Webfiction Statistics: Ants Creation

This is part of a series of posts sharing some of the research material I collected while researching my book How to Write Light Novels and Webnovels. There was a lot I found that I couldn’t fit into the book, so I thought I’d share it here.The categories listed are translations of the ones the sites use, not my own categories.

Antscreation.com is a Taiwanese webfiction site I came across that had some stats available, so I decided to include them in my research. I don’t know a lot about the site, not even how popular it is in Taiwan, but I strongly suspect they are mostly targeting a male audience like Munpia.

These guys really love their Fantasy stories, and the rest is a collection of typically male-oriented genres. It would be great to know exactly what kind of stories these Taiwanese guys (and girls) are reading, and to see what Taiwan’s other major sites look like, but my Chinese is terrible and Google Translate is only so much help.

I do know the site is free to post on, and free to read. I’m not sure if they have a mobile app, though.

GenreNumber
Fantasy7083
Urban/Romance1340
Online Games/Scifi1100
Detective/Mystery766
Martial Arts Fantasy630
Poetry/Literature620
Horror615
Campus/Sports440
Other383
History/Military255

Webfiction Statistics: Korea Combined

This is part of a series of posts sharing some of the research material I collected while researching my book How to Write Light Novels and Webnovels. There was a lot I found that I couldn’t fit into the book, so I thought I’d share it here.The categories listed are translations of the ones the sites use, not my own categories.

Since I had data from three different Korean webfiction sites of Joara, Naver and Munpia, it only seemed logical to combine them to see what was really popular. I used the percentages from each (since the actual numbers would have skewed things) and created a graph.

In the end, the combined chart isn’t much different than the regular charts, Romance wins by a hair over Fantasy, and everything else trails behind. I suppose if I added Martial Arts and Fusion to Fantasy, then Fantasy would win. However, not by much since then I’d have to add Romance Fantasy, Boys Love, and Girls Love to Romance.

GenreJoaraNaverMunpia
Fantasy25%14%30%
Parody20%
Fusion9%10%
Boys Love8%4%
Romance8%56%5%
Game6%4%
General Fiction (Unclassified)6%4%
Romance Fantasy4%7%
Literary Works4%
Light Novels3%1%3%
Fanfiction3%
Martial Arts2%8%13%
History1%2%
Girls Love0%
Sports0%8%2%

Yes, the percentages don’t quite add up, this is because not all sites have the same genres and I used the Joara genres as the base. It still gives a pretty good sample, I think.

Webfiction Statistics: Munpia

This is part of a series of posts sharing some of the research material I collected while researching my book How to Write Light Novels and Webnovels. There was a lot I found that I couldn’t fit into the book, so I thought I’d share it here.The categories listed are translations of the ones the sites use, not my own categories.

Munpia.com is another major South Korean webfiction site, and like Naver is a curated site where only the top stories are promoted and accepted writers get paid for their work by readers. Unlike Naver, however, Munpia is targeted at a male audience instead of a female one.

Munpia has a lot of smaller categories, which you can see at the bottom of the post, but this chart showing the top ten categories makes things pretty clear what’s popular.

Munpia is the only site where Romance is just 3% of the stories I came across, and there’s no doubt what its readers like! It also has the interesting category of Modern Fantasy, which is basically modern characters who can use magic like Harry Potter or Harry Dresden. Fusion is mixed genre work, but still based around mostly fantasy and sci-fi.

The other interesting stats on there are Martial Arts, which are mostly period dramas and fantasy stories about characters fighting and similar to the Chinese Wuxia genre (Koreans call it “murim”). And, the Game genre, since the Koreans literally invented the litRPG genre of people entering VR video games to have adventures.

