Updated: May 9, 2022
Held in 2020, the Webnovel Spirity Award Competition (WSA) was a huge success. Some writers found themselves earning a huge paycheque while walking away with the USD10,000 grand prize but many others found themselves signing the rights of their beloved works to the company without any positive gains from the experience. This year, Webnovel is intending to host the WSA again. Details are not out yet but as a writer who participated, here are 5 things I could share with new competitors who could learn from my misery and avoid the pitfalls.
#1: The Judging Criteria
Webnovel held the competition for a reason. They intend to look for talented individuals to offer them writing contracts. Note that this contract is an exclusive contract with Webnovel. For more information about writing contracts, you can refer to this blog Exclusive vs Non-Exclusive Writing Contracts for Web Novels for information.
Needless to say, the judging criteria is based on the formula of content and commercial value.
For content, Webnovel.com is looking for something PG or 13+ safe. They will be releasing the news about the themes of the competition. You can refer to last year's competition themes for reference. Please make sure that your work is newly created when the competition start and you've created that book for competition selection or it would not qualify for the winning tier prizes even if it does well. Books that do not suit general readers and follow the themes of the competition do not qualify. At the same time, your writing techniques will greatly affect your quality of content. Webnovel is looking at a writer with the strong ability to create a loyal reader base who will support the authors on their platform. As a writer, you should look at creating content that will keep your readers with you for as long as possible.
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Commercial value refers to the earnings of your book. Sure, Webnovel.com is known for the most luxurious writing payout schemes for their exclusive contracted writers compared to all other web novel platforms. However, if you're earning money from their writer support scheme, you can be sure that you wouldn't be making it into their list of qualifying entries. While I have no idea how much a book should be earning per month to qualify for their prizes, a good figure would be 4 digits and above.
You might be interested in: 5 Questions About My Webnovel MGS Experience.
#2: Avoid Drama
This is very important. When the competition starts, it will be like a flood gate opened for chaos. Promotions will be flying everywhere, readers will be snatched and backstabbing will occur within the writing circle. In other words, shit will hit the fan.
I don't want to delve into details about the dark side of communities like this but I can assure you, friends of mine have been through this. It affects the mind and you don't want to be caught up in something stupid that drags your productivity down. You're in a competition. There's no such thing as helping each other to gain popularity. Be very careful of you you trust and ask for favours like shoutouts and review swaps. If you can, I would advise staying clear of it entirely. There are no friends in competition when everyone is out for blood.
When I say preparation, I mean preparation. Don't just fly by inspiration with a gallon of coffee to start a new book! Finish old projects, schedule your writing and stockpile. You will need it, trust me. The competition can go on for months and with the daily updates that you're doing, you might need anywhere from 120 chapter to 300 chapters.
You might be interested in: Creating a Writing Schedule.
Plan. Plan. Plan. If you need to outline your story, do it. If you need to get your chapters beta'ed, do it. If you need to hire a proofreader, DO IT! Also, I'm offering proofreading and editing services for anyone interested. You can check it out on this page or visit my gig on Fiverr!
Once the competition starts, you'd be too focussed on writing to keep up with deadlines and your personal book promotional activities.
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#4: A Business Plan
But I'm a writer! Why do I need a business plan?
Well, refer to tip #1. The judging criteria isn't only looking at good content. They are also looking for a book with good commercial value. It has to sell and not just look pretty. You don't just need readers, you will need paying readers.
How to do it? There are many ways but for the sake of simplicity, I'll tell you what I think would work best.
a. Get contracted ASAP! It should take about a week for Webnovel to give you a contract once you have 5,000 words published.
b. Decent book cover. People often judge a book by its cover, even if it is an e-book. If you need an artist, you can look for Krustallos (who designed Time Cross Academy cover) or Ralu11 (a dear stream friend of mine).
c. Plan your premium tiers to lock your chapters.
d. Prepare for a mass release. TGIF events happen weekly every Friday. Take advantage of it!
e. Prepare for privilege chapters and price your tiers smartly.
People change. Rules change. Situations change. Circumstances change. Everything in this world can change but YOU must learn how to overcome it.
Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change. - Stephan King.
Shit can hit the fan but you must not panic. Apart from hard work, you need to work smart to navigate through murky waters. I'm no prophet, I cannot know what the future will hold for this competition. Forget about resisting and fighting the system, use it to your advantage.
What do I mean by that?
An example would be to realise three months into the competition that the book you wrote isn't doing as well as you expected it to be. You know that it is a dying business, you make the decision after calculating your resources to start a new one. This is a risk you've taken and accepted but you won't abandon the first ship yet. You're simply increasing your odds by entering with a different book that might fare better just in case. However, you don't overload yourself to a point that writing traumatises you after having to write 10,000 words a day.
Nobody else can know better about what to do apart from yourself in this competition. Your editor can advise, your friends can advise, but YOU have to make the final decision if it isn't working out. Stop wasting time despairing at why it isn't working. Start thinking about how you can make this work and you'll be fine.