Re: How many chapters does a story need before you would start reading it?

#41

meteoraguy Wrote: Okay, on one hand, I understand being concerned that a new story might get abandoned. And I recently learned that RR readers tend to like having plenty to read. But the overwhelming preference for 100+ pages before even giving a new story a chance is very discouraging. If you'd rather read a book, why not just read a traditional novel that's guaranteed to have an ending?

Isn't the appeal of web fiction being able to follow a story "live" as chapters are posted?

The lack of support for new fiction is a very significant variable in stories being abandoned. I know it's ultimately the writer's "fault" for choosing to drop a story. But if readers are going to use being paranoid about being ghosted by writers as an excuse not to read something new, maybe they should provide more feedback when they do read something.

As a reader, I try to support new stories and comment when I can.

As a writer, I'm doing my part to reduce my abandoned fiction footprint by actually working on an ending before letting my story go.


I agree that some of the charm is that you're part of the writing (and feedback) process and reading a chapter a day, after which it becomes part of your daily(or weekly)rhythm, also has its charm. 

That still leaves me with the impression and experience that most authors on here simply aren't reliable though. Because the majority of the newer (read: low page count) novels I tried in the past, got dropped pretty early on. So why even bother if a new author comes along and has no proven record of sticking with it? That's yet another story unfished(which is mentally really unsatisfying btw) and yet more effort and time wasted. Why not just read a novel that already has a decent amount a chapters and pages, where the story is much more likely to continue going. And even if it does get dropped, you'd still have had 500+ pages of story. And in 500 pages, at least some story lines would have finished and you might even have read something original and had some fun. 

Moreover, the start of most novels on this site is by far their weakest point. I for one wholesale skip/skim prologues and introductions these days. They're just not fun to read and often times poorly written, unoriginal and filled with overdone tropes. In my experience, most novels suffer from this for at least a good 50 pages. Stories tend to diverge more after that. 
Now add this to my first point, and you'll see why why low page-count novels tend to be a waste of time for me. And sure, there might be a few gems out there, why should I however take the risk?

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Now, if I think an author is trustworthy and has a record of actually following through, I'm 100% open to following a novel from chapter one. That is however the exception and not the rule.

This might be demotivating for some, this is however the current reality of things. I also see how this can turn into a vicious circle downwards. People don't read new novels on one side and authors with few readers are more likely to drop novels. And because new authors drop novels more often, readers will dislike reading new novels more. And so on and so forth.

I think you need something big to break status quo here.
I've for example seen some authors with some sort of pledge to write some amount of content per week. And while I personally don't put much faith in seemingly random pledges like those, if those pledges were somehow enforced, that might be something that could convince me to read novels from the start.
But again: that would require the pledges to be worth something, and I have no clue how you would go about doing that.

If I were to spitball a random idea, it would be to somehow link the financing system to pledges like those. People who like the story pay into some site, and the author only gets that money if he fulfills his pledge. Something like that. Not sure how fair that is on authors, or how effective this is for new authors(since they tend to get any morey at all). Though guess you can build all kinds of variables into a system like that and it can exist next to existing systems
But again: haven't really thought about it; just a random idea.

Re: How many chapters does a story need before you would start reading it?

#42
*Nods* Then... I'm glad my story is on hiatus this a blessing in disguise, it's going to give me all the time I need to write lots of chapters before making it live again. Trying to write weekly on my schedule would be impossible, and disappoint readers. So II plan on writing lots of chapters to build a nice fat backlog to give me time to write more when it does go live again, as I'm super slow.

Is there any other things that authors do on here that make it less likely for readers to start on a new story? (Thanks much!) I want readers happy.

Re: How many chapters does a story need before you would start reading it?

#44
I look to story synopsis, cover, tags and reviews, as well as friend reccommendations, rather than amount of chapters, when I decide whether I want to give a title a chance or not.

