You Have to Be a Redditor

A Content Creator’s Guide

You Have to Be a Redditor

I hate reddit. I really do, but if you’re a content creator, you have to be a redditor. You simply have to.

Let me tell you a little story about my redditing before we get started, so you can have an idea regarding why I hate reddit.

I originally started using reddit in 2011. I don’t think they had karma back then. I ran a Google search for “when did reddit implement karma," and came up with bupkes (nothing), so you’ll forgive me if I’m wrong, but I don’t recall there being karma in 2011. By the way, reddit has been in existence since 2005.

What I recall was joining communities for writing, ebooks, books, reading, fantasy, sci-fi, and horror. What I recall was posting, or rather trying to post, in those communities, kindly asking for views of my work, so that I might get a little feedback, and edit my stories for the appropriate audience.

Whichever forums weren’t archived, which was most of them, and a big reason I hate reddit, were overrun by angry moderators who immediately flagged my posts. I wasn’t able to post anything, and had no reason to comment on threads, since they were either archived or the threads were full of posts with pictures of dead cats and the following 10k comments: His name was Robert Pawson.

I couldn't, in good taste, use an actual dead cat!

Reddit hasn’t changed much. Most of the relevant forums are still closed or archived, even after being live for less than six months, while the forums with dead cat pictures, pictures which have nothing to do with the community, are still active after nine years. Furthermore, reddit now has karma.

If you’re not familiar with reddit, you don’t know about karma, but it’s like StumbleUpon, the idea being that you need to interact with others before you can post your own stuff, only it’s much, much worse. There's nothing wrong with interacting, but reddit takes it a level beyond ridiculous.

A few years ago, around 2013 and again in 2015, I tried to be a redditor, building karma, so that I could post my own content. I mean, what kind of content creator doesn’t ask a potential audience for feedback? What kind of content creator doesn’t want to help others aspiring in their footsteps? I think we all have some advice….

Both in 2013 and 2015 I tried to swallow my integrity. I upvoted a hundred Robert Pawson comments, and added my own. I got no upvotes, and built no karma. Then, for some inexplicable reason, my account was banned.

Well, as we all know, whenever an account on any platform gets banned, you just make a new one with a different email account. Since I had a new website, I had a new email account, and I made a new reddit account. I tried the crummy process again, still upvoting on Robert Pawson, and still commenting: His name was Robert Pawson, like a dozen years after Fight Club became irrelevant, and for some inexplicable reason, my account was completely deleted. I know this because my current account is the same email address, and it is verified, and linked to my Twitter account, and the "cake day" is February 2019.

I know 99% of you who have tried using reddit have the same exact story. You’ve given up on reddit, claiming, "non quam postea" (never again), because the stress of gaining karma, so that you can make relevant posts—so that you can use reddit the way it’s supposed to be used—is more aggravating than the stress of running a failing business.

Why even bother, right? There are other ways that work, right?

Well, yes… and no. If you can get reddit to work for you, you’ll be in the clear. This is especially true if you’re an indie writer just trying to get some hits on your website, where you’re giving away free work to readers in the hopes of gaining a little fame.

I went back to reddit in February of 2019 and had to make a new account with the old email. I tried the same process one more time, and fled in crushing humiliation once more. Then, recently, I found an image I wanted to use for a book cover.

Here’s where it gets a little interesting.

I ran a reverse image look up on TinEye, and I found the creator, who has an account on DeviantArt; his name is Matt Bulahao, and you can find him here. In the comments for the image, someone claimed to have posted the image on reddit. The creator thanked the viewer, claiming that the post on reddit had increased their page views and watchers (followers) 10-fold overnight due to the post.

I was able to purchase partial rights to an edited version of the image for my next book cover thanks to the fact that someone had posted it on reddit, or I’d probably have never seen it myself. The content creator got to make some extra cash from five minutes of editing their existing image, and everyone went home happy.

