Need help with chapter release schedule

#1
Hello everyone!

So here's the thing, presently, I can churn out only one chapter per week, which I release on my website every Saturday. 
Currently, there is a chapter lag between my website release and RR releases. 
On RR, I release sub-chapters (which are mostly individual scenes) instead of the whole chapter and this allows me to:
1. edit the content daily
2. Stick to weekday releases (I am able to release the sub-chapters Mon-Fri)
However, on average, these sub-chapters are around 600 words only (or sometimes less).
It also means, too many sub-parts instead of a single chapter. (Currently, there are 19 chapters released on RR but the actual chapters are only 7 (8 including the prologue).)

Should I stick to this? Is there a better way I can schedule the chapter releases?
Dear fellow authors, how do you find the balance between writing and editing? 
How many chapters would be considered as a good buffer when following such release schedules?

Dear readers, I would like to understand your perspectives on this. Do you prefer consistent weekday releases even if they are sub-chapters?
Or is it better to read an entire chapter on a weekend? 

Appreciate the help!

Re: Need help with chapter release schedule

#2
As I have not uploaded yet, my opinion on the matter will probably mean nothing LOL. 

But I try to place myself in the place of a reader. I like constant update - if it's only going to be once a week - then I would like a significant enough chapter to help me wait for the next update. That's me being greedy as a reader. 

With that in mind, as a writer with a full time job that's very mentally draining - I decided to wait before I posy to have enough back log. My plan is to release three chapters a week thats between 1700 words to 2500 words each. I'm planning to write 250,000 words and edit as I post with writing during the weekend. Ofc we shall see how well that will turn out. 

So I guess to answer your question- depending on your story and your cut off point every chapter - it might be too choppy for a reader. But if your plan is to make bite size chapters - then I can see some readers enjoying it. Lol 

Re: Need help with chapter release schedule

#3
Depends on your target audience. Some people are fine with sub-chapters so long as they get their daily updates, others prefer complete, weekly chapters with plenty of content to bite their teeth into.

Either way, chapter buffers should be enough to allow you to recover and catch up, in case you end up not writing enough in a certain week. The less frequently you upload, the less chapters you will probably need to save up.

Re: Need help with chapter release schedule

#4

NinaWrites Wrote: As I have not uploaded yet, my opinion on the matter will probably mean nothing LOL. 

But I try to place myself in the place of a reader. I like constant update - if it's only going to be once a week - then I would like a significant enough chapter to help me wait for the next update. That's me being greedy as a reader. 

With that in mind, as a writer with a full time job that's very mentally draining - I decided to wait before I posy to have enough back log. My plan is to release three chapters a week thats between 1700 words to 2500 words each. I'm planning to write 250,000 words and edit as I post with writing during the weekend. Ofc we shall see how well that will turn out. 

So I guess to answer your question- depending on your story and your cut off point every chapter - it might be too choppy for a reader. But if your plan is to make bite size chapters - then I can see some readers enjoying it. Lol
I generally edit before I post and usually that particular content would have been written a week prior. Has been working out well for me till now. 


I think the trick is to make the bite size chapters worthwhile. Usually, I segment the chapters either chronologically or based on common theme (my novel has a lot of characters and I haven't even introduced half of them yet) - In all I think I'll be good as long as I can ensure coherence. 


SaadTheConjurer Wrote: Depends on your target audience. Some people are fine with sub-chapters so long as they get their daily updates, others prefer complete, weekly chapters with plenty of content to bite their teeth into.

Either way, chapter buffers should be enough to allow you to recover and catch up, in case you end up not writing enough in a certain week. The less frequently you upload, the less chapters you will probably need to save up.
That's true, I just realized that even if I realize daily sub-chapters - the readers who might prefer to read in one-go can just read them towards the weekend. Either way, there would be harm I think.


Have to build up enough chapter buffer though.

Thanks guys, I think for now, I got better clarity. 😇

Re: Need help with chapter release schedule

#5
I mean, I base uploading on two things:

1. What can you realistically post each week. No ideals. Certainly, ideally you want to do 2-3 days a week or more. However, it comes down to how much time you have as a writer in terms of getting a chapter written and edited to post. 

