Home » Forum » Story Discussion and Feedback

Forum: Story Discussion and Feedback

Why do some writers release finished stories in chapters?

Tera

First off, let me say that this isn't meant as critique. I'm not following any stories that does this at the moment and I know next to nothing about writing and publishing ones work. This is just genuine curiousity.

I get that you might want to wait to release your story until it's done. That way, you won't get stuck writing yourself into a corner or losing your inspiration halfway through, disappointing your readerbase with a half done story.

I get that when you release a story chapter by chapter as you write it, you can take feedback from your readers and make adjustments that you might not have considered otherwise.

What I don't get is when you have finished your story, but still release it chapter by chapter. Surely, if this was efficient alot of real publishers would market their books this way, but you don't see that happening. From my own experience, I know that I haven't read some stories that have done it this way, because at some point I feel like saving up a bulk of chapters to read, and then promptly proceed to forget the story altogether after a couple of weeks, and if I finally remember it again, I have to either start the story from the beginning, which might be daunting depending on the stories length, or I will be lost continuing from where I left off.

I feel like there's nothing to gain from trickling out one chapter after an other if you have a finished work. I read in some authors blog post who did this, something like "I'll release this story 2 chapters a week, that should hold you over for a while, while I work on my next project." I don't agree with that at all, don't they see that not only might there be people like me who wait for multiple chapters or a finished story that simply forget about it while waiting, or even more importantly, it hurts the flow of their own work. You know when you read a really good book, get completely immersed and binge-read it in a single sitting? That's completely impossible this way, and interrupting the readers immersion by forcing them to wait days for a new chapter can be really off putting and hurt the quality of the experience by chopping it up rather than let it flow.

Like I said at the top, I don't really know anything about writing, this was just some showerthoughts, and it made me curious to what writers that do this actually gain from it. It's not that uncommon here I don't think, so there must be something I don't see right?

Replies:   red61544
LonelyDad

One reason I have seen given is somewhat specific to SOL. If a story is released in toto, it gets one surge of downloads, than basically falls off into obscurity, having only the one chance to catch the eye of any prospective reader. Be releasing over a period of time on a regular schedule the story remains in the 'recent updates' section for a longer period of time, where it can catch the eye of prospective readers that may not be daily readers. It also keeps the download numbers up if it is a good story, so that it is more likely to make it to one of the top stories listings seen on the left of the screen.

Replies:   Keet  Tera  JohnBobMead
Keet
Updated:

@LonelyDad

It also keeps the download numbers up if it is a good story,

The download number is a tricky number that's just partially related to it being 'a good story'. A few dedicated readers could inflate that number and it would be a 'good story' to those few but maybe not for the total group of readers on SOL.
Also: a 100 kB story in 10, 10 kB chapters would generate 10 times as much downloads as the same story in a single 100 kB format.

Tera

@LonelyDad

I guess I can see that, but considering that SOL is free, unless your stories are premium I don't think you make any money out of it, so would writers really let the quality of their work suffer just to reach out to a broader audience? I would think that if you write as a hobby for free, you'd care more about the quality of the work and how people like it, more than having a bunch of downloads, as it's just a number if you ain't getting paid for it.

Maybe I am in the minority who really likes to immerse my self when I read, and most people might like reading in a pace of 1-2 chapters a week. To me, the work really suffers when it's chopped up like that.

Replies:   REP  Switch Blayde
Ernest Bywater
Updated:

There's a few reasons why I want to finish a story before I post it.

1. Very early in my career I was posting as a finished a chapter, and I found I needed to make a change in an early chapter due to a mistake. I got buried in complaints when I made the change and announced it. That was before I found SoL. By completing the story first I can easily make changes to early chapters to make later chapters easier to do things in.

2. By posting finished stories my readers know I won't leave them hanging in the middle of a story for any reason. Sequels are another matter.

late edit to add a point I forgot before: 3. I didn't like the way some readers would suggest you do this or that or don't do this or that in a story, and then they get upset when you ignore their feedback because it doesn't fit the long term plot of the story.
....................

Why do I post novel my stories in 5,000 to 10,000 word chunks, because that's about the right size for an evening reading break. I was posting like this before I found Lulu and started posting my stories there as well.

