Re: How Much Such I Store Up Before I Post?

#1
Hello everyone! I made this account a while back, but it's only recently that I've found the inspiration and motivation to sit down and start writing a story. I've only got about 4300 words so far. I'm not sure whether to post anything yet or not, however. My dilemma is this: I am actually hoping, on the long shot chance that I gain a following, to attempt to make a side hustle out of web novel writing. I've read that some people suggest you build up a bit of a nesting egg of chapters before you start posting, so at the beginning you can release every day or every couple of days to hook readers. At the same time, I'm new to fiction writing and would appreciate the comments and reviews I could gain by putting my first chapter out there, but then my second chapter might not come out for another week, especially since I am also looking for more surefooted work, and doing a course in TESOL at the same time. I also feel that I want to know if my readers even like my first chapter and my story idea before I spend too much time writing a dud when I could have been doing something else.

How have you all approached the releasing of a new web novel, and what is your advice?

Thank you,
Puren

Re: How Much Such I Store Up Before I Post?

#2
If you want to give it a serious shot, build up a backlog. A serious backlog. Publish like it's your full-time job, throw up as much as all the ones who do write full time. The only way to do this is to come in prepared. Before posting anything, you have all the time in the world to prepare, so have as much ready as possible. 4,3k words are nothing. It's 1-2 chapters. That's 2 days worth of posting. You need to post for weeks before you get anywhere, months even. Backlog is key. I and many others who "made it" had a backlog and come into this treating it like a job from day 1 when it came to posting.

This is also a good test. If you can't write 100+ chapters on a story just because you enjoyed writing it. If not, the stress associated with writing if it actually becomes your occupation will be suffocating.

There is no surefire story. There is no guarantee. Any story you release will have a massive chance of flopping and being a dud. So just write that you enjoy writing and hope it works. if it doesn't, at least you will have enjoyed writing it. And if you can't enjoy writing a story without any assurance it will lead to anything, you should consider not trying to turn writing into a job, to begin with. There is nothing wrong with just writing as a hobby.

Re: How Much Such I Store Up Before I Post?

#4

Puren Wrote: would appreciate the comments and reviews I could gain by putting my first chapter out there
In all likelihood, the only thing your first chapter will get is a single comment saying "thanks for the chapter!". Expecting more is... how to put this... unrealistic.

As far as having a backlog, I say keep at minimum two week's worth. So if you post daily, keep 14 chapters. If you do weekly, 2 is fine.

Puren Wrote: I want to know if my readers even like my first chapter and my story idea before I spend too much time writing a dud
That is completely the wrong mentality to have when writing. In order to keep up a story, you have to like it. You have to be excited about it. You have to want to finish the story. If you're only writing for others, you'll burn out faster than a damp stick. You have to write for your enjoyment. If you don't, even if you have hundreds of followers and thousands of comments, you won't be able to force yourself to write.

It's great that you want to write! Writing is a very creative (and very cheap) hobby. But if you do it for any reason other than because you have fun doing it, you won't last long. If you want money or fame, you'll quickly become disillusioned and quit. You have to write for your own personal enjoyment. If others like it and pay you for it, that is 100% only a bonus.

Re: How Much Such I Store Up Before I Post?

#5
Thank you guys for the advice. I do like my story, or at least the ideas and themes, though I am worried about how the execution will turn out. I did not mean to say the only reason I was writing was to earn money. I always loved reading as a kid, and a number of story ideas for my own works have come and gone over the years. I'm not a writing genius, but essay writing, particularly in literary or philosophical topics has always been one of my stronger points, and I wondered if I could build on those skills and branch out into fiction writing.

I rather meant to say that I have often put off writing because I worry there are other more concrete ways I could contribute to my family's income and that I'm wasting my time. Currently however, the company I worked for just went under so I'm balancing the time and freedom I have to do things I couldn't do before, while I study/ apply for jobs amidst Covid and lockdowns, with the hope that I can use it to help supplement my income. All that to say, it is not that the income is what is driving me to *want* to write. I would love to learn to put the stories in my head and the lessons in my heart on a page, but the possibility earning from it has made me consider that this is a responsible way to use my time, capitalize on some of my strengths, and purpose a hobby toward more than just leisure.

It seems like the general consensus here, however, is that I should wait until I've gotten a good chunk written before I begin posting it online.

Re: How Much Such I Store Up Before I Post?

