Re: What's a good serial output rate?


Thedude3445 Wrote: 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.

A self-addendum: First Defier's posts above that I didn't notice before (lol) contradict everything I say, and I definitely don't make the money to back up my claims here personally, but there are indeed several authors who make many thousands a month with multiple projects; it doesn't take just one big hit to do really well. Ravensdagger alone is a testament to what dedication and great stories can get you within just 2 years of posting. However, the important thing is that you don't try to immediately post all of them at once; that's gonna burn you out and make it harder to pull this off in the long term.

I honestly don't think in 99% of cases that someone's first major story is ever going to be a hit. There do exist several one-off big successes on Royal Road where their very first story is the one that gets them to full time, but most of the time that's a mirage; authors often have abandoned, deleted projects, or ones under other names, or ones that are still around but aren't talked about. Pirateaba had work before TWI; Andrew Hussie had a half-dozen series before Homestuck; Azarinth Healer was Rhaegar's fourth book on RR. The real money lies in one huge story for a long time, but actually getting to that one huge story is a tough path.

So, with that in mind, unless you have the desire and capability (and luck) to get a major long-running hit like HWFWM or Randidly Ghosthound or Primal Hunter or all those other mega stories, the best pathway to mid-term success that I've seen with multi-story authors is to:

1) Launch a serial and aim to finish it within <150,000 words, but with the option to extend it if it gets popular. If not, it's a good "portfolio entry" that'll look good when readers click your author profile. (I am NOT popular, yet I get hundreds of referrals each week on my stories just from people clicking directly on my profile to find stories. That's a big deal. Of course Timothy Baril the OP already has a few novellas and one novel here, but none of it in RR's biggest genres yet.)

2) While the first serial is posting, draft up that "Big Project" worth 300,000+ words that you want to be posting for a few years. Learn from the first serial as it's posting, while you're writing the new one, and figure out how to go about doing it extremely well. Only post this after the first story is either done, or after you feel like you're comfortable doing two at once if the first one actually ends up big.

3) I'd start drafting up other story plans, maybe even write a backup series in a different genre, something to differentiate itself from the "Big Project" and act as a fallback in case that one starts to falter or doesn't make the income you need.

This process has worked with other authors on the site, though admittedly other than Ravensdagger none of them make the money on Patreon that the Big Single Serial people are able to make; they are more reliant on book deals and non-Patreon income to fill out the full-time writing income, as far as I'm aware. 

And for Timothy Baril, by 6 months fulltime, do you mean you need to make a fulltime writing income by then? If so, this plan here might be too slow to pull off in time. If 6 months is all you have, it might be worth doing heavy market research, crafting a great story worth 1,000,000 words, and pummeling straight through it at top speed; even if you fail, you'll still have a multi-book series to post on KU and try again there. But if you have the luxury of a bit more time, multiple stories is a good way to build up a really nice bibliography. My current career path won't let me become a fulltime author until 2024, so I'm definitely taking my time exploring many genres and building up a readerbase before I make That Big Huge Serial.

Re: What's a good serial output rate?

Defier gave enough good advice that I'm just going to defer to him, except for one thing.

It is true that the highest earners have focused on one story, and certainly Defier would know. However, take some advice from trad pub: having only one project leads to burnout faster than having two.

Now, web pub is a different beast in that you have an active community responding to active content, while in trad pub you have months at minimum between books. This means that a web author can actually ride that wave longer than your average trad author, because that constant feedback (unless you're unlucky) can really keep you rejuvenated. Even so, I've yet to read one of these long stories that didn't wind up with several slumps where the author was clearly fighting the story. If you're not enjoying yourself, neither will your audience. So be prepared to try something new.

Trad pub has another difference, which is that if the author has a new hook out in a different series his or her fans are more likely to try it than web readers seem to be; since they're getting their constant fix, there's less drive to seek out the same author telling different stories. So don't get locked into two projects, either. And from what I've seen, you don't want to go beyond two.

Finally, don't shoot for being a high earner. Success starts at being able to pay for groceries each month. If you focus on what the big earners are bringing in, you won't write your best story. 

Re: What's a good serial output rate?


Thedude3445 Wrote: 6 months fulltime

I have 6 months where I can write full time. New job starts in March maybe. Just want to write as much as I can before having to go back to work again. Trying to plan out the most efficient use of my time: 1 story or 4 or more? 

The one positive to writing multiple stories, beyond practice, is that I think I can get insights into which of my stories are more popular. So if something is getting a higher follower rate and more people are reading through to the lastest chapter, I'll devote more time or word count to that. For example, I thought my World of Fantasy story would be a bigger hit, but the two new ones where I just jump into action are actually more popular. 

I think my style lends itself more to traditional books than serials. I'm trying to adopt a serial style but am still learning. However, if I do produce traditional books out of this, at least I have something to sell afterwards. And I can get feedback during creation, even if I never make anything on Patreon. And if something does turn into a big serial, then great. 

I do appreciate the feedback from everyone. It's cool to see people willing to share, especially the successful ones, like Defier.