Old 10-15-2017, 12:22 AM   #1
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Worried about a Score

Something perturbs me deeply.

In short, I tend to get good scores. I'd say my average would be a 4.55 out of 5, 4.6 if I'm being generous. The one exception to this was the poorly-thought-out 'Dreams' story which is justifiably low. I shouldn't have put it on here, long story short.

So why is a story that I put so much effort into sitting at a 4.17?

I'm going to try to avoid being a Ragemonkey with this, though trust me, I'm tempted. Getting so many large scores has given a ego unto me, and I desperately want to know what went wrong with the low-scoring story so that I can correct it. I didn't submit the wrong story, I checked that. The story went through an editor (in fact, as part of an experiment competing with an editor-less story that not only has my highest score, but my second highest amount of votes, as of this typing while being my newest story!)

The story in question, Black Pearls - Lily, is categorized under Science-Fiction and Fantasy. It is also Lesbian, but Lesbian-ness is low on the totem pole of Literotica Genres. It's also nonhuman, because I explore and utilize features not found on a normal human body, and contains some Bondage elements. I want to say that I put over a year into the story, from start to publication, working slowly because this was (and still is) a back-burner de-stresser project.

You can read it for yourself; I'd be a fool not to include the link: https://www.literotica.com/s/black-pearls-lily

Generally, this story has a low popularity, something I chalk up to because of it doesn't check common nonhuman fetishes, like tentacles or elves/orcs, as well as being the end-cap of a series that tracks my growth as a writer. As of yet, it has 6 votes, which means that it's highly vulnerable to score changes. In fact, it was doing good until I checked back in a few weeks ago, where at 5 votes it had sunk to a manageable 4.3, and then today where it had deflated to a 4.17.

I have heard of something called 'Troll Votes' before. I do believe that someone was quite alarmed when their gay male story had a 1.0, and justifiably so (their concern, that is). While, by my calculations, the score total is at a 5-5-5-4-3-3, this still makes me vastly concerned about the attitudes of the votes put into this story.

Am I getting dinged by mean-spirited votes? Or is the story actually bad, and the editor somehow did not catch that? OR, is it just too plain weird? Because I know, it's got some weird sex in it that I wanted to explore through the medium of words.
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Old 10-15-2017, 06:49 AM   #2
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You cannot make any judgements on a story's worth based on six scores. To do so is absurd. Wait till you have 20-30 +, and then you will have a better idea.

The site editor does not catch "badness" - she focuses on fundamental grammar, compliance with Lit's basic rules (no under eighteen sex, no rape without eventual consent etc...).

If the story is badly written, you are solely responsible for that - but again, fretting after only six votes is just silly.
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Old 10-15-2017, 07:58 AM   #3
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An average of 4.3 off 5 votes isn't possible; it'd be either 4.2 or 4.4.

If you had a 4.2 and then it dropped to 4.17, my best guess would be that you got 5, 5, 5, 5, 1, and then a 4. If so, the 1 will probably get cleaned up next time the site runs a voting sweep. But like electricblue66 says, scores are very volatile when you only have 6 votes.
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Old 10-15-2017, 08:36 AM   #4
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Agree with the above. You can't infer anything from 6 votes. Keep in mind, too, that some readers think of a 4 as a good score, and they reserve 5s only for those that they like best. I've had readers write comments to the effect of "Really enjoyed the story! 4."

You can't get too focused on scores on this site, especially when the total number of votes is low.

Plus, you said yourself that the story straddles multiple categories. That increases the chance that some of your readers will be turned off by something in it and will dock the score as a result.
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Old 10-15-2017, 10:28 AM   #5
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As everyone else said, six votes isn't much to go off.

That said, your story ends on a down note. Even the friendly and accepting readership of Sci-Fi & Fantasy still prefers a happy ending. They may understand why a story ends on a down note, and even agree it's the correct way for the story to end, but that doesn't mean it's what they hoped for.

Odds are that the story is always going to have a lower score because of the ending.
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Old 10-15-2017, 01:23 PM   #6
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I hear you. I have 1 story up. I watched the results (and still do). They jumped around quite a bit in the beginning.

At this point it's settling into place where the readers think it should be. Not where I'd like to see it, but where the readership determines it should be based upon their preferences.

I'm good with that because I wrote the story for people to READ, not stroke my ego. I read the comments and trash the obvious trolls but leave the rest, even those which don't agree with my story or which complain about the way I wrote it. Why? Because those people invested themselves into the story enough to relate to at least 1 of the characters enough to leave a comment telling me they didn't like the way I treated them/their character. That's gratifying because it means I did my job - I made them believe.