#6

Puren Wrote: How have you all approached the releasing of a new web novel, and what is your advice?
I started out with a small backlog of about 20 chapters. 8 chapters in, or about 2-3 weeks in I scrapped all of it, restarted the whole story from ch9, and fumbled about for 6 months writing the story in two directions. I shot myself in the foot since people probably wouldn't give the story a second chance. It's possibly something I've never recover from in possible retention and a friend strongly recommended I just delete and start over with a title and cover change, but I persisted. Maybe it wasn't for the best, who knows. 


So changing tunes, I've read advice that about 70k words can be a good starting point.

Re: How Much Such I Store Up Before I Post?

#7

Puren Wrote: Hello everyone! I made this account a while back, but it's only recently that I've found the inspiration and motivation to sit down and start writing a story. I've only got about 4300 words so far. I'm not sure whether to post anything yet or not, however. My dilemma is this: I am actually hoping, on the long shot chance that I gain a following, to attempt to make a side hustle out of web novel writing. I've read that some people suggest you build up a bit of a nesting egg of chapters before you start posting, so at the beginning you can release every day or every couple of days to hook readers. At the same time, I'm new to fiction writing and would appreciate the comments and reviews I could gain by putting my first chapter out there, but then my second chapter might not come out for another week, especially since I am also looking for more surefooted work, and doing a course in TESOL at the same time. I also feel that I want to know if my readers even like my first chapter and my story idea before I spend too much time writing a dud when I could have been doing something else.

How have you all approached the releasing of a new web novel, and what is your advice?

Thank you,
Puren
You should stock up on chapter more the better, because you never know when your going to  be too busy to make chapters... Sadly I'm too slow at writing so my stock is normally only 2 a head of what I post. But that doesn't mean I'm not always writing and sometime I have to for go my stock pile work because I come up with a better idea then I made and that takes me a while again so let's say try to stock pile as much as you can but don't stock pile so much that if you decide to change something it ruins all other stock... I mean ideas come into our head even though we know the ending mild and  everyone about our own story there already room for hay new ideas to shine and added content that could f up your next 8 chapters so don't worry about if it f up those chapter ether but yes stock pile as much as you can... I wish I wasn't such a slow writer.. or I would have lots of chapter in my storage however I  also have a lot of  chapters go to waisted because I do sometime get to stock pile and then realized last minute I want to change a few thing that ruin my hard work buffer chapter I had build up so it's always a gamble but it's better to have  a good size buff rather then not having one like me 

Re: How Much Such I Store Up Before I Post?

#8
To be honest, I kind of dislike that currently this is what new authors need to do, to increase their chance of success. Keeping content away from the readers until you stockpile enough to post it rapidly just sounds nonsensical. And it also prolongs the time until the writer starts getting feedback: maybe on the first few chapters you get some good responses that you agree with, which would influence your writing from then forward. It just sounds like a lose-lose to me: while you're stockpiling, readers can't read, and writers can't get feedback or views. 

And it really increases the barrier to entry, discouraging people from just writing a couple chapters and posting it.

If there was a way to mitigate the impact that stockpiling has on popularity, I would be all for it. 

Re: How Much Such I Store Up Before I Post?

#9

Ararara Wrote: To be honest, I kind of dislike that currently this is what new authors need to do, to increase their chance of success. Keeping content away from the readers until you stockpile enough to post it rapidly just sounds nonsensical. And it also prolongs the time until the writer starts getting feedback: maybe on the first few chapters you get some good responses that you agree with, which would influence your writing from then forward. It just sounds like a lose-lose to me: while you're stockpiling, readers can't read, and writers can't get feedback or views. 

And it really increases the barrier to entry, discouraging people from just writing a couple chapters and posting it.

If there was a way to mitigate the impact that stockpiling has on popularity, I would be all for it.

I do appreciate that. I suppose perhaps it's a bit naive to think I could just pop on here and gain a following easily, and I had planned to have a couple chapters stored up, but I didn't realize it would impact my chances so much to just post a couple of chapters outright and go weekly or twice weekly from there depending on what I can do. I wonder now about how long my story has to be to make the webnovel format worthwhile, or if in the end by the time I post it I could just skip that part and try to publish the whole book altogether instead. 

Re: How Much Such I Store Up Before I Post?

#10
First thing I would do before deciding on how big my backlog is going to be is figuring out how consistently I can post, and that's determined by how consistently I write. 
If I write 1,500 words a day (assuming you're satisfied with them and won't rewrite them any time soon) 7 days a week - that's 10,500 words a week. That is roughly 5-7 chapters a week in backlog you're creating. I'd spend a month writing to figure out your consistency. 