GenreNumber of Pages
Fantasy290029%
Fusion185018%
Modern Fantasy185018%
Martial Arts6006%
Game5005%
Light Novels4004%
Romance3003%
Science Fiction2502%
General Fiction2502%
Alternative History2002%
Sports1501%
War & Military1501%
Medium and Short1501%
Reasoning (Psychological)1001%
Mystery and Suspense1001%
City Essays1001%
Drama1001%
Children’s Novels500%
Plays500%
Boys Love500%
Parody/Fanfic500%
10150

While doing research, I also came across a document that looked at the genres of stories that had been in Munpia’s Top 100 over the past decade (before 2017). So, I turned them into a graph as well!

Very similar, but you can see that in terms of popularity, Modern Fantasy and Martial Arts Fantasy are more popular than there are stories about those genres.

Here is the raw stats for stories that hit the top 100…

GenreNumbers
Fantasy2162
Modern Fantasy1531
Martial Arts Fantasy950
Fusion Fiction695
Romance330
Game276
General Fiction252
Light Novel186
Science Fiction 151
Sports 144
Alternative History109
Short Works81
Mystery 70
City: Essay56
Detective44
Drama27
War and Military26
Parody22
Fairy Tales16
Boys Love11
Mystery-Horror4
7143

Webfiction Statistics: Naver

This is part of a series of posts sharing some of the research material I collected while researching my book How to Write Light Novels and Webnovels. There was a lot I found that I couldn’t fit into the book, so I thought I’d share it here.The categories listed are translations of the ones the sites use, not my own categories.

Naver.com is the South Korean equivalent to Yahoo.com- a giant portal to the internet which offers news, shopping, entertainment, and everything a user could ask for. They also offer webfiction and webtoons, and have begun to bring these to an English market as well.

As far as fiction goes, Naver is much more popular with women than men, as is evidenced by the stories by category listed on their site:

As you can see, Naver doesn’t offer a wide variety of genres, but focus on a few profitable ones they know will be popular with audiences. There is a male-oriented component, which would be the Fantasy, Martial Arts, and Sports categories, but women’s fiction is around 67% of the site, so it’s not even a competition.

In Korea, webfiction has a broader audience, and is read and written by older writers as well as young ones. Naver seems to be a popular site with Korean housewives who want to make a little extra money writing romance in their spare time. Did you know that 51% of webfiction writers in Korea make money from their writing? That provides a pretty good incentive to write!

The numbers for these stats are curated and accepted stories which have been approved by the site, which is why they’re so low.

GenreNumber
Romance2260356%
Fantasy561914%
Marital Arts32718%
Sports32138%
Romantic Fantasy29687%
Boys Love15654%
Mystery7182%
Light Novels5241%
40481

Webfiction Statistics: Joara

This is part of a series of posts sharing some of the research material I collected while researching my book How to Write Light Novels and Webnovels. There was a lot I found that I couldn’t fit into the book, so I thought I’d share it here.The categories listed are translations of the ones the sites use, not my own categories.

Joara.com is South Korea’s oldest webfiction site, having started around the turn of the century. It has millions of users, and a large variety of stories because of its age. I sampled it in July 2019, since that’s when I found a way to scrape data from it.

This chart is based on the number of stories in each of the major categories on the site. Given the number of users and age of the site, I suspect these numbers have been pruned to only include “real” stories as opposed to random fragments and other pieces which would make up the bulk of many sites.

Interestingly enough, this looks like a site where Romance doesn’t rule the roost, however there is a bit of an illusion on this site. While Fantasy is indeed the number one category, if you add Romance, Boys Love and Romantic Fantasy together (since on most sites they’d all be grouped as simply Romance) they combine to 21%, which makes them the second largest category on the site.

Overall, however, I suspect Joara’s membership is more male than female looking at the categories. The dominance of Fantasy is a clue, but so is the popularity of Parody/Humor (which you don’t see on female-majority sites) and Fusion is a mixed genre category that’s mostly other types of Fantasy, so fantasy is really closer to 34%. (Or 40% if you assume most Game stories are LitRPG fantasy stories.)

