What's a good serial output rate?

#1
I'm new to serialized writing and trying to build a following. What do you guys think is a good output rate? (I'm writing full time for the next 6 months.)

I currently have 4 books updating. For each book, I'm releasing 2 chapters per week, 2500 words each, for a total of 5k words per story per week. 

I picked 2500 because it has been the recommended chapter length on things like Wattpad. Tapas only allows about 2500 words per post. 

But is 5k/week enough to grab readers? Should I up things to 10k/week for each story? 

I've been reading The Wandering Inn and it seems like the author was averaging 14k a week early on? And I think it's much higher now?

If I keep things at 5k/week, I could add a couple more books per week as I have other plots and characters I want to do. That might attract different types of readers. But perhaps more content per week for each book would give people more to bite into? Do people want to read a lot each week so they can really sink into the story? Or is it overwhelming?

Your thoughts?

Re: What's a good serial output rate?

#4
Between 5-7k per week is enough.

However, it isn't really what manages to catch readers. You'll need to prepare a daily release schedule for the first few weeks, and combine it with shoutouts/review swaps to push yourself on Rising Stars.

Once you manage to hit Rising Stars, you'll want to be sitting on a decent amount of content to make people interested. 200 pages (Roughly 50-54k words) is a good goal. From there, as long as your initial daily release chapters are gripping, you'll have an invested audience. 

For me? I posted one chapter per week in the beginning, and begun sorting out review swaps and shoutouts. Once I had those locked in, I began posting one chapter per day until chapter 10, then settled back down to a two chapter per week routine.

This has worked out for me, and I haven't had any complaints on the rate I upload.

Re: What's a good serial output rate?

#5
I'll preface this post by saying that I am writing this from the perspective of actually making a living by writing webnovels, not from a "just have fun and follow your heart"-perspective.

As far as I can tell, the most surefire way to shoot yourself in the foot and stifle your growth as a serial author is to work on multiple projects simultaneously. There are a lot of talented authors on RoyalRoad who are perennially treading water as they start one series after another, often having multiple projects running at the same time. This is simply suboptimal, where focusing on your moneymaker would result in exponentially greater returns. 

If you look at the high-revenue authors of RoyalRoad, they all have a lot of things in common. Most notably, almost all are one-story andys. Serialized fiction is a quantity game. And just as you are saying, 5k a week is simply not enough to make it. 

There seems to be a common misconception on this forum, where many believe that the road to success is to stockpile a bunch of chapters, do daily releases until you reach Rising Stars, and then slow down to your "real" release rate. This is wishful thinking. 

Those who are actually making in this game are consistently pushing out that level of content day after day, week after week, month after month. There is no slowing down or settling in. If anything, there's a ramping up as the market becomes more competitive.

If I were you, I'd try to figure out which one of your four stories;
1. Can last for hundreds of thousands of words, preferably over a million.
2. Is generating a good amount of interest among RR reader-base.

Take that story and go all in, drop the others. 

If none of the stories are able to fulfill the first checkmark, then serialization might not be the optimal road for you. Perhaps try Kindle Unlimited. And if none of your stories are generating interest, then I guess it's back to the drawing board and workshop a new story that might interest this kind of crowd. Lean into the tropes, they are tropes because they are popular. 

Reincarnation stories, time loops, Isekai, postapocalypse litrpg, cultivation. All these concepts already come with not only reader bases constantly looking for more stories to devour, but also the basic frameworks that you can lean on and which will allow you to keep writing for years. 

Re: What's a good serial output rate?

#7
You might try dropping your chapter length and doing three a week. If you can do 3x 1800 chapters, that's a whole extra day of exposure on recently posted, and another chapter in your chapter list, for only 400 extra words written. Most of the biggest most serious people do 5 chapters a week, but unless you're sure you can handle the workload I wouldn't suggest jumping straight to that. Try working your way up a little at a time so you don't overpromise and burn yourself out.

In my experience, the majority of RR readers will only be interested in one of your stories. There'll be a percentage that trickle over to the others, but most will be looking for a specific type of story and not care about anything but that one (which one that one is will depend on the reader.)

I would definitely not start any more new books yet. If you already have four ongoing, then it would probably be best to focus on putting out as much content for each of them as possible. Lots of readers here search by length, so getting more words out faster - and more chapters - is probably your best bet.

