How to get more reviews
If you share your writing online, such as the Young Writers Society, you’ve probably run into the reviews problem; that is, sometimes it can feel like you’re pushing against the tide just to get one measly review. But is there a way to boost the number of reviews you receive? Most definitely. In fact, there are a few ways: review, participate, and promote.
- Review: The more you review, the more reviews you’ll receive
- Participate: Greet new members, leave posts in forum discussions
- Promote: Include a link to your work in your forum signature
The first way to get more reviews is simply to give more reviews. If you don’t review at all, then you should probably consider yourself lucky to just get one comment! After all, why should you expect a review when you don’t review yourself?
Beyond being just good manners, though, reviewing helps to get your name out there. When given the choice of dozens of different works to review, most people will choose something written by someone they recognize. So the more you review, the more people will recognize you. Plus, when you review someone’s work, they are more inclined to review your work.
Most writing sites have a forum area. Don’t shy away from participating there! Greet new members, participate in threads, and create your own discussions. Again, the idea is to simply get your name out there. Moreover, participating in the forums area increases your chances of befriending other members of the site. When you do that, your chances of getting a lot of reviews dramatically shoot up.
Don’t shy away from promoting yourself either. The trick here, though, is to promote yourself while not coming across as annoying or breaking the rules of the site. After all, most writing sites do not allow you to bother other people with asking for reviews.
The first thing you should do is edit your signature on the site to include a link to your latest work. This way when you participate in the forums, every post you make will automatically include your work without coming off as annoying.
Secondly, if the site allows you to post status updates (as the Young Writers Society does), write a status update with a link to your work. This way, anytime someone visits your profile, they’ll immediately see which work you’re seeking reviews for.
Taken together, reviewing, participating, and promoting will increase your chances of getting a lot of reviews. But, there are other things you can do as well.
If the work you’re posting is less than 4,000 words, don’t split it up. I see a lot of people cutting short stories up into different parts, and posting chapters that are only a few hundred words long. Don’t do this. While it increases the number of reviews for the first part that you post, it dramatically decreases the number of reviews for every part thereafter. However, if you must split the work up, include links to the previous parts.
Also, choose a good title and write a compelling summary. Don’t go with “Untitled” or “…” for a summary. If you’re a well-known member of the site, you might be able to get away with it. If you’re a new member or relatively unknown, why would anyone read something titled, “I couldn’t think of a title”? One trick I’ve used is to just take some words out of the first sentence when I can’t think of a title, and then leave an author’s note asking readers if they can help me with a better title.
Yet, while reviewing, participating, promoting, writing a good title, and being careful about posting your work in parts will increase your chances of getting a lot of reviews, it’s still not a guarantee. But, this differs a lot site by site. On the Young Writers Society, you are guaranteed to get at least two reviews. On other sites such as Wattpad or Figment, there are a few authors who are able to get dozens or even hundreds of comments, but the majority get zero. So my last piece of advice is to share your work on sites where everyone helps everybody.