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Discussion Starter #1
How should you release a serial?  I've never had one before, but I'm working on one now.  All three parts should be ready (edited and written) by fall.  I won't release any before the whole thing is written, because I might have to change something early on, and the stories are pretty closely connected.

I've never published a serial before.  Should I do pre-orders?  Pre-orders are doing well for me right now.  Should I release it as soon as I can, all three parts at once and set the first free for a bit, or what? 

I have had great things happen with pre-order so far.  Maybe 99 cents for the first, shorter part, and then 2.99 for the second two? 
 

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My advice, having had hundreds of clients who have released series, is not to rush bringing them to the market.

You will do much better releasing one a year, marketing the heck out of each one, and building a loyal base of fans that will automatically buy your next volume, then trying to release them all in quick succession.

I see hordes of authors put three books out in 18 months and have no readers for any of them. On the other side of the coin, those who release their first and diligently build a loyal base of thirsty fans find they hardly have to market their second installment as they have a large enough fan base who will just go out and buy it.

These readers also make plenty of suggestions for improving future books, so it's also in your best interests not to write all three until one has been tested out in the field.
 

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That's bad advice, Mike. Three years to release an already-written serial is insane! Readers will forget about you between releases, and you'll be losing a year's worth of sales for book #2 and two years' worth of sales for book #3.

HSh, there are a lot of different strategies (without waiting a year between releases!). Some authors who have more experience with serials might be able to give better advice, but if pre-orders are doing well for you, you could leave a gap of a few weeks between each episode - without making the wait too long. A lot of readers won't buy a series until it's complete.  ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the thoughts, guys.  :)  The segments of the serial will probably be about 15,000 for the first, 20-25,000 for the second, and I'm not sure how long the third will run yet.
 
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One every 2 - 4 weeks is advisable. You should look at what other people are doing that are selling well in the genre for further reference. If you're doing select it might be best not to do permafree  on the first but just to a select free promotion once all are out. You can try permafree later on anyway.
 

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What Shane said. Research your genre for the serial and figure out the frequency of the top sellers. I do a shifter romance serial in KU and release every 3 weeks. Mine are about 18 to 22K.
 

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I have to agree with Darcy, that's very poor advice from my point of view. I think the commenter misread serial as series, but that's still no excuse for the one book a year point.

Question; Why only three? This sounds more like a mini-series then a true serial. My definition has always been that a serial went on for several volumes? Are you writing this with KU in mind as your chief outlet? Does it tie into your other work in any way?

Reason I ask is that I'm currently writing a serial myself and my research has me doing things very differently. First, I'm tying the serial to my most successful series in order to use that as a funnel. Second, I've found that readers check to see how many books/episodes are actually published before they will commit to starting. They don't wish to read one and have to wait very long for the next. It makes sense, would you want to watch a TV show and then have to wait a month for the next episode? I know I wouldn't. Third, they need to know the serial has legs, with several episodes in the can or published already. Look at how Amazon releases their new shows. They do it a whole season at a time.

As a result of this research I'm writing six episodes with at least four more in the can before I publish. And then I'm publishing the first six all at once with the remainder every three weeks. The first of the six will be free. If it does well I plan to do twelve episodes a year and still keep my other full-length work on schedule. Every 12 episodes I'll make a "season omnibus" and go wide with it.

Anyway, that's my lunchtime answer. Take what you will and leave the rest. :) Good luck with your story.
 

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Just be sure to have plenty of leprechauns,  monsters and no silly rabbits.

Oh wait you said serial.  I will echo everyone else and tell you to release like the big sellers in your genre.    And be sure and put together an omnibus.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Maybe I don't know what a serial is??  😶. I'm writing three tied together stories that somewhat fit my established worlds.  I bought three tied together covers from Melody that are perfect.  Is that not a serial?  Also thank you all for the advice.😃
 

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HSh said:
Maybe I don't know what a serial is?? 😶. I'm writing three tied together stories that somewhat fit my established worlds. I bought three tied together covers from Melody that are perfect. Is that not a serial? Also thank you all for the advice.😃
The definition seems to be broad but I've always compared a serial novel to a TV show. Short works, usually 20-25k long, that tell an overall story. Each episode can have sub-plots but the serial as a whole has to have one overall arc. Most TV shows have 10-12 episodes per season so I use that as a guideline. The show goes on as long as the audience supports it or the storyline just simply has no more meat to it and you end up with Fonzi jumping sharks on water skis.