Today, I continue to post my stories in chunks, but at the same time as I start posting at Sol I make the full story available as an epub and a print book on Lulu for a reasonable price. Some readers can't wait for it to post at SoL so they go buy a copy of the epub for US$5.95, some people go buy the epub so they can read it on their tablet etc. while away from where they can access SoL, and some buy the epub as a way of providing me with some financial support since they can't do it through SoL. Anyone can wait until it's finished posting on SoL to read it free.

(BTW: most of the money I get from sales is used to help some of my editors and a few other writers who are on fixed low incomes, all are active here on SoL. This is due to an issue I have with getting money out of PayPal, but I do get to buy some books via PayPal at times.)

When a story is suitable for Fine Stories or Sci Fi Stories (links on the SoL home page) I also post it there at the same time, so it's easier for people to read stories on Fine Stories at work during lunch and not worry about the boss objecting to the website.

The great bulk of my readers are after a story is fully uploaded and available. Also, most of my stories have low on-going sales through Lulu, and I know (via feedback) that some of the people who have bought my books and saw my characters reading stories at SoL and FS have checked them out and are reading at the sites as well. So I do get to promote SoL and FS a little to.

.......................

During some older forum posts I took snapshots of my stats pages so I now have some download figures over time. Here's a few (top 3 from 2013):

Title (written) - - d/l 19 April 2013 - - d/l today

Finding Home (2010) - - 134,817 - - 275,022

Rough Diamond (2009) - - 26,857 - - 73,470

Star Performance (2011) - - 20,657 - - 53,901

Top three today are Finding Home, Mack, Interesting Times (last 2 posted in 2015). I left Shiloh at 274,540 as that was co-written and I focused on only stories written by me.

edit to add: When i post in chucks it's usually 25 kb or more at a time.

Replies:   PotomacBob
REP

@Tera

To me, the work really suffers when it's chopped up like that.


Just a suggestion. If an author posting chapters at intervals impacts your enjoyment of reading the story, bookmark the story (note its title and author if not a Premier member), and then wait until the story is completely posted to start reading it.

As to your question, I typically post my stories one chapter a week on Tuesdays. I enjoy chatting with my readers who provide feedback, so my interchanges with them are spread out over a longer period of time and are more numerous.

Long stories also have to be broken into smaller sections due to the limitations placed on the file upload size. Granted all of those chapters could be posted on the same day, but it would also place a larger workload on Lazeez people who process those files.

PotomacBob

@Ernest Bywater

When i post in chucks it's usually 25 kb or more at a time.


What does 25 kb mean in terms of words?

Replies:   Ernest Bywater  REP
Ernest Bywater

@PotomacBob

What does 25 kb mean in terms of words?


I'm not exactly sure about how they relate. I try to break the stories into chunks of between 5,000 to 10,000 words at chapter or sub-chapter breaks, so they may go up or down a bit as per where the break is in the finished story. When I looked at the story stats page I noticed the smallest chapter file was 25 kb, so I mentioned ti, most are around the 45 kb to 50 kb mark. In back tracking that 25 kb chapter post it came out as 4,900 words by noting the start and finish of that post and then checking it on the master file and doing a word count there. The SoL file will also include the html code, while the master file word count doesn't, which is why I did it that way. A check on a similar sized file of 26 kb came out as 5,200 words.

Replies:   Keet
Keet

@Ernest Bywater

I'm not exactly sure about how they relate. I try to break the stories into chunks of between 5,000 to 10,000 words at chapter or sub-chapter breaks, so they may go up or down a bit as per where the break is in the finished story. When I looked at the story stats page I noticed the smallest chapter file was 25 kb, so I mentioned ti, most are around the 45 kb to 50 kb mark. In back tracking that 25 kb chapter post it came out as 4,900 words by noting the start and finish of that post and then checking it on the master file and doing a word count there. The SoL file will also include the html code, while the master file word count doesn't, which is why I did it that way. A check on a similar sized file of 26 kb came out as 5,200 words.

Since you're busy with scripts on the Linux command line look up the 'wc' command ('man wc').
'wc ' returns 3 digits: #lines, #words, and #bytes.
Of course it counts markup too but it will give a close enough actual word count.

Switch Blayde

@Tera

I don't think you make any money out of it, so would writers really let the quality of their work suffer just to reach out to a broader audience?


First, the quality of the work doesn't suffer by releasing a finished story a chapter at a time. If it bothers you as a reader, simply wait until all the chapters are posted.

Why are downloads or a broader audience important to an author if they're not making money? If all we cared about was writing the story, we wouldn't post it. We post it to get others to read it. So if posting a chapter at a time gets more readers of the story, that's what we want.

