When to Start a Serial

5 years ago | Billy Higgins Peery (Member)

Does it matter what time of year you start a web serial? I just finished a novella, Kinda Super Gay (tell me if you hate the title; I like it but I'm not sure yet), and I want to start posting it soon. However, I know National Novel Writing Month just started, which presumably means a number of the writer-y types that frequent this website are probably busy writing novels, and might even be writing them in a serialized digital format. This could mean a glut of titles, nobody paying attention, and so on and so forth.

The novella's only going to run 4-ish months, which I know is pretty short for a web serial, but I really feel like it's what was best for the work. So I don't want it to get drowned out. And I was wondering if when the serial was initially released had an impact? Is summer better than the school year? Are the holidays the absolute worst time to start posting anything? I understand that it takes a while for a web serial to gain traction, if it gets any at all. But I'd still like to give it the best chance I could to find a few readers.

I'd appreciate any and all thoughts, even the bad ones. (Especially the bad ones. Because bad thoughts are often the start of great adventures, no?)

"Any number of hitlers, are still not my problem." -Tempest

Read responses...


  1. Wildbow (Member)

    Posted 5 years ago

    Honestly, Billy, I strongly doubt it matters much - you're going to start off with barely any views, you'll get a bump after you get listed on Webfictionguide and any time someone promotes your work, and then you'll taper off with more than you had pre-bump.

    After that, it's liable to be a slow, steady climb, assuming you put out steady, good quality work.

    Focus on putting out work reliably - it may well help to avoid starting during the holidays, which are the worst time to write for me (chaotic family stuff). Get a backlog up, and maintain it until you've found your stride.

  2. AGreyWorld (Member)

    Posted 5 years ago

    Being honest... 4 months might not get you much readership at all.

    Web serials are a long-haul. Readership builds up pretty linearly unless you get an exponential type-break, which needs a critical mass that's probably still going to need the linear build-up.

    People don't wait for a new serial release and jump on board if they like it. Your audience is more... drifty. You slowly gather up readers over time.

    Once 4 months is over you might have a handful of readers, but if your work ends they're going to drift off unless you have something else to try get them onto.

    If you're planning on releasing novellas. I would say you should set up a site to host all of them in one place. So when you gather readers they will go look at your other works. In the years and x novellas you will have a decent audience.

    Because of the glacial rate you tend to gain readers during the start of a serial - I wouldn't worry about "when". It really isn't going to make much difference!

  3. Billy Higgins Peery (Member)

    Posted 5 years ago

    Awesome, guys! Thanks so much for the response.

    Wildbow: that makes a lot of sense. It amazes me how the proper answer is so often, "Just write," no matter the question. Though there's also an element of "Just publish," which I hadn't really noticed until now.

    AGreyWorld: that definitely makes sense. I don't expect much of an audience, but I guess for a novella-length serial it would be best to expect no audience. I just wanted to start with something shorter to make sure I had the fundamentals down, as well as the proper work ethic. I figured I should give this serial the best chance it had at finding a few readers, but there's something comforting in the idea that it doesn't particularly matter when I release it into the wild. Doesn't matter what you divide 0 by. It's still 0. (Hope I got the math right for that metaphor. You'd figure two years of Algebra would be good for something.)

    Also, a series of novellas would be pretty cool. I might do that at some point!

    "Any number of hitlers, are still not my problem." -Tempest
  4. Fiona Gregory (Moderator)

    Posted 5 years ago

    Hi Billy

    I personally pledge to read your serial so you have at least one reader :-)
    Then you can divide by 1 instead which is a little easier ;-)


  5. Unillustrated (Member)

    Posted 5 years ago

    A good one too. I've seen her post comments on a lot of stories. That sort of thing can make a surprising difference.

  6. Billy Higgins Peery (Member)

    Posted 5 years ago


    "Any number of hitlers, are still not my problem." -Tempest


You must log in to post.