You can predict the outcome of your stories to some reasonable extent. I do. From the onset, I can tell whether a particular story will have a huge reception or not. And today, I want to share that knowledge with you.
But before we move into the meat of the talk, here’s the advantage of knowing the potential of distribution before publishing your story:
You cease to be surprised and disappointed when a story doesn’t have a huge distribution and be more confident when they do.
You won’t be surprised because you knew about it in advance and you will grow confident because positive feedback — hundreds of views and reads; claps, comments, shares — met your best efforts just the way you expected.
That said, here’s how can you tell predict a story will do well and have a huge distribution:
1. The Story You Enjoy Writing Usually Have a Huge Reception
“People will write better and with more if they write about what they care about.” — Zinsser William
Huge destruction is the natural results of a story people enjoy reading. If you enjoy writing a story, chances are high that your readers will enjoy it as well. On the other hand, the story you don’t enjoy writing will most likely not be an enjoyable read.
But why is this so?
Answer: First reader doesn’t lie. And you are the first reader as the writer.
To write is to read. And since the first reader doesn’t lie, you can tell if the next reader after you will enjoy it. And when they do, they will promote the story by giving you most of their claps.
Disclosure: Writers no longer get paid for the number of claps their stories get. Now, the number of claps only aid in pushing the stories high in the distribution ladder. That means, the more the claps the wider the distribution.
By the time I finish writing and revising this story that went to become my most-read story on Medium, I had a knowing that it will have a large reception. To my greatest surprise, it blew my mind and went got far beyond my expectations. And by the time I was about publishing some stories like this other one, I knew it won’t do well and I was right.
The advice is that you go with your interest. “If you follow your affections as Zinsser William said, you will write well and will engage your readers.”
2. A Story That Can Be Summarised in Topics and Subtopics.
“Writing is visual — it catches the eye before it has a chance to catch the brain.” — Zinsser William.
If readers can get the gist of your stories from the title, subtitle, and subtopics, the potentials of distribution is high.
Your titles and subtitles should be able to give a summary, the key ideas or what your story is about. If you can tell your story first using your title, subtitles, and subtopics, the potentials of wide distribution is high.
Stories that can be told from the topics and subtopics do better than those that can’t.
One of the reasons why is that, stories with that structure make the task of reading easy for the reader. Most of them have less time for the details and so want to know what the story is about before giving their limited and precious time to reading it.
If you can show them what the story is about early, they will love you for helping them manage their time and guiding them on what to should look out for. In other words, you make reading more purposeful for them.
My advice is this: tell your story in titles, subtitles and subtopics; and then, keep the details under them.
Bottom line is, the story that readers enjoy gets huge distribution.
But there are exceptions: sometimes your best stories — the ones you wrote with great pleasure and that can be summarised at a glance — just refuse to get the distribution you expect.
When it happens, don’t let it bother you to despair and discouragement. Just remember that in life, nothing is for certain; sometimes life works in mysterious ways.
In life, nothing is for certain; you can’t ALWAYS be sure of outcomes.
On the other hand, you will also have stories that get a huge distribution that you didn’t expect much from.
Life will surprise you sometimes, and when the surprises come, sit back and be amazed like a child of the Universe; knowing that the Universe still retains the independent power to surprise the sons of men.
But they come once in a blue moon. So don’t expect many of them.
The best way to predict the future is to create it.
The best way to predict the distribution of your stories is by determining whether YOU enjoyed writing it and can get the gist from its title, subtitles, and subtopics.
If you get a pass mark in these two, you can be sure people will enjoy reading your stories and when they do they will appreciate and promote them so others can see them.
Never forget: stories that gets the largest distribution are those the readers enjoy reading.
Thanks for your time.