Writing Schedule and Backlog

5 years ago | Tigellinus (Member)

Hey all,

First, I'm new. Hello!

Second: I was wondering about your advice on schedule? I haven't published my Web-Novel yet. But I was wondering what you thought the optimum schedule is? Is once a week too little? What were your experiences?

Kind regards and thanks,


Edit: Sorry, forgot to ask about the backlog. How much would you recommend having before you start publishing your web-novel/serial?

A Conquest of the Stars: The Heart's Anguish at: https://www.acotsserial.com/

Read responses...

Page: 12


  1. Psycho Gecko (Member)

    Posted 5 years ago

    A lot of us seem to go for twice a week. Probably best you don't try anything more frequent than that unless people are paying you enough to write that it's worth your while.

    As far as backlog, you'll want as much as you can get. It disappears a lot more quickly than you'd ever suspect.

  2. Chrysalis (Member)

    Posted 5 years ago

    I seemed to be doing fine with (fairly long) weekly updates. My backlog at the beginning was 10 chapters / updates, it lasted for around 1.5 years. In my opinion, it's all about discipline. When you have a backlog, it's more tempting to just 'take a break' when you're not in the mood to write, so try to develop the habit of writing daily anyway. Even if it's just a few paragraphs at a time.

    Anathema, a web serial about the effect superpowers would have on our world. http://anathemaserial.wordpress.com/
  3. unice5656 (Moderator)

    Posted 5 years ago

    I update approximately once a month. I do not consider this an optimum frequency, and definitely not enough if you are relying on people to remember to check your website for updates. If people are subscribed and get notifications on updates, things are more relaxed when it comes to scheduling.

  4. nippoten (Member)

    Posted 5 years ago

    I update once a week, my backlog lasted until the beginning of my second arc, which was about a month or two into the story. Now, I've been writing by the seat of my pants for almost a year.

    In the world of web serials, I've heard, you're better off being more frequent than not, so weekly might not be the most ideal, but it works for me. It gives me time to plan and write, and I set myself a decent word count (5000) so that readers have something substantial to sink their teeth into every week. And hey, it seems to work for me, growth has been pretty steady, so that's good.

  5. Dary (Member)

    Posted 5 years ago

    It all depends on you, your personal circumstances, and those of your story. A lot of people will say you need to update at least once a week, but I've always found the bulk of my readers prefer to binge large chunks every so often, rather than small pieces on a weekly basis. It all depends on what you write: fast-paced, action-driven stories lend themselves better to shorter, more frequent updates, for example.

  6. Raven Secrets (Member)

    Posted 5 years ago

    Mine is twice a week. And I followed Wildbow's advice of ten chapters backlog before starting, but that's been whittled down to seven or eight. Like Chrysalis says, it's really tempting to just slack off when you know it'll be over a month before you have to write anything. Writing a bit or even just working on background stuff helps to keep me focused.

  7. Tigellinus (Member)

    Posted 5 years ago

    Awesome, thanks guys. I think I'll do an experiment for a few weeks and see if I can get out two chapters a week. if I can, I'll set that as my Schedule. if I can't, then I'll just go for once a week - something I know I can do.

    The advice is much appreciated!

    A Conquest of the Stars: The Heart's Anguish at: https://www.acotsserial.com/
  8. mooderino (Member)

    Posted 5 years ago

    I currently write three serials. One updates seven times a week, another three times a week and the last one is once a week. They all have a sizeable audience, so I don't think it matters that much how often you post, you can make it work, although I would recommend being consistent. Readers form habits.

    I have no backlog, which is a pain. I do occasionally try to build one up, but it usually lasts a couple of months. I also occasionally post late or miss an update, although I didn't do that in the beginning when I was establishing myself. I do take breaks regularly (a week off here and there). Once you have fans of your work, they are fairly understanding (once you have a lot of fans, some can also turn quite nasty).

    The bigger issue is being able to attract people in the first place. This site is good for that, but there aren't many places focused on English webnovels. Chinsese/Korean/Japanese translated ones are a much bigger scene.

    It can help to start off posting on a bigger site like Wattpad, Royal Road etc, but a lot will depend on the genre you write. Certain topics are much more popular, often the more juvenile ones (OP boys, lovelorn girls) and will make it easier to hook into a ready-made audience.

