I've taken a long break from writing e-fiction. With the rise and fall of kingdoms, I will be reviewing only what I think the top 3 sites are for e-fiction writers. These are sites that have a long-standing history and somewhat stable earning potential. If you want to read about my previous ratings, please check out this post from 2021.
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Many new e-fiction writers are confused and concerned about the difference between FL (female lead) and ML (male lead) genres. To simplify things, FL is generally geared towards romance-centric fiction, while ML is targeted at anything non-romance-centric fiction. The main character does not have to follow the gender stereotypes for these genres. A great example is writing Boys Love for FL and Non-human Protagonists for ML.
Without further ado, let's dive into what I consider the top 3 most promising e-fiction sites.
User Interface: 3.5/5
The website has upgraded the user interface once since 2021. It's a little better than previously, although it is designed to be friendlier for mobile users than PC users. For writers with multiple works, after the 6th book, the other titles will not appear because there is no scroll option for a first glance. You'd have to click on [All Stories] to search for it manually.
Dashboard Statistics: 4.5/5
Previously I wasn't contracted yet. However, with the non-exclusively contracted book I signed and the platform upgrade, I am very surprised with how many details they allow authors to view compared to Wattpad and Webnovel. The statistics include when your book has been promoted, new views, gender distribution, time that most readers read your book and more. If you're into statistical analysis for trends and know how to use this information to your marketing advantage, Goodnovel is the best e-fiction platform for you.
Ease of Use: 3/5
Before the upgrade, it was impossible to find anything. It was also impossible to get hold of any editors. However, after several editor changes, the platform upgrade and an internal management reshuffle, things are getting better. Goodnovel has provided a rather detailed and extensive guide for new writers that they could refer to, as well as the Writer Academy program in case you don't know what to do. It could take a while to get used to Goodnovel's UI, but it isn't difficult to write and upload a chapter.
Reader Comment Tracking: 1/5
Despite the platform upgrade, this is the only thing they failed to address. Neither reviews nor comments are easily found. There is no way of knowing which book or chapter a reader has left comments on from the dashboard. No push notifications for it, and the only way to know if by scrolling through and clicking into every chapter and book manually. If you care about reader interactivity, Wattpad and Webnovel are still way ahead of Goodnovel in this aspect.
Story Visibility: 1/5
Compared to 2021, there are more books on the platform now. However, there seemed to be a constant problem of having the same old authors on the platform hogging all the views and the other writers who don't have a following to remain invisible despite the platform's efforts to promote new books. To make things worse, most of Goodnovel's readers are using the app, and the company does not publish any uncontracted works on their app. If you're looking to be discovered as a non-contracted writer with a fairer advantage, Webnovel is the faster way to go about it, as it has the fastest-growing reader base from all that external advertising.
Tags: 3/5 (UP to maximum 7 tags. No creating tags.)
This hasn't changed since 2021. Some tags might be added and removed over time, but the general concept is still as rigid as before. You're still limited to the SEO options that they provided for you.
Chapter Uploading Ease: 3/5 (Bold and italics options available. Copy and pasting to the site from other sources may incur paragraph spacing errors.)
This still hasn't changed from 2021.
Chapter Editing Ease: 4/5
You can edit on the site itself without copying and pasting from your PC. Grammarly is also compatible with it in a Chrome extension. After the edit, simply save the chapter, and even if it were previously scheduled, it would not be unscheduled. The only difference here compared to Webnovel and Wattpad is how editing a published chapter would temporarily freeze your edited updates as an editor has to check the changes manually. This is to prevent trolling and mass deleting chapters or replacing irrelevant content.
Chapter Deleting ease: 4/5
Story Creation Ease: 3.5/5 (No sexual, has cigarette or tattoos or violence.)
Since the website upgrade, Goodnovel has introduced a cover maker with a set of stock images that work well according to different genres. It is free to use although there are very limited images. The images are high-quality but you can't add a title or author name on them. I would suggest creating a free Canva account to upload your own covers instead with JPG or PNG formats (600*800).
Story Removal Ease: 4/5
Removing a story is easy only if it is not contracted. For exclusive and non-exclusive contracted works, the option exists but there is an error message prompting the author to contact their editor about it. It makes sense so I'm not complaining.
Scheduling Function: 2/5
It hasn't improved AT ALL. To reach the scheduling function, you have to first hit the publish button at the bottom of the chapter. Then, you have to click on the [Later] option instead of now. After you do that, the calendar does not automatically appear. You have to click the space to the right of that pink check bubble to activate it. After which, you must select a date before the time prompt will appear. Honestly, even Wattpad who implemented the schedule function had a way better UI. It's 2023. When will you improve this, Goodnovel?
Aitsuji's Thoughts: After the change of management and upgrade, it's better. However, the community is rather dead. Think of this as the platform for third-rate Amazon writers and readers most of the time. There are a few buried gems but that's their general target market with about half of the stories there about werewolves.
User Interface: 3/5
It used to be great in 2021 with their first upgrade. However, as they started catering to the influx of readers, the UI became more cluttered and unfriendly. Previously, you could find most things that were important as an author in one side menu. Now, you need to click so many things to find what you want. They've over categorised Inkstone and now it looks like Shopee.
