Previously, I wrote a blog about my contracting experience with Goodnovel back in early 2022. It's been a year since then, and I have changed two editors. The company seemed to have undergone a manpower shuffle, but I did not have any opportunities to talk with my new editor until recently.
Today, I will be consolidating my experience with them under the new management system with you. Don't forget to check out my newest non-exclusive work with Goodnovel!
Patreons to credit: -This could be you. Join now.-
As far as I know, the Goodnovel writer benefits haven't changed in a while. You can check it out here. There was only one exception for non-exclusive payout terms when the word count increased from 80,000 words to 120,000 words. It might seem like a lot, but Single Dad Alpha was under the old non-exclusive contract scheme, and the completed work already had about 136,000 words. For webnovelists, our completed works in FL range from 100,000 to 250,000 words. It gets much longer for ML spanning from 250,000 to over 2,000,000 words.
Yes, it sounds crazy, but webnovels are akin to serialised works with many volumes. A good comparison would be J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series which contains 1,084,170 words. You can find the breakdown here for Harry Potter.
Now that you're thoroughly bamboozled, let's begin!
The first Goodnovel I had literally never replied to my email for months. She was horrible at understanding English, terrible at answering questions and didn't actually do her job.
The second editor resigned or transferred elsewhere before I had the chance to work with her.
The third editor, that is my current editor, is a dear. I was expecting a 3 working day protocol for email replies, but she usually replied by the next working day or two days at most. The communication was smooth, straight to the point, and she explained clearly all the points I was unsure about regarding the Goodnovel platform and contract. There was no nonsense, her professionalism shown through and by the end of 3 weeks, I had everything I needed for the book sorted out.
Advice for new authors who do not have an editor yet:
Email goodnovel if you don't hear back from them or see progress about your contract application within a week. Alternatively, join Goodnovel's discord server and talk to the editors when they come online. If you are unsure how to publish using their backend author system, check out their help centre.
#2: Contracting Process
I'm going to break down the key stages of the contracting process and briefly describe what is to be done at each stage. The time it takes for each individual author and editor may vary, but I'd say the entire contracting process should take about a month. Remember, patience is a virtue.
Stage 1: Creation of Novel
Here, you should get ready the synopsis, cover and a marketing pitch to Goodnovel about your book. For non-exclusive books, the marketing pitch can be very general. However, you should have at least 5 sentences describing the plot, characters and conclusion. The marketing pitch is more important for authors who wish to apply for an exclusive contract, as Goodnovel has stricter requirements for exclusive contracts they give out.
You can read my previous blog about Cover, Title and Sypnosis for New Writers. Also, Goodnovel has a cover creator on their site that you can use if you don't know how to make a cover using Canva. It's rather simple, and you can always replace the cover with a better one at a later date.
Stage 2: Publishing 5,000 words or more
Goodnovel (and Webnovel) usually require newly created books to be approved by editors on the backend before they can appear live on their website for other readers to find. In Goodnovel's case, it is more special as they do not feature uncontracted books on their apps. However, after approval, the books can appear live on the website. Books can only appear live on the website after the editor approves them for content, cover and content to ensure they do not violate the site's rules.
To hasten the vetting process, I would suggest writing a few chapters to publish all at the same time after the novel creation stage within the same day so that you can email your Goodnovel editor to inform them of your newly created book with a title and your author name so that they could check it specifically and you get to skip the queue and avoid getting anxiety not knowing if your editors knew if your new book existed.
Stage 3: Applying for Contract
Once you have 5,000 words or more published, even if your book is not live, the "Apply for Contract" button should be unlocked for you. Congratulations! Click on that and start filling up the details of your address, name, PayPal account and prepare a photo of your passport. Yes, Goodnovel requires all this confidential information to verify that you truly are the owner of your account that has payment involved. This is a one-time setup for new applicants applying for contracts with Goodnovel. Subsequent contracts will be easier to process as information will be saved. However, if any of that information is different, please inform your editor via email asap. It affects all future contracts.
Note that if you are under the legal age of eighteen, you must have your parents approve of this part for you as well.
Your editor will send you a copy of the contract that you can sign legally online with a link. After signing, email your editor to let them know you've signed it so that they can process the book and documents needed. You should receive a copy of your signed agreement with Goonovel. Always save that copy. You'll never know when you need to refer to it. The entire process of contracting can be anywhere from a week to a month.
Stage 4: Pre-contract Book Approval
This is the waiting phase and waiting for your editor to do their job. Usually, it takes about a week for your editor to approve the book after 5,000 words have been published. In this stage, you should stock up on chapters and continue to publish daily until the book has been fully approved with a contract. Consistency is what editors look for when assessing if the writer should be given a contract.
At the same time, you should start thinking about how many free chapters you'd like to give readers and think about where you will put up the paywall. Remember to lock your chapters!
Stage 5: Post-contract Book Approval
Once your contract is signed and your book approved, it should be made visible on the app and desktop. Always double-check if your book's url link works on an incognito window. When the chapter has been locked by the editor, please also check if they are locked on both the app and desktop as well.
If everything goes well, you're good to mass launch book marketing!
Bonus: Cover change Book Review
Note that each time you change a detail in your book's synopsis or cover, the editor has to reprocess the book. It can take up to a week to be approved for new covers or edits to the synopsis.
Don't panic. Your book still exists, but the changes you made won't be seen by readers until the editor approves. You can continue updating chapters without worry.
Even for a writer like myself, who worked with several e-fiction platforms for years, there will inevitably still be some problems whenever a new book is contracted. For me, the link to my book was tied to the wrong novel on the Goodnovel platform. It took a while to sort that out with the editor, friends, my computer and possibly the company's IT department.
However, you should always remember to keep your emotions in check when something goes wrong and communicate clearly the problem with your editor, giving them all the information they need to assist you. When there is a will, there will be a way.
While there were many hiccups along the way, I think there's a huge improvement in terms of communication with the editor via email, and my author's voice has been heard. The company's backend might still look cancerous, but it does what it is supposed to.
One surprising thing to note is the feature I never knew before when I checked the Goodnovel app. Once a new work that has been contracted with the company crosses 10,000 words published, it would automatically push the new novel into the existing following readers of the author's library or something. I'm not sure how it works, but this marketing move for organic content is certainly special to Goodnovel. To my knowledge, Webnovel, Wattpad and Tapas don't have this yet. The author has to manually announce a new work to readers either using the same platform or a different media channel.
Note: As of this blog's publication date, my editor has once again changed. Future experience will be reviewed accordingly.