THAT BEING SAID, there is always a chance the author is going a drop an ongoing project, or die before it's finished. So I guess you could say I prioritize works that have a lot of chapters, or are already finished, over the ones that just started.

Re: How many chapters does a story need before you would start reading it?

#49
Twelve chapters are the minimum. This is the case for several reasons. For starters, it is just enough to feel satisfied if the story grips you and to not hurt yourself by waiting for the next chapter. If there was no mass release then the rating will be trustworthy just enough as to not have you stumble on some horrible story. At last 12 chapters should be enough for you to decide if it is worthy to continue reading.

Re: How many chapters does a story need before you would start reading it?

#50

Landi Wrote: Twelve chapters are the minimum. This is the case for several reasons. For starters, it is just enough to feel satisfied if the story grips you and to not hurt yourself by waiting for the next chapter. If there was no mass release then the rating will be trustworthy just enough as to not have you stumble on some horrible story. At last 12 chapters should be enough for you to decide if it is worthy to continue reading.

Damn, I didn't think about it that way. Getting invested in a story that isn't long enough is self-harm. 

Looking at how many books and ongoing manga I currently follow, I think it's time to rethink my life choices and start caring about my mental health more.

Re: How many chapters does a story need before you would start reading it?

#52

TheDivingBacteria Wrote: I prefer completed stories but if it's good then I don't really care. It sucks if the release schedule is only 1 chapter per week though.

Same but I won't read stories with less than 40k words unless completed or finished but slowly being released. It's also a no-go if the story is nowhere near its end while frequently being on hiatus. 

I don't trust reviews either, it's always the same pattern repeating itself. People are like "The story is good, oh my god, I've been waiting so much time for something like this to come out!" Yeah man, sure, but you're reviewing it 10 chapters in and only 15 chapters are out. Then shortly after, the author announces they're going through burnout after releasing the first 20 chapters of their planned 70+ chapters long volume, followed by "Don't worry guys not gonna lie I still have a few stockpiled chapters so keep your Patreon subscriptions active, everything will be fine until it's not." and then leaves no more signs of life. 

I think the best way (granted, not the only way) to publish successfully on Royal Road is to finish the book (or the 1st volume) and only then begin to release multiple chapters a week. Just take your time to do some editing in between the releases. The regular schedule will attract even the most uncertain reader and they'll feel comfortable with following the story. After a volume is finished, go on hiatus and say you'll be planning the next stories if you want. We don't care. We had a complete experience and this is the most important, at least in my opinion.

There are of course some monsters (thinking about the authors of Beware of Chicken and Delve, notably) out there who can write several good-quality chapters on a daily basis but they're the exception. The usual layman should just stick to writing what he can and be consistent.

Re: How many chapters does a story need before you would start reading it?

#55

Toastbuster Wrote: It’s interesting reading these replies. Seems like most people prefer a larger amount of chapters before they invest but I was expecting the opposite. For me personally, it doesn’t particularly matter, but I would have thought that getting involved with a story earlier on would feel like less to catch up on.

The more chapters are up, the less likely the story will be abandoned. Plenty of people won't get into a 5-10 chapter work, especially if the author doesn't have other completed works under their belt, because they're worried that the author will get bored and leave.

Re: How many chapters does a story need before you would start reading it?

#57
I personally get incredibly overwhelmed when I see a story that has a lot of chapters. Anything over 50 and I instantly become disengaged. That's true even for the ones with stellar reviews! It's the same with TV shows. I watched Neon Genesis Evangelion over the summer because it had 20-some episodes and also rave reviews. However, starting a show like Supernatural, which spans 15 seasons and over a DECADE of television, would be impossibly daunting for me if I hadn't been following it from the beginning.

For me, I like finding stories between that 5-10 chapter mark. Then again, I just reviewed a story at 4 chapters. It depends mostly on how well the first chapters hook me. That said, I'm much more likely to start a story with under 5 chapters than one with more than 50.