Re: How much do you guys write before your initial release?

#1
Hello everyone, this is my first post on the RR forums, I'm a long-time lurker who almost never logs in (from the dark theme days, royalroadl with an L). Nice to meet you all.

I've recently been writing a fantasy novel and I'm up to 21,000 words. However, that only translates to around six 3,500 word chapters. I'm under the impression that most of the more successful authors have a large backlog of chapters to buffer releases in case they miss their own deadlines or have other problems. I'm on holidays right now, so I expect my current writing rate to reduce quite significantly. I'm also a big believer in consistent updates.

With these things in mind, what opinions do you guys have about building up a backlog of chapters before releasing a new novel?

Thanks in advance!

Re: How much do you guys write before your initial release?

#2
i tried to finish all of it before it was released
but since i started uploading, that plan is well deceased
i couldn't help but edit or add chapters as i went
but still i think the time i spend on writing's time well spent

if you really want to nail the scheduled release
edit it a million times and THEN publish your piece
some prefer to have a little feedback as they go
audience engagement can advise the story's flow

DrakanWine

edit: welcome to the site, it's good to have you here
it's always exciting for new authors to appear! 

Re: How much do you guys write before your initial release?

#4

Trusted Wrote: Haha I can't comprehend how you manage to write these short poems so fast, AND make them helpful. Food for thought!

Thanks!

comprehension's only half of writing poetry
half of it is feeling rhythm move you constantly
peohello
edit: to be honest, there's a couple other things
like sleeping well, enjoying words, and eating onion rings

Re: How much do you guys write before your initial release?

#5
Hi! First, I would like to applaud you for coming out of lurking! It's wonderful to see you put something on the forums!

I started with a backlog of 20k (or was it 40k?) words and did 1-2k word chapters. Sorry that's a big difference in my numbers, but basically, you're getting into my range at least! 

(I was also releasing 1-3 times a day, so I blew through it fast. That many updates is not necessary. Once a day is probably optimum for a launch, but with 3.5k updates you could try spacing it out less. You could also knock it down to 2k or 2.5k size and still have quality updates. 1k is a soft minimum for a semblance of quality, which I have as my minimum just to make sure that I can always get updates out. Every time that you post a new chapter is a chance for readers to find you on the Latest Updates, which is where you get readers in the beginning!)

Anyway, it really depends on your personal life. You want a big enough backlog that you can freak out over your new fiction, release quicker than usual before settling into a schedule, and adjust to writing regularly for web serial publication. If you're amazing, you can keep a backlog so that you have a better picture of the story and edit the older chapters before publishing them. This can help increase quality. Personally, whenever I build up a backlog, I always eat through it, but your mileage will vary depending what type of writer you are.

Re: How much do you guys write before your initial release?

#6

Trusted Wrote: Hello everyone, this is my first post on the RR forums, I'm a long-time lurker who almost never logs in (from the dark theme days, royalroadl with an L). Nice to meet you all.

I've recently been writing a fantasy novel and I'm up to 21,000 words. However, that only translates to around six 3,500 word chapters. I'm under the impression that most of the more successful authors have a large backlog of chapters to buffer releases in case they miss their own deadlines or have other problems. I'm on holidays right now, so I expect my current writing rate to reduce quite significantly. I'm also a big believer in consistent updates.

With these things in mind, what opinions do you guys have about building up a backlog of chapters before releasing a new novel?

Thanks in advance!
Nice to meet you and congratulations on making the first step toward your author journey!


I'll tell you my own story before I offer any advice.

Part 1 - I was going to post my 51 chapters completed book 1 on the site and the first day, I uploaded my prologue in the night and excitedly told everyone I knew about it. They read it (It was short - around 1400 words) and the feedback came in like world war 2 artillery. Anywhere and everywhere you could see was carpet bombed. I was devastated and remember, I had 51 chapters of the same crap written.

Part 2 - My plan was an upload schedule of 3 chapters a day. The next morning, I woke up - brushing pff the debris of the artillery bombardment - only to almost faint as another air strike was launched by the Royal Road readers themselves. By now, I knew that I had effed up. So I frantically scrapped all the chapters and began rewriting from chapter 7 onwards to give me a buffer of two days.

Part 3 - I've been uploading 3 chapters a day since then and apart from my first 6 chapters + prologue, the rest are quite decent (though they can improve significantly) and I've been writing 3-5 chapters a day, trying to build a backlog to rest upon. Of course, that plan also went to shite as I currently have barely 1 chapter ahead of my release schedule in the stockpile.

Lessons learnt:

1. Worry not about the stockpile unless you feel that you can't write for a while.

2. If so, stockpile. Else try to first figure out your W.P.M (word per minute), multiply it by 60, and then you'll have a figure of how much you can write per hour. Add 30 minutes to that figure and then try to understand how many chapters can you write comfortably in your free time.

