What if I told you that social media “influencers” aren’t just people doing dumb things on the Internet or making memes on Instagram or vlogging about dead bodies on YouTube?
Would you believe me if I told you that there are millions of people that read short stories and poetry online? Yes, you read that right. People do still read!
Aknier, who is a senior in high school, has reached people from all over world with her romance fiction stories on Commaful, a popular storytelling website for fanfiction, poetry, and short stories. Commaful is known for popularizing “multimedia fiction”, fictional works that involve both visuals and writing. Multimedia fiction is a big trend because the visual nature makes stories relatable to a much wider audience, especially in a world where everybody is on Snapchat and Instagram.
Her stories feature diverse perspectives and positive messages that make for entertaining stories and also wonderful life lessons. Her audience includes teenage and adult readers alike.
Though she doesn’t command millions of followers (yet), she has an extremely loyal following and provides a positive message to her thousands of fans, unlike the typical social media stars of today. She’s even encouraging more people to read!
“I used to hate reading in school, but her stories are so good that I check her profile for stories every day”, mentioned one of her avid readers. “Her stories make me feel real emotions and help me reflect on my own life.”
I got a chance to catch up with young influencer to get a behind-the-scenes look at what makes her such a successful writer.
Thanks for joining me today! I’d love to learn more about how you got into writing.
I started writing when I was fairly young, I don’t remember exactly when. I’ve always had lots of ideas for stories I want to tell, but not really been able to finish them. I always loved creative writing in school, though.
What are the inspirations behind your stories? How do you come up with such creative ideas?
I’m usually inspired to write by a word, phrase, song, or something I see during the day. I love Commaful’s daily word prompts–I often write based off of them, or prompt suggestions I’m sent. Other than that, it’s usually something I see or hear during my day that I think “I need to write a story about that!”
You’re known for using a variety of perspectives in your writing and writing compelling romance. What’s your secret to making it so interesting?
For me, first person as a perspective has always come most naturally, even if I’m not actually the “I” or narrator of the story, so I tend to go with that as a default. Some stories that I want to tell, though, don’t work well with that format, so I’ll switch to third person. I don’t always give characters names or genders, because my favorite part of romance is that you can really imagine yourself or your situations as a part of it–that’s part of why I love first person so much. I guess I don’t really have a secret–I just write what I would want to read, and it seems like other people have the same things they want to read as me!
What are your goals and aspirations as a writer?
I actually never expected to be referred to as a ‘writer’ or actually have people read my stuff–I’m planning to get my degree in Biology, in fact. I do love writing in my free time, though, and definitely am very grateful for being able to write and get feedback on it! Of course I would never say no to getting some of my stories published some day, but it’s not my career plan.
Did you do a lot of writing before Commaful? Can you tell me a bit about your writing experience?
I wrote on Wattpad and AO3 before coming to Commaful, but I started a lot of different stories that I never finished. I was quite discouraged on those sites as well, because not many people read my work and I got no comments or likes. My experience totally turned around when I came to Commaful, for a variety of reasons. First, the short story format was great for letting me actually have a complete body of work, and not just a first chapter. Second, I actually got comments and likes on all my pieces, and third, everyone is so positive and lovely on Commaful. I’ve never gotten one negative comment, and every single time somebody shares what my stories meant to them it makes my day. Commaful really changed the game for me!
Can you tell me a bit about how you became famous on Commaful?
I actually didn’t realize that I was becoming popular on Commaful until I looked at the number of follower other accounts had and compared it to mine. I’ve never been popular on a website before! My craziest moment was with my story “I Can’t Believe You’re Mine”, which is still my most popular story to date with 260 likes. I was reading the rules to a contest on Commaful for romance writers, and they put that story as their sample ‘successful romance story’ which completely blew my mind. I don’t remember what I entered, but I actually didn’t win that contest, funnily enough. My entire journey on Commaful I’ve just felt so grateful for the community and audience that I have gathered. I still can’t really wrap my head around being “famous” for anything, let alone my writing. I guess overall I just feel lucky that the writing I love do to is loved by other people too.
Any advice to newer writers about how to successfully build an audience on Commaful?
As far as advice, I didn’t really do anything with the intention of getting readers, I just wrote what I enjoyed. I do feel like there’s a correlation between writing off the daily prompt and how many readers you get, so I would recommend that for anyone who has that as their goal. I guess overall I’d say keep writing, keep improving, and just be positive and supportive of other writers too. And if you have a story that you think is incredible, message me and I’ll read it and maybe shout it out! I’d love to support other writers on Commaful the way they’ve supported me.
If you’re amazed about Aknier’s adventure, you can follow here.