PotomacBob

@Switch Blayde

Does uploading a chapter at a time actually get more readers? Or is it the same readers increasing the download count each time they read a different chapter?

Switch Blayde
Updated:

@PotomacBob


Does uploading a chapter at a time actually get more readers?


I believe so. When you post a complete story, it shows up on the new stories page — once.

When you post by chapters, it shows up on the new stories page (once) and then on the update page each time you post a new chapter. So there's more opportunity for someone to see your story.

Ernest Bywater

@PotomacBob

Does uploading a chapter at a time actually get more readers?


The story appears on the front page for longer, so it should be seen and read by more people.

awnlee jawking

For the most part, I dip in and out of SOL while doing other work on my computer, so I like to read a chapter at a time, and preferably not multi-page chapters at that.

If someone uploads a novel-length or multiple-novel-length story in one go, it doesn't matter how good it is, I'm not going to read it.

AJ

StarFleet Carl

@awnlee jawking

If someone uploads a novel-length or multiple-novel-length story in one go, it doesn't matter how good it is, I'm not going to read it.


I guess you could say I 'cheat' in this respect. On completed stories, I download them to my iPad and read them using the Kindle app as I can. For stories in progress, I'll read them using my iPhone - but I open more than one tab, so I may be reading 2 or 3 different stories at the same time.

Switch Blayde

@awnlee jawking

If someone uploads a novel-length or multiple-novel-length story in one go, it doesn't matter how good it is, I'm not going to read it.


Why is that different than reading a novel you buy?

Replies:   awnlee jawking
rustyken

While I've only written a few stories, I have posted them a chapter at a time usually once a week. I try to keep the number of chapters at around 4 ready to post. Even though a chapter is designated ready to post, I will usually read it again just before it is submitted to SOL. For me this worked quite well until recently. In that case it was a combination of deciding how to proceed and RL distractions. RL took priority cause that was money in my pocket and since it seems to disappear quicker than it arrives, I hesitate to pass on new found.

Cheers

Keet

@awnlee jawking

For the most part, I dip in and out of SOL while doing other work on my computer, so I like to read a chapter at a time, and preferably not multi-page chapters at that.

If someone uploads a novel-length or multiple-novel-length story in one go, it doesn't matter how good it is, I'm not going to read it.

I'm exactly the opposite. I do follow a few serials every week but most of the time I read completed stories, often multiple hours at a time. I like to emerge myself into a story, to me that's the absolute best of reading. Read at your own pace in a place where you feel most comfortable at the moment. It happens often that I only stop reading because I either fall asleep, or something or someone interrupts me.

awnlee jawking

@Switch Blayde

Why is that different than reading a novel you buy?


Borrow, rather than buy - I can't remember the last time I bought a novel.

I find the process of reading large amounts on a computer screen to be tiring on the eyes, but that's not true of dead-tree novels. I can quite happily take a dead-tree novel to a comfy chair or to bed and read half, say, in one go. But I can't do that with a computer monitor.

AJ

Ernest Bywater

@awnlee jawking

I find the process of reading large amounts on a computer screen to be tiring on the eyes,


Recently one of my readers asked me if I could provide inverse colour html copies of my stories for them. With my CSS it was but a moment to do so. I find I can read text for hours on the wide screen monitor, but I can't on the tablet I take to read when soaking my back in the bath. I tried the inverse colour on the tablet and found it much easier to read on the tablet than the normal color scheme. You may want to try something like that.

The scheme I use I worked out with my son who uses inverse color, so I now have Aliceblue text on a Black background for the tablet.

PotomacBob

@Ernest Bywater

I've tried that. Hated it. That's why they make red wagons and green wagons.

StarFleet Carl

@PotomacBob

That's why they make red wagons and green wagons.


You mean those two shades of brown wagons?

I have at least some color blindness - enough that when I was trying to enlist in the Navy, they wouldn't let me into their nuclear operator program because I couldn't pass their color vision test. Note that I was already IN the Army National Guard, which meant the Army didn't care that I couldn't see.

Traffic lights in the US are stacked vertically (for the most part) with three colors - brown on top, yellow in the middle, and white on the bottom. At least that's how I see them.

As for the actual topic of discussion, my first novel on here I started writing, had more than a dozen chapters done, then started posting a chapter a week, figuring it wouldn't be difficult to maintain my lead and buffer.

