Getting Your Story Noticed: Tips from the Bullpen

Has this happened to you?

You’ve just finished the best piece you’d written, thus far, and you push the “Publish” button. “Hurray”, the screen says back and you know, you just know, your fellow Ficleteers will be commenting on the newly released masterpiece real soon! So you wait. You push the “Home” icon to refresh the screen – nothing. You wait some more. Refresh – nothing. Is something wrong with the website, you wonder, Didn’t I push “publish”? Is it still in my drafts? With anxious insatiability you wait some more.

A screen refresh a few minutes later reveals someone else has posted a story and your masterpiece is slowly traveling down the “Recent” column and into oblivion. “Oh, I hope nobody else posts a story!” you blurt. Trembling, you refresh the screen more frequently; another story appears, then another and another! You’re shaking so profusely now that it takes nearly everything you have to keep your mouse hovering over the “Home” icon, barely mustering the strength to continue to left-click.

Then it happens: the horror of all Ficly horrors. Your masterpiece is gone; removed from the home page, dropping into the abyss of “Recent” stories without a single comment to show for it. You try to comfort yourself saying, “It’ll be on the “Archived” list soon,” but you aren’t sure you can wait that long. The pain of going unnoticed is stronger than the hope of next month’s reprieve. For a second, you even consider Ficlicide; deleting your account and wishing to not see the encircled red “F” ever again!


We know how you feel; we’ve been through it ourselves.

We can help you get noticed!

- Comment and rate other people’s stories
- Join challenges
- Sequel or prequel someone (At least one other person will read it!)
- Sequel or prequel the “Featured Story”
- Publish when others aren’t publishing (difficult to figure out, you have to refresh and watch the recent stories column)
- Spread out the publishing of your stories (when your story is not on the home page, publish the sequel)
- Use a catchy title!
- Comment or note back to those that leave a comment on your story. (‘Thank you’ goes a long way to getting friends)
-Friend others! When they see your devotion, they may friend back. When you are on someone’s friend list, your stories are listed in their "Friend’s Recent Activity’ column and visible longer.

And two techie ways for you to try:
- Tweet it (use hashtag #ficly)
- Follow the Facebook page (Though this does not link back nicely to the ficly website, comments there on your work might bring traffic to it. It’s a stab in the dark, but the more facebook friends the merrier!)


  • Sir Bic

    I just thought of another way to get noticed: Visit an author’s webpage and leave a comment there, on their site, about your stories here, on Ficly!
    That should in turn drive more traffic here and get more people to notice us all!
    Plus, they’ll get comments on their site. Who wouldn’t like that?

    To do my part: I started a “hidden treasures” treasure quest on my Wordpress page ( and would welcome any link you wish to share.

  • Garsecg

    I wonder whether we should try to get the word out about Ficly to other websites as well. It feels like there hasn’t been a whole lot of activity lately and we don’t have a lot of new blood compared to when I was starting out. (Although we do have a couple of new people, such as Megan Kennedy, who has turned in some impressive pieces.)

  • Megan Kennedy

    Mr. Garsecg, you honor me. Thank you for such a kind shout-out!

    I’ve been spreading word of Ficly around since I joined, I absolutely love it here. Working on a huge novel and constantly world-building in my head, Ficly is the perfect outlet when it all gets overwhelming. I’ll put some more posts up, I bet we can get more people to join from DeviantART. This place is much simpler, and the literature is quite overshadowed there.

  • ElshaHawk (LoA)

    I hit Refresh a lot. Guilty!
    I also write series with others. Is it ficly cheating? No. Collaboration is key around here. Though some people choose never to sequel their own work to keep the window open for others, if I’ve got a story, I tell it. The beauty is, others can also sequel or prequel any part of my story and take it off in another tangent.
    Please do.

  • Garsecg

    Megan, thanks for getting the word out. This site has a lot of potential for creativity and I hope more people come across it.

    Elsha, I’m certainly guilty of that too! I’ve done series before but everyone else involves in those seems to be busy or gone. Got some ideas for the Steampunk Worldbuilding Project, but it’s been long enough now that I’m not sure anyone is paying attention to it anymore, and they might be better suited to an original story anyway.

  • 32 ^2

    Can we come up with a tagging formula? Maybe the first few tags could be tags that draw in traffic, Google has a great page for that. Or are the tags internal only?

  • 32 ^2

    Okay, I’m gonna say it. Why do so many readers comment on a piece but not rate it? If someone takes the time to leave a message on one of my stories and doesn’t rate it I feel my story has been rated a “0”. I’ve never understood this quirky thing about Ficly. If you feel the story rates a 3, then rate it a 3 and tell the writer why. I thought we were all here to grow and learn from each other. So I’m personally going to leave a note on my profile, “Don’t comment if you’re not going to rate”. I believe not rating is the worst rating possible, especially if you took the time to write a comment.

