Re: Is once a month too long for updates?

#1
I'm still basically new on RR and this will be my first posting within the forum, so please forgive any poor formatting or repetition if this question has already been answered. 

I have noticed from comments and such that many are off put by stories with long waits between uploads.
I have three fictions ongoing at present, although I suppose I only count two as the other is dedicated to short stories. 
One has an upload cycle of every other sunday, since this story seemed to garner more interest it became my point of focus. Whereas the other I upload on the first Sunday of every month.

Is a whole month to wait for a chapter putting people off?

My reasoning ofcourse is working full time out and about and dealing with recent moves and such I rarely get time at my laptop, additionally I only get time with my daughter every fortnight further cutting my writing time down. The stories are all there and normally I have them scrawled out in a notebook, it's just finding the time to write it up. 
Should I drop one story and pick it up after the others finished? Or should I try and even out the upload schedules so they are both once every three weeks? 
Even then is that too long?

I would very much appreciate all input please.

Re: Is once a month too long for updates?

#2
Mother of Learning has been posting updates on a monthly basis and it worked well for the author. But not only was each chapter pretty long (the average being around 7.6k words), the story was also damn good, so it gathered a huge fanbase that spent the downtime on theory-crafting and trying to predict what would happen next. The problem is, that's the only story I know with that kind of schedule and I read a lot.

My advice? Focus on the story you want to tell the most, the one that constantly gnaws at your thoughts, polish it and start posting as often as you can.

Re: Is once a month too long for updates?

#3
I've been part of almost every debate regarding upload schedules and it all usually boils down to 'the more, the better'. That's always the answer. I'm not here to provide advice, but to present the other side of the equation, the readers' perspective.

There is no exact statistics, but I can comfortably say that less than 10%(and this is me being generous) of stories on this site ever get completed. That being the case, readers tend to take several factors into consideration when they decide to read a story, aside for the obvious i.e. ratings and reviews; what readers are looking for is consistency.

Regarding consistency:
First, readers usually check on the release schedule. If they find any weird gaps, like random extended times between releases, this will be an indication that the fiction will likely be dropped. If the releases are spread far apart, then this shows a lack of dedication and could be an indication that the fiction will be dropped. This is why having a quicker release schedule helps a story grow, at least initially. If you are posting on a monthly basis I can guarantee you will struggle to grow. The only way to show dedication in a monthly release schedule is through sheer volume and time. If you have had a consistent monthly release for 2 years then it will be a positive rather than a negative. If you have over 400 pages published, then it will show consistency and dedication. But it's hard to create a sense of volume when the releases are spread far apart.

The readers on this site have become so used to stories being dropped that they've become very perceptive to any sign of inconsistency. Sure, there are people that will read a story regardless of what I've said, but they are a minority. Why would someone read something they know/feel will never see an end. 

You can keep the monthly schedule, but I just wanted you to know the reality of the decision. In the end, the choice is up to you.

Re: Is once a month too long for updates?

#5

It depends on your goals, really. If you want to build an audience, maybe transition to being a full time writer, or anything similar... then once a month is going to make that very hard. On the other hand, if you want to tell a story, maybe have a dedicated fanbase, etc. then it might be ok.

Serialized novels, like webnovels, are consumed in large numbers. I limit myself to ~15 stories here, and ~10 on novelupdates (misc sites), and ~8 on scribblehub. That means I have 33 stories to keep in my head. 33! At the same time! Worse, I have more than that in my "give a try" and another dozen in my 'rarely updates but don't drop yet'. And these are not all small works. Stuff like 20k weekly updates from one story (The Wandering Inn), or daily updates in the thousands of words. I'd guess it is the equivalent of a dozen or more novels in wordcount a month. 

So, if I don't read your story for a month... I have read hundreds of chapters of other material during that month and now have to claw back my memories of your story. Even great stories can fall to that (the example of Mother of Learning is one - I couldn't keep up with the loops but I still have it on my list, and read it once a year), so it's a very high hurdle to overcome.

I don't want to be negative, it can work, but... the reality is that if you care about audience (rather than the art), once a month is a major disadvantage.

Re: Is once a month too long for updates?

#6
Depends on what you are offering.  Mother of Learning was a monthly release originally then moved to once every three weeks at like chapter 50.  It was always top dog on fictionpress.  However, there was a difference in quality there.  You can tell just from reading a couple chapters how much planning the author put into writing the novel.  He's admitted from the start that before he even started writing, he had the ENTIRE NOVEL planned out.  Not only that, he limited himself from the start.  No endless novel that will go on until the author gets bored.  And you could tell.  The plot was in such a way that the story HAD TO END.  Not in ten thousand chapters, not even 500. 

There's a feeling of quality when a novel is planned out and designed to end.  I don't care what others say, you don't plan, you are cutting off your own legs.  Other novels that make it on the best rated list are mainly there because they have REALLY addictive gimmicks and they didn't write like a**. 

