Tag Archives: Beta Readers

Why I Wattpad – Part IV

Why I Wattpad is a continuing series of blogposts about my first year on Wattpad. Here are Part I, Part II, Part III.

WP-A Cool Number-almost
Almost 123,456 reads on Chapter 1 – Part I

Success breeds success.  When Wattpad agreed to Feature ALL IS SILENCE it quickly became established as a ‘good/successful’ book. Because it was featured the statistics rose incredibly. [If you don’t wish to read the statistics skip ahead two paragraphs.] It hit to high-points of 12000+ reads one day, 633 votes on a different day.

Hitting 100,000 reads had been cool, but then reads really started racking up. While on vacation this summer I hit a 1,000,000 reads near the end of June and 50,000 votes not long after, then 4000 comments. ALL IS SILENCE passed Scott Westerfield on the Completed Science Fiction chart! 132,000 people have started it, 5145 have finished it. It spent 57 [non-consecutive] days at #1 on the HOT Science Fiction chart.

Wattpad #19-#20

Now it has an average of 175 reads a day, votes meander from a literal handful [4] to a few hundred, though hundreds is now less than half. It’s slowed down. I can now answer all the comments on all three of my uploads: ALL IS SILENCE [complete], TOILS AND SNARES [Excerpt. 6 of 15 chapters uploaded] and STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS [Excerpt. 12 of 35 chapters uploaded]. They’re all three in the SF Hot 300, though T&S doesn’t stay there. [More about that in the advice below.]

Is there still a benefit? Yes. Now, I have a small army of 3500 followers/fans. True, they are an army of cats so getting them organized and going in the same direction is practically impossible, but also unimportant. If I post a request for Beta Readers, I get a bunch of people who already like my stuff. If I offer a free download on another story, there is a bump. I was hoping for a significant bump for STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS that I can attribute to WATTPAD, but I haven’t figured out how to measure that yet.  I know that putting out a request for reviews on ALL IS SILENCE has worked. I would credit my Wattpad followers with about half of the last 30 reviews. That alone may be worth it.

But the real question is this… If I give away a book for free on Wattpad will the benefits out-way the costs? Many authors are concerned that they’ll lose money. Probably not. Most wattpadders are not part of the work-force and not likely to buy an ebook from Amazon. Yes, ALL IS SILENCE is available for sale on Amazon, too. It’s still doing fine there.

The primary benefit of Wattpad is building a fan-base. To do that you have to post regularly and interact with your fans, but it is very successful in this regard. The feedback from readers is nearly universally positive. I have only had about 3 interactions that I would consider negative and one of those was due to giving another author unwanted advice on how to request that an author read their book. I suggested that just sending the link was crass. [Still is. This might segue into the advice section. Yup.] I told him he should send a short 30 word blurb along with polite salutations and then the person he wants to read his book can take it or leave it.

ADVICE SECTION: First three came directly from my editor, Amanda June Hagarty. Glad she convinced me to give Wattpad a try.

  1. Upload smaller pieces two or three pages [I aim for about 1000-1200 words] at a time.
  2. Upload two or three times a week. Make the times consistent, put it in your calendar and then don’t miss it. If you’re writing as your posting this gives you a motivating deadline.
  3. Communicate with your fans. You don’t have to respond to every post/comment, but try to get a comment to each of the people who are sending you a comment stream. Those comments boost your story’s ranking.
  4. If a comment offends you, you can report it. I called out jerkish behavior on my books, but Wattpad will do it for you.
  5. Track your data. I used GoogleDocs. It can give you insight into changes you make and how they effect the outcome.
  6. Upload longer works. If you have a first book in a series, I heartily recommend uploading it in its entirety to Wattpad.
  7. As new chapters are uploaded the author should dedicate each section as they are uploaded. Dedicate it to another Wattpadder who has commented a lot recently. If you try to go back and do it later, like some authors have, it is an overwhelming job, but if you do it as part of the set-up when you’re adding the live link to your website, it is a very small amount of work.
  8. The sweet-spot for me, when I was uploading three times a week seemed to be about 9 pm P.S.T. I think it’s because the Wattpad counts may reset at midnight E.S.T., but I’m not certain. This was one of the last hunches I had and don’t have hard evidence.
  9. Once your story is complete, you can still get some boost, by editing your description and chapters. It will pop back into the system as ‘newer’ if not ‘new.
  10. Don’t send too many “To all my followers” posts. I try to send one every 2-3 weeks now, and try, try, try to not send more than a couple a week! People will get sick of you and start ignoring you. When you do send these posts, try to make them fun and offer the readers something like: “Sign up for my newsletter this week and read my new story for #FREE!”
  11. Have fun. Write on.