Re: What's a good serial output rate?

#8

Timothy Wrote:
TheFirstDefier Wrote: quantity


You're saying the ones making money are doing 5k a day, everyday? You'd produce 3 novels every 2 months. 

What about reader exhaustion; is that a factor? 

And how do you continue to give your characters meaningful storylines after a half dozen books? Do you start branching off into other characters a lot?
It's a problem of it's own, but you can look at anime for comparison. Naruto has 4 ninja ranks: genin, chuunin, jounin, and Kages. It follows the life of a young boy, roughly from when he's 13, to when he's twenty. For the first 200-300 episodes, he's still a genin, and maybe 1-2 years pass. Then we get a huge timeskip, and he's around chuunin rank, from where we have another (I think) 400-ish episodes until he's a Kage, the emperor of his nation. And he settles down and the story ends. This would be AT LEAST 1 million words in novel form, for only several years of his life, and a pretty rounded and full story. WITH a huuge time skip in the middle. So, progression fantasies can definitely pull this off. It's the same with Royalroad stories, if you look just at the well-written dtories, the longer ones tend to be waaay more successful. It's also a bit pointless to grow your audience for a long time to just throw it all away by ending your book. (If you immediately start a new one, there's no way you'll keep more than a fraction of your audience).


And yes, I would take any advice this guy gave, he's likely the #1 bestselling Royalroad author, ever. Every post of him is unironically worth big money, if he's being kind enough to reveal his recipe for success. (But, to be honest, it doesn't look to be too complicated. Popular genres/tropes + fun and cool stuff happening + very good quality + crazy update speed. It's a no-brainer he would make it big, even if there might be a bit of luck in the recipe, too)

Re: What's a good serial output rate?

#9

Ararara Wrote:
Timothy Wrote:
TheFirstDefier Wrote: quantity


You're saying the ones making money are doing 5k a day, everyday? You'd produce 3 novels every 2 months. 

What about reader exhaustion; is that a factor? 

And how do you continue to give your characters meaningful storylines after a half dozen books? Do you start branching off into other characters a lot?
It's a problem of it's own, but you can look at anime for comparison. Naruto has 4 ninja ranks: genin, chuunin, jounin, and Kages. It follows the life of a young boy, roughly from when he's 13, to when he's twenty. For the first 200-300 episodes, he's still a genin, and maybe 1-2 years pass. Then we get a huge timeskip, and he's around chuunin rank, from where we have another (I think) 400-ish episodes until he's a Kage, the emperor of his nation. And he settles down and the story ends. This would be AT LEAST 1 million words in novel form, for only several years of his life, and a pretty rounded and full story. WITH a huuge time skip in the middle. So, progression fantasies can definitely pull this off. It's the same with Royalroad stories, if you look just at the well-written dtories, the longer ones tend to be waaay more successful. It's also a bit pointless to grow your audience for a long time to just throw it all away by ending your book. (If you immediately start a new one, there's no way you'll keep more than a fraction of your audience).


And yes, I would take any advice this guy gave, he's likely the #1 bestselling Royalroad author, ever. Every post of him is unironically worth big money, if he's being kind enough to reveal his recipe for success. (But, to be honest, it doesn't look to be too complicated. Popular genres/tropes + fun and cool stuff happening + very good quality + crazy update speed. It's a no-brainer he would make it big, even if there might be a bit of luck in the recipe, too)
Don't stoke his ego, he is only number 2 :P. Shirtaloon has the number 1 spot.

I would like to add that I agree with pretty much everything Defier said, but would add that the purpose of a large backlog is primarily to keep up an update-schedule like it was a full-time job, while still working your regular full-time job. If you do then make it big and can quit your job, you can keep up the 5-6 chapters a week schedule as writing becomes a full-time endeavour.

Re: What's a good serial output rate?

#12
Daily chapters 2k words is a standard amount for first month. Then decide whether the story is big enough to warrant additional commitment.