For you, it's still early and things can/will change. But, in the end, if your story isn't getting the votes you want, then it's because it doesn't hit that spot the readers anticipated. Not that it's bad, it just doesn't scratch the itch the way the readers want it to.

Nothing wrong with that.
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Old 10-15-2017, 07:59 PM   #7
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Thanks for your thoughts on the matter. I'll toss in some more nuggets of information.

The story is 2 months old. That may seem young to you, but I usually consider a story to be young as the time it is in the 'New Stories' segment of its category. Therefore, I consider my story old. It's much rarer that somebody is going to randomly click on the story and give it a read through. They'd have to specifically search for it in order to read it.

Furthermore, I had a Beta Reader for this story, because there was no way I'd release it without somebody else pointing out the good and the bad. They were a very nice person with good suggestions that helped me with this story. I've had stories be caught by the site editor before, and I'm thankful for that; those stories were actually incomplete fragments that shared a file name with the main, complete story.

Its score has sunk even lower, possibly due to my own idiocy. Why is a low score bad? People won't click on it. I know for a fact that I want to read good stories, and therefore am more likely to click on something with a higher score. If a story isn't clicked upon, it isn't read. If it isn't read, then it is far less likely to receive a score. If it doesn't receive a score, it dwells further and further down the abyss, the vicious circle closing in around its neck.

Not only that, but this score tells me one important thing: I Am Not A Good Writer. I can't connect to people, I can't appeal to them, I can't turn them on, I can't be of any serviceable use to them. A low score is a serious questioning of why I write, because it becomes self-evident that even if I write, then there is nobody that will read my story. Any thoughts I have, any tales I tell, blow about on the wind like trash.
If I have a good score, then I know I am worth something. I'm literally judging myself by how well people react to my stories. I know it's incredibly stupid, and that I should believe in myself, but why? All of life is appearing Good to people. If people respond well to my stories, then I know that I can join the rest of the successful world in appearing Good to people. I may be writing what I want to see, but it's all in relation to what other people think; there's very few alive who don't unconsciously think this way, as it's hard-wired into Humanity.

Still, thanks for listening to my petulance. I know I'm a whiny little bitch, but I'm being Psychologically Crushed by the Possibility of Being A Failure.
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Old 10-15-2017, 10:00 PM   #8
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You're cutting your wrists based on reader reaction to one story, yet your overall story file is over 50% Red H?

Just accept the fact that one story might go blah, but to go on as you have here - mate, as we say here in Oz, toughen up, eat concrete, build a bridge, and get over it. Your reaction and conclusions drawn are a little, shall we say, excessive. Look at the stories that do well fer chrissake, not the turkeys.

I'm the proud owner of a 3:86 on a whole 7 votes - my reaction? Meh.
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Old 10-15-2017, 10:05 PM   #9
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for me, scores don't really mean a great deal; and even comments and feedback often needs a good sifting through. keep on plugging at the writing, though.
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Old 10-16-2017, 04:32 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ReGats View Post
Not only that, but this score tells me one important thing: I Am Not A Good Writer. I can't connect to people, I can't appeal to them, I can't turn them on, I can't be of any serviceable use to them. A low score is a serious questioning of why I write, because it becomes self-evident that even if I write, then there is nobody that will read my story. Any thoughts I have, any tales I tell, blow about on the wind like trash.
Writing is not heart surgery. Nobody cares how many times you fucked up, just how many times you succeeded. If you can figure out why a story failed, so much the better, but sometimes you can't find the answer and you just have to pick yourself up and take another crack at it.
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Old 10-16-2017, 08:34 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ReGats View Post
Not only that, but this score tells me one important thing: I Am Not A Good Writer. I can't connect to people, I can't appeal to them, I can't turn them on, I can't be of any serviceable use to them. A low score is a serious questioning of why I write, because it becomes self-evident that even if I write, then there is nobody that will read my story. Any thoughts I have, any tales I tell, blow about on the wind like trash.
You are overthinking this, and not in a healthy way. You got a disappointing score in one story, but you have good scores in many others of your stories. As you yourself point out, your average score is good. The reality is that you simply cannot infer much from a handful of scores. You have no idea why people scored it the way they did.

My lowest scored story has a lower score than yours -- 3.55. But I have other stories that scored well and one that almost won a contest. The score reflects the readers' response to the content of the story, not my talent as a writer, and the same is true of your story. It means nothing about your writing ability that one story didn't do as well as the others. It just means that for whatever reason -- maybe a full moon -- the people who happened to read it had different reactions to it. Plus, obviously, some people give it 5s, so some people liked it a lot. Chin up and write another story.