Did I miss anything? Is any of my advice skewed or no longer valid? I’ve been treading water for the most part, though this last two weeks I’ve been trying to get Straight Into Darkness up the SF charts. Highest ranking so far is #9! Let me know. ~ Rob


SMORGASBLOG POST: Please Don’t Buy My Book-Part II and more…

Okay, excuse the random catch-all of paragraphs that make up this post. If you want to skip all of it and get straight to finding out how to read STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS for FREE before it comes out at the end of the month press here. HERE.
A week ago I discovered I that I’d sold two copies of Straight Into Darkness on Amazon Kindle. That’s pretty exciting. I hope they are sales to people who have never heard of me. If you are thinking about buying Straight Into Darkness on Kindle, AND you are reading this… please wait. The best possible scenario for getting the book to bump up in the rankings is to get a steady stream of sales once it goes live.
Sitting. Wrapped in blankets.  Hat on head. Windows open. Cool wind blows. Why? It’s summer and I don’t have air conditioning. So when I get up early to write with the windows open so it won’t be sweltering in six hours…
The Release Party for STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS will be at Village Books Reading Room in Bellingham on Friday, 08/28/2015, from 7:00-8:30 pm. Hope to see you all there. Please tell your friends.
Okay, I am Clinically, Chronically Optimistic, Perhaps even Delusionally Optimistic.  I am paying the price right now with 12-16 hours days of writing/editing/rewriting.  I am stressed. I am excited. The book is good and getting better. Next time I have a book release, however, I am going to meet with my partner and my editor and the three of us will each have one vote as to when the release dates are scheduled. I am once again working on my Montgomery Scott Rule. Estimate time by multiplying by FOUR!


Want to read STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS? Sign up for the newsletter here. Tonight on August 11th at 11:11:11, you will get directions on what to do next. There will be three options with sub options. 
#1 – BETA: This is the most exciting. Race with me to the deadline. of August 21st! Read the chapters on Google Drive. Make comments, suggestions. Get your name included in the thanks for the print version of the book. Get a free copy of the final print version!
#2 – EARLY REVIEWER: This is a little less stressful. Read the novel on Google Drive. Make comments, suggestions if you wish. When the book is out August 28th, write me a review on Amazon, post it on GoodReads, too if you’re willing.  And/or Kobo/Nook/iBook.
#3 – REVIEWER: Even less stress. Same as above, but wait until it comes out. I’ll send you a finished ebook of your choice of format. You can still look for typos and goofs, I will be able to fix them in the eBook, but you don’t have to stress about having it all done by the end of the month.
Sub-options for each of the above categories.
A – Change to a different category. #1 is too stressful, move to #2, then #3 if you need/want to.
B – Buy the darn print book when it comes out. Rate and rank it when you get around to it. 
C – Don’t finish the book, forget you ever knew me! 😉
The first step is to sign up for the newsletter.
Thanks. Back to work. 


“Real love is a man’s salvation, the weak ones fall the strong carry on…” ~Tom Petty from the song, STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS.

Had lots of real love over the last week or so. It did make everything better.  But I am tired. The hardest end of a school year ever.  I’ve been getting a lot of writing/editing done this week as well as grading and cleaning. Also managed a visit to Village Books 35th Anniversary Party.

Buying a Dan Wells, a S.M. Stirling and a Connie Wilson at Village Books 35th anniversary celebration.