Silly me.

So now I'm waiting until I have something done or nearly done, which means I'm not going to be posting anything for several more months, at the earliest. THEN I'll post a chapter or two every week. Easier that way.

awnlee jawking

@Ernest Bywater

More reasons to read from a dead-tree rather than a tech device at bedtime:

https://www.sleep.org/articles/ways-technology-affects-sleep/

I've seen other reasons mooted, but I was too lazy to track down articles.

AJ

Switch Blayde

@awnlee jawking

I find the process of reading large amounts on a computer screen to be tiring on the eyes, but that's not true of dead-tree novels.


I only offer my novels as ebooks because it's a lot harder to format a paper book and didn't think it was worth it since the statistics say the majority of readers read ebooks.

I don't. I read paper books.
A survey on wattpad showed that teenagers read paper books.
And now you.

I may have to rethink my ebook-only strategy.

awnlee jawking

@Switch Blayde

A survey on wattpad showed that teenagers read paper books.


An article in my paper said the same thing. I have to admit I find that hard to understand since so many e-books are free, and so many UK school and public libraries are being closed.

AJ

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Dominions Son

@awnlee jawking

Try an e-reader with a paper white display rather than an LCD.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Dominions Son

@StarFleet Carl

Traffic lights in the US are stacked vertically (for the most part) with three colors


In my neck of the US woods, you see a lot of traffic lights that are horizontal, red on the left, green on the right.

Replies:   StarFleetCarl
REP
Updated:

@PotomacBob


What does 25 kb mean in terms of words?


I converted one of my Word chapters to a plain text file. 4,071 words resulted in a file that was 22.1 kb.

ETA: I also checked a story posted to SOL. SOL indicated it was 51 kb and my Word program said it contained 8,939 words.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Switch Blayde

@awnlee jawking

I have to admit I find that hard to understand since so many e-books are free


I found it hard to understand because the same teenagers live on their smart phones. They access wattpad on their phones. They even write their stories on their phones. They read stories on wattpad on their phones. But when they buy/borrow a book to read, they want to hold a paper book. They say they get those from a book store or library.

Switch Blayde

@StarFleet Carl

Traffic lights in the US are stacked vertically


What about left turn arrows? I can't remember, but I think it changes color rather than have multiple arrows.

Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde

What about left turn arrows? I can't remember, but I think it changes color rather than have multiple arrows.


I've got an on-line friend who lives in the USA, and they never make a left turn across on-coming traffic because they see so many accidents with red light runners hitting the turners. When they have an intersection where they have to turn left they avoid it by going past, turn right, right again, right again then pass through the intersection going straight ahead on the cross street. It must work well, as they've not been hit making a left turn, or a right turn, but they have been in t-bone accidents with people running red lights or turning left in front of them when it wasn't safe to do so.

awnlee jawking

@Dominions Son

That doesn't resolve my problem, and it won't until e-readers are as large as a printed book, bendy, and don't break when dropped.

AJ

Replies:   Switch Blayde  Keet
Switch Blayde

@awnlee jawking

and don't break when dropped.


Like when you fall asleep reading. Done that with paper books.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Switch Blayde

@Ernest Bywater

because they see so many accidents with red light runners hitting the turners.


In my state, the driver turning left is wrong even if the other guy ran a red light. The law says you have to make sure it's clear before you turn.

Not all cities build their roads on grids. In some places I can make 4 right turns and not end up in the same place I started from.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

I've got an on-line friend who lives in the USA, and they never make a left turn across on-coming traffic because they see so many accidents with red light runners hitting the turners. When they have an intersection where they have to turn left they avoid it by going past, turn right, right again, right again then pass through the intersection going straight ahead on the cross street.


A number of delivery companies have adopted right turn only strategies. Not for safety reasons but because it saves fuel by reducing time spent idling waiting to turn left.

Mythbusters tested this, and confirmed it. While a little economy car isn't going to see $ from this, significant savings, it does make a measurable difference and the savings are significantly greater with a commercial vehicle.

Dominions Son

@Switch Blayde

What about left turn arrows? I can't remember, but I think it changes color rather than have multiple arrows.


I haven't seen many with one light that changes color. However, it does vary from intersection to intersection.

At intersections where you are allowed to turn left if on-coming traffic is clear on a normal green, there is usually just a 4th light added to the main stack that's just a green arrow.