I will offer a couple thoughts about it: it looks like it's part of the Black Pearls series, but the way you've titled it it doesn't appear in order with the other stories, so some people might read it without knowing it's part of something else and be confused about what's going on. The tagline you chose is cryptic and doesn't reveal anything enticing or erotic about the story. Your italicised intro to the story tells readers that the characters in your story don't grow but that you have; that's not exactly something your readers will want to read. If you want readers, you have to think carefully about how the story is being presented to them.
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Old 10-16-2017, 08:41 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ReGats View Post
Something perturbs me deeply.


OR, is it just too plain weird


Don't sweat the little shit.

Ratings are stupid.
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Old 10-17-2017, 10:37 PM   #13
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I also agree that there is nothing wrong with a 4! Read the description: "Really Liked It - Good Read!" I also correlate it to the other site's 10 point system, where a 4 here would be an 8 there, which is described as "Very good," certainly nothing to sneeze at!
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Old 10-18-2017, 10:00 AM   #14
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I think I write reasonable stories but if you look at my list (in my signature) you will see a lack of red H's. Why?

It's because I write femdom and other stories with limited appeal. Those who like my stories will vote high. Those who don't are likely to vote 1, 2 or 3.

It doesn't bother me. It shouldn't bother others. The votes and ratings are a sign of relative popularity not quality.

I might not have many red H's but I do have a scattering of blue W's.
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Old 10-18-2017, 05:07 PM   #15
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Old 10-19-2017, 01:52 AM   #16
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Quote:
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I've written 6 stories for this site (2 under a different name that are gone, 1 I plan to bring back and 1 I have to rewrite because I deleted it completely like a moron) anyway, I like seeing the red H's, but the longer I have to see how the votes go(especially when I hit a very high rating) and how quickly I saw how quick people (who? I don't know) like to knock you back down (I'm talking about the 1s that come in waves), I'm losing interest in the ratings.

I'd prefer comments/emails and views, but you kinda need those ratings to help maximize your views that first month.
Note that one-bombs get swept regularly, and more often during competitions, so you can always expect to see your scores move up and down. The one-bombers can't know much about the sweeps because over time their malice gets removed. But yes, one-bombers can have a shitty impact in the early days of a story - and if they do know of the sweeps then that's their intent.

The score thirty days after submission is probably indicative of the true merit of the story - remembering also that the score/view ratio is pretty typical at 1:100, and comments per view maybe 1:5000 - 10000. It ain't a feedback rich zone - unless your story is exceptionally good or spectacularly bad - then you'll know. But if you're in the middle of the bell curve, a decent score is a secret warm and fuzzy thing, but not much more than that.

But a little collection of Red Hs is like a bed of flowers - you still want more to grow, coz they look pretty.
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Old 10-19-2017, 05:17 PM   #17
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Electricblue's hit the nail on the head with that last bit. A good part of this is ego; I expect excellence out of myself because excellence is worth aiming for. Especially when you're like me, and you're not sure what Life itself is actually meant for. All I can do is write the best stories I can, and see what happens. That, and I'm probably not very stable.

Still, I'm thinking of looking for a vote sweep on the Lily story; it's sunk even lower now, and it's probably my bullet in my foot there.

Besides, the story is a little under 2 months old, and it was never popular, unlike the other story I submitted at the same time. There's too many factors going into the story that drag it down, in all probability. The other, bigger problem is that I do plan on writing a sequel series of 3 longer-length stories. If this last story wasn't accepted well, then that serious cast my future plans into doubt.

In addition, I don't believe in that whole ratio thing. Shadowplay, my other recent story that I don't like very much at all, especially in regards to this event, has a comment-to-vote ration of 1:55, and a comment ratio of, not counting my plans regarding it, of 1:1000. That's pretty dang good, but people just commented on it, wanting more.
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Old 10-19-2017, 06:38 PM   #18
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From what I can see, sweeps happen roughly once a month behind the scenes, up to daily when a comp is running. I asked for one on my file a while back. It happened, but I have no idea whether it was specifically in response to my request or there was a regular sweep anyway - it went through 2 -3 weeks after my request.

The 1:100 ratio thing pops up fairly regularly here, with a fair consensus over the years (many writers, many genres) that it's a reasonable guide. Nothing to buy a lottery ticket on, but a starting point. I update my viewer stats maybe twice a year, and with my file at least it's a running average across 50+ stories/chapters

With comments, yes, they're less predictable - and in my world a sign of positive reader reaction. I'm surprised at what "takes off" - I tend to write "outside the norm" and write what I want - not what I think readers want - so when a flurry of comments occurs, I know I've done something right.



