A Year With Vocal
What I’ve learnt as a Vocal+ Writer
After writing over a hundred stories, a lot of people ask or wonder “how have you written so much?” and honestly, that’s an interesting question.
Because when I started Vocal, I initially thought this would be a good platform with my reviews - and as an outlet to keep myself motivated to write during a pandemic, which it has - but I’ve also found a community of fellow writers and readers who actively want to discuss what I’ve written. So for anyone considering joining Vocal+ here are some things I’ve learnt after a year on this platform:
Write What You Want
This may sound simplistic, but it really is true. Some of my most read stories have been from writing about my love of audio dramas, His Dark Materials, character studies, film reviews, gothic horror or discussing the latest TV show or book I’ve finished.
The great thing about having Vocal as a writer is you are not limited to a singular subject or theme - one of my reviews even ended up in the “Flithy” community, which is something I never saw happening (but in hindsight made sense due to the book’s themes). But my point is, don’t be afraid to write about several stories that span across different themes - the moderators will make sure your story finds its home in the right community.
Vocal has consistently posted writing competitions that tackles different types of story ideas for writers to interpret. Bonus, the top three writers are awarded cash prizes - so that’s always a great incentive to enter!
I have entered a fair few of these competitions - not won any yet, but there’s still time. However, if none of these competitions grab your imagination or fit with your writing style… that’s okay. You can either use it as a challenge for yourself to branch out, see if one of your existing stories qualify for that competition or just keep writing what you’re comfortable with.
Remember to just check whenever a new competition opens up. You might be surprised.
So having a Top Stories was something I wasn’t expecting this year, but I did. I was even more surprised that it was for my Writing the Bad Boy character analysis!
This was two months ago and this was my fourth character study article, but I found these were receiving great feedback from readers - so naturally I kept writing them.
As well as delving into my love of TV and film, these allowed me to apply critical thinking to how these characters archetypes are written for the screen. Something about that one must have spoken to that particular moderator who reviewed my story and I have to say, it was a proud moment to be a Top Writer in the Geek Community.
But remember, there’s no secret formula to landing a Top Story or even writing more than one. It’s purely by chance and each writer’s experience will be different, but authenticity is always a great place to start.
This is one I’ve found the most beneficial in my writing through Vocal. If you look back through my profile, I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing several writers and actors about their work.
Through these collaborations and interviews, I’ve been able to speak to some fantastic individuals and gain insight into how they’ve developed in their craft. Some have been up and coming authors who have just published their debut novel, one has been a talented composer who made his scriptwriting debut, I’ve even interviewed the ghostwriter of a Gothic Horror legend and had the pleasure to discuss a film adaptation with one of the leading actors.
But it was worth the work to reach out and make those connections, because it gave me a chance to have those conversations and interview people I may not have had a chance to without building that reputation through this platform.
Can You Make Money?
The answer to this is yes, but it takes a lot of work. I only really started to make enough to withdraw when I reached a writing mile stone and got a Top Story. That took about a year to get to that point, so there was a lot of writing to put in before that.
My best advice is to be realistic when starting as a vocal+ member, it’s a monthly membership (the same as a streaming service give or take) and you’ll only really start to see benefits once you’ve reached a milestone, won a competition or have a consistent readership. So be prepared to put the writing time in!
Find Your Community
This applies to many aspects of writing for Vocal: the Writing Communities on the site, your fellow writers and absolutely the people who will take the time to read your work.
I’ve found out throughout this writing journey that I have a varied group of readers who have read my work.
The Vocal Creators Groups on Facebook have been a great space to connect and share stories with fellow Vocal writers. That support system has kept me motivated to keep writing, especially after reading the great stories from other writers.
The audio drama production company Big Finish has been another outlet to share my stories. As well as being a fan of the company that’s reignited my love for the Doctor Who franchise, I’ve had the absolute pleasure of interview their writers and reviewing their productions - one of my reviews even made it onto their podcast!
So having BF share my articles has been great - not to jinx it, but I’ve not had a bad review to date to write - because I know these reviews are landing in front of readers who will appreciate and want to read them.
Finally, finding the right fandoms has always been a great help in boosting reading numbers. For me, it’s definitely been writing about V.C. Andrews and His Dark Materials - both I am a fan of, but have found a consistent readership in these articles.
Basically, find what works for you, find the readers who you click with and just run with it. If you’re passionate about it, you’ll find others who feel the same.
Where Can I Start?
If you’ve got to the end of this and you’re thinking of upgrading to Vocal+ - then this answer is easy!
Follow this link and get to work on those stories, because there are people out there who want to read them.