Not a lot to say about Joara,it seems to follow the fairly typical patterns you’ll see in most webfiction sites. Although, I do note that it’s lacking a mystery/thriller/suspense category, which is also one that tends to be more popular with young female audiences than male ones.

GenreNumber of StoriesPercentage
Fantasy4849025%
Parody3932820%
Fusion182699%
Boys Love162938%
Romance159948%
Game126226%
General Fiction (Unclassified)124596%
Romance Fantasy88294%
Literary Works70334%
Light Novels65623%
Fanfiction63893%
Martial Arts36192%
History11171%
Girls Love6000%
Sports2550%
197859

Webfiction Statistics: Shosetsuka ni Narou! (Let’s Become a Novelist!)

Shosetsuka ni Narou! (Let’s Become a Novelist) is Japan’s oldest and most popular webfiction site, and continues to be a place where publishers find their next hot new novelist. Many light novels, including Rising of the Shield Hero, That Time I Was Reincarnated as a Slime, Kobosuba, RE:Zero, Overlord and a huge list of other titles all started on Narou.

Narou isn’t shy with their genre tag numbers, so it was fairly easy to find out what people were writing on the site.

Narou Genre Tag Pie Chart

Of all the sites I’ve looked it, Narou has perhaps the most balanced and honest selection. By that I mean I can look at those categories and numbers and see the tastes of many ages, sexes, backgrounds, and interests all being combined there, not just a bunch of teen and college age writers.

Narou is still dominated by the big two of Fantasy and Romance, which would be Fantasy 27% and Romance 29% if you combine the sub-genres together, but it does have a bunch of other categories like Poetry, Essays and Pure Literature, which are rare on most webfiction sites.

One thing that does strike me about Narou was that what we would call Science Fiction is broken up into Science Fantasy (2%) and Space (>1%) which shows that harder science fiction doesn’t seem to fly on Narou. I have a theory that youth are intimidated by science fiction, and so they don’t really feel comfortable writing it. Fantasy is so much easier, and requires less research or chances of getting things wrong.

Detailed GenresNumbers
High Fantasy80578
Real World Love46320
Human Drama43796
Low Fantasy34612
Alternate World Love30482
Other28530
Poetry25457
Comedy21353
Essays19190
Horror16149
Pure Literature14750
Action12859
Science Fantasy10168
Fairy Tales8820
Historical7927
Mystery (reasoning)5435
VR Game4247
Space2497
Post Apocalyptic (panic)1611
Game Playthroughs (replay)346
415127

I should note that I have removed the category of Unclassified stories from the list for clarity, which were 253,774 of the stories listed on the site.

Webfiction Statistics: Fictionpress.com

This is part of a series of posts sharing some of the research material I collected while researching my book How to Write Light Novels and Webnovels. There was a lot I found that I couldn’t fit into the book, so I thought I’d share it here. The categories listed are translations of the ones the sites use, not my own categories.

Fictionpress.com is one of the oldest English-language webfiction sites, being a sister site to Fanfiction.net, which is the oldest and largest collection of fanfiction in the world. While nowhere near as large as its older sister, or Wattpad, Fictionpress does have almost 600,000 stories on the site.

Fictionpress makes its numbers public, so they were easy to get. Interestingly enough, the site splits itself into Fiction and Poetry, and the Poetry section is much larger than the Fiction section. This makes Fictionpress one of the web’s more popular poetry sites.

The Fictionpress graph data below was gathered in December, 2017, and omits a number of micro categories to make the chart readable. Those categories can be found in the raw data at the bottom. The General Fiction category is the default on the site, and is where anything un-categorized goes, so I have included versions of the chart with and without it.

With the General Fiction Category
Without the General Fiction Category

As you can see, if we eliminate the General Fiction category, we end up with a chart that looks pretty similar to Wattpad and most of the other sites. These numbers show the teen focus of the site, with Young Adult being the third most popular specific category

What is interesting about Fictionpress is how Horror and Supernatural both get their own categories, and how Humor and Science Fiction are both pretty prominent. Fictionpress is an older site, so it’s gone through more than one wave of popularity for Science Fiction, and I think that’s why it’s got a higher percentage here than it does on most sites.