For example: While I work the day job I can invest an hour Monday-Wed (I'm brain dead Thu and Fri). and I can invest 3+ hours on Sunday assuming I managed to get all of my familial obligations piled onto the Saturday (this includes household chores, socializing, and groceries - adulting is not as much fun as advertised). If I'm working my day job and side contract - I don't get any writing done at all. I have to allocate all of my resources to getting project B off my desk. Things like this will impact your ability to produce daily. This is why expecting to write 7 days a week all day is unrealistic, but planning an hour or a word quota is much more manageable.

Once you know how consistent you are with writing and with word count, then you can figure out your back-log. What's your posting schedule like? I posted my first 10 chapters daily, and now I post every Saturday. I'm a slow writer, and at this time an inconsistent writer. Therefore I need a thick backlog. Just because I have two years worth of backlog does not give me permission to slack. It just gives me buffer to create more backlog. Using my example of writing 5 chapters a week. If I had a posting schedule of three days a week. I'd be creating two back-log chapters a week - which means my back-log is being build as part of my work schedule. If you'd been able to produce at this level consistently for a month before posting your first chapter, you'd have 20 chapters in backlog and you'd be able to do the 10 chapters of daily posting...giving you 10 extra chapters as back-log, which in theory you'd be adding 2 chapter a week to - assuming you didn't get sick or distracted or bored or life.

So how much backlog you'll need depends on what you, you're habits, and your level of consistency.


Who you write for: I saw above that the advice was to write for yourself because you'll interest or burn yourself out. It's only half-right. You do have the right mind-set currently because you recognizing that you are writing to/for an audience. This makes you less precious about creative ideas and allows you to adapt to changes you'll need to make to the writing. That said, it'll be a long time before you'll get proper feedback. Proper honest, uninhibited feedback that will improve you as a writer. A lot of the feedback you'll get will come in the form of platitudes - and well... cookies - sweet and bite sized - but ultimately not really something that will challenge your ideas/process of writing. So, yes, you also have to write something you enjoy. It'll be your creativity, your ideas, that goes into the project. So the way I'd tell a story and the way you'd tell a story should be totally different. That's the you part - so you should enjoy it.

Re: How Much Such I Store Up Before I Post?

#11

Puren Wrote:
Ararara Wrote: To be honest, I kind of dislike that currently this is what new authors need to do, to increase their chance of success. Keeping content away from the readers until you stockpile enough to post it rapidly just sounds nonsensical. And it also prolongs the time until the writer starts getting feedback: maybe on the first few chapters you get some good responses that you agree with, which would influence your writing from then forward. It just sounds like a lose-lose to me: while you're stockpiling, readers can't read, and writers can't get feedback or views. 

And it really increases the barrier to entry, discouraging people from just writing a couple chapters and posting it.

If there was a way to mitigate the impact that stockpiling has on popularity, I would be all for it.

I do appreciate that. I suppose perhaps it's a bit naive to think I could just pop on here and gain a following easily, and I had planned to have a couple chapters stored up, but I didn't realize it would impact my chances so much to just post a couple of chapters outright and go weekly or twice weekly from there depending on what I can do. I wonder now about how long my story has to be to make the webnovel format worthwhile, or if in the end by the time I post it I could just skip that part and try to publish the whole book altogether instead.
There sre definitely fictions which dont stockpile, but start posting once or twice a week, that still get traction. But yes, stockpiling a lot helps with exposure. It's not a must, but it helps

Re: How Much Such I Store Up Before I Post?

#12
You want a minimum of two weeks of updates at whatever schedule you stick to, preferably six weeks. 

The schedule is the important part. If you're serious about having steady output, then don't start posting until you are certain about your weekly output. Don't look at the word count as its own goal; if you take three months to write three weeks' worth of updates, then you're going to run out quickly. 

Instead, decide on what kind of schedule you want to do, and then set a weekly writing goal of 125% of that word count. In other words, if you want to publish 5 chapters per week of 2k words each, then you want to be able to produce 12,500 words per week. This will allow you to bank additional chapters against future incidents, because there will be times when you can't meet your goal for that week. Your car will break down; you'll lose your job; you'll fall madly in love; you'll get your first child; you'll get distracted by discovering your new favorite author. Stuff happens. Plan for it. Even if everything goes well, you'll want to take a vacation; at the 125% goal, you'll be able to take every fifth week off. Plus, by the time you reach that 125% goal, you'll have already written several weeks of updates and have a healthy buffer standing by. 

