New here, need some help!

Hi all,

I'm new to the site and was looking for some help in how to get started.

I'm part of a writing duo who is working on a novella series/serial. We've got some experience between us. I've published a couple of novels and he writes comics, but we're fairly new to web serialization.

Can anyone help with how this all works? I notice most of you tend to have wordpress sites. Is that the standard? Or can people use wattpad or the like to platform their stories?

We're also trying to figure out what kind of genre our project falls and if its right for this site's readership. Perhaps you all can help. It's drama/action stories at the core with some cyberpunk-ish tech and superhero-esque characters.

Perhaps I can drop in a blurb or link to it to help define it more, but not sure of all the posting rules so I wont for now. ( unless you all tell me its okay :D )

Anyway hope to get to know you all.

Kirk of Team Contract

Let's see... Most people apply to be a part of. So viewers can vote for stories they like, and the stories near the top of the list get visitors from the site.

There's a waiting list of about a month before your story goes up after you submit it.

I don't know anything about Wattpad, but I *do* know the rules require the entire story be readable without having to reach through a paywall to do it. Does wattpad have a paywall? I've never used it so I don't know.

There's no rule requiring wordpress- that's just a custom because it's useful and convenient. It's what I use, it's both a free site (though you can pay for bonus features), and the free version is still better than a lot of pay to use blog sites. I shopped around a bit, still haven't found a better option.

I've never seen anyone get in trouble for posting links. As long as you're showing your story rather than advertising some service or another, at least. I assume horribly inappropriate links will also get you in trouble, but haven't seen it tested.

And inside the forum section? Most of us chitchat about what's worked for us, what hasn't, how to maybe do better, and often asking for advice like you're doing now. For the most part it's a nice, friendly place to be.

I'd wait to see if you reply and answer more questions, but morning's awful early for me and I'm sure you'll be answered before I get back.

Hey thanks for the reply. I set up a wordpress and I think you're right. It's dead easy and I still can't believe it's free. Since its okay to post links here is one to the backpage sort of blurb.

Again, maybe you can tell me if this is something people might like to read on here. Still working on making the blurb sound better too. But anyway, just something to give an idea.

Thanks again!

As someone who only just started writing a web serial perhaps some of my experiences will be useful to you (and perhaps not).

First, I would suggest you submit your story here asap. It took me over two months to get accepted.

More niche genres can still find an audience, but those sites require you to be quite active on them to get a decent return, which can be exhausting so it may be better to choose one that fits you best.

Hey OP. Like mooderino, I have one of the fastest growing new stories, which sounds incredibly arrogant and I threw up in my mouth a little just typing that. Most of my "success" (I'm making air quotes here too) I'm pretty sure is based on luck, but hopefully some of the things I've done over the last few months have helped, at least a little. I'd like to think that everything isn't the result of the universe playing dice with my life, but I'm not willing to rule it out. That said, I will pass on what I think I've learned about web serials in in the off chance my life isn't just the flotsam of the cosmos.

Not to discourage you here, but everyone does it differently. I personally upload to multiple platforms and I don't consolidate my reader base. Some writers stay in one location, some writers try to draw people from multiple places to a website or a particular site for whatever reason.

There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to what works.

However, I will repeat some fantastic advice I got from some of the established community here: Write a lot. Regular updates are not only the key to getting a viewer base in the first place, but garnering the loyalty we all value in our readers as well.

I'm going to echo the sentiment that you should get your work approved for this site ASAP. Being a part of WFG and TWF has been phenomenal for acquiring readers. It is not inaccurate to say that being part of this community was one of best decisions I ever made to improve the promotion and quality of my online work.

In many/most ways, writing a web serial (or having a web comic for that matter), fosters a very intimate connection with readers. It's one reason I think what we /all/ do here is more art than science. It's a lot more complex than just creating an input towards a desired output.

There are a mind-boggling number of variables involved in being successful or not in this medium and I won't lie to you; there is a huge learning curve.

In the last year, I've learned how to create websites, promote, create my own maps, promote, work with artists, set up crowd funding, create rational linking, promote, search for new ways to interact with fans, find new plugins for my website, grow as a writer, and did I mention promote? This has been one of the most challenging learning curves for anything I've ever decided to do, but it's been incredibly rewarding.

TL:DR: Instead of a blanket question of what you should do, I would suggest finding a writer or two you respect and ask what questions you should ask.

You will get a lot more data from specific questions than asking how the entire process works (because it's a massive undertaking). For me, quite a bit of my journey since Jan. has been discovering where the holes in my self-education are. This has allowed me to ask the right questions to leverage the massive amount of experience found in this community.

Thanks very much for your responses guys. Very helpful indeed. I've been puttering around on Wattpad DA and Patreon for about a year and haven't been able to establish readers. I think genre is a big deal when it comes to that. I could understand from what I see on wattpad that my stuff probably won't appeal to the demographic.

For more specific questions perhaps, does anyone know of active sites that cater to superhero stories and/or cyberpunk readers? I'll certainly try out although it may not fit that genre too well either, but who knows.

Thanks for sharing your stories of success and challenges as well. It's nice to know you're not alone in the struggle :)

Another question for you all. How far ahead do you write in front of your audience? Do you all have like months or chapters in the can, or are you racing to meet that deadline every week and sending out basically drafts?

WFG very much caters to superhero stories! They're kind of popular here. ;)

@Team Contract: I don't know about everyone else. I think Wildbow has said that he writes chapters, sometimes right up to posting, but I like to have a little bit of leeway. Depending on real world shenanigans, I'm normally about ten chapters ahead of whatever I'm posting. Sometimes, I realize that I'm taking the story down a dead end, or I don't like the way it's playing out, so I prefer having some time to realize that before it goes live.

@Chrysalis: That's good to know! I hope it may find some readers here. It's not superhero by name but it has a lot of the elements. More like how science will be able to make people with superpowers and how would they deal with it.

@gloomybear86: That's a good plan. We currently have like a year's worth of material. We write novellas and short stories that join to form an overall story arc, so not sure how they will do serialized. With all with have there is a temptation to dump it all at once, but I'm sure that may seem overwhelming to new readers. What size chunks do you guys find digestible to these types of readers?

I have two strategies from the outset of every book. First: I have a rough sketch of the end of a story (well, the climactic point of the story, not necessarily the final chapter- aftermath can take care of itself when the time comes) before I write the first chapter. With that sitting there as a target, I can usually guide the story toward it with minimal trouble. I might meander a little, but in the end I know where I'm going.

And I blend both the "buffer" and "write up to the last minute" models. I have about five buffer chapters at the moment, but I publish them as I write them, which takes away most of the safety net and keeps me from getting lazy and thinking "meh, I've got a buffer, I can take a day off". Best of both worlds, in my opinion.

@TanaNari Not a bad strategy. I got about a novel's worth of material so I'm still figuring out how to release it slow enough to gain traction. We'll see what happens! :D

I also have a lot of stuff NOT related to the story as background that I wait for the opportunity to drop.

For example: I always knew events more or less like the Robocop movie were canon to my setting. It took me four books to finally find a chance to drop that into the story. I jumped on it.

Still trying to find a good place in the story to reveal that although everyone believes Hitler had mind control powers... nope, he was just as normal in my setting as in the real world. But damn if mind control isn't a comforting way to deny that human beings are horrible.