Fictionpress and Wattpad have similar profiles, and here are their percentages in their top categories. You can see where Wattpad’s focus on Romance really sticks out, and how Fantasy is still a fairly popular Fictionpress genre.

General Fiction11700020.09%
Romance10900018.72%
Fantasy 9600016.48%
Young Adult573009.84%
Horror285004.89%
Humor271004.65%
Supernatural270004.64%
Scifi243004.17%
Action202003.47%
Essay171002.94%
Historical99001.70%
Mystery95001.63%
Biography88001.51%
Thriller76001.30%
Spiritual63001.08%
Mythology45000.77%
Play42000.72%
Fable39000.67%
Kids35000.60%
Western6960.12%
TOTAL:582396100.00%

Overall, Fictionpress is another site where mostly young writers share their stories. Since it doesn’t have a mobile presence like Wattpad and Webnovel, it is slowly fading into history as young people tend to like using their phones for reading and writing these days.

Webfiction Statistics: Wattpad

This is part of a series of posts sharing some of the research material I collected while researching my book How to Write Light Novels and Webnovels. There was a lot I found that I couldn’t fit into the book, so I thought I’d share it here.The categories listed are translations of the ones the sites use, not my own categories.

Toronto-based Wattpad.com is the largest English language webfiction site in the world, with over 80 million users. Those users are primarily female, with 70% of Wattpad users identifying as female, about 15% male, and 15% preferring not to say. Most of Wattpad’s users are also young,

Here is the breakdown for Wattpad’s 7.04 million genre tags collected on December, 2017 using Wattpad’s search function and searching for broad genre categories and recording the numbers. Wattpad claims to have had more than 400 million story uploads, but many of those will be fragments, and that counts each part or chapter as a separate story uploads.

Thus the data below is incomplete since it’s based on genre tags and stories can have more than one tag, although it does tend to match the data for other webfiction sites in terms of percentages. Wattpad has since changed their search display numbers to only show the top stories in each category, so it’s hard to get more current data. Also, I omitted Fanfiction and Unsorted, which would be the largest categories at the time, and didn’t record the data for them.

Romance naturally rules the roost on a female dominated site, and likely a lot of the Teen stories are also romance as well. Action being so high seems a bit odd, and might be a statistical anomaly created by stories having more than one genre tag. Some writers might classify any story which has action elements in it as action.

Fantasy is smaller than you might expect, being a pretty universally popular genre, but I strongly suspect that Action and Adventure could be grouped together into a single group with Fantasy. Not that there won’t be pure adventure and action stories on a female-dominated site, since girls like those too, but it would make Wattpad match most of the other sites out there.

Mystery is an interesting one, since Wattpad seems to have the highest percentage of mystery stories out there of any site I looked at. Then again, women do seem drawn to mystery stories more than men, so that might make sense. Humor and Horror are also higher on Wattpad than most of the other sites I looked at, but that depends on the readership.

Thriller falling closely behind horror is not a surprise, and Science Fiction is about where it is on many sites. Historical, Middle Grade and Post-Apocalyptic round out the chart. Smaller genres on most sites as well.

Here are the actual numbers:

GenreNumbers
Romance2100000
Teen1000000
Action910000
Fantasy653000
Adventure633000
Mystery502000
Humor389000
Horror368000
Thriller297000
Science Fiction154000
Historical30700
Middle Grade9100
Post Apocalyptic6900
7052700

Now, Wattpad also had clubs (they’ve replaced these since) at the time which had membership numbers for how many people were a member of each club available. Being curious, I grabbed those as well, and they chart out as below.