Another way to look at goals is the Royal Road Writeathon. It's a challenge (not a contest) to publish 55,555 words in 5 weeks. That's 11,111 words per week. So if you want to handle 125% of that, you'll want to write 13,900 words per week in order to maintain your buffer. Can you do it? Well, that's why it's a challenge. It's designed to push you. This year's first Writeathon had 114 people who managed it; it's never a bad thing to aim to be the 115th, even if you aren't sure if you'll make it . . . this time. 

Re: How Much Such I Store Up Before I Post?

#13
I’ve run into a unique problem with back logging.

I too, plan on making it in the writing world, so I too, built up a whole heap of chapters, ready to publish. 

But it turns out, your writing skills improve as you write (shocking, right?) and so when I finished a good chunk of my story, I found that, when it came time to publish, I absolutely hated what I had previously done.

Long story short, I’m re-writing my backlog as I publish, and hating myself for it. 

Re: How Much Such I Store Up Before I Post?

#17

YuanMi Wrote: I’ve run into a unique problem with back logging.

I too, plan on making it in the writing world, so I too, built up a whole heap of chapters, ready to publish. 

But it turns out, your writing skills improve as you write (shocking, right?) and so when I finished a good chunk of my story, I found that, when it came time to publish, I absolutely hated what I had previously done.

Long story short, I’m re-writing my backlog as I publish, and hating myself for it.



LOL This is not a unique problem. I've had to learn to ignore my previous draft until I was done my first draft - which is only doable because I've outlined and plotted my book(s). There are some cases where if i dont have a backlog, I'm stuck revising earlier segments in a chapter for continuity and flow issues, but that the extent of going back over the writing until the draft is done. Then it's major issues overhall with some rather extensive notes on problem areas thank to the reader feedback I've received.

Re: How Much Such I Store Up Before I Post?

#19


I'm aiming for, at minimum, 15-20 chapters and only planning on posting one chapter a week. Might not be the 'best' plan, but I think it's what will work best for me.


YuanMi Wrote: I’ve run into a unique problem with back logging.

I too, plan on making it in the writing world, so I too, built up a whole heap of chapters, ready to publish. 

But it turns out, your writing skills improve as you write (shocking, right?) and so when I finished a good chunk of my story, I found that, when it came time to publish, I absolutely hated what I had previously done.

Long story short, I’m re-writing my backlog as I publish, and hating myself for it.




This is exactly why I make a point of noting that the chapters I release (right now just on Patreon, but, eventually, here as well) are chapter drafts and not the finalized product.  As I plan to self-publish on Amazon, once finished, I'll fix any rewrite issues when I edit it for final release in its prettied up form and then release an author's note when that version is available and the link to where it can be found. What I'm basically planning on doing here and on Patreon is beta-testing which takes off some of the pressure of wanting it to be 'perfect' when chapters are posted.

Re: How Much Such I Store Up Before I Post?

#20
A lot of it has to do with why are you here and why are you posting.  Or rather, why are you writing, why are you posting, and what is important to you in doing so. 

For a different perspective than most, I'll explain myself:
  • I write as a pure hobbyist.  This is entertainment for me.  I enjoy writing and I enjoy the stories that I write, stories which I can't find anyone else writing.  This is an escape from my day job (and possibly reality at-large).  
  • I post because I know others will enjoy what I write and it feels good to have others enjoy it (like charity).  Ultimately though, I write for my own enjoyment.
  • What is important to me is avoiding the mistakes I see so often on this site.  I won't go through what those problems are, but suffice it to say that those problems exist and I don't want to inflict them on either myself or my audience.  In any event, one way to solve those problems is to do as I do: write out a full book or volume before posting. And so I do.  A Prose of Years is a full volume.  There's a complete story there.  Regrettably, I won't be writing the full 6-7 book series I had in mind, but with that in mind, I did release all of my background worldbuilding as a set of appendices, including my thoughts on where the series would go.  Similarly, Candlelit Lives had one volume written and released.  It was a piece of experimental writing, but it about as close to a single volume as you could get based on that format.  So, I released it and it was well-received (as smashing success you might say).  I had some sense of where the story would eventually go, and so, after outlining the second and third (and final) volumes, I'm writing my way through volume 2 now, to be released in the near future. 
  • This has a few impacts on me.  I'm not releasing on any sort of regular basis.  I'm not turning this into a career or even an extra source of income.  I'm not asking for reviews or seeking an audience.  The validation by the audience I have found is nice, but not really important.  I don't need a big push at the beginning to catch a wave and hit trending. 
I don't think many people necessarily share the same views as I do.  And I don't intend or suggest you follow me in any way.  But it is helpful to recognize that there are other landmarks to navigate yourself with.