3. Once you have the number of chapters you can comfortably write sorted out, then create a release schedule of not less than 1 chapter a week and stick to that. (Exceptions are there if your one chapter is 30k words but you stated 3.5k as your chapter length, so I'll leave that part out)

4. Keep writing every spare moment you have. Not for the stockpile but to make yourself a better writer. DO NOT SKIP A SINGLE DAY. THAT'S HOW A HIATUS HAPPENS.

5. Enjoy what you do and don't put too much pressure on yourself about analytics (The devil itself) and so on.

6. Et voila!

I hope this helped!

Cheers and good luck to you!

Re: How much do you guys write before your initial release?

#8
I had my whole first volume written before I started sharing it, and I now have a backlog of two more books/volumes- roughly 70 chapters which I feel far more relaxed about as opposed to working to deadlines to make sure it's ready by a certain time. 
kieranpierce Wrote: it really depends on your personal life. You want a big enough backlog that you can freak out over your new fiction, release quicker than usual before settling into a schedule, and adjust to writing regularly for web serial publication.

I think this is really important too, and what you can manage. It also depends on your typing/writing speed and how disciplined one can be. 

Re: How much do you guys write before your initial release?

#9
I write everything the day I release it, I am prone to just thinking of what I want to write about and just kind of continuing it I mean only takes me 1-2 hrs to write 1.5-2.5k words and I normally decide those chapters as .25-5.75 then 22 - 22.25 etc I feel write whenever and however people will appreciate your effort or work regardless if its not spot on I am a good example of this, xD

Re: How much do you guys write before your initial release?

#12
Hmmm. I have my whole first book outlined and mostly written. Minor edits needed. Have 11 chapters to start with between 1.5k to 2.5k. 

I was more concerned with narrative and flow and fitting all the details right. Adjusting things as I finished to remove unnecessary things as much as possible.

So, as everyone said... Up to your style.

However, most of us won't be writing our best work right this second so keep writing and getting feedback, and planning your strategy for this. 

Re: How much do you guys write before your initial release?

#13
I usually have one chapter in my backlog at all times. I don't have any more because I always get new ideas the next day and have to edit the chapter constantly. To be honest, it's up to you. If your okay with writing a chapter and posting it the next day then you do that. If you have a set schedule and want to write a bunch of chapters before the initial release, that works too.

You could even finish your story beforehand and then publish. Whatever works for you.

Re: How much do you guys write before your initial release?

#15
Short writer checking in live from the sunny Northeast.

The shorts I post are completed, edited, revised and polished before they go up. I had three complete set to go before I began posting a few months ago, and two more are in various stages of development. I've got a 6-10 week curve before I run out of work at this pace, and I can fairly easily extend that after a couple of days' focused effort.

Re: How much do you guys write before your initial release?

#16
I'm aiming for a backlog of 15-20 chapter drafts (my chapters range from 1.5k-3.5k word count) before I start sharing them on RR. To try and work around my Patreon posting schedule, I'm planning on a one chapter every other week schedule for my stories and alternating back-and-forth between the two stories I'm working on for RR so it still ends up as one chapter a week, but two chapters a month per story. It's a slower schedule than what I know a lot recommend, but it's what I think will work best with my Patreon schedule of one chapter draft per month per story. 

Like Joeldg, I'm not writing mine like most do as I plan to publish on Amazon once my books are complete. I'm also only sharing (largely unedited) chapter drafts as I'm a pantser and know that I'll be making changes to each chapter as I go so there's no point doing the major edits until everything is written.

Basically, I think the rule of thumb is: backlog however many you need to not feel stressed about releasing on a regular schedule while still writing new chapters.

Re: How much do you guys write before your initial release?

#17

joeldg Wrote: Well.. I wrote an entire book 1 (of a three book series) and it sat there for a while because I mentally view a book as a "big" thing and so I needed to break it up in manageable chunks. I came up with the idea of posting it here, then as I get the chapters done and right, moving them on to Kindle unlimited as I write more of the story.

But, I don't think most people do that.
It sounds like you haven't done this yet, but I would be curious to hear about your experiences with it going forward.

Re: How much do you guys write before your initial release?

#19
I've only written the one book so far (plus a short story on the side for an anthology but I won't get into that as it's not relevant) but I 'finished' it (ie: early draft) before I discovered Royal Road. I posted it here starting with one chapter a day, but as I approached the end I started posting 2 a day.

Now that it's out, I'm working on book 2 but I don't want to post any chapters until I feel like it's fairly well fleshed out. I estimate it would be ready for RR around draft revision 4 or 5. Too many details can change in the process, and I don't think it would be fair for anyone following it to have to go back and re-read some chapters just so I can write myself out of a plot hole I discover 20 chapters later. 

In my first book, my readers pointed out a plot hole I had missed despite my earlier revisions. I went back and fixed it based on their feedback, and it was only a minor alteration so thankfully there was no need for my readers to go back and re-read it. I'm incredibly thankful for the readers who pointed it out, but I'm sure if they had to point out plot holes like that regularly, I would have lost several of them in the long run.