2. The other factor is how long the story actually is. This only comes into effect if you one, have a story planned or drafted out first and the length of said story. Less so if you are trying to write something as long as you can manage. If you know how many chapters a story has and its length, you can figure it out a lot better.

If you want and estimate of a good chapter buffer, I recommend a 6 chapter buffer at minimal. 4 chapter I learned isn't high enough. 5 doesn't seem to be a better cushion. Six seems better. You can go as high as you can and keep adding to it which is where I failed. I would run out of chapters because either something happened personally, or I come across a story problem than needed fixing and I couldn't wrangle it in time. My four chapter buffer dwindled to one to none in a matter of time. Because everything was written, not proofread, because that takes me a considerable amount of time. Mostly because I hate it so much.

Re: Need help with chapter release schedule

#6
I can only speak for myself, as a reader, but I think 600 would be too short for me. I don't particularly care how often someone updates their story, since I tend to be a bulk reader. I'll read 100,000 words at a time, and then just set the story aside mentally and check back every few weeks, re-reading everything plus the new stuff when the author has uploaded enough to make it worth my while. 

However, it would annoy me a bit to only have a couple of pages to read before I had to click to the next chapter. It's only a small attention breaker, but if the whole book's like that, it might become tedious.

Re: Need help with chapter release schedule

#8
Personally, as a reader, 600 words for a single update just seems too short to enjoy. If the goal is to drive readership to your main site, that could easily be achieved by just keeping your main site 1 or more chapters ahead of RR.

I follow a lot of stories that update once a week, and they usually have chapters that range from 1500 to 3k+ words. Reading one chapter split up into 600 word bites is very unappealing, especially if more then 24hrs passes between the updates for the other pieces of that chapter. This is even more true depending on the content of those 600 words. Likely, readers on RR won't even notice that you've broken up your chapters. They might see each 600 word segment as its own chapter, and they might think it progresses "slow". They might see 19 chapters with very little happening vs 7 with a lot happening.

There are readers that will notice that the "chapters" are very short and click away.

There are also readers that will see short chapters being updated too frequently and automatically stop reading a fiction because short but frequent updates are often perceived as low quality or as the author risking "burn out". Readers like an author that's dedicated and consistent, and "fast" authors tend to burn themselves out within a very short period of time.

The most successful stories I've seen on RR do frequent, consistent updates the first one to four weeks, and then taper off to a slower, but still consistent upload schedule of 1 to 3 chapters a week. This is where having a large backlog pre-written comes in handy.

I have yet to publish any story on the site, so that's just my perspective as a reader for now.

Re: Need help with chapter release schedule

#9
Personally, I post one chapter a week, same time every time. This lets my readers know when to expect my content and allows them to read it when they're ready, without a deluge of constant content that would otherwise require more of their attention. Occasionally I post smaller chaplets in addition to the main chapter, but those also have a set time to release if they are being put out, and they are only additional - never a replacement for the 'main feature' chapter.

Of course, if you're only posting once a week, it should be good stuff. My philosophy is to never send a chapter unless something happens; that is to say, the chapter must contain some kind of content that makes it worth reading. If you're going to make your readers wait a whole week for a single chapter, it better be meaty and satisfying. 

Re: Need help with chapter release schedule

#10

L.J.Anders Wrote: I mean, I base uploading on two things:

1. What can you realistically post each week. No ideals. Certainly, ideally you want to do 2-3 days a week or more. However, it comes down to how much time you have as a writer in terms of getting a chapter written and edited to post. 

2. The other factor is how long the story actually is. This only comes into effect if you one, have a story planned or drafted out first and the length of said story. Less so if you are trying to write something as long as you can manage. If you know how many chapters a story has and its length, you can figure it out a lot better.