About to go relatively dark for a couple weeks. I’m heading out of the country for some rejuvenation time. So regular updates on social media will be limited. I’ll try to check e-mail every couple days. I’ll try to upload new sections of STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS onto Wattpad [private only to my followers–follow me here.], but may just do a chapter a week rather than the little sections.

If you want to make sure you get to be a beta reader for STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS sign up for the monthly e-mailing list in the orange box in the upper left! I will want a two week turnaround for reviews and feedback in order to meet my self-imposed deadline of August 8th.

I was going to write more, but I need to finish packing and getting stuff ready to mail before I go to bed tonight.

Cheers! Ciao!



Coming to the end of 2014! Thanks and more…

Looking forward to 2015 as we wrap up 2014!

What’s to come? 2014 was amazing for me as an author. It was everything I hoped for, if not everything I dreamed of. Where is that contract for the foreign rights, and the option on the screenplay? 😉

indiereadernextpicsSeriously, I hit some top ten lists, got reviewed by Don Sakers for Analog magazine, won an award, rubbed elbows literarily with Veronica Roth and Scott Westerfield and literally with Hugh Howey, who complimented my pagination! In addition to Hugh, I met Matt de la Pena, Corinne Duyvis and Mark Leslie. I sold more than half of my first printing, plus a whole lot more e-copies. I’ve exchanged e-mails with Mindy McGinnis and been retweeted by Neil Gaiman himself!

I wrote more than 100,000 words of new Dystopian-compactfiction by the 1st of December, setting a new record. I am sending out a newsletter tomorrow with information on how to get beta-reader copies of my Deserted Lands novella, TOILS AND SNARES. I’m filling in the gaps in the ALL IS SILENCE sequel STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS.

Readers of ALL IS SILENCE on Wattpad. Darker blue is more reads! No one is reading me in Mongolia. Neither upper nor lower.

As of tonight ALL IS SILENCE has had 91,000 reads on WattPad–over 1000 folks have read the first 12 chapters. AiS averages about 150 unique readers each day, 27% of which are in the Phillipines! It hit #2 behind Scott Westerfield’s UGLIES back when Wattpad allowed each work to be listed in two categories. Now that it’s only listed in Science Fiction it has gotten as high as #13. Maybe tomorrow it will break into the top 10! Thanks to Amanda Hagarty for all the advice and support. And to everyone else who has been so amazing this year:

  • The readers. The readers. The readers.
  • My beta readers, my family, my students, my friends… [many of you fit more than one of these categories.]
  • Brendan, Sam, Christina, Paul, Rachel and everyone else at Village Books
  • Don Sakers and Analog
  • Kiffer Brown and Chanticleer Reviews
  • Bellingham Writer’s Group and Cozy Corner Coffee and Books for hosting it and selling my book, too!
  • The Hoquiam Timberland Regional Library
  • Harbor Drug in my hometown.
  • Mark Leslie and the crew at Kobo Writing Life
  • Whatcom Community Library System
  • Bellingham Public Libraries
  • My editors, proofreaders
  • Upstart Crows and the Whatcom Writers & Publishers
  • Pintado for an amazing cover
  • Damian Vines for amazing author photos
  • The Heinlein Forum on Facebook
  • All the writers who inspired and inspire me
  • And everyone else I forgot!


Want to read my new Deserted Lands novella for FREE?

Last week on WattPad. TWO stories in the top
100 in Science Fiction!

JOIN MY NEWSLETTER AT THE bottom of this post by the end of this week to read the rough draft of Toils and Snares as a beta reader. The link will go out in my newsletter only on the 15th! Sample it here on Wattpad.

  • What will you get? Free short fiction on a monthly basis.
  • Opportunity to be a beta reader for my new stories, novellas and novels.
  • Information on appearances and sales.

What do I have to do if I’m a beta reader?