You have to use reddit, because there’s a pretty big chance that no one is going to post your content on reddit; you have to do it yourself, if you can ever get enough karma to do so, but here’s the thing: reddit has two threads called r/freekarma4u and r/freekarma4you, both of which are filled with people who will upvote your comment, and your comments on comments, no matter what because that’s what the forum is for.

Let that sink in; you have to break reddit’s rules in order to properly use reddit. The idea of reddit is that you post relevant content or relevant comments on content, and due to the relevancy, you gain karma to post your own relevant content. Furthermore, I saw on the r/askreddit forum a moderator asking about failing communities and what’s wrong with them. I commented that I saw a great community for writers that’s failing because no one is posting relevant material, and they immediately downvote relevant material, only upvoting pictures of dead cats with the comment: (yeah, you guessed it) his name was Robert Pawson.

I’m writing relevant a lot. I know, but it’s relevant.

I then commented in the same thread that I noticed that none of the comments to the r/askreddit thread answered the question. All the comments were about something irrelevant, and the comments on the comments were irrelevant, and all of those comments were being upvoted.

I hate reddit. It’s a shocking mess of the filthiest detritus from the underbelly of the internet, but Hell, if you can get the karma to post content, you might be lucky enough to get more votes and hopefully some shares. A single share of your content could be the catalyst to earning money for your content. My book cover creator made some cash, and I commented on the DeviantArt page that we had made this exchange, so hopefully, he can make more money creating more book covers, technically thanks to reddit.

After spending painstaking hours trying to comment in the free karma threads—and understand that reddit immediately considers you a spambot because you can only comment once every ten minutes—I managed to get enough karma to post some original content. Then, I had to get enough karma to post images along with my content, which led me to being able to post upvote memes on the free karma threads to get more karma to be able to post more content.

What a bunch of crap, right? Reddit treats us like we’re all a bunch of stumbling, bumbling buffoons. It’s nuts.

Nevertheless, if you can swallow your integrity, and play the game, which means breaking reddit’s rules to be able to use reddit, and if you can find a functioning community, and if the members of that community have an inkling of sanity and intelligence, you might, maybe, get some traction, and some hits to your website.

Seriously, I got one share on a link to my website, and I saw nearly 30 hits from reddit in my stats for that day. No, 30 hits isn’t much, but it’s still 30 hits, and if you can get an extra 30 hits a day to your site, that’s 900 extra hits a month. That’s 10,800 extra hits a year, and if you keep going on reddit, it might be even more.

As a content creator, think about how many more potential customers—or how much bigger a faithful audience—you could have with 10,000 extra hits to your website a year. Now, you have to, and I’m stressing this, you have to offer quality content, or that share you get is just going to piss the redditing community off. They’ll shut you down so fast it’ll make your head spin.

That’s why I hate reddit. It’s filled to the brim with butt munchers who have nothing better to do than denigrate and berate people for trying to do something they love, trying to offer the world a service. It’s crazy; the bulk of reddit is just uninspired morons repeating the same inanities over and over ad nauseam; pictures of dead cats with the comments: His name was Robert Pawson.

I hate reddit, and you probably do too, but you have to get it to work for you because it’s a bottomless reserve of possibilities. Really, there’s a forum for practically everything with thousands of people looking for what you’re creating, or they’re presenting the information and services you need, or, if you can build the karma, you can create the forum people need.

Just an example; I’m gluten free. I’ve read that something like 3 million Americans alone have gone gluten free. There’s no gluten free forum on reddit. You could make one and possibly sell a gluten free cookbook!

That said, I’m sure you can Google “How to earn karma on reddit” and find great ways to earn karma. Just be careful not to get banned, and understand that now, which is worse than ever, reddit is limiting how much karma you’re allowed to earn in a day.

I swear, reddit doesn’t actually want you to use reddit. It’s a living cancer in the colon of the web, but I guess even cancer has its place in the world.

Good luck to you, and thanks for reading. You can find more helpful articles like this one on my website, StoriesbyDennis.com.

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Aaron Dennis

Creator of the Lokians SciFi series, The Adventures of Larson and Garrett, The Dragon of Time series, and more.

See all posts by Aaron Dennis