Submitting a story on Literotica (other sites are available!) typically allows readers to score your work. On Literotica, this ranges from 1 (I hated it!) to 5 (Loved it! One of the best!). As a writer, given the time and emotional investment, you obviously want your stories to score well. When I first started publishing my work, it used to give me much pleasure to see my stories scoring highly and regularly being listed in the “Hall of Fame” for their appropriate genre. Conversely, if the ratings fell, I would worry about why.
However, that was when I was a relative newbie 🙂 I’ve come to realise that such rating systems don’t truly reflect how the writer’s work is judged by the readers at all. Instead, it seems the ratings may well have been massaged by some writer’s themselves, keen to push their own work to the top of the pile and, as a result, receive the highest possible number of reads. Imagine having the time and inclination to do that?!
What makes me suggest this? Well, a number of things actually.
For the category of ‘Erotic Couplings’ on Literotica, where most of my stories are located, if you want to be in the “Hall of Fame”, you need to have a score of at least 4.87, as a general rule of thumb over the past few months. Many of my stories often reach 4.88 or 4.89, but then mysteriously, a few days later, will drop down dramatically, only to rise slowly once more. Perhaps this could just be people reading my stories, and not liking them, I hear you say? Fair point, but I have one story that hasn’t yet had enough reads to be considered for the “Hall of Fame”. Fictional Fantasies 2.5 consistently shows a score of 4.89 or 4.90. What’s the betting that, the second it becomes eligible for the “Hall of Fame”, it is immediately knocked down a few pegs?
And then, if I haven’t convinced you yet, a few months ago, I received the following anonymous email:
“A group of authors has been monitoring suspicious scoring patterns in various categories of stories. We notice that your story, “Fictional Fantasies, Ch 6” has dropped notably in scoring over the past month. The same thing routinely happens to stories in the “Erotic Couplings” category to all authors except one – [Name Removed]. He is cheating on his scoring by casting repeated false low votes against other stories while casting large numbers of fake high votes on his own.
Cheating is bad for readers, bad for authors, and bad for the site. Please consider joining the movement to punish [Name Removed] by offering low scores to all of his stories to offset his cheating. It works best if you give him a score of 3 or 4. Lower scores will often get automatically removed.
Best wishes on your writing. You are not the only author receiving this message.”
Of course, I didn’t follow their anonymous advice, but suddenly, my suspicions were confirmed. To be fair, the writer they named, did hold over 50% of the entries in ‘Erotic Couplings’ “Hall of Fame” at the time of writing. Of course, this entire situation could be very easily rectified by Literotica if they wished, by date limiting the entries in the “Hall of Fame”. Many of the most popular stories were written 4 or 5 years ago now and are unlikely to ever drop down the rankings, given the huge number of reads and votes they have achieved (whether legally, or not!). If Literotica were to only show stories published in the past 3 years for example, this would reduce the incentive to resort to these tricks by making it much easier for active writers to get a foothold in the door. It would also allow readers to access the best current stories. And just maybe, the kinds of emails I received above (and subsequent attempts for groups to massage the figures) wouldn’t be necessary.
In conclusion, I guess what I’m saying is, don’t worry too much about the scoring for stories. If you’re a writer, just carry on doing what you do. If you’re a reader, simply find a writer you enjoy and stick with them 🙂
Fenella Ashworth is a British author of contemporary erotic fiction. All of her stories are available from Amazon and free for those with Kindle Unlimited access. Her bestselling novels are ‘To Love, Honour and Oh Pay’ and the Daniel Lawson series.
Fenella also releases stories on BooksieSilk, Booksie, Lush Stories and Literotica, and is often visible in the Literotica ‘Erotic Couplings’ Hall of Fame (Top Rated).
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