  • Well, you don’t have to do anything really.
  • You get to read the story. You get to help me make it better.
  • You get to quit reading it if it doesn’t work for you.
  • You get my eternal thanks.
  • You may get a copy of my book if you give me significant feedback.
  • I may also thank you in the next print book as well as my website.
  • I would love it if you would give me feedback.
  • I will have a survey with some questions that you can answer anonymously if you don’t want to hurt my feelings!
  • When it comes out, I would love an honest review or a rating.
  • I’ve got Rhino skin, really. I’ve collected 600+ writing rejections, lost roles to actors I thought were not very good and been told the ‘truth’ about myself by my own kids and many other people’s kids! 😉
  • I will have it available as pdf, epub [for Kobo/Nook] and mobi [for Kindle.]
  • If you really want to be intense I can share a google document and you can rip it apart with comments/suggestions word by word!

Thanks for the help and support. Please share this with parties interested in Apocalyptic Science Fiction.



Subscribe to the Deserted Lands Newsletter

Email Format

Updates, Requests, and Beta Reads

UPDATES: Almost mid-November. Writing-wise, I’ve got some good news and some bad news. I’ll start with the Bad, which isn’t really very bad.

Bad news?

  1. NaNoWriMo [National Novel Writing Month] counts are down. Not likely to hit 50,000 words in November.
  2. All Is Silence was requested for consideration by the Phillip K. Dick award administrator, Gordon Van Gelder. Alas, since I released a hardcover version, it does not qualify. Sigh. Nice to be asked.
  3. No review from Publishers Weekly. Bummer.
  4. Pubslush campaign has been pledged $252! [Need $500+ to fund it.]

Good NewsSqueeGaiman

  1. See Bad News #2!
  2. Broke 50,000 reads of All Is Silence on WattPad.
  3. Got a Tweet response from Neil Gaiman himself.
  4. Invited to be a panelist at RadCon 6C over my birthday weekend in 2015.
  5. Invited to do Indies First local bookstore promotion with Village Books on November 29th.
  6. Finished rough draft of the parallelequel novella, Toils and Snares.  [Click to read a scene or two.]
  7. Finishing rough draft of All Is Silence sequel, Straight Into Darkness. [Click to read a sample or two.]
  8. Pubslush campaign has been pledged $252! [We’ve got 18 days left.]

REQUESTS: Please, help. If you can share or spare a pledge for the Pubslush campaign, please do. Or just become a fan.

toils&snares3BETA READERS: Toils and Snares, the parallelequel novella to All Is Silence is ready for Beta Readers as soon as I finish formatting and setting up ebook formats. If you would like to read something set in the Deserted Lands universe and not wait until April… drop me a line. Anyone who responds will get the opportunity to read it early and help my find those dreaded typos and other issues.

Thanks for your support. Gonna go write on before exhaustion hits.

Call for Beta, Gamma, and Delta readers.

My Deserted Lands novella, Toils and Snares–a parallelequel to All Is Silence, is now in rough draft completed form.

Now I need Alpha, Beta, and Gamma readers for Toils and Snares

  • Beta readers – reading the messy first draft for the story arc. Does it work?
  • Gamma Readers – What can be cut? Tightened? Note typos?
  • Delta Readers – Line/copy editing: reading for typos, grammar issues for final draft.

If you would like to read it before anyone else, please send me an e-mail noting which of the above types of pre-publication readers you’d like to be.



My Path to Indie Publication: Part X—Finding Equilibrium

Path to Indie Publication Series is a companion series to Marshall Ryan Maresca’s Path to Publication. I have been avidly reading Marshall’s posts since I discovered his blog. Read Path to Indie PublicationPart IPart IIPart III. Part IV. Part V. Part VIPart VII. Part VIIIPart IX

Part X—Finding Equilibrium: the agony and the ecstasy of new authorhood. *

With the success of the three readings equaling sales of more than 70 books, I was very hyped about attending Norwescon 37. I created and ordered bookmarks—5000 for about $200 including shipping. They had special pricing codes: $3 off either a signed print book or a Kobo eBook as well as a note to find me on social media and I’d meet them at the con and sell them a signed copy for a great deal without the shipping and handling. Elena and I went down to the stuffing party to help put 3500 of my bookmarks into the swag bags. The result? [Because, I’m following Kris Rusch’s rule of not offering a deal unless you can track whether it is successful or not.] Nada. Zip. Zilch. The only book I sold was one that was already promised months before to a beta reader. She bought a second book, because I didn’t have change! Sheesh.