These are a bit different from the tag stats, but they show where the interest in the Wattpad readership was. People who joined a club were dedicated fans of those genres, and may have been readers more than writers.

GenreNumberPercent
Romance11414816.69%
Teen Fiction9491513.87%
Fanfiction9099613.30%
Fantasy599438.76%
Werewolf356545.21%
Humor345915.06%
Vampire330644.83%
Short Story305564.47%
Poetry256713.75%
Science Fiction219263.20%
Mystery/Thriller216393.16%
Horror211833.10%
General Fiction193022.82%
Adventure192082.81%
Paranormal169902.48%
Historical Fiction129091.89%
Action93971.37%
Classics77551.13%
Spiritual76491.12%
Non-Fiction66370.97%
684133100.00%

Since I took these, Wattpad has reorganized it’s categories and revamped the site in many ways. They’ve now put a big emphasis on diversity and LGBTQ+ inclusion, and in fact those are major story categories on the site. Unfortunately, I can’t say how major because they’ve buried their real numbers too deep for me to find and don’t seem to want to share.

Webfiction Statistics: Qidian.com

This is part of a series of posts sharing some of the research material I collected while researching my book How to Write Light Novels and Webnovels. There was a lot I found that I couldn’t fit into the book, so I thought I’d share it here. The categories listed are translations of the ones the sites use, not my own categories.

Qidian.com is China’s largest webfiction portal, with tens of millions of users and a steady stream of stories being published on it. They show their data by category on their front page, so it was easy to find, and this was the site that inspired me to start collecting webfiction site data to compare.

There are 2.9 Million stories on the site, and as you can see Romance/Women’s Fiction and Eastern Fantasy (Xuanhuan) are the largest categories. Urban (also called City Stories) refers to stories set against a backdrop of modern life, and would include business stories, dramas, superhero, comedies, slice-of-life, and most non-mystery/suspense stories (which have their own categories).

Cultivation stories are the famous Xianxia stories that are so popular in some parts of the web, while Martial Arts are Wuxia and Kung Fu stories, which were the Chinese equivalent of Westerns.

Western Fantasy is Dungeons and Dragons/Tolkien/Game of Thrones type pseudo-European fantasy, Scifi is what you’d expect, and Light Novels are anime-style stories. Games are likely litRPG stories and e-sports stories, while History will be historically-set tales. (Stories set in actual history are a prickly subject in China, so it only being 3% of stories is normal despite their love of historical tales.)

Sports aren’t that popular among Chinese youth, and Military stories are probably so low because most of the readers and writers on the site didn’t do military service. Writing about the military in China could also be a prickly subject, and is probably best avoided as well. Reality is just true-life stories, or ones that claim to be, and aren’t that popular either.

Overall, you’ll find that the percentages you see on this site compare fairly well to the percentages you’ll see on other sites. Despite the culture differences, the same genres tend to dominate overall on pretty much every webfiction site there is.

I collected data on the site in December 2017 when I started doing research for the book, and then again in July 2019. Since I collected the data twice, here are the comparative numbers.

Genre2017 Numbers2019 Numbers
Romance627492800106
Eastern Fantasy619680721722
Urban335998374244
Cultivation Fantasy211139236460
Western Fantasy134198159241
Sci-fi133498157333
Light Novels91106113490
Games96143108311
History7216477225
Supernatural5406066996
Martial Arts3700345378
Reality1454043492
Military1866520623
Sports92399109
24549252933730

Smashwords Releases eBook Sales Data!

 As someone who publishes on Smashwords, I got an update today about their company blog, which has made public a powerpoint the owner recently gave on ebook sales.

Ignoring the advertising speak, it’s some really interesting stuff. Apparently longer ebooks (100k+ words) sell better (unless you’re selling Romance or Erotica) and $2.99 to $5.99 is the optimal price point. If you’re thinking of Indie publishing, I highly recommend you take the time to skim through this powerpoint as it’s great to finally have some real data about what’s working and what isn’t.

Rob