Updated: May 9, 2022
This is a blog written based on a live stream I did. You can watch it on my Youtube channel.
If you wish to get the presentation slides for reference, this is the link. I will be summarising the things covered from my live stream in this blog for those of you who only have 5 minutes to spare. Do note that all Q&As will only be answered on discord or during a live stream so if you have questions please consider subscribing to my channel for notifications. I constantly bring new content.
Knowing Webnovel, there are a few things that will remain an unmoving constant. These are known as evergreen trends and a good example is vampires. That would never run out of reader demand.
The next kind of trend is the hot topic of now also known as current trend that your readers throw money at like the latest fad. The risk of writing a mainstream following a current trend is the lifespan of your story. Once the fad fades, so do the readers.
The last kind is the hardest to spot as it is something that comes suddenly, taking everyone by surprise. Think of it as striking the lottery or an astounding overnight success. This is the new trend that requires insider information to hop onto the train before it speeds off.
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My recommendation? Why go for one when you can add a few? Hybrid trends are the secret to finding the required balance between mainstream and niche. An example is to write a CEO romance but make the CEO a merman while his lover is a mafia princess. Something along that line could get you that original spice your audience crave within a familiar setting that they're comfortable with.
#2: Target Audience
I've mentioned this before in other blogs and videos. It's nothing new that in order for any story to do well, there has to be an interested reader for your work. Unless you're writing for yourself, try to determine the audience you are targeting your books at.
I covered a very extensive two-part blog and long live stream about the various e fiction platforms you can publish on previously. Knowing the reader base, marketing strategies, and writer benefits of various platforms can help you decide your books success rate better.
For FL genres, refer to this platform guide.
For ML genres, refer to this platform guide.
Want to watch a live demonstration and review?
There are several things that contribute to the success of a novel and if you're looking at a perfect formula, this is the closest I can think of.
a) Book Cover
Make it relatable and eye catching. Although we shouldn't judge a book by its cover, humans are visual creatures. Our eyes cannot help liking what they see and your book cover is the face of your story. Find something that your targeted readers will like and reel them in.
If you learn marketing, you'd know what SEO is. SImilarly, this title of your book is going to be that selling catchphrase or commercial jingle that you can't get out of your head. It needs to be short, catchy and memorable. People need to know exactly what you're selling in your content just by the sound of this title.
I talked about this in this blog How to Create a Best Selling Webnovel Idea: Creation Stage so I won't do it again.
There's a formula I found that helps me increase the book's visibility using search. If Webnovel does not feature you enough, you need to be your book's spokesperson through tags. I cannot tell you how many readers found my book "by accident" because they were bored and decided to use the search bar.
The maximum tags on Webnovel is 10 and I suggest maximising it. Place 3 most related mainstream tags for your story and 7 other less searched terms that are unique to your book. It's easy to top the niche search terms so don't hesitate to create your own if required!
#5: Pros & Cons
Honestly, this is just personal experience speaking. When writing mainstream I saw a significant monetary return for my efforts but also higher stress and dread to continue what I started.
I'm not a mainstream writer who enjoys creating insipid content that is good at milking dumb readers. I'm a content creator who enjoys exploring new perspectives and possibilities that put me under niche right away.
Doing mainstream gives you what you need to pay bills. However, it takes away creative freedom in some ways because you write your story like a business catered towards a paying audience. Customers are royalty and you're the miserable court jester who has to entertain them with your neck on the chopping board if you fail.
Readers are often not loyal when reading mainstream content because they follow the moving trends and crowd. It's easy for toxic communities to fester in more mainstream works for some reason and that's something I hate a lot.
Writing niche can be emotionally and spiritually fulfilling. The community might be small but they're usually great. You get all personal with your readers like the friends you never met before especially on an interactive reading platform like Webnovel. However, the trade-off can be dampening when the book stops growing in readership and your loyal readers slowly die off because they are busy finding other books to love as well. It's hard to make a living doing purely niche works too so if you have urgent bills to pay, you need to get a job. Waiting for a paycheque writing niche novels will take forever, if ever.
At the end of the day, it's up to you as the writer to decide what your purpose of writing is to develop a writing goal and method to work towards. If you're looking at financial success, then you should look into what readers would pay for. If you're simply happy writing for yourself, it doesn't really matter if it is niche or mainstream.
The tough part is usually finding a balance because I don't believe anyone wants to write for free when they have bills to pay. It takes a few attempts to find the sweet spot but when you do, it usually gets easier from there.