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What's Left? => Alternative Publishing => Topic started by: holden78 on February 18, 2016, 06:11:07 PM

Title: Blogging/Serializing a Novel
Post by: holden78 on February 18, 2016, 06:11:07 PM
Hello, everyone--

I'm wondering if anyone has had experience blogging a novel? What I mean is offering a chapter each week as a blog post? I am querying agents right now for one novel and in the meantime I started another one, but this will be more of a novella with a lighter plot. I was thinking it would be an interesting experiment to post a chapter each week until I finish. I figure this could help me in two ways: get immediate feedback, which will motivate me to keep going with it, and it could help build a readership. I currently only have a few readers so if it flops it won't be that big of a deal. I've read about the potential advantages/disadvantages, but I'd like to hear from someone who's actually done this.

Thanks for any help/insights!
Title: Re: Blogging/Serializing a Novel
Post by: Tabris on February 18, 2016, 08:07:05 PM
My novel Annihilation was originally serialized through a magazine called Mindflights. Every week they'd put up a new chapter, and at the same time the whole book was for sale "for the impatient." It did sell okay for a small press, and I know there were people reading it every week. I think the key if you're going to do it is consistency and to have a decent platform (Wattpad, for example. X just did her novel that way), but also keep in mind that once you've done that, it's *published.* You're not selling that one again.
Title: Re: Blogging/Serializing a Novel
Post by: holden78 on February 18, 2016, 08:23:37 PM
Thanks, Tabris! I realize it's highly unlikely to become traditionally published once it's out there, and I'm fine with that. It's more of an experiment and I don't expect to make money off of it. I'd really just like to increase my readership. I've heard Wattpad is a good tool but since I don't write YA, I'm not sure how helpful it will be. I'm going to try it, though. Thank you for your insights!
Title: Re: Blogging/Serializing a Novel
Post by: farseer on February 18, 2016, 08:35:48 PM
Serialising on a blog worked out ok for Andy Weir with The Martian...  :wink:
Title: Re: Blogging/Serializing a Novel
Post by: holden78 on February 18, 2016, 08:45:05 PM
Oh man, you're right, farseer! I'm going to do that then. Just blog a best-seller and cut out the middle man, haha! Wish me luck!   :)
Title: Re: Blogging/Serializing a Novel
Post by: gckatz on February 18, 2016, 08:54:35 PM
I did that with a NaNo novel once, but I think it develops bad habits since it encourages you to think of your book in a piecewise, linear fashion and to treat each chapter as a finished product rather than part of an evolving work in progress. For instance, I almost always end up making major structural changes to the opening, which you can't really do if it's already published divided up by chapter, plus your readers who read the original opening won't necessarily go back and read the revision. In general, once you post a project like that, you have very little incentive (or even ability) to go back and improve it, so it's essentially only as good as its first draft.
Title: Re: Blogging/Serializing a Novel
Post by: holden78 on February 18, 2016, 10:14:10 PM
Interesting points, gckatz. I worry about that, too, since with my first book I found myself going back to previous chapters and re-writing things throughout the process. That's why I'm trying to make this story simpler, so that maybe it will be straight-forward, cut-and-dry. But maybe then it won't be that good, who knows? Thank you for your thoughts!
Title: Re: Blogging/Serializing a Novel
Post by: MookyMcD on February 18, 2016, 11:07:39 PM
The alternative is to write the book, revise and edit as you see fit, even use some CPs and betas, THEN start putting a chapter a week on your blog. Hell, I live with my CP who, back when our relationship was still only about writing I started to consider a writing partner more than a CP, we talk about our WIPs all the time, and I still won't let her see more than snippets. This project had three false starts before I finally realized about two months ago the beginning had to go where I originally thought the story ended, and the story I'd been writing became backstory. The best analogy I can think of would be a first draft of The Godfather starting when Vito Corleone was a child whose father was killed in front of him. That's where the story actually starts, even if the book begins shortly before his death.

Not to divert the conversation with too specific an example, but that's one of the 10,000 reasons to think carefully about it.

Just to contradict everything I just said, it still worked out great for The Three Musketeers and about a thousand other things by Alexandre Dumas, Arthur Conan Doyle, Dickens, Tom Wolfe, Michael Chabon and a host of others.
Title: Re: Blogging/Serializing a Novel
Post by: slightlysmall on February 19, 2016, 12:25:44 AM
I posted fanfic that way, and found myself getting frustrated with my inability to change things. In fact, I left the fanfic world with one story still incomplete because I couldn't write the final chapter in a way that jibed with all the stuff I'd already written, and I gave up. A few others I wished I could change, and others I noted inconsistencies in after publishing. But on platforms where they know you're posting as you write, I think readers are more forgiving (or maybe just skew younger?).

The best thing you can do if you're posting as you write is create as detailed of an outline as you can to work from... or just follow Mooky's advice and write first, publish serially later.
Title: Re: Blogging/Serializing a Novel
Post by: Tabris on February 19, 2016, 07:01:10 AM
When I did Annihilation as a serial, the entire book had been written, submitted, accepted, edited, and then was serialized. I wouldn't post a work-in-progress.
Title: Re: Blogging/Serializing a Novel
Post by: Sarah Ahiers (Falen) on February 19, 2016, 07:36:10 AM
Serialising on a blog worked out ok for Andy Weir with The Martian...  :wink:

This was what I was going to say!