If the story is not big enough by rising stars with the standard release schedule above it’s a sign there’s something wrong with the content. Should shoot for at least 3000 followers by a week into rising stars

If the story is okay but not really popular like mine you can just tone down the release rate to be reasonable and continue to read and learn what makes a successful story on this particular platform

Personally I find it hard to read he who fights with monsters and wandering inn despite them being two of the best performing stories on this platform, that’s a sign of a brain misalignment with the audience. In cases like that it’s not so easy to write a hit story because your preferences are inherently different from the general audience’s 

Re: What's a good serial output rate?

#14
From my experience, you wanna be looking at 1.5k - 3k words every day or at least 5 times a week. And this is meant to be the permanent schedule, not a quick burst. In agreement with what the others have said, you might want to focus on only a single novel, the one that draws the most interest.

At the end of the day, it boils down to writing what the readers wish to read and luck. Web serials also tend to be extremely long, so ask yourself if you can write the same story for a *long* time.

May the gods be with you, I hope you find success in your writing.

Re: What's a good serial output rate?

#15

FGC_Checkmate Wrote: Is the daily update in the beginning necessary? If I didn't do that at the start, did I gimp the potential growth from my writing? From what I've heard, just having a sizable amount of story will eventually bring readers in.
It worked for me when i dumped 20 chapters all in a week. That's all i can say about it. Would probably have gained traction much slower otherwise.


And to answer the thread starter: i myself subscribe to a 5-10k weekly schedule, posting 5 1.2-2.7k chapters a week, one every weekday.

Re: What's a good serial output rate?

#16

Avitue Wrote:
FGC_Checkmate Wrote: Is the daily update in the beginning necessary? If I didn't do that at the start, did I gimp the potential growth from my writing? From what I've heard, just having a sizable amount of story will eventually bring readers in.
It worked for me when i dumped 20 chapters all in a week. That's all i can say about it. Would probably have gained traction much slower otherwise.


And to answer the thread starter: i myself subscribe to a 5-10k weekly schedule, posting 5 1.2-2.7k chapters a week, one every weekday.
I'm ok with getting slow traction

Re: What's a good serial output rate?

#18

Timothy Wrote: I currently have 4 books updating. For each book, I'm releasing 2 chapters per week, 2500 words each, for a total of 5k words per story per week. 

I picked 2500 because it has been the recommended chapter length on things like Wattpad. Tapas only allows about 2500 words per post. 

But is 5k/week enough to grab readers? Should I up things to 10k/week for each story? 

If I keep things at 5k/week, I could add a couple more books per week as I have other plots and characters I want to do. That might attract different types of readers. But perhaps more content per week for each book would give people more to bite into? Do people want to read a lot each week so they can really sink into the story? Or is it overwhelming?

Your thoughts?


If you can write 20k a week consistently as the post says, I'd personally try for three different books and do 6k+ on each of them, maybe 3 chapters each week. Maybe one of them should be a longer project and the others shorter ones that can wrap up and allow you to create ebook versions sooner. 4 projects is good too, of course, but I think over that and even at fulltime you'll be losing details and not able to keep good track of them all on all websites at once.

Also, consider writing 1-2 of them but without posting them! You can build up a huge 100k+ word backlog, then do daily or even twice daily posts without fear and that will attract a lot of readers.

Re: What's a good serial output rate?

#19

Timothy Wrote:
TheFirstDefier Wrote: quantity


You're saying the ones making money are doing 5k a day, everyday? You'd produce 3 novels every 2 months. 

What about reader exhaustion; is that a factor? 

And how do you continue to give your characters meaningful storylines after a half dozen books? Do you start branching off into other characters a lot?


I personally aim to write around 20k a week, of which ~15k gets posted. The rest is backup for vacations/low-production weeks etc. As for books, I don't really think of serials in the terms of books. With major and minor story arcs coming and going, it's not that hard to find cut-off points if you want to repub as ebooks later.

Reader exhaustion is to be expected, it's simply a part of writing. Some come back, others don't. But new readers also replace the one you lose as people find this page/LitRPG. As long as you have a decent following and a few hundred chapters to your story, new readers will keep coming.

This is a LitRPG/Progression Fantasy webpage. There is always a new evil that needs to be vanquished, new skills and Systems to be explored, new cultivation realms to be gained. New worlds, higher realms, greater powers. The fundamental concept of 'numbers go higher' is what makes LitRPG/cultivation stories so successful as serials, and the lack of those kinds of underpinnings is what makes epic fantasy serials almost invariably fail.