Google "jumping the shark" if you're too young to get that one. :)

What you are describing (to me) is a short series. Three books with the last one ending the story, period, with no chance of it going on. Is that correct?

Anybody else? Cin? Am I off here? Don't wish to give advice that isn't helpful to what's being written.
 

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My best advice is read some serials in your genre to see how they are done.
If they are books that can be read independently, then that is commonly known as a series.
 

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Naturally, weigh any advice up against your own experience.

I'm not an author, and only sharing the advice from around 4500 author clients of mine over the past eight years. I've got 3 types of client:

1. Those who sell no books and make no money

2. Those who pull a small profit and steadily sell

3. Those who quit their jobs after releasing their debut and rake in a lucrative sum

My advice above is based on the results from group three. I'd imagine most forum users fall into groups 1 and 2.
 

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Mike_IAA said:
My advice above is based on the results from group three. I'd imagine most forum users fall into groups 1 and 2.
Any of those 4500 of clients self-publish? And did they ALL seriously only release one a year?

Because frankly that advice falls so counter to the authors here who have very good success publishing serials AND series who have said otherwise.

And I'm not quite sure what to make of the 'most forum users' comment. That's a whole lot of baggage to unpack and I'm not sure I have the energy to do it.
 

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I have to agree with a_g. Mike, my advice would be to browse a few more threads before you make huge generalizations about the kboards population. There are many MANY very VERY successful selfpub authors on here. And you might want to learn more about the community as a whole before you accidentally offend anyone.

Best of luck to the OP with your serial/series!! I've seen successful serials publish once a week to once a month or so. I've heard of authors who publish three books in a series all at once and do really well, and I've heard of authors who publish one a month or one every 2-3 months and do well like that.
 

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Most folks are self-publishing these days. I still get a portion of folks coming from traditional publishing houses but, as is proven everywhere, self-publishing makes up the bulk of new authors.

If I was going to write a book, that's the route I'd take.

 
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Mike_IAA, I don't think you even understand what a serial is. Publishing one installment a year would only irritate readers.
 

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Mike,
Just out of curiosity,  what genre are your 4500 authors in?
 

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Randall Wood said:
The definition seems to be broad but I've always compared a serial novel to a TV show. Short works, usually 20-25k long, that tell an overall story. Each episode can have sub-plots but the serial as a whole has to have one overall arc. Most TV shows have 10-12 episodes per season so I use that as a guideline. The show goes on as long as the audience supports it or the storyline just simply has no more meat to it and you end up with Fonzi jumping sharks on water skis.

Google "jumping the shark" if you're too young to get that one. :)

What you are describing (to me) is a short series. Three books with the last one ending the story, period, with no chance of it going on. Is that correct?

Anybody else? Cin? Am I off here? Don't wish to give advice that isn't helpful to what's being written.
Agreed. I see a serial the same way.

I'm interested in your approach Randall. I am finding that I do better with each installment because I've got a bigger mailing list for each new release. While I get your analogy I think it's lacking in the fact that the TV show has already gained a following of people and has enough buzz new people are snatching it up because they heard it was good.
It's not that I think your strategy is bad, I'm just curious how it will work and plan to watch how it goes for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, guys.  It helps, honestly.  :-*

I think maybe a trilogy of short, connected stories isn't something I should call a serial.  That's good to know, because I'd definitely have called it that otherwise!  :eek:

I'll have to figure out the publishing angle, but it's good to know what I'm actually writing (a short series probably). 

Also, I do NOT need to goggle jumping the shark!  ;)

I'm not sure if I'd have it in me to write an actual serial if it's a very long series of interconnected stories like a TV show.  Although it might be fun someday to try.  My main focus is on romance and unless it's a "will they or won't they" story (which I find annoying) that doesn't necessarily drag on for a whole season.
 
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