Good or Bad Idea?

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Good or Bad Idea?

Postby Falls Apart » 14 Aug 2011, 16:44

Okay, so I tried posting this and it disappeared, I think. If this posts twice, my apologies.

I've been trying to figure out an idea for a blog that (1) has not been done over and over again, (2) I won't get bored with after three days, and (3) appeals to somebody besides me. So, I was thinking, I have this idea for a story, except it wouldn't really work as a book. It focuses more on short episodes, at least initially, while the plot develops in the background. Would it work for me to write one chapter at a time and, after editing/revising, post it online? Kind of like webcomics? Or is that a really bad idea? I'd appreciate any sort of input!
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Re: Good or Bad Idea?

Postby Claudie » 14 Aug 2011, 18:25

I think if you take the time to pull and write it well, this is a good idea. Other writers have done it with success (and failure, too, but besides the point), and there are readers out there for it. This kind of story is most often called blog novel, or blook (which I think is a hilarious term).

The concept is good, but like webcomics, blog novels demand a lot of time. A lot. Now I'm not an expert, but there are several things I'd recommend before you launch it.

a) Have an outline. How much of one depends on your position on the plotter/panster scale, but giving your reader the feeling that you know where you are heading will help keep them around.
b) Write it before you post it. I'd say all of it + the first round of edits, but I like to be very certain of what I'm doing.
c) Have a schedule. Even more important than with "regular" bloggers, because this way your readers know when they'll get their next fix of fun.
d) Be ready for the instant feedback and criticism. Most blog readers love to comment on the last entry, try and guess what's coming, or criticise a turn of event they don't like. You'll get awesome fans and you'll get trolls. You'll have to learn with both. This to me is another reason to have an outline.
e) Design your blog around the story. Make it unique.

That's what I have garnered from reading a lot of webcomics, and a few blog novels. You can do the story for fun, but I'd highly recommend treating it as a professional endeavour. It will draw reader in and tell them you are in for the long run. A personalised blog design, a professional attitude, a respected schedule... all of these will enhance the content and the experience.

I hope that helps!
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Re: Good or Bad Idea?

Postby Sommer Leigh » 15 Aug 2011, 06:09

I second everything Claudie said and add:

f) Write many chapters ahead before you even begin your idea. Basically, have a bank of finished posts. With informal blogs, you can skip days or go for a week or a month without posting and it's no big deal. When you get into the serial posts, like with short stories or webcomics, you no longer have the luxury of skipping anything. If life gets in the way and you can't finish the next installment, things get complicated. When you find readers they'll know you post a new installment every monday. If they show up one monday and there's no update, they'll be annoyed and they'll go