If you want and estimate of a good chapter buffer, I recommend a 6 chapter buffer at minimal. 4 chapter I learned isn't high enough. 5 doesn't seem to be a better cushion. Six seems better. You can go as high as you can and keep adding to it which is where I failed. I would run out of chapters because either something happened personally, or I come across a story problem than needed fixing and I couldn't wrangle it in time. My four chapter buffer dwindled to one to none in a matter of time. Because everything was written, not proofread, because that takes me a considerable amount of time. Mostly because I hate it so much.
Thank you for these pointers - I still have to properly outline my web-novel - I'm not even sure how long it will run but I know there's a lot of content to write. Will work on these areas and build a decent number of buffer chapters. 



sieley Wrote: I can only speak for myself, as a reader, but I think 600 would be too short for me. I don't particularly care how often someone updates their story, since I tend to be a bulk reader. I'll read 100,000 words at a time, and then just set the story aside mentally and check back every few weeks, re-reading everything plus the new stuff when the author has uploaded enough to make it worth my while. 

However, it would annoy me a bit to only have a couple of pages to read before I had to click to the next chapter. It's only a small attention breaker, but if the whole book's like that, it might become tedious.
Very valid point. 



tfisb Wrote: I follow around 50 stories at a time and it often takes me several weeks to cycle through my follow list.  The chapter size isn’t so important, but I do like a good number of words during that time so I can re-immerse myself in the world.
True - do you think chapter recaps in the author's note might help with re-immersing in the fiction? 



O_Weaver Wrote: Personally, as a reader, 600 words for a single update just seems too short to enjoy. If the goal is to drive readership to your main site, that could easily be achieved by just keeping your main site 1 or more chapters ahead of RR.

I follow a lot of stories that update once a week, and they usually have chapters that range from 1500 to 3k+ words. Reading one chapter split up into 600 word bites is very unappealing, especially if more then 24hrs passes between the updates for the other pieces of that chapter. This is even more true depending on the content of those 600 words. Likely, readers on RR won't even notice that you've broken up your chapters. They might see each 600 word segment as its own chapter, and they might think it progresses "slow". They might see 19 chapters with very little happening vs 7 with a lot happening.

There are readers that will notice that the "chapters" are very short and click away.

There are also readers that will see short chapters being updated too frequently and automatically stop reading a fiction because short but frequent updates are often perceived as low quality or as the author risking "burn out". Readers like an author that's dedicated and consistent, and "fast" authors tend to burn themselves out within a very short period of time.

The most successful stories I've seen on RR do frequent, consistent updates the first one to four weeks, and then taper off to a slower, but still consistent upload schedule of 1 to 3 chapters a week. This is where having a large backlog pre-written comes in handy.

I have yet to publish any story on the site, so that's just my perspective as a reader for now.
All of your points are quite valid. 

So, the goal exactly isn't to drive readership to my website. I just keep a buffer between the both because it allows me to edit. I currently haven't built up buffer chapters, so I release the chapter on my website almost in the nick of time (because I've already made a pre-commitment there that I would release at a certain time each week). [have to sort this issue out]

Now, I wish I started off with buffer chapters lol but my main goal was to write consistently (which I was able to achieve in the last two months). But yes, I think, from a reader's PoV, it's better I switch to full-length chapters. (I do put in a lot of research and brainstorming for churning out each chapter and I think the content is high-quality).


MarcieTheVillain Wrote: Personally, I post one chapter a week, same time every time. This lets my readers know when to expect my content and allows them to read it when they're ready, without a deluge of constant content that would otherwise require more of their attention. Occasionally I post smaller chaplets in addition to the main chapter, but those also have a set time to release if they are being put out, and they are only additional - never a replacement for the 'main feature' chapter.

Of course, if you're only posting once a week, it should be good stuff. My philosophy is to never send a chapter unless something happens; that is to say, the chapter must contain some kind of content that makes it worth reading. If you're going to make your readers wait a whole week for a single chapter, it better be meaty and satisfying. 
Very true! Will keep this in mind.


Thank you so much for the pointers, friends! 
Appreciate all the valuable inputs mentioned here! 

*paper rustles in the background while I jot down these points*




Re: Need help with chapter release schedule

#13

Kiebahow Wrote: I just do it whenever I want. Only because I can't ever be consistent. It's a curse.
Ahh, just curious, how is it working out? How do you stay in the writing mode/mindset? Is it more like an ebb and flow?
Personally, there were times, when I just didn't want to write but that pre-commitment of chapter release helped quite a bit. I even liked how I managed to pull the plot together a few times. 



tfisb Wrote:
Hitaishi Wrote: True - do you think chapter recaps in the author's note might help with re-immersing in the fiction?
Yes!  Even just one sentence referencing the current arc: “The Beast slouches towards Bethlehem, meanwhile our heroes are in search of the perfect cup of tea.”


