The About Me Post
I have noticed a trend of people starting "stories" that are essentially biographies of the author or self-advertisements of their youtubes/fanfics/kik/etc. Personally, I am not a fan of these. We all have a “bio” page, so it is reasonable to consider that such self-advertisements could go there. While it is true that not everyone looks there, one could easily direct readers there using the intro/conclusion of their chapter updates. Chances are that that will translate to more quality (e.g. people with actual interest) clicks to one's "bio" page than starting a "story". In the case of the latter, it is more likely the case that people will roll their eyes than actually read them and follow up on the link.
The Trailer Post
Now, there has been one trend that I’ve been noticing that I’m a bit perplexed about. The story trailer. Don't get me wrong, I get the idea behind it. The problem is that so many stories get a trailer, only for the reader to wait weeks to see the story actually get posted. That is, if it ever gets posted. Thus, a story trailer is unlikely to translate over into actual quality readers (e.g. people who read and comment) unless the author has demonstrated that they are consistent with their updates. One excellent example of this paying off is HoneyToTheBee, but I'd argue that a good reason this works for her she has a consistent history of regularly updating her stories with quality content. No "I don't know when/if I'll get a chance to update in -insert weeks/months-. Now, there may be other exceptions to this rule that aren’t coming to mind at the moment (Tinker13?), but the point is that these are exceptions. As such, if you are a new author, have a history of not completing stories, or taking months to post a chapter update, this is unlikely to work in your favor.
--> What to Do? <--
There is benefit to advertising a story before the first chapter, however, doing so needs to be done carefully and be followed by regular updates. Off the top of my head, these might include:
- A prologue (shout out to SkyWriter and TutThreeSevens)
- A thread of 1-3 page excerpts from potential story topics with a request for readers to vote on which they’d like to see appear (shout out to Tinker13)
- Bits about your upcoming story at the ends of chapters in a current story. These could include a graphic, questions having to do with the upcoming story, and/or notice of when the first chapter will get posted.