I had a friend who serialized a novel on Amazon. It went well for her, but she realized it was too much work to do that, and do her day job at the same time. (and she also has a trade pubbed cozy mystery series)
So she said she'd do it again, but not while she still had the day job she had
Title: Re: Blogging/Serializing a Novel
Post by: holden78 on February 19, 2016, 06:01:01 PM
Thank you so much for posting your insights, y'all! I really appreciate it! If I do end up going through with it, I'll let you know how it goes.
Title: Re: Blogging/Serializing a Novel
Post by: Pandean on February 19, 2016, 06:06:34 PM
Note: if you serial use a novel on Wattpad you can still query it and all. To most agents Wattpad doesnt count as legit publishing.
Title: Re: Blogging/Serializing a Novel
Post by: Pandean on February 19, 2016, 06:08:21 PM
My novel Annihilation was originally serialized through a magazine called Mindflights. Every week they'd put up a new chapter, and at the same time the whole book was for sale "for the impatient." It did sell okay for a small press, and I know there were people reading it every week. I think the key if you're going to do it is consistency and to have a decent platform (Wattpad, for example. X just did her novel that way), but also keep in mind that once you've done that, it's *published.* You're not selling that one again.

Multiple agents say that Posting a novel on Wattpad prior to querying is not publishing it.
Title: Re: Blogging/Serializing a Novel
Post by: holden78 on February 19, 2016, 06:20:55 PM
I've read opposing views on the "Wattpad does/does not constitute publishing" issue, so thanks for sharing what you heard directly from the horse's mouth, X. :) To be safe, though, I'm not going to put my first book out there. I'm not as attached to the one I'm currently working on, so whatever happens I'm prepared to accept it.
Title: Re: Blogging/Serializing a Novel
Post by: Pandean on February 19, 2016, 06:23:21 PM
I've read opposing views on the "Wattpad does/does not constitute publishing" issue, so thanks for sharing what you heard directly from the horse's mouth, X. :) To be safe, though, I'm not going to put my first book out there. I'm not as attached to the one I'm currently working on, so whatever happens I'm prepared to accept it.

Well I asked around again just to make sure but it seems like most agents are okay with it. It's different for short stories and such though.
Title: Re: Blogging/Serializing a Novel
Post by: Tabris on February 19, 2016, 06:40:19 PM
My novel Annihilation was originally serialized through a magazine called Mindflights. Every week they'd put up a new chapter, and at the same time the whole book was for sale "for the impatient." It did sell okay for a small press, and I know there were people reading it every week. I think the key if you're going to do it is consistency and to have a decent platform (Wattpad, for example. X just did her novel that way), but also keep in mind that once you've done that, it's *published.* You're not selling that one again.

Multiple agents say that Posting a novel on Wattpad prior to querying is not publishing it.

Agreed. Wattpad is not the same as doing it on one's blog.
Title: Re: Blogging/Serializing a Novel
Post by: farseer on February 19, 2016, 06:57:27 PM
I've read opposing views on the "Wattpad does/does not constitute publishing" issue...

Agents and publishers don't have an issue with posting a draft on Wattpad. In fact you just have to look at the number of success stories it is generating. Wattpad is a huge social media site for teenagers, some big number deals are being brokered for popular Wattpad novels. I don't understand how authors (particularly YA authors) can ignore it. Readers love engaging with their favourite authors on Wattpad.
Title: Re: Blogging/Serializing a Novel
Post by: Pandean on February 19, 2016, 07:13:31 PM
I have a fan base there. It's small but there are people who will see me on the forums and be like

WAIT? Are you THAT Pandean? The one who wrote White Stag???!!!

It's one of the best feelings ever.

(My screen name there is Pandean)
Title: Re: Blogging/Serializing a Novel
Post by: Nostrabuttus on February 22, 2016, 09:14:12 AM
The first blog I started was posting short stories based on the struggles of an incompetent romance writer. I created a small community along with a few neighbors, who he interacted with along his journey.

I eventually abandoned the blog because I only had a few followers. I went back two years later and checked the statistics to see if anyone had visited the blog. Thousands of people from ten different countries had viewed the posts on that blog, and they were still coming. The month I checked had over 700 views.

I took the twenty-two short stories I had posted on that blog and published them in an eBook. The eBook has not done well, but I'm still averaging two to three hundred viewers per month on the blog. Go figure. I started advertising my eBooks on the blog, which caused somewhat of a drop off of viewers for a while.

What the viewers really wanted were the short stories, not posts that were book promotions. What I originally created was a person struggling to get published. His humorous mishaps apparently were interesting to viewers. Had I stayed the course and kept posting more short stories, I think the audience would have continued to grow.

Here is what I learned.

1. Keep trying new stuff, until you find something that works.

2. Nothing keeps working forever so change is constant in this industry.

3. Everything is somewhat of a gamble, but if you are unwilling to play, you have zero chance of winning any of the jackpots, small or large.

Here is my advice: If you are excited about something, give it a try and see what happens.