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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm planning to write a serial (12-parts in total) and I'm not sure how to tackle it.

-Is it better to write the entire serial and then release it all at once? (but then what if no one likes the first part and don't bother going further? but on the writing end it might help with continuity, pacing, etc)

OR

-Write each part and release it as it is finished? (this might help in knowing if the serial is worth continuing, but then on the writing end trying to keep all the plot points together might be a challenge)

I'm wondering how others are dealing with this.
 

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I started writing one my self and plan to release them as I go along, looking forward to hearing from some veterans here.
 

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I listen to the Self Publishing Podcast and two of the three hosts write serials (David Wright and Shawn Platt). They write and release one episode per week for six weeks and then release the collection (season) in week seven. Seems to work well for them.
 

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I wrote one episode at a time and let my readers get involved in planning the next episode. We all had a lot of fun with it. :)
 

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I posted my NaNoWriMo project as I wrote it, but that wasn't really a serial as such.  I did a three part serial for Christmas that I completed before the first episode was published.  I think you have to as you may want to revise something.  Also how can you edit to a high standard if you don't know what you need to leave in or emphasise?
 

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I write the first three before I start to give myself some breathing room in case I need a break somewhere, then release on a two-week schedule. I bundle every four as that is an easy bundle-cover. For me, a bundle of four is about 50K. I had planned to make the first one perma free when the fourth came out, but now that I'm there, I'm keeping it at 99 cents.

So write 1, 2, 3.

Release 1 on Jan 1.
Start working on 4.
Release 2 on Jan 15.
Start working on 5.
Release 3 on Feb. 1.
Start working on 6.
For my current series, I'm already getting a little behind because #4 is looking to be over 20K, so I'm glad I had that cushion. I make SURE every part has a mini-story in itself, that it isn't just chapters. It's more like TV episodes where each story has a beginning, middle, and end, but there are also threads that go through the whole series. One thread ends at the first bundle. Another thread will be for the whole series. At the beginning of the second bundle, a third thread will go through all four again.

I do the covers well ahead to avoid getting stuck, and I let my copy editor know when things are coming.
 

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Whatever works for you, your readers, and anyone else involved.

Ultimately, you need to have confidence in your story, and I'm not sensing that. Yes, nobody really knows what works and what doesn't (aside from the obvious attributes of good writing, compelling story well-told, empathetic characters), and nobody wants to commit to writing a full serial (which is what it sounds like you're writing, as opposed to a series) if nobody is going to buy it after the first book.

Focus on writing the best story you can. Serialize it IF there are natural breaks that allow for it. Let your customers decide if it's worthwhile.

My advice, if you're not sure: Write the first part and release it. Flesh out the remaining book(s) while working on something else (either a different book or on promoting the first). Gauge reactions. Commit if appropriate.

Bottom line: don't write a serial just because everyone else seems to be. There are a lot more pitfalls. You can have just as much success writing the first book and releasing it in its entirety.
 

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write a the whole thing and release it as a novel. 

sorry, as people here know, I'm not a fan of serials. 
 

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tipsy telstar said:
write a the whole thing and release it as a novel.

sorry, as people here know, I'm not a fan of serials.
;D

I know that you aren't, and many others aren't, either. But there is a subset of readers who enjoy serials, believe it or not. I don't know if that group is large enough to support the number of serials that will be on the market this year, but...it's there.
 

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Whatever you do, just make sure you make it clear that what you're selling is a serial rather than a series. Just recently I bought what I thought was the first book in a planned series, but was basically the first episode of a serial (it ended on a huge cliffhanger, right as it got to what should have been the climax). I was a very POed camper. If it had been a paper book it would have gone across the room. And now I doubt I'll even bother to get the next one, because I feel like I was lied to about what I was buying in the first place.
 

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I know that you aren't, and many others aren't, either. But there is a subset of readers who enjoy serials, believe it or not.
I get far more enthusiastic feedback on my serial than I get on any of my other books. Apparently the readers who love serials really love serials.
 

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I have a story on my website that is being rolled out chapter by chapter like episodes of a television show. It is starting to grow an audience, and it is a lot more engaging than sitting down and spending a year or two writing a book. That's my new approach. It's just a matter of going with what feels right, and not being afraid of trying different things.
 

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MegHarris said:
I get far more enthusiastic feedback on my serial than I get on any of my other books. Apparently the readers who love serials really love serials.
Heck yeah, they do. I love the readers I got from my serial. They seem much more engaged and enthusiastic than the average reader.
 

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How do you interact with your readers? Website, FB, Twitter...?

smreine said:
I wrote one episode at a time and let my readers get involved in planning the next episode. We all had a lot of fun with it. :)
 

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maritafowler said:
How do you interact with your readers? Website, FB, Twitter...?
Primarily on Facebook. We kind of hang out and chat on there when I should really be working. ;D

After every episode of the serial, I had a page that said something like, "The story isn't over! Come to my Facebook and help me plot the next one!" The readers seemed to dig it. After four episodes, it's sometimes kind of a madhouse on my FB page.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I have always thought about writing a serial, especially, after watching Dexter, Burn Notice, Supernatural, etc, and I don't think I have the excitement right now to write a full-length novel.  So I'm challenging myself to see if I can write a serial as suspenseful as the shows I love to watch (fingers crossed).

I already have the covers, which I hope will keep me motivated.  Plus, I know the opening and the ending of the serial (I plan to end it after 12-parts).

I'll soon find out if I have it in me to write a serial or just suck at it and go back to writing novels  :p

Awesome feedback, guys!  It's given me a LOT to think about.
 

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If you're not sure you have it in you to write a serial, then I really think you should wait until you've written the whole thing to start selling it.  If you don't, either you'll stop, leaving your readers high and dry (and irritated), or you'll hate what you're doing, and so will your readers.

 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
tipsy telstar said:
If you're not sure you have it in you to write a serial, then I really think you should wait until you've written the whole thing to start selling it. If you don't, either you'll stop, leaving your readers high and dry (and irritated), or you'll hate what you're doing, and so will your readers.
That's what I was thinking too. I would hate to start and not finish it, leaving the readers unhappy. So writing the whole thing would be a good idea in my case.
 

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I say go for it and use a pen name on the first one to get your feet wet.  That's what I'm doing.  Then you can start getting sales right away and if you screw it up, you won't ruin your reputation.  (And you'll learn the ins and outs and whatnot in case you want to try it again.)

 

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Mobashar Qureshi said:
That's what I was thinking too. I would hate to start and not finish it, leaving the readers unhappy. So writing the whole thing would be a good idea in my case.
okay, i'm glad you're thinking that way, so let me ask you this...
what's the appeal of selling it as a serial if you know you're going to write the whole thing first?
as a reader, i won't buy anything until it's finished, and if the price of all the parts is more than i would pay for a single novel, then i'm not going buy any of it.
 
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