Breaks Between Stories?

Here's something I've been wondering for a while: is it okay to take breaks between stories? Unlike some web serials, my stories can't just go on and on forever. They end, and they're usually only about 30-40 some chapters long. It usually takes me longer to write the next book than it does for me to upload the current one, which means I end up with lulls in between books. I try to offset this by uploading two books at the same time (I can't right now because I'm in one of one of the aforementioned lulls), but that still leaves one of my two upload days conspicuously empty. Is this okay, or should I work harder to have a new book ready immediately after the old one ends?

I take a scheduled break every couple of months. I figure anyone who ditches a series because of that was never going to see it through to the end anyway. I should think that, so long as you let people know in advance, they'll be fine with it (and breaks also give binge-readers time to catch up).

Breaks are also good for building up "hype".

I don't believe in taking breaks, and segue straight from one story to the next. Building up my work as something people can read on a habitual level is important, and taking a break just gives people an opportunity to drop the habit and find other things to entertain themselves. The internet is full of those other things.

On another level, I don't see a reason to take breaks. If you do, that's fine, but I have ideas and I both enjoy and value the momentum that comes with keeping a schedule. If I stopped, I'd find it that much harder to get the ball rolling again.

It's not that I don't enjoy writing, it's that my job keeps me pretty busy. I always find time to write, but it's rare I can write as much as I want, which is why my new books are never finished as soon as the one before them ends.

For sure, Adambo. I didn't mean to imply you didn't enjoy it. I know that my particular style demands that I write one day on, one day off, and I/my writing suffers a great deal if I can't do that. You do what you need to do with the time you have available.

In your OP, you asked if it was ok to take breaks. It's definitely ok if that's what works for you.

I guess I could count myself lucky. Even with the breaks between individual stories, I've had a completely dry spell, lol

I think it depends a bit on what you mean by "break", and there's pros and cons either way. I've been running my serial site weekly for 20 months straight without a break... but it hasn't all been the same story there. I have one world that's written on a weekly basis ("Epsilon"), and another world that's being edited to post (time travel), and one of those universes runs whenever the other isn't. It's partly a compulsion to write, and partly a fear that I'll lose the half dozen readers I have if I stop - one of the possible cons (as Wildbow said) is people going elsewhere.

Conversely, when I ran my personified math, I would have a couple weeks between series' when I wasn't posting story - but I would still post. I'd post up an interview with a character, or a behind the scenes explanation, or character art, anything to try and pull new people in while giving the others something to read. And as it turned out, those were always the posts with the most hits... seems people weren't keen on reading my fiction, but for whatever reason they were willing to look at this other stuff. (I really have no idea if that's a pro or a con.) So kind of a "story break" without being a "blog break". Drew Hayes recently did something similar when one of his serials ended, by having other authors put in guest posts, so that there were still updates (there's a WFG thread about it).

In terms of an actual break, where nothing gets posted up...? Well, as Dary said, as long as it's scheduled, why not? Sometimes we need time to promote, or prepare the next thing, or simply to recover. Rushing things and producing output of lower quality is likely a worse option. I walked away from personified math for over a year before coming back to it. And it sounds like you're still uploading something, merely not at the same frequency. Balance the pros and cons, then do whatever you need to do... as long as you're up front about it, people should understand.

Much as I love my fans, the internet does not encourage a long attention span in anyone. I've seen it in multiple areas: games, stories, webcomics, RP groups... If the creator goes away, so do the readers. Sure, you can get them back, and get more, but I view every reader as a step taken up a steep hill, and I don't fancy sliding back down it and having to re-gouge those same footprints.

No breaks for me.

It's worth saying, though, that that's okay because I love what I'm doing. If your schedule has you stressed and overtired, that is a good reason to take a break. You can't create if you fry your creative circuits; self-care is an important skill for authors.

As long as there's an easily understandable schedule for your readers, you're probably okay. If you let people know when the break will end, you're probably okay. The lull won't help you as much as consistent posting, but as long as people know when you're coming back, there's not much to worry about.

I wouldn't take a break from writing, but I'd like for future projects to be more refined (and edited) before I put them online. Sure, I can publish first drafts, and people read them, but then I keep going back to edit obsessively and it's consuming my life. My next project after Anathema won't go online before it's edited and polished.

Regarding reader retention: What I'm currently doing is to build a brand with my pen name and the ebooks I publish under it. Readers sign up to my newsletter to receive an email whenever I publish a new book (or serial?). It's kind of like followers on Wordpress, but more geared towards a long term following across multiple years and books, and subscribers don't get an email whenever I publish a new chapter. Many successful Indie authors have thousands, some have tens of thousands of people on their newsletter.

If anyone's curious to see my newsletter signup page...

if the story is within/part of stays there. Once innate it advances whether scripting or not. Yes there is external input to expand discovery, which never stops. New knowledge abounds. Always awaiting the alert.

A break from publishing? Yeah, that hurts sometimes, but I can't say that I'm taking a break from writing. Been nose down ass up in some professional stuff lately, but now Keith and I are starting our push to the beginning of From Spring's Storms. Also the From Winter's Ashes rewrite is *much* more polished.