Dashboard Statistics: 4/5
If you scroll down from the dashboard, the list of statistics are there in mostly chart forms. They don't dive into as many details as Goodnovel but it is rather comprehensive. The main difference is the lack of transparency in stat distribution for promotion and features in Webnovel's case, unlike Goodnovel. Authors can only speculate intellectually using trend information.
Ease of Use: 4/5
Reader Comment Tracking: 5/5
Despite the painfully cluttered UI upgrade, those extra categories serve some better purpose in terms of reader comment tracking. Authors are able to view gif comments after the bug patch but more importantly, we can sort by newest to oldest comments per book and even view which chapter it was written in. You don't need to click on a hyperlink to reply as it can all be done from Inkstone.
Story Visibility: 4/5
As a security measure to counter spam book creation and piracy, Webnovel implemented a compulsory editor vetting process. It is very labour-intensive for the content editors as they have to read every new book published that crosses 4-5k words. For unvetted books, you won't be seeing many views/clicks into your book. However, once it is approved, that changes drastically. It's not unusual to see books gaining more than 100 views overnight even for new and unknown writers as the readers on webnovel are always hungry for new content. Even without the in-app push promotions, they will find you.
After the upgrade, webnovel has decided to consolidate resources and standardise tags based on commonly searched terms and general grouping. In a way, these tags were once created by the authors of the platform before the update. However, there is no way to create new tags after the implementation. Like Goodnovel, you can no longer capitalise on unique SEO using tags to make your work more visible.
Chapter Uploading Ease: 4.5/5
The interface is very clean, and their schedule function is easy to understand at first glance. If there was one concern, it would be after volume creation. Many times, even seasoned contracted authors of webnovel forget to manually change the chapters to a newly created season. I heard that you can now shift those wrongly published chapters into their right categories, but it can take a while. I'm not the most updated about this feature so please check with the webnovel editors about this part when it comes to your turn to create a new season with scheduled chapters. If we're talking about simple chapter publishing without the volume and privilege settings, Webnovel is easy to use.
Chapter Editing Ease: 3/5 (not updated since 2021)
Chapter Deleting ease: 3/5 (not updated since 2021)
Story Creation Ease: 5/5
Story Removal Ease: 3/5
I'm out of the loop for a while on this. However, they've started giving authors permission to delete selected books in their library. If my understanding is correct, they can delete non-contracted works although I've heard of talks to give contracted authors a similar right. Please check with the content editor about this.
Scheduling Function: 5/5
Aitsuji's Thoughts: Although I have not written for Webnovel for a rather long time, I still think it's a good platform that is very beginner-friendly if you don't care about the toxic community and just want to get something out there. I often tell new writers to try webnovel and mute all notifications if they only want to get visibility. Writing for this platform requires you to be mentally tough and mature. For more details, you might want to read this blog before committing to the test.
User Interface: 4/5
Wattpad is one of the steadiest platforms that existed way before Goodnovel or Webnovel, popularised by fanfiction authors who wanted a place with an easier publishing process. The site has kept its UI minimalistic as close to what it first was so that old users like me who were poached by Webnovel can still come home not feeling like a stranger. We know where to find what we need all in one place at first glance. I mean, it can't be that hard if the only options are [Write] or [Notifications].
Dashboard Statistics: 3.5/5
I found out how to view stats. It's based on per story and you need to click into them. The stats are minimal but useful enough for curious people. This is what it looks like:
Yeah, Wattpad is really selling us that minimalistic less is more agenda.
Ease of Use: 4/5
Reader Comment Tracking: 4.5/5
There's an email notification service that Wattpad auto-subscribes all writers to whenever they receive a new comment from a reader so it's hard to miss it. They also include a nice little reply button that you can click on from your mailbox in case you want to reply to your reader so it's impossible to miss them.
Story Visibility: 3/5
It's a hit or miss. However, as most authors on Wattpad don't have the best English or writing sense, the playing field for hitting a jackpot is rather even. the better your cover or SEO spams, the higher your traffic visibility. Nobody gets features unless they are paid works or an editor falls in love with what they read to feature you on the site.
I found the limit for tags you can use. However, I have not found a limit for tags you can't create. The limit is 25 tags as I found out from spamming Valorant Agent names into them for my Valorant fan fic.
Chapter Uploading Ease: 5/5
Chapter Editing Ease: 5/5
Chapter Deleting ease: 5/5
Story Creation Ease: 5/5
They've partnered with Canva and will lead you to a special auto-sized Canva cover creator that you can use for free!
Story Removal Ease: 5/5
Scheduling Function: 5/5
Imagine my surprise when I started writing on Wattpad again after all these years. I love this double confirmation that you actually have to tick each time you want to schedule a chapter. I knew that Wattpad was special because they take into consideration dumbasses like me who aren't great with dates and don't know what a schedule is but want to try fancy looking things.
Aitsuji's Thoughts: I'm just so glad to be home.
While there are many honourable mentions outside of these three platforms of my choice, I would recommend new writers try these three platforms first before exploring the other options, as they are great training wheels. You can take time to explore your preferences while publishing with these sites and take advantage of their resources for new writers.