Serial Writing: On Schedule, Covers and Genre

In a attempt to boost my readership, I’m gonna be changing the posting schedule for 139 Years and In Evening. Not just boost, but also to help get more chapters out on time. Right now, I’m doing a every biweekly Friday posting schedule. I settled on that since I thought it was a pretty good pace for me to keep.

Now that I’ve gotten more into the speed of things though, I’m thinking of bringing it to a weekly speed. One chapter for each serial, once a week. I’m thinking Moday for In Evening, to get people through the long week ahead, and maybe Wednesday or Thursday for Years, to finish that last leg of the work week.

I’m guessing most people will either read on the way to work or at home when they are trying to sleep. Having these dates will probably also help keep the serials up on the front page longer.

Here’s some advice for people getting into serial writing which I’ve learnt from my mistakes; but I’m giving it to you all free.

1. Get a good schedule

When I started In Evening, I  had a random schedule, which made it hard for readers to follow my stories. By the time I realized that, I was knee deep in chapter 7, which was kinda late. I started the biweekly schedule, every Friday, but it was kind of too late, I admit.

Try posting on days where you can have your stories on the front page longer. I know a lot of writers like to post on Fridays and Thursdays, the last two days of the week. They’re good dates. Rye’s Sibling Moon last went up on Friday. And Hobson and Choi and Retcontinuum went up the day before as well. It’s where JP 30 lives. Hah!

But that doesn’t mean you should post on those dates. I just realized that. Those stories had strong fan following and had the beautiful JP 30 tag to boost readers. Serials that just started would likely not have it, which means we want to post on dates that can have us stay up on front page the longest, with as little JP 30 tags to hang around with.

I’ve once said the writing community is a very supportive one. I stand by that. But it’s also extremely cutthroat brutal. Most people who read these suggestions will likely go on to use them, at my expense. But I’m totally cool with that.

2. Have  a good cover from the get-go

JukePop themselves blogged about the book cover thing and how important it is for attracting readers. I just want to reiterate how important that is. When I started, In Evening’s cover was shit. I won’t lie. I just started using GIMP and spent a while figuring it out before I gave up.

I took the cover art issue too lightly and I’m sure my readership lost traction because of it. By the time I finally decided to put my media diploma to work and make a legit cool cover, I was already about 6 chapters in. It was bad. By then, most people saw the cover and likely thought, “Hey, this story has a cool cover, but the +votes are so little. The story must be shit.”

The damage was done. I made sure to not repeat such things with 139 Years.

3. Figure out your genre

This last tip won’t go for most writers. Most of us knows exactly what we want to write. Be it thriller, action, fantasy, new adult, etc. It’s more for writers like myself, who have a penchant for mixing and matching.

In Evening is a more common cross-genre between horror and thriller, so it was easier for me to come up with a base genre between the two. But it also had an element of dystopian, and I was hesitant in choosing the base genre on the first try. I settled on thriller as it was the genre that had a larger role.

But 139 Years is, well, hard. It’s a very balanced mix between slice-of-life (New Adult on JukePop), sci-fi and dystopian, so I had (and have) a really hard time settling on a base genre. Those are three genre’s that generally do not mix. Now, I could have just selected cross-genre, but that’s not a tab most people will read. The only one that is popular was The Watchmage of Old New York, which ended a while ago.

I currently have Years on New Adult, and it’s doing well being kept at the top of the tab but I’m thinking of switching it over to either sci-fi or dystopian soon as there’s not many readers in the New Adult tab. Most likely by the next chapter post. Maybe I’ll put it in cross-genre if I’m really confused.

Point is, figure out your genre early, and don’t leave your readers confused and looking. Learn from my mistakes. Hells knows I’ve made enough of them in life to learn from.

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