Super Early Contest Announcement: January 2019 "Reader Retention Contest"

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Okay, I know I said I'd wait 'til the end of the month, but dangit I just can't!

It may be a while in the brewin', but that time is gonna be needed if you're gonna make a solid effort at this 'un! That's right, this time around we're goin' fer SERIALS!

For January I've got something special for all of you: the Reader Retention Contest. Sound boring? Far from it!

So, what's the challenge you ask? Well, it's like this. I've had a few people express interest in a contest focused on something OTHER than single-posting stories. You know what? Here's your chance. The Reader Retention Contest is ALL about serials. In fact, that's all that's allowed! Or, at least, multi-part stories. The focus, though, is on having a COMPLETE one, and more to the point, keeping readers interested.

The rules:

--Your entire story must be posted between the dates of January 1st 2019 and January 31st 2019. Allowances will be made for local time zones. Stories MUST BE COMPLETED: if you cannot finish your story within the alotted time, either writing or posting it, then it is disqualified.
--Your story must consist of a MINIMUM of 4 parts, with each part being a MINIMUM of 1000 words.
--No more than 1 part can be posted per day, giving the contest somewhat of a natural limitation of 31 parts for any individual story and preventing the front page getting too overwhelmed: no spamming the front page with 30 parts at the last minute!
--Content should be completely original and unique to the contest. If your story requires the reading or watching of other content not part of the contest material to make sense, then it is disqualified. (In other words, try to avoid just adding to already existing universes unless the new story can stand completely on its own.)
--While there is no limitation or even guideline in place as far as subject matter goes, there IS a rating limitation of nothing more sultry than a hard "R" film rating, or to put it more bluntly, if you couldn't put it in a theatrically released film in the US it probably shouldn't be in your story.

Here's the interesting part. Me and Erin are still working out the details, but there are going to be three prizes on offer this time around.

The first place prize and runner up's prize are still being sorted, but to obtain either one your goal is simple: to maintain the highest average Kudos/Thumbs Up count across your serial. The Kudos from all parts of each serial will be added together then divided by the total number of parts to find this result.

I'm trying to work out a deal with Erin for the first and second place prizes to be Doppler Press book bundles, but we will have to wait and see how feasible that is as a possibility. However it works out, I'll make sure it's something exciting!

There will also be a third prize offered, one of my typical 3 month Hatbox subs, with a little different criteria. This prize will go not to the highest average Kudos, but to the best Kudos retention rating between the first and final parts of the story. In general Kudos tend to drop off as a multi-part story goes along, so the author who manages to maintain the highest Kudos percentage between their first and last postings in their serial (regardless of total Kudo count) will win this one. Consider it a bit of a sub-challenge, eh?

Do you aim for short and sweet, hoping readers will blitz it all, or do you go for the long haul, hoping that more parts will help to cancel out any dips here and there? Do you write something crazy and off the wall to hook your readers and keep them on the edge of their seats, or go the safe route and try for a sure-fire winner? Regardless of your choices, you've got just over 2 months to plan, start writing, or simply keep developing something you've been working on for a while.

Results for the January contest will obviously take a bit longer than usual to calculate due to the nature of the contest. Likewise, I want to give readers time to catch up on as many series as they can. As a result the "voting period" will go until February 15th at Midnight (my time,) and results will be announced on March 1st or 2nd, with winners (hopefully) receiving their prizes the following weekend at the latest.

READERS! This is your time to shine! Those authors will be depending on YOU to give them the best chance possible to win, so if you're enjoying their entries then please, be sure to like, comment, and sub -- wait, sorry, wrong media. Be sure to Kudo/Thumbs Up every part, because the more consistent you are, the better off THEY are! And, just maybe, drop 'em a comment too? Never hurts.

I'll be back with more details as they arise, like prize updates and the like. In the meantime, be planning those stories peeps!

Melanie E.


Trust me on this, you have

Trust me on this, you have the makings of a great idea but it just needs someone to give you a push.

I'm told STFU more times in a day than most people get told in a lifetime

When I think of a series...

Avia Conner's picture

To clarify, when you say series or multipart, are you looking for a single threaded storyline that is divided into parts like the old cliffhanger movies, or a series of individual unique separate stories?

I just have to wrap my head around the requirements.



Daphne Xu's picture

The contest is about a single story posted in four or more "chapters" or "parts". I think it would be a good idea to complete the story before beginning to post. Complete and revise, in fact.

-- Daphne Xu

Do you mind that...

January 2018 was almost 300 days ago? And very soon it will be Jan.2019 as a reference?

Blame Melanie's Time Warp on too much enthusism

BarbieLee's picture

The girl will catch up with some of the rest of us by the time Jan 3018 rolls around. You have to give her those ever elusive kudos for effort.

I agree with one of the posts though. Serial is a series of stories trailing one another. A story with extra long chapters could be divided into serials instead of chapters. Wrap your minds around the prospects, readers and writers. If one's mind isn't geared toward serials write the story, break it up into long chapters with a title on each chapter as if it was a following story. Serials can be stand alone books but they MUST allude to the next book or story.
Simple example is the Nancy Drew books. Each one completed a story but the main character Nancy Drew tied them all together.

Oklahoma born and raised cowgirl

A serial is a series but a

A serial is a series but a series is not necessarily a serial.

To use two popular authors: Jessie Wolf and Alecia Snowfall. Jessie's stories are serials in that they follow along a straight path and have set start and finish points. Alecia's "Lyssa Cordonay Missions", " Chrysalis Project" and "Road Phantoms" are series but aren't really serials in that they are self-contained stories that while following along a straight line, are more mini-novellas than stories with the themes being the binding(Lyssa, OICA, and the trucking company).

I guess it's all in how you choose to define things...

I'm told STFU more times in a day than most people get told in a lifetime

tough criteria...

Donna T's picture

Whew! Pretty interesting rules. This will take some pondering: How to make it work on all levels? No particular theme... "no limitation or even guideline in place as far as subject matter..." I look forward to reading the submissions. Good luck everyone!


I'm out

While I have been able to do a chapter a day on my latest story The House, I don't want to stop it and try to rush something out just for the contest.

Here is another idea you may consider for a future contest. There are a lot of great stories out there that have gone into hibernation for one reason or another. Have a contest where entries are stories that were posted at least 4 (6?) months ago, and not completed. The contest could be to have four postings of at least 2500 words each in a month. One chapter a week is more realistic than one a day. Apparently a few of our authors have a real life to share with writing.



Daphne Xu's picture

I think you misunderstood. The contest has at least four parts, at most one part posted a day. One post a week satisfies the contest, as long as you post the complete story during the month.

-- Daphne Xu

Writing speed

One of the reasons for giving us at least two months notice of the contest rules was to allow us to prepare our stories in advance.
I started last week and have 6 'episodes' of at least 1000 words in the can just waiting for me to get to the end of the story (no idea where it is going ATM) and then do the final mixing and editing.
Come some point in January, I'll start posting. I may wait to see what the competition is like first. {te-he}


One a day is the maximum, not the recommended standard :D

Any story that is:

--Posted entirely in January
--At least 4 parts long
--At least 1k words per part
--Doesn't require reading any other stories to make sense

Would qualify for the contest if the writer wished. I'd actually recommend AGAINST trying for a chapter a day, because doing so would flood the front page with the same things over and over again which is pretty much the opposite of the point of a contest.

Melanie E.

An early start

Donna T's picture

Having read the guidelines I wasn't going to participate. Too restrictive, a serial, etc. And then I rough concept crept into my thoughts. Short explanation: I am so glad for the advance notice! Well, I guess I am... depending where the story line drags me. I may be a player.