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2023 E-fiction Platform Review for ML Genre Writers

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.

1) Meganovel (Goodnovel's sister)

I am contracted on Goodnovel before they had Meganovel. However, as they are by the same company, the only difference I'm seeing so far is the colour scheme from pink to blue. Any inaccurate information here is due to that.

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.

Recommended: 4/5

2) Webnovel

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.

Tags: 3/5

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.

Recommended: 4/5

3) Royal Road

Huge disclaimer: Royal Road banned me from uploading many of my works on their site because they claimed I'm a thief to my own works as they were first published elsewhere found on the internet.

User Interface: 3/5

It has way too many settings and clickable links that complicates the publishing process. Unlike Webnovel and Meganovel that have a backend for writers and reader platform, Royal Road combines everything.

Dashboard Statistics: 1/5

Stats are monetised. I'm not monetised so I'm basically only eligible to peanuts.

This is a summary of basic info fof your book.

Apart from rating and rating timeline under free stats, everything else is a premium feature. Talk about true capitalism. Honestly, Royal Road is like Twitch of the e-fiction world. If you want to create a community built upon the feeling of exclusivity in a crab bucket, this is your oyster.

Ease of Use: 1/5

The reason why we go to an e-fiction site is so that we can publish our novice works for readers. Royal Road creates a high barrier of entry for new authors. I mean, take a look at the creation stage. Clearly, they don't want more writers, just more payers.

I know consent is sexy but this is just harassment.

Reader Comment Tracking: 4/5

I like how easy it is to find the very few comments I have per book. Unlike Webnovel's overly complex system, this forum-styled comment tracker works perfectly.

Story Visibility: NA

I've pretty much given up on this site because of all their restrictions. I'm not that desperate to cling to someone who doesn't want me. That's a huge red flag and a toxic relationship I'm happy to walk away from.

Tags: 4/5

What you see is what you get.

Chapter Uploading Ease: 4/5

You can copy and paste it from anywhere but writing on the site is out of the question. This reminds me of the days when they asked you to either copy everything into HTML or upload a .docx file.

Chapter Editing Ease: NA

Chapter Deleting ease: NA

There is the option but I never tried it.

Story Creation Ease: 3/5

They need you to upload a cover you created yourself to their size specifics. You can use Canva for it but they have very strict copyright rules. Uploading a cover is not compulsory, thankfully.

Story Removal Ease: NA

Scheduling Function: NA

Aitsuji's Thoughts: Unless you're really going in hard for that money, don't do it.

Recommended: 1/5

In conclusion...

While there are many honourable mentions outside of these three platforms of my choice, I would recommend new writers try either Meganovel or Webnovel 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.

51 views2 comments


James Smith
James Smith
Oct 24, 2023

Out of the many webnovel platforms, I think you picked a good three that really represents the webnovel landscape. Meganovel, very romance focused but smaller platform.

Webnovel, the more corporate platform.

Royalroad, an older legacy platform.

Then you have all the fanfiction sites and attempts like dreame, creativenovel, AO3, Quotev. I was hoping tapas and scribblehub might be different. But both for readers and writers, there's no good digital platform.

For writing, besides word, google docs, or even notepad there's no good incentive to use the writing tools. Royalroad was good for the system panels and litrpgs, but learning the formatting was always a hassle.

Destiny Aitsuji
Destiny Aitsuji
Oct 24, 2023
Replying to

Until something changes, these are really the best options among the hundreds of platforms. Even so, it's not enough. We can only work with what they have.

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