In short, if you want people to stick around despite long periods between releases, you have to release actual quality content.  Superficial interest won't work.  

Re: Is once a month too long for updates?

#7
So, I've been posting once a week, every Tuesday, since Sept. I have 22 chapters and about 47,000 words posted. My genre is superhero. I have to admit, I'm a bit discouraged by the number of views I've gotten in four months. (3,200) I've seen newer stories get far more simply because they post very quickly. I'm not 100% sure what the issue is beyond the fact that I'm not posting fast enough, even if I haven't missed a week. Nothing much I can do about it right now since that's all I can handle with my schedule. But yeah, that's been my experience.

Posting only once a month for a new story is probably not going to be very rewarding for you. I know many writers get a backlog and post quickly to drive traffic.

I would suggest just writing. Get to 50k and then decide where you want to go from there. I hope my experience helps. :)

Re: Is once a month too long for updates?

#8

Theres pro's and cons for short and long interval updates.

Overall, long intervals are way less forgiving on the writer, if you write a bad chapter... people will just stop reading. its too hard to remember whats going on in a month long interval story if the reader is not fully invested and interested. So you have to write interesting chapters every time.
Sure people will come along after you have been writing for months and read like 6 chapters really quick... but then they have to wait a month. Its hard to pick something like that up again.

Writing is the exercise of making a story that is easy to pick up and hard to put down. If the interval is long enough, you probably face the same thing with every chapter that you do at the start of a story where you have to try to engage the reader within a few sentences.
By having large intervals you make the story easy to put down as well... which kind of goes against the whole idea. least in my opinion anyhow.


Short interval stories have thier own problems of course like writer fatigue, life gets in the way sometimes and you sometimes have irregular schedules as a result. It is however more forgiving on the writer because it's easier for the reader to remember what was happening last chapter and as a result, you bypass the struggles of getting them to pick it up and read a new chapter.

Well thats what I think anyway. I'm a weekly 3k writer meself. seems to be going ok so far.

Re: Is once a month too long for updates?

#10
Thanks all for the helpful comments. 

It's really confirmed my thoughts, alleviated some of my concerns and encouraged a change of tact. 

I'm glad to see the community is really helpful and understanding. Taking what you have all said on board I will endeavour to post frequently more and once comfortable with the content of the pieces I shall saunter the release dates out to a more manageable timeframe. 

Re: Is once a month too long for updates?

#11
As a reader, I dislike having to wait an entire month to find out what happens next. From an authorial standpoint though, it's understandable. Sometimes quality just takes time.

As long as you make it clear when your updates will be, if the content is good, people will be willing to wait. It all comes down to reliability. I am, personally, much more willing to wait a month for a chapter if I know that chapter is coming. If an author tends to post a new chapter every week and then goes dark for a month, I'm going to assume they've dropped the fiction. If they make it clear that a certain fiction is updated at a certain rate, I can wait.

Personally, I just can't understand people that update once a week, but upload three to five chapters at a time. I can't understand the logic of it all. Why not upload a chapter every other day? Why not just make it all into one bigger chapter? I don't get it. I'd rather get one decently sized update on a regular basis than a bunch of small chapters all at once.

Re: Is once a month too long for updates?

#12

Anthezar Wrote: So, I've been posting once a week, every Tuesday, since Sept. I have 22 chapters and about 47,000 words posted. My genre is superhero. I have to admit, I'm a bit discouraged by the number of views I've gotten in four months. (3,200) I've seen newer stories get far more simply because they post very quickly. I'm not 100% sure what the issue is beyond the fact that I'm not posting fast enough, even if I haven't missed a week. Nothing much I can do about it right now since that's all I can handle with my schedule. But yeah, that's been my experience.

Posting only once a month for a new story is probably not going to be very rewarding for you. I know many writers get a backlog and post quickly to drive traffic.

I would suggest just writing. Get to 50k and then decide where you want to go from there. I hope my experience helps. :)



Superhero stories aren't very popular on Royal Road, generally. Not All Heroes got into the Top 100, but other than that I don't know any that have done particularly great. You may want to look for other avenues to crosspost on.

Monthly updates will only work if you're willing to write very large chapters, like real meaty experiences that will have readers discussing for the next week at least. And you probably need to have something of a "brand" already to pull it off, like a loyal readership that likes your stories released already and are willing to hop to your monthly one as well. Otherwise the update gap may be too large to gain that initial readership that will help grow it over time. Then again, Re: Trailer Trash is a monthly story and is very popular on here.

Re: Is once a month too long for updates?

#14
I don't usually read these stories until are completed due to not wanting to wait per release, but there are people that do read like that but they also jump between fictions very quickly. If you want a once a month release, most people will expect enough content per chapter to tide them over for a month. if you just infodump every half chapter which is a common tactic to raise word count. I'd drop the story. I dont want to know your world as much as your story. I want your story first and your world comes in at a steady pace.