Then there are intersections that are left only on the green arrow. Many of those have a full separate stack of red, yellow, green arrows for left turn.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Dominions Son

At intersections where you are allowed to turn left if on-coming traffic is clear


We have a blinking amber light for that.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@Switch Blayde

We have a blinking amber light for that.


In England, that could be interpreted as a steady amber light that you really, really loathe, or an amber light that flashes on and off.

AJ

Keet

@awnlee jawking

and don't break when dropped.

I have a regular microphone stand next to my bed with a holding adapter for a tablet. Works like a charm, can't fall and I don't have to hold it up to read. Really comfortable reading!

Uther_Pendragon

Back to the question, from the really fascinating bits about dropping traffic lights.

I usually post stories, when finished, 2 chapters a week, chapters somewhere 30 - 50 kb, each.

SOL restricts a download to 55kb. If you post a chapter longer than that, the software breaks it up into "pages." I hate software breaking up my work; I know when the story breaks.

I tried once posting a multi-chapter story all at once. I found that it went "plop," and then got no more response. Maybe it was the story, but others posted on the schedule I've stated got more favorable responses.

Right now, I'm posting a story, Karen, with only one, very short, chapter a week. One reason for that is that the chapters are all-dialogue, and the next chapter might be Karen talking to an entirely different person. (Another reason is that SOL doesn't appreciate short-short stories; the audience doesn't really appreciate short-short chapters, but that counts as only one story rated low.)

Anyway, If you want to wait until the story is done, then go ahead.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
StarFleetCarl

@Dominions Son

traffic lights that are horizontal


That's why I said for the most part. There are parts of town where, due to clearance issues, they stick them sideways like that.

If you're old enough to remember when police mostly ran with red lights on top, you'll appreciate how many times when I was younger I pulled over from seeing a wrecker coming up behind me because I simply couldn't tell the difference between the different flashing lights on them.

Replies:   PotomacBob
PotomacBob

@StarFleetCarl

I was in a 150,000-population Southern town on the night the town switched over from the old red lights and the old sirens, to the modern-day sirens and red-and-blue lights.
Nobody had announced in advance that they were going to do it.
Compared to the old sirens, the new ones sounded eerie and were, of course, strange. The new lights were also different and strange.
According to the local newspapers the next day, switchboards had lit up all over town (police, newspaper and broadcast stations), asking if the town was being invaded by Martians.

red61544

@Tera

About forty years ago, Carly Simon released a song called "Anticipation". Carly was lamenting how seldom she and her lover were together, but anticipation made it all worthwhile. Sadly, we now live in an age when instant gratification is demanded in everything from food to love. Isn't it nice to be able to anticipate the next chapter of a good story, trying to determine where the author may be going and being surprised when he takes the story in a totally unexpected direction. Instant gratification may assuage your craving for now, but anticipation makes everything taste just a little better because of the wait.

Replies:   StarFleet Carl
StarFleet Carl

@red61544

we now live in an age when instant gratification is demanded in everything from food to love


I see this all the time in my line of work.

Customer: "I want this specific item."
Me: "Great, let me take your order and I'll have it for you in eight to twelve weeks."
Customer: "What do you mean? I want it now."
Me: "Unfortunately, so does everyone else. This is the hottest selling item in the industry, and the supply is what it is, the factory is running flat out and simply can't make any more. As long as demand is high for them, we're simply taking orders and filling them as supply becomes available."
Customer: "But I want it ..."

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

Why are downloads or a broader audience important to an author if they're not making money? If all we cared about was writing the story, we wouldn't post it. We post it to get others to read it. So if posting a chapter at a time gets more readers of the story, that's what we want.

Despite not being 'paid' for downloads on SOL, it helps for recognition. As Ernest (or Keet?) suggested, posting a 40 chapter story in one go means most people will miss it, as it'll disappear from the 'recent updates' page within a single day.

But spacing the downloads out, it boosts the overall score of the story, and allows you to schedule the occasional cliff-hangers (personally, I like to post them on Thursday/Friday, so readers have to wait for Monday. That's undoubtedly frustrating in many cases, but at least for my readers, they seem to enjoy the suspense and speculate on how the story will turn out.

Finally, by sticking to an established posting schedule (for me, generally Tuesdays and Thursdays), my readers know when to check in, rather than waiting to 'catch it' whenever it might post. While the stories generally post anywhere from 8:30 to 10 pm, they know they can always pick it up once SOL shuts down or the next morning (depending on where they are geographically).

