When to Start a Serial

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?)

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.

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!

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!

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 ;-)


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