first chapter sucks, but it gets better” are the worst. I will quit reading straight away! Why would I want to spend my time on a chapter the author says sucks? No thank you!

There are a lot of readers like me, so it is crucial that you give them a good first chapter to hold onto. This means good grammar, a gripping plot and an MC with a personality. In addition, try throwing all of your best directing skills at that first chapter if you can and if it works. If you’re not going to do that for the first chapter, no one will have any hope for the rest of the story. I know it is tempting to push your story out as soon as possible. I did and my views suffered for it! So learn from me and don’t make the same mistakes I did!

Have a Good Story Name and Cover

Just like the first chapter, the story name and the cover are the first things that readers are going to see of your story. If they don’t like, they won’t click. Please do yourself a favour and actually have a cover on your story. You’re not going to attract anyone with the generic genre covers that you get. Yes, it takes time to get your art approved, but it is worth the wait to catch someone’s eye as they’re scrolling through the app.

If you are looking for a cover, our resident artist, Chaotic Deluge does take commissions.

Art by Chaotic Deluge

Titles are even more important. There are loads of covers that look exactly the same and the stories do well. So it seems as though you at least need to have a cover. Try looking at the others on the app if you need something to inspire you. They clearly work!

Titles, on the other hand, are all different. Yes, you’ll get some that sound the same, but most are unique. Some are good, some are bad. A good title is going to get you the reads and make your story memorable. If someone speaks about The Queen of Freaks, you’re probably going to remember it, even if you never read it and you don’t know who ShanniiWrites is. You might have seen it at some point! You need to find a title that does the same: it needs to stand out from the others and make a stand on its own.

Be Patient

Getting reads is going to take time. If you get angry and stop, it’s never going to happen! When it comes to promoting your stories, you only really lose when you quit. Yes, for some people it takes a few stories to get noticed, but they do get there if they keep it up. Then you have lots of content for your loyal fans to read through!

The biggest piece of advice I can give you is not to quit. Don’t let all of that time you spent writing and promoting your story go to waste. Don’t give up!

Happy writing!

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