If you don't know a story, or aren't that excited, you're unlikely to be so insistent on catching the latest chapter in real time, but for favor authors/stories, especially for longer chapters, many like looking forward to sinking their teeth into yet-another detailed and involving chapter or two.

Ernest famously does file dumps, rather than posting chapters, as he combines chapters into odd-combinations based somewhat on total word count, and posts one every other day. That gets his scores up, but it seems (to me at least) as a quick way to get a story out of the way. I prefer keeping stories active, and use my nest story to determine my posting schedule.

Often, between books, it can be months or even a year or more, so Ernest's 'let's get this over with' leads who readers asking 'WTH is this? Didn't he die years ago, and why is he bugging us now?'

Typically, you've got to manage stories to keep your readers interested. If the stories post too quickly, of they don't know when to tune in, they're more likely to forget you, only remembering 3 or 5 years later when someone asks 'whatever happened to ... ?' So posting the story is the best way to keep them from forgetting while you're struggling with you latest book.

Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

If someone uploads a novel-length or multiple-novel-length story in one go, it doesn't matter how good it is, I'm not going to read it.

That's common, and why I've noted that readers often look forward to certain stories posting (they wait to view the chapters as they appear).

They typically like long, detailed extended stories, but they like single chapters that'll last for a half-an-hour to a full hour to read, thus allowing them to sit back and enjoy at the end of the day.

When faced with a 50+ story, they cringe over the sheer time demand, but if they can read a chapter at a time, as it posts, they not only catch it as it's posting, but they can also converse with the author/other readers about the latest chapter.

Crumbly Writer

@PotomacBob

I've tried that. Hated it. That's why they make red wagons and green wagons.

The early dark modes for tablets, phones and computers weren't terribly good (too harsh and difficult to look at, or conversely, too dark to read.

The more recent versions, though, are much better, as the colors are more subtle, and the displays are adjustable. But the biggest benefit is the supposed sleep benefits from the absence of 'white' light. Whether that's true often depends on the individual.

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

I only offer my novels as ebooks because it's a lot harder to format a paper book and didn't think it was worth it since the statistics say the majority of readers read ebooks.

Readers routinely report preferring paper (usually paperbacks of mass paperbacks (3"x5")), but readers are highly price sensitive. SO if the ebook is as little as a dollar cheaper (I've never measured and sub dollar differences), they'll almost uniformly go for the ebook.

Of course the traditional booksellers routinely report that readers always prefer paperbacks, but they stack the deck by charging at least $5 more for an ebook (which cost them nothing to duplicate and distribute), while also tacking on additional discounts on their print books. If you save NOTHING by going with ebooks, then most will prefer paper. However, there are readers (mostly younger) who love carrying 50 to 300 complete books so they always have their next book handy.

Generally, it takes time to adapt to reading from a device. Those not used to it can't stand them, while those who've trained themselves tend to favor the electronic devices.

@Switch Blayde

A survey on wattpad showed that teenagers read paper books.

There's an obvious caveat to that. They prefer paper books, as long as their parents pay for them. When it comes time for them to buy their own, suddenly an extra quarter is too much to bother with paper over

Replies:   PotomacBob
Crumbly Writer

@REP

I converted one of my Word chapters to a plain text file. 4,071 words resulted in a file that was 22.1 kb.

ETA: I also checked a story posted to SOL. SOL indicated it was 51 kb and my Word program said it contained 8,939 words.

A lot depends on the 'hidden' extras. Smart/curly quotes and other publishing marks chew up a lot of space, especially if they're common (like every couple of lines).

Graphics and 16-bit font characters (Chinese or Japanese) take up much more space too. And then there's all the hidden-hidden features, most notably 'commented out' text (story descriptions, alternative chapters, etc.) or more often, the crap that Word Processors like MS WORD dumps into files (to preserve formatting if the html file is reopened in Word, but is otherwise useless extra space).

In short, you can get a general idea of how many words/kb you might get, but no guarantee you'll even get a minimum.

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

and don't break when dropped.

Like when you fall asleep reading. Done that with paper books.

You're right. I hate when I fall asleep in bed and my 27" color computer screen slips off my lap and crashes onto the floor, pulling my expensive desktop computer behind it! 'D

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

Not all cities build their roads on grids. In some places I can make 4 right turns and not end up in the same place I started from.