Quote:
Originally Posted by ReGats View Post
Electricblue's hit the nail on the head with that last bit. A good part of this is ego; I expect excellence out of myself because excellence is worth aiming for. Especially when you're like me, and you're not sure what Life itself is actually meant for. All I can do is write the best stories I can, and see what happens. That, and I'm probably not very stable.

Still, I'm thinking of looking for a vote sweep on the Lily story; it's sunk even lower now, and it's probably my bullet in my foot there.

Besides, the story is a little under 2 months old, and it was never popular, unlike the other story I submitted at the same time. There's too many factors going into the story that drag it down, in all probability. The other, bigger problem is that I do plan on writing a sequel series of 3 longer-length stories. If this last story wasn't accepted well, then that serious cast my future plans into doubt.

In addition, I don't believe in that whole ratio thing. Shadowplay, my other recent story that I don't like very much at all, especially in regards to this event, has a comment-to-vote ration of 1:55, and a comment ratio of, not counting my plans regarding it, of 1:1000. That's pretty dang good, but people just commented on it, wanting more.
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Old 10-25-2017, 06:18 PM   #19
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the entire issue of scoring seems misleading to me. i have one story that is currently showing 28,477 hits-of those, only 190 readers have bothered to score. HARDLY a representative number. of those, you know that some of the scorers are trolls and therefore unreliable. on the other hand, one of my least popular stories in terms of readership and scoring has generated the most personal messages and seems to have the most invested readership. i've come to the conclusion that i'm really writing for myself and if others enjoy what i've written, so much the better. but scoring is not the way to judge the merits of my stories or the response to them.
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Old 10-30-2017, 02:24 PM   #20
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the entire issue of scoring seems misleading to me. i have one story that is currently showing 28,477 hits-of those, only 190 readers have bothered to score. HARDLY a representative number. of those, you know that some of the scorers are trolls and therefore unreliable. on the other hand, one of my least popular stories in terms of readership and scoring has generated the most personal messages and seems to have the most invested readership. i've come to the conclusion that i'm really writing for myself and if others enjoy what i've written, so much the better. but scoring is not the way to judge the merits of my stories or the response to them.
I think scoring also tends to reflect the category.

Incest/taboo gets a lot of interest by authors because it generates a metric ton of views. But, most of those views don't vote. Why? Maybe it's because they're looking for a quick wank and the resulting cleanup on couch cushion 5 distracts them. Or, maybe, they're the morality police putting our user names in some secret database. Either way, the high number of views doesn't generate votes. My I/T story is around 115:1 views-to-votes.

OTOH, my Romance short story has a view-to-vote ratio around 35:1. That could be the result of readers with a more sophisticated literature palate or the lack of morality police visits.

Either way, the scores only reflect the satisfaction of the readership who vote. Some stories just don't get good scores because the readers aren't interested in more than fast gratification. Thoughtful, soul searching, literature doesn't score well no matter how much effort the author put into it if all the reader's want is a quick stoke or rub.

I'm coming to think that in the end it's the number of votes that count. Not the H's or W's or the elusive E. It's not even how many favorites or followers. It's the total # of votes. Because if people will bother themselves enough to vote, then no matter what the rating is, the author did something to move the reader out of stasis. Which is not something everyone can say.
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Old 10-31-2017, 11:46 AM   #21
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Thanks for your thoughts on the matter. I'll toss in some more nuggets of information.

The story is 2 months old. That may seem young to you, but I usually consider a story to be young as the time it is in the 'New Stories' segment of its category. Therefore, I consider my story old. It's much rarer that somebody is going to randomly click on the story and give it a read through. They'd have to specifically search for it in order to read it.
:
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I've not read the story. I agree that the rating of this one is really out of whack compared to the other chapters. My guess is that you've set your self up for some low votes to really knock down your rating.

One thing you did was to switch categories with chapter 5. You had been posting in Nonhuman and then moved to Sci-Fi & Fantasy. By doing so, you lost what audience you had for the story.

I'm not a Nonhuman or Sci-Fi & Fantasy reader. Given that, I think your story naming scheme would put off readers. I'd think "Black Pearls Ch 01 - Unity" would have worked better. Even better would have been a title that gave the reader some idea of what the story was about. "Pirate Adventures Aboard the Black Pearls Ch 01".
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