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One of the most difficult hurdles in writing a successful story is gaining an audience.

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While many self-publishing and writing sites exist, new and old stories alike can be buried under others and lost. The mission of this website blog is to connect avid readers to undiscovered writers and their stories.

The format is simple. Each post will introduce new stories through three Story Factors and two Writing Factors for a total of Five Assessment Factors:

  • Story Factors:
    • Plot Development & Execution (PDE) — Clarity, originality, and pacing of storyline
    • Character Design & Development (CDD) — Appeal, originality, and growth of characters
    • Settings & World Building (SWB) — Immersion, clarity, and cohesiveness of world
  • Writing Factors:
    • Technical Quality (TQ) — Correct grammar, punctuation, and spelling
    • Style & Voice (SV) — Utilization and expression of language and vocabulary

All factors are scored on a scale of 0 to 3. Thus, the highest score is 15, and the lowest is 0.

Authors of stories with <100 chapters can request a new assessment after at least 20 new chapters are posted. Do this as a comment with your URL link under the Contact page, OR submit your request in the Official Discord where both readers and writers are invited to join the newly established community server.

Novels will be held to a high, critical standard through the putative perspective of a traditional publisher. Writing quality and story expectations differ between web novels—mobile stories of the fast-paced internet—and traditionally published books—stories championed by agents and revised by professional editors.

Web novels often lack the polish of traditionally published stories due to authors taking on all steps of the writing and publishing process alone. But, what web novels may lack in refinement, they offer in convenience, variety, and interactiveness through their digital platforms. Additionally, web novels tend to have low reading levels, meaning they are easily able to be read by a larger audience. This also allows for easy reading on the go.

With these differences considered, a successful web novel typically do not equate to the same caliber as a traditionally published novel. In order to encourage more unique, quality web novels over mainstream or cookie-cutter stories that are popularly consumed, Virtual Bookshelf Reviews will hold web novels strictly to published print/e-book standards. Few web novels hit physical bookshelves, so Virtual Bookshelf aspires to spotlight those of merit and distinction.

Web novels which have 20 chapters, or roughly 20,000 total words, will have a dedicated Story Page that includes information such as the synopsis, genre, audience, current number of chapters, chapter length, date of posting, and reading level. Reviews from actual readers will be curated by Virtual Bookshelf to provide valuable, quick insight without the need to personally filter through dozens or hundreds on the writing site itself.

Only original novels or series will be assessed. Excluded stories:

  • short stories
  • one shots
  • fan-fictions
  • non-English stories

Example Assessment Factor Scores:

Technical Quality

0 :  the mld summer breze billow comfortly against her chek. lay under daple shay of narled oak tree. she relesh the sensashon, was simple a perfect afternon. Nothig could pry her a way from spot, only super now could becken her

1 : The mild summer breze billowed comfortingly against her cheek as she lay under dapple shade of narled oak tree. she relish the sensation for it was simple a perfect afternoon. nothing could pry her away from spot, only super now could becken her.

2 :  The mild summer breeze billowed comfortingly against her cheek as she laid under the dappled shade of the narled oak tree. She relished the sensation for it was simply a perfect afternoon. Nothing could pry her away from this spot, only supper now could becken her.

3 :  The mild, summer breeze billowed comfortingly against her cheek as she laid under the dappled shade of the gnarled oak tree. She relished the sensation, for it was simply a perfect afternoon. Nothing could pry her away from this spot; only supper now could beckon her.

Style & Voice (+ Reading Level where 0-1=low, 2=medium, 3=high)

0 :  The wind blew against her face. She sat under a tree. It was a perfect day.

1 :  The breeze blew gently against her face. She was sitting under an old oak tree. It was a perfect afternoon, and she was enjoying the weather.

2 :  The summer breeze blew gently against her cheek while she sat in the shade of the old oak tree. She enjoyed the sensation. It was a perfect afternoon, and nothing could take her away from this spot; only dinner now could make her leave.

3 :  The mild, summer breeze billowed comfortingly against her cheek as she laid under the dappled shade of the gnarled oak tree. She relished the sensation, for it was simply a perfect afternoon. Nothing could pry her away from this spot; only supper now could beckon her.

Plot Development & Execution + Settings & World Building

0 : Tells and doesn’t show. Lists actions and confusing events that don’t connect or lead to something greater or significant. Stagnant and unoriginal with little world building.

1 : Tells and sometimes shows. Events are sometimes confusing with little overarching direction or meaning. May include fillers or useless information. Lacks originality or differentiation.

2 : Shows and tells adequately when it is usually necessary, but show/tell is not balanced all the time. Events are mostly understandable with clear direction and significance. Original or freshly portrays a common storyline. Steady, consistent world building and clear settings.

3 : A balanced show and tell storytelling that highlights key events while passing over unnecessary minor occurrences. Events connect and build upon one another into a perfectly cohesive and engrossing story with clear themes and meanings. Imaginative, immersive, compelling plot and world.

Character Design & Development

0 : Uses common character tropes with no differentiation whatsoever. Bland and lacking depth or motivations. May have Mary Sue type characters.

1 : Common character tropes are used with little differentiation. Characters have little depth or may have some Mary Sue type features.

2 : Even if character tropes are used, they have differentiating features that make them fresh and original. Characters have sufficient depth and balanced attributes.

3 : Characters have are fresh, original, and balanced. They have depth and develop with the story. Some key defining points are their relatability and or memorability.

***Please Note:

  • A minimum score of 5 is the goal. A score of 0-4 is considered a low quality novel and are not additionally listed elsewhere besides these singular assessment posts.
  • Assessment of Story Factors are more accurate with more chapter content released.
  • Do NOT equate a novel’s score of half of the total possible points (7-8/15) as inferior or 50% as if it were a grade. The numbers are merely representations of qualitative not quantitative story elements.
  • Out of 370 stories from 2019 that scored 5+, roughly 20% were fair (5-6); 45% were good (7-9); 35% were great (10-12), and <2% were excellent (13-15).

While Virtual Bookshelf cannot claim to be the main cause for a story’s rise in readership after being assessed and listed on the website, visitors do indeed find engaging stories through our curation. Many of the listed stories from 2019 (only covering Webnovel during that time) have since exploded from ten thousand views to millions of views. It is a joy to see such stories flourish.

If you are interested in participating on this project which connects undiscovered stories to readers, or if you have a book or author you want to recommend, support, or promote, or if you simply want to explore new and rising stories, then join the Official Virtual Bookshelf Discord Server).


Love your website! It is really hard to find good stories from good original authors. Bad grammar, cliche storylines and dialogue is frustrating. Thank you so much for your recommendations- I started with Mr. CEO and the Devilish Beauty and can’t put the book down. I was lucky to discover your blog. Thanks again! – Starrynight, May 9, 2019