  • 32 ^2

    Finally; if you don’t want to leave a comment and you want to trick the system, type some nonsense then choose your rating, submit and then delete your nonsense; your rating will still be added.


    Many comments have been asked about:

    What do you think? Leave a comment & rate the Story


    What do you think? Leave a comment Or rate the Story.

    You can’t Or rate the story, you’ll receive an error, so that’s why I don’t mind posting my workaround. Maybe if this issue was fixed since its mention a few years ago, more ratings will appear.


  • ElshaHawk (LoA)

    you can rate only, it will give an error, but rate it anyways. :)

  • ElshaHawk (LoA)

    oh and me.. I have been accused by my ficly family, whom I adore, of being stingy with my pencils. Guilty. I’m the soft judge, the Sharon Osborne or Paula Abdul of the group. I feel kinda let down when I get less than 5, deserved or not, and many times deserved, and I don’t want others to feel that way, I guess.
    Softie. Accused, Tried, Guilty.
    Basically, we need more action around here. We need more raters, commenters, and writers.
    P.S. I meant to say ‘but it will rate it anyways’ above. If you comment and forget to rate, check the pencils, submit, it will give you a yellow warning, but work anyway.

  • Miles Letham

    Great article, lots of good stuff here! I think this site has much to offer and very much deserves more exposure for both it and the writers on here. There’s something special here, through the community and the opportunities for collaboration and simply just an unfiltered joy for writing that isn’t wildly shared in other places. Anything that helps the community grow, be it internally or through fresh external exposure, is definitely valuable.

    As a note to commenting without rating, I actually have a rather deep distaste for rating systems. Sometimes I’ll rate regardless of this for no particular reason other than an impulse, but generally I consider a comment to be better than any arbitrary rating system. deviantART does this too with its Critique system, providing a measure of stars to define elements of their work and I hate using it. If I think something needs to be addressed, I’d rather tell you than give you a number defining it.

  • Sir Bic

    I don’t rate stories because of several reasons.

    First, the rating system is too simple, five units of measure are not enough. Many of the stories here are delightfully “avant-garde” and should not be limited by conventional units of which to measure them.

    Second, what is the rating, rating? To one person it might mean one thing and something totally different to another. Rating a story defines the taste of the rater, not the skill of the writer.

    Lastly, a writer has the ability to rate their own stories, making the rating system unreliable.

  • Sir Bic

    If a writer truly wants to grow in aptitude then a detailed comment is needed, not a simple and inexplicable rating. Even with an Ideal rating system, you’ll discover that ratings are for the readers not the writers. Writers write comments, readers leave ratings.

    More commenting is what Ficly needs. Getting a comment means someone took the time to give your story contemplation and valued it enough to let you know how they feel about it. It takes time for someone to put together a comment. I think someone’s time is a valuable gift when it’s given to another – far more valuable than the second it takes to click a rating.

  • 32 ^2

    Let’ s start with our confusing “hyper links”.

    1) Blue on white
    2) Blue on white that turns red
    3) Some text is also in the same blue but NOT a link.
    4) Red on white.
    5) White on red.
    6) Black on white
    7) Black on red
    8) Red on red
    9) White that turns gold
    10) Some links are hover-overs and others are not.

    Because the following issue is located on the visitor/sign-in page, the black on white links need addressing A.S.A.P. because “author” is in non linking red but the authors name is a link but in italicized black and “bio” is in blue-to-red.

    Finally, hovering over blue and the blue turning red subconsciously screams “stop!”

    Brainstorm, It Works!

  • Kevin Lawver

    Clicking the pencils rates the story – you don’t have to submit a comment for the rating to take. It’s magic.

    Like any other site, most of the traffic is going to come from outside. Set up a tumblr that pulls in your author feed, post links to your stories on Facebook, Twitter, etc. If you want people to read your work, you need to get out there and promote it. It sounds crass, but it’s true. You can’t count on the Recent list bringing all your readers, you have to go out and find them.

  • ElshaHawk (LoA)

    *trumpets * CHARGE!!!!

  • smdasilva {LoA}

    Yes, I confess, I sit and wait for the comments. And no, I don’t usually give ratings but I try to comment. I have also tried to post to Twitter and Facebook when I write a new ficly. And now I am on G+ too so I will post there the next time I write something. Don’t know how well the posting a link works, but I am getting more friends/followers/circles all the time so I will keep at it.

  • Garsecg

    I haven’t really posted this on my Facebook, for fear that I might someday write something that would embarrass my family.