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Gay Authors Reading Report for Jan 2021 to Sep 2021


Myr

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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:

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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.

Age Tags

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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.

Relationship Tags:

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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. 

Sex Tags:

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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.

Setting Tags:

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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:

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Modern and recent history seem to be the "in" thing.

Tone Tags:

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Tone tags might be a bit redundant with the expanded genres, but we'll take time to evaluate.

Theme Tags:

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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.

Paranormal Tags:

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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:

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It seems like Military and Abuse stories are getting a fair bit of reads.

Creative Non-Fiction Tags:

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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...

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The front end of the list zoomed in for your viewing pleasure:

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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.

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Something else that comes to mind, @Myr. I'm a poetry guy, and while I haven't written any for a number of months, I love reading it... and will write it again someday. I would love to see Poetry as a genre (or sub-genre), as opposed to creative non-fiction(I know there is a need for it as well; maybe it could be a sub-genre?). I've often wondered if CN-F is confusing, or potentially unappealing to some readers who might enjoy poetry. I might not be making my point well, so I will just say I would love to see 'Original Poetry' and 'Translated Poetry' added in somewhere in the scheme of things. Haiku, limerick and free-verse are great, but really, it's all 'Poetry', a genre category everyone would understand. Not of vital importance... just saying.... 

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@Headstall, a few things...  the "north American" tag is probably another catch all, as most stories/readers are in the United States.  Ergo, more stories have that tag that many others. Outside of "gay".  So that tag is probably incidental as well.

As for people trying things outside their comfort zone...  Writing a great 'book blurb' in your description and properly labeling things allows people to make that leap.  And if name recognition in one genre brings readers to another to try new things... great! 

Now.. Poetry.  First, Poetry is a category, so you can go to it immediately and have all the poetry on the site.  Just scroll down and Click Poetry:

https://gayauthors.org/stories/browse/category/

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Second, we will indeed be also having "Poetry" as a primary genre.  And a LOT of sub-genres that @Valkyrie has been nice enough to pull together for us.  Sneak peak at the early draft:

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5 minutes ago, Myr said:

 

Second, we will indeed be also having "Poetry" as a primary genre.  And a LOT of sub-genres that @Valkyrie has been nice enough to pull together for us.  

@Parker Owens helped me tremendously with narrowing down the sub-genres and refining the definitions.  There are a ton more that I'm sure could be included, but I hope we hit the major ones.  

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Oh. just to put things in scale. This is the read count for 20 stories only per genre.  We have 5507 Stories in the System.  5474 have at least 1 view this year.

Genres: Drama has 2522 stories, Romance as 2436 stories, Fantasy has 937 stories. The view count you see is for 20 of those stories.

 

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One of the things that is consistent in my writing is that many (probably most) of my characters are military BRATs (Born, Raised and Transferred). We're a little different in the way we think, act and are very often that new guy.

Someone asked me why that is, and I guess it's because it is the people I know.

I look for stories about us but rarely see them. I'm NOT surprised to see that military tag trending so high.

You really might be surprised how many of us are BRATs or even vets despite generations of... odd ideas about gay people not being fierce enough to be soldiers, sailors and airmen.

When I was younger, I met many WW2 era gay vets that had been to such charming places like Anzio, Guadalcanal and Saipan. Most of them are gone now but never let it be said that we are any less Americans or haven't done our part.

 

 

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6 hours ago, jamessavik said:

I look for stories about us but rarely see them. I'm NOT surprised to see that military tag trending so high.

should I put in a sub-genre or tag tied to BRATs? Maybe Coming of Age - BRATs as sub-genre in general fiction? next to coming of age and drama...

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1 hour ago, Myr said:

should I put in a sub-genre or tag tied to BRATs? Maybe Coming of Age - BRATs as sub-genre in general fiction? next to coming of age and drama...

I don't think so. It should evolve naturally I think.

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Awesome info @Myrfor us to have! Love it! It is something that I think about from time to time, but I can't concentrate on the stats while I'm actually in the process of writing, or they'll drive me CRAZY! Hehehe! But, before and after writing a story, I do wonder what people are reading these days, and the data you've collected always provides a few surprises when I check them out. 

I do use tags for my own stories (sparingly), but when looking for stories myself, I often go by the author or sometimes just by the title or synopsis. I like to be surprised by what I might find in someone else's work. That's the curious cat in me, though. Every time I pick a specific genre or lane to travel down, a part of me always wonders what I'm missing elsewhere. Hehehe, if that makes sense. So recommendations and word of mouth is my usual 'go to' when it comes to finding new stuff to check out. 

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30 minutes ago, Comicality said:

I do use tags for my own stories (sparingly), but when looking for stories myself, I often go by the author or sometimes just by the title or synopsis. I like to be surprised by what I might find in someone else's work.

That's the beauty of the system. We provide tools and many ways to experience stories. So people who want to drive down to something very specific can. People who want to use reviews or recommendations can. People who want to just read can. 

 

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