I was thinking of implementing it for some time now. I'll do it from the latest chapter. Love the reference line - it's a perfect mixture of fun, intrigue, and impending action. 

Re: Need help with chapter release schedule

#14

Hitaishi Wrote:
Kiebahow Wrote: I just do it whenever I want. Only because I can't ever be consistent. It's a curse.
Ahh, just curious, how is it working out? How do you stay in the writing mode/mindset? Is it more like an ebb and flow?
Personally, there were times, when I just didn't want to write but that pre-commitment of chapter release helped quite a bit. I even liked how I managed to pull the plot together a few times.
I just think. I know what I want to write.

Re: Need help with chapter release schedule

#15
I had to split my chapters up, kept at it for a time,
but sometimes I just can't find a good enough cut 
(pun intended)
so I leave 'em be most times for better or worse. Since I've worked with timelines for a long time, and it's  ehem  a bother,
I much prefer a fluid timing of release, but stay within at least a chapter every some days (no more than a week).
Then again I do want to finish this story to move the next one up the pipe...
this probably didn't help ye at all FancyDrakan

Re: Need help with chapter release schedule

#16

Kiebahow Wrote:
Hitaishi Wrote:
Kiebahow Wrote: I just do it whenever I want. Only because I can't ever be consistent. It's a curse.
Ahh, just curious, how is it working out? How do you stay in the writing mode/mindset? Is it more like an ebb and flow?
Personally, there were times, when I just didn't want to write but that pre-commitment of chapter release helped quite a bit. I even liked how I managed to pull the plot together a few times.
I just think. I know what I want to write.
DrakanThinking I see. *nods in cluelessness*

Re: Need help with chapter release schedule

#17

GrimDux Wrote: I had to split my chapters up, kept at it for a time,
but sometimes I just can't find a good enough cut 
(pun intended)
so I leave 'em be most times for better or worse. Since I've worked with timelines for a long time, and it's  ehem  a bother,
I much prefer a fluid timing of release, but stay within at least a chapter every some days (no more than a week).
Then again I do want to finish this story to move the next one up the pipe...
this probably didn't help ye at all FancyDrakan
Hehe, can you tell me more about the timelines thingy, I didn't quite get it. 

Are you working on a series? 

Re: Need help with chapter release schedule

#18

Hitaishi Wrote:
Kiebahow Wrote:
Hitaishi Wrote:
Kiebahow Wrote: I just do it whenever I want. Only because I can't ever be consistent. It's a curse.
Ahh, just curious, how is it working out? How do you stay in the writing mode/mindset? Is it more like an ebb and flow?
Personally, there were times, when I just didn't want to write but that pre-commitment of chapter release helped quite a bit. I even liked how I managed to pull the plot together a few times.
I just think. I know what I want to write.
DrakanThinking I see. *nods in cluelessness*
(yeah, I left something out), but I lack the motivation and get distracted easily. I could if I wanted to, post several chapters a week, but that sounds like work. Also I have no clue what ebb and flow are. My mindset is that I get done when I get done.

Re: Need help with chapter release schedule

#19

Kiebahow Wrote:
Hitaishi Wrote:
Kiebahow Wrote:
Hitaishi Wrote:
Kiebahow Wrote: I just do it whenever I want. Only because I can't ever be consistent. It's a curse.
Ahh, just curious, how is it working out? How do you stay in the writing mode/mindset? Is it more like an ebb and flow?
Personally, there were times, when I just didn't want to write but that pre-commitment of chapter release helped quite a bit. I even liked how I managed to pull the plot together a few times.
I just think. I know what I want to write.
DrakanThinking I see. *nods in cluelessness*
(yeah, I left something out), but I lack the motivation and get distracted easily. I could if I wanted to, post several chapters a week, but that sounds like work. Also I have no clue what ebb and flow are. My mindset is that I get done when I get done.
Interesting perspective  FancyDrakan thanks for sharing your thoughts 😀 

*resists trying to explain what ebb and flow means (it just means up and down)* DrakanZip