Questions for Starting to Publish My Web Serial

2 months ago | AM_Thorn (Member)

I started what I consider a somewhat ambitious project about a year ago. I wanted to write a serialized ongoing story in a comic book style world. This would be split into multiple "titles" and released monthly. I started publishing in November and as each of my arcs are split into 6 parts, this month I've finished publishing my first volumes. https://www.amazon.com/A.M.-Thorn/e/B07712RB18

I've enjoyed the process immensely but I've had a hard time getting reviews. I've sold a few copies here and there but sales have been pretty limited too. (About 30 purchases of various volumes which works out to just a couple for each part on average) I've done plenty of free giveaways to try and push sales which has worked at times (say, giving away the 3 latest parts and a few buy the 1st) but not in any real volume still. Instead going forward I'm going to only publish complete arcs on Amazon and do my weekly released on my web site. (www.vigilantesmakeussafe.com)

From the beginning I've been interested in publishing them as web fiction but I've been curious about how. With these first volumes finishing though I feel like that's a path which is open to me now. I was always going to complete these volumes for Amazon readers but I'm finding publishing each part as an eBook probably isn't the way to go. Each part is likely too small (5000-9000 words depending on the piece, with the average around 6500) and formatting/marketing/doing covers/etc. for each individual part takes up a lot of my time which could be better spent writing/editing/brainstorming. This won't eliminate that stuff but it will give me less of it.

I want to start publishing on my web site in May and one benefit of trying one way which I wasn't completely satisfied with is that I have a big back log. I just wrote the 13th part of one of these stories and a lot of those are edited/ready to go while others are getting close. In total I have 30 completely ready to post and another 38 in various stages of editing.

My questions though revolve around how to publish. My eBook schedule was one title a week the first four Fridays of each month(and eventually ramping up to multiple titles some weeks). If a month had 5 Fridays, I took one off. I kept a consistent schedule for each title, so for example Hitbox released the first week of each month, Rebel Rebel the second, and so on.

They're all in the same world and there are references/ties here and there but so far they're mostly easter eggs, nothing important. Each of the stories can be read on it's own with no knowledge of the others. I do eventually plan to have them cross over but I also intent to still provide enough information within each title that those who read it all will enjoy it more but those who read only one title can get things.

My thought is to keep that schedule and write/edit bonus chapters which are new for the few times we have a 5th Friday in a month. (I have the time, I'm far enough ahead) I'm also concerned though that for those who only read one of these that one update a month won't be enough. I could instead publish an arc of one then another and so on. (So for example the first arc of Hitbox for 6 weeks then the first arc of Rebel Rebel for 6 weeks and so on) I'm concerned that could make the issue worse though as while it keeps them coming back for 6 weeks, it would then be months before we got back to a character for their next arc.

So I guess my very wordy question is which seems better? Publishing one piece per month for each with one title each week or publishing one title then another and so on? Or something completely different I'm not seeing? Is one update a week too little? I've thought about trying to split these 6-9k pieces into twice as many and do two updates a week. Some of these stories that would feel natural while others it wouldn't. Trying to reformat all of these at this point seems like a herculean task. I appreciate any feedback.

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Responses

  1. Dary (Member)

    Posted 2 months ago

    Personally, I'm of the belief that you should avoid forcing a square story to fit a round schedule. Do whatever it is that best suits your serials: it will serve you better in the long run.

  2. unice5656 (Member)

    Posted 2 months ago

    In my experience, people will come back to read something that hasn't been updated for a while as long as they have some kind of prompt to come back. If you want to rely on people manually coming back to check for updates, you have to release on a religiously regular basis at least once a week. However, if you have some sort of subscription option that will send people emails when the story is updated, the requirements are more relaxed.

    In my opinion, you should release enough of each story to have a good chunk to read, for instance, the first arc, then alternate updates between them. If you have enough content to split each chapter in half and therefore have weekly updates for each story, great; if not, not a huge deal, especially if you have subscribed readers.

  3. Rhodeworks (Member)

    Posted 2 months ago

    Speaking personally, I've found a got significantly more readers on a regular basis when I switched NAH from one update a week to two. In retrospect, when I first opened the site, I would've put the entire first 'part' up to give people something to hook into immediately.

  4. AM_Thorn (Member)

    Posted 2 months ago

    That's really interesting. I'd consider that but I've got four main stories where the first volume is completely done and at around 40000 words each, that seems a lot to throw at people at once. My other concern is some of the later parts in these are still KDP Select on Amazon so I can't post them yet. They'll be off by the time I get to them at a one part of each per month schedule but not yet in a few cases. I may be able to do an accelerated schedule for the first arc though and then try to see if the second arcs can be split in a way to release twice per week. That's really helpful.

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