Manhattan is mostly grid based, but has multiple angled streets and avenues. Then there are the many circular cities with straight N/S, E/W roads crisscrossing over it.

Crumbly Writer

@Uther_Pendragon

Right now, I'm posting a story, Karen, with only one, very short, chapter a week. One reason for that is that the chapters are all-dialogue, and the next chapter might be Karen talking to an entirely different person. (Another reason is that SOL doesn't appreciate short-short stories; the audience doesn't really appreciate short-short chapters, but that counts as only one story rated low.)

That's a time when Ernest's 'repackaging book chapters into SOL chapters' might work. If you combined related dialogue-based chapters, you'd then have longer logically linked chapters of multiple dialogues by different people.

Or not!

Uther_Pendragon

@Crumbly Writer

That's a time when Ernest's 'repackaging book chapters into SOL chapters' might work. If you combined related dialogue-based chapters, you'd then have longer logically linked chapters of multiple dialogues by different people.


If I understood the suggestion, it might work.

This started as a series of all-dialogue stories, which I posted from time to time. So, I'm already consolidating them. I hadn't finished the series when ASSTR went kaflooey, and I have now gone over the 14 chapters (or stories) which I had originally.

So, I'm fairly happy with the way I'm doing it now.

Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

That's a time when Ernest's 'repackaging book chapters into SOL chapters' might work


What CW is trying to describe here is the difference between how I write a story and how I post it to Sol.

In general I write using activity breaks of chapter titles, sub-chapter titles, and section titles basing which they are on the content of them. I list the chapters and sub-chapters in the Table of Contents (ToC) I upload with the chapters in red and the sub-chapters in blue and their titles are colored that way as well. Not all chapters have sub-chapters and not everything has a section headings. I use section headings where I think there's a significant scene change but it's still part of the chapter or sub-chapter.

Anyway, I usually write a story that's between 40,000 to 140,000 words with most being in the 50,000 to 70,000 word range. Over the years I found that 5,000 to 10,000 words was a good read for a single sitting, so when I post to SoL I aim to post the story in lumps of around 8,000 words. I also aim to have the breaks at the end of a chapter if I can, and a sub-chapter if I can't.

So once i complete the story I start measuring how many words are in each chapter and sub-chapter and then introduce a break at the appropriate point. Now this is not as hard as it sounds. I write in a pre-set print book format of a 6 x 9 inch book, and I've found that 20 pages of story is about the right target, so I start at the start of the first chapter and use the software word count option to see how many words are in the area I highlight from there to the end of chapter or sub-chapter closest to 20 pages further along. If the next is the start of a chapter and the word count is over 5,000 words and below 10,000 words I make that a Sol Chapter, if the next is the last sub-chapter of that chapter I check to see if I can extend the cut to include it without going over the 10,000 word mark. Then I repeat for the next section to post and so on until I have it all divided as such.

One of the reasons this works is I don't usually use the word Chapter in my titles (yes there are exceptions), so all I need to do is insert the word Chapter with a chapter number at the break point and the SoL wizard knows where to break the story. However, with the initial posting I also break the story up into a file for each chapter to make the process of using advance dates in the Wizard easier.

Thus I get a SoL chapter for posting while the story has content event chapters within it.

PotomacBob

@Crumbly Writer

I like both e-books and dead-tree versions. One advantage to e-books, if I'm in a hurry, is that it arrives within seconds.

Dominions Son

@PotomacBob

One advantage to e-books,


They take up less space than dead tree books. :)

Ernest Bywater

@PotomacBob

One advantage to e-books,


They're lighter to carry, even when you add in the tablet to read them with, and you can have several in the same pocket at once.

Ernest Bywater

One point I'd forgotten but was reminded of the other day. If you have a long story of a novel length or more and you post it all at once the submission wizard will automatically cut it into components of about 50,000 characters which includes spaces, punctuation, and format code and post the story as a number of pages. I recently revised an reposted a story posted like that and then had to get it fixed by Lazeez when the wizard made the page cuts in mid sentence. Breaking it up into chapter posts within the limitation means you don't have to worry about that happening.

Replies:   Keet
docholladay

I maybe wrong, but posting a completed long (novel length or longer) in chapters keeps the story title in front of the readers over a longer period of time. Instead of a one shot at catching readers attention the story has as many chances as chapters to capture the readers attention. New stories are limited to 30 days I believe but will disappear from the 1st page fairly quickly. While chapter posting puts that same story on the 1st page of the updated stories each time a new chapter is posted for reading regardless of the method used.

