This week's writing article is going to be a little different than usual. Instead of giving you tips or insights into different aspects of writing, I'm going to give you some insights into what people are actually reading here at Gay Authors.
As an engineer, I'm what is called 'data driven'. Whenever possible, I try to use actual data and good reasoning to predict project expectations of how things are going to go. Obviously, the best we can do is identify past trends and make reasonable guesses that something similar will probably be similar in the immediate time frame. The data presented here is going to be based on actual read data on site from Jan 1 to Sep 30. The data was compiled manually and consists of the read count from the top 20 stories for every single genre and every single tag.
What this data tells us:
- What genres have the stories with the most reads.
- What tags have the stories with the most reads.
What this data does not tell us:
- Since stories have multiple genres and multiple reads, there is no total read and no meaning to adding reads across genres and/or tags
- We are looking at only the top 20 stories for each genre and tag. We can not see what is called "the long tail" on the data. For example, the top 20 Fantasy stories have roughly the same view count. This means Fantasy is a very robust genre and probably moves up a couple of notches of importance when looking at ALL reads and not just the top 20 stories worth of reads. The reads for the 20th story in Fantasy are double the reads for the number 3 story in Western, for example.
What we can assume:
- We can assume general trends.
- We can assume relative popularity of genres and tags
The Read Count for the top 20 stories in each Genre:
Seeing this chart, you'll probably be surprised to read that we will be eliminating "Drama" as a primary genre. It will probably find a home as a sub-genre of General Fiction. We're still working that out. However, Drama is not generally a stand alone thing. The reason it has so high reads is that is added as a tag on some many different story types. "Drama" is kind of a required part of storytelling. And drama for drama sake is a soap opera.
In looking at this list, knowing what Genre is getting read doesn't help as much as I feel it should. As these genres are so generic that it hides some things. Historical is actually not that popular outside one series of stories that gets read over and over. Fantasy is getting a lot of reads over a much larger range of stories than most categories. I am hoping that our upcoming change to have Sub-genres will help us pinpoint what's getting read in a more deeply useful fashion. A note on Horror and Western, there are stories with good read counts there, but not there are not a lot of stories total.
We looked at Tags using the same method, and I think we can probably draw a few conclusions. Coming-of-Age, Teenage Stories with Sex get the most reads.
Teen is the most read, followed by Young Adult, then Mature Adult, then Child (which is usually tagged on stories with characters interacting with children i.e. parents, educators), then Seniors.
The tag "gay" is redundant today as pretty much all stories here are "gay" and are tagged with something otherwise when needed. "Gay" is assumed. I suspect "Friendship" is part of the "Friends to Lovers" trope common in gay fiction.
So weird. Sex sells. Who knew? I was more interested that "no sex" does so well here. So, don't fear if you don't want to write (or read) sex scenes. There is a big audience that likes both.
This one is pretty straightforward. It looks like there are no mother-effing stories on your mother-effing plane. There are probably snakes though.
Time Frame Tags:
Modern and recent history seem to be the "in" thing.
Tone tags might be a bit redundant with the expanded genres, but we'll take time to evaluate.
Given the age tags and genre in the lead, does "Coming of Age" and "Love" shock anyone?
So for Stories that start falling into Speculative Fiction Genres Such as Paranormal, Fantasy, Science Fiction and Horror, we have the Paranormal Tags.
Yup, Were-Creatures and Shifter stories are popular to read with stories containing Magic being a close-ish second.
Tags that don't really fit in the other groupings:
It seems like Military and Abuse stories are getting a fair bit of reads.
Creative Non-Fiction Tags:
Non-fiction genres and tags are something we're going to be looking at from an administrative point of view going forward. Much of the stuff we have is not tagged properly or it has a better fit in something like a blog. We're not making any decisions yet, but we are evaluating.
Just to prove I'm an engineer, yes, I did look at these altogether. Even if you can't read them...
The front end of the list zoomed in for your viewing pleasure:
There you go, everyone! Actual read data for the first 3/4 of the year.
We are working on another new feature that is for the site's support team. A new report tool will give us this breakdown automatically for ALL reads in a given time frame. And what's neat is that as we update stories with corrected tags and genres, the report will also update. Meaning that all the read data we have is living, and the information we can learn from it isn't lost when we make system updates. Once we have the tool, for example, we can go back to say 2018, 2019, 2020 and do a yearly report of what was and was not getting read by genre and tags.
I hope this helps you. If you have any questions or comments, please post them. This was a LOT of manual work to collate and summarize the data. So some comments would certainly be appreciated.