The best thing to happen at Norwescon was that I got to see Gordon Van Gelder, he had seen somewhere, a bookmark maybe, that I had a book coming out. He asked if I’d send him a review copy, which of course I was happy to do as I could then send him one of the new and rare copies with the Dante Rossetti Award announced on the cover. Will it lead to a review in the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction? Who knows. But , alas, if this one doesn’t break with him, perhaps the next one will.

I still have about 1500 bookmarks and will be taking many of them to ALA14 to see if anything happens this time around. I also gave out a couple handfuls at Vikingcon in Bellingham with no discernible sales off site. I think bookmarks are cool, but don’t spend $200 and expect to get it back. I actually prefer the postcards that I made in cover-shaped format, a better way to get the name and the graphic out there. 

Vikingcon was really awesome. I met a bunch of cool people, and renewed my acquaintance with Greg and Astrid Bear. I met Greg at a Vikingcon in the 1990s and then got to be on a panel about Robert Heinlein with him in 2005 at Norwescon. So, I got to hang out with Greg Bear, I got a free table in the conference hall to sell my books and I got to meet really cool people. I am a fairly terminal optimist, so I signed 10 books with my name and inscribed Vikingcon 2014! But none sold before the panel with Greg. The panel on technology in SF, “Text me, Scotty.” went well. After the panel, my daughter Sheridan, womanning the booth with her daughter and younger sister, had sold two copies. A few people who had attended the panel came by and bought books. Then the Vikingcon folks came to pick up the signed copy I’d promised them. And as the Vendor’s hall was closing I sold the last of the 10 books. Maybe next time I should pre-inscribe 50? Nah. Lesson learned.

The biggest bump of sales not related to meeting people directly came from a friendly source. Dean Kahn, the Bellingham Herald editor who had guided the Serial Science Fiction story Memories of Light the previous year asked his readers to nominate the best books set in Bellingham. Four fans [also friends] wrote in praising my book. The day it came out I sold 9 ebooks and 2 print books in the next 24 hours and several more over the next few days. Yeah!

I’m currently sending out some short fiction set in the same universe to magazine editors in the hopes that a story might lead people to the novel. I’m also planning to release a standalone Deserted Lands novella, Toils and Snares, in the fall as an ebook. As I write this sales have gone flat, but they’ve already been better than I expected. I’ve got more readings set up and a trip to Las Vegas for the American Library Association convention followed by a drive up to Provo where the next book, Straight Into Darkness takes place.

The long awaited hardcover of All Is Silence will be here soon as will summer with more time to write. I’m doing a PubSlush campaign so I can pay my editors and cover artists more. The benefits will be commensurate with the crowd-funding amounts. More to come after school comes out.

Thanks for coming along for the ride. It’s been a roller coaster for me, but as this ride continues, I feel more and more certain that choosing the Indie Publishing route was absolutely the right decision for me. As I have more insight into this amazing process, I’ll blog a bit more, but for now… I’ve gotta write on…

* Adapted and expanded from the Foreword to Outward Bound: Science Fiction & Poetry, a collection of some of my published and unpublished works. Top

Winter Wonderland

As I sit here watching the snow fall outside, the snow is also beginning to fall in the chapter of the book I’m doing FINAL edits on. Well, okay, final story edits. The copy edits are starting to come in 5 chapters at a time. Then off to the printers. The final cover is done. Click here to see a low res, bigger version. Thanks to the reviewers who provided book blurbs. And to Pintado who did amazing design and redesign work.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00004]

Things are moving slightly slower than I had planned, but in reality only a week or so behind. And since the goal is a quality product… Getting the right editors, beta readers, copy editors, cover designers and letting them do their jobs/assignments, takes time.

I’m doing another GoodReads Giveaway. Three copies this time. From December 24th to January 2nd. This is the link, but it’s not live yet.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

All is Silence by Robert L. Slater

All is Silence

by Robert L. Slater

Giveaway ends January 02, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

So, stay tuned for more excitement. For me at least.

Thank you for your support.