Replies:   Keet
Keet

@Ernest Bywater

I recently revised an reposted a story posted like that and then had to get it fixed by Lazeez when the wizard made the page cuts in mid sentence. Breaking it up into chapter posts within the limitation means you don't have to worry about that happening.

I thought Lazeez has mentioned once that he fixed that by making 'smart breaks' as far as possible.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Keet

@docholladay

I maybe wrong, but posting a completed long (novel length or longer) in chapters keeps the story title in front of the readers over a longer period of time. Instead of a one shot at catching readers attention the story has as many chances as chapters to capture the readers attention. New stories are limited to 30 days I believe but will disappear from the 1st page fairly quickly. While chapter posting puts that same story on the 1st page of the updated stories each time a new chapter is posted for reading regardless of the method used.

Correct, but the 30 days is only for premium members. Other readers have just 3 days I think.

Replies:   docholladay
docholladay

@Keet

Correct, but the 30 days is only for premium members. Other readers have just 3 days I think.


How many readers will scroll through the entire available list looking for something to read. Probably 2-3 pages of the list unless they have reason to look for a particular story. Same limitations probably apply to updated stories listings as well. Of course I tend to check daily so that probably affects my estimate as well.

Ernest Bywater

@Keet

I thought Lazeez has mentioned once that he fixed that by making 'smart breaks' as far as possible.


He did, but the other day the script failed to run and messed up the post so he had to redo it.

JohnBobMead

@LonelyDad

LonelyDad hits it right on the nose.

If released all in one fell swoop, the story drops off the main page quite rapidly, and if you didn't happen to log on while it was there, you won't know it was released.

You'll never know it existed unless you go searching through the older stories, and unless you are systematic about that, you'll miss stuff.

That's the real reason behind releasing in parts even if it's complete. It allows more people to become aware of it.

Replies:   helmut_meukel
helmut_meukel

@JohnBobMead

All true.

But with twenty-something chapters releasing a chapter every other day would do the trick. It would show up on the main page for about one and a half month, hard to miss.

If however releasing one chapter per week or even worse one in a fortnight, it's easier to miss.

I personally have problems when reading too many stories concurrently, so I avoid stories with one or less chapter per week. I would read those stories when finished posting,
but may miss the announcement of the last chapter. If this happens, I would quite certainly not register that the story no longer shows up on the main paige and will miss it entirely.

HM.

Replies:   Wheezer  JohnBobMead
Wheezer

@helmut_meukel

I personally have problems when reading too many stories concurrently, so I avoid stories with one or less chapter per week. I would read those stories when finished posting,

but may miss the announcement of the last chapter. If this happens, I would quite certainly not register that the story no longer shows up on the main paige and will miss it entirely.


I think this is a premium feature, but if I see an interesting story that is being uploaded over weeks or months, I will open the first chapter and bookmark it and add the author to my library. His subsequent chapter additions (and future new offerings) show up on my favorites page and the story stays in my reading queue.

Replies:   madnige
JohnBobMead

@helmut_meukel

In re the release schedule, if it were me, I'd check to see if there is any pattern concerning number of visitors to the site and the day of the week, and schedule the posts to occur just prior to each surge of visits, to maximize the number of views while on the home page.

madnige

@Wheezer

I think this is a premium feature, but if I see an interesting story that is being uploaded over weeks or months, I will open the first chapter and bookmark it and add the author to my library.


For a basic (non-premier) equivalent:

-'Advanced search' on both title and author (should give a single result of the story of note)

-Sort the (single) search result by something, e.g. Title, to get the search terms into the address bar

-Bookmark this search in your browser (probably under a folder for SOL interesting story searches)

-Run the search(es) occasionally and check if the story status is 'completed'

This is a lot more hassle to manage than the premier feature, but then, that's part of what premier members are paying for; OTOH running the search doesn't use up a daily download and doesn't affect the story download counts, unlike bookmarking the story and sporadically checking for updates, which I used to do.

Goldfisherman

I have posted a couple of stories in different forums. I even posted a story with multiple chapters here in SOL. Scores in the 5-6 range with absolutely no comments from readers, even with several thoousand downloads. No ATTA BOY or Go Away or anything. without feedback from any readers Ido not feel comfortable with story continuations or multiple chapters.

Back to Top