    If you use your own site, be prepared for a slow start and quite a lot of effort if you want to build an audience faster (swapping reviews, being active in forums, finding places on reddit to promote etc).

  9. Jim Zoetewey (Moderator)

    Posted 5 years ago

    I update twice a week at about 800-1000 words (occasionally as low as 750 or as high as 1500). Initially I started with a six or seven week buffer, but by the time I decided to make Legion a serial instead of a short story that buffer was gone. I’ve been writing it the night before it’s due since then.

    For what it’s worth, my web serial’s run for ten years now. They key thing in my mind is to give yourself an update schedule you can handle even on a bad week. Personally, I’ve missed very few updates, but I have delayed a few times, particularly during the holidays.

  10. revfitz (Member)

    Posted 5 years ago

    Welcome Tigellinus! I hope that the serial game treats you as well as it has me. The community here is pretty supportive, I think you have found a good home :)

    I update once a week, with a word count between 800 and 2000, and a backlog of five chapters. I also manage a "Nihilist's Horoscope" for my mailing subscribers (also once a week, 200-300 words each), and have been writing 1700 words a day on top of that for NaNoWriMo. I have an unhealthy schedule set by a madman. It's great!

    I would suggest picking a schedule that you think works well with a backlog large enough to buffer the emergencies of life, but not too big so that you aren't writing often. Once you have that set and ready, CUT IT DOWN.

    Existential Terror and Breakfast--A serial with cereal.
    Updates Wednesdays at: revfitz.com
  11. Tigellinus (Member)

    Posted 5 years ago

    @Mooderino: Wow, that's impressive. How do you have the time for all that?
    May I ask, and this will be asked in more detail in a separate thread. But, how did you build your sizable audience?

    Tried that once before on Wattpad, got told that my writing was good, but that my friend didn't think it was really right for the audience.

    @Jim: Aha, that sounds intense!
    Wow, really? That is true dedication. My respects. :)

    @Revfitz: Thanks for the welcome! So I've seen, I've been lurking here for a few weeks now. :)

    Alright! Luckily I'm always writing more, so I hope to keep a good buffer zone of around five chapters either way.

    Again, thank you all for the advice. :)

    A Conquest of the Stars: The Heart's Anguish at: https://www.acotsserial.com/
  12. mooderino (Member)

    Posted 5 years ago

    A lot depends on what genre you write and how well you locate the audience for it. Some genres are easy to target than others because they congregate in more localised spots (like Reddit). Others are more niche and harder to find, but can be very loyal once you find them.

    What genre are you writing in?

  13. mathtans (Member)

    Posted 5 years ago

    I'm coming to this a bit late, but I have one of my standard "weird" experiences to share about post frequency. (Hello, by the way. I'm one of those writers who tends to update like clockwork but has difficulty finding an audience.)

    After about two years of updating weekly, roughly 3,000 words per update, I had one person comment that it was sometimes difficult to recall the plot threads from week to week. Which is fair, the writing was 3rd person, jumping heads, and there were a few plot elements going at once by then (even setting aside the time travel). So I shifted to updating twice per week, roughly 1,500 words per update. Effectively the same output, but twice as frequent for posts. I also put in a little "PREVIOUSLY:" segment to help people remember key elements.

    I feel like overall, that worked better. It effectively doubled the amount of promotion I was doing (sending out 2 updates instead of 1), and as a reader you don't have to set aside as much time to get through something half as long (easier to find 10 min out of a couple days than 20 min in one day). That said, within a couple months, my page views had DECREASED. Like, substantially. From 440 page views in all of September to 220 page views in all of November. Despite how I'd doubled the number of pages. Meaning viewership hadn't halved, it had quartered. Granted, there wasn't much in terms of viewers initially, so I think all that really happened was fewer people exploring, we were down to just the core few who actually read.

    The moral? Effectively, just find what works for you. Readers can be hard to figure out.
    (Sidebar: Owing to life issues, I've recently regressed back to a single update every two weeks. It really hasn't changed things in aggregate, aside from the return of "zero view" days.)

    Writing a Time Travel serial: http://mathtans.wordpress.com
    Writer of the personification of math serial: http://www.mathtans.ca
  14. unice5656 (Moderator)

    Posted 5 years ago

    Heh, tough lesson to learn is that ignoring reader suggestions is often better.

    When readers are happy, they don't complain and often don't comment.

    That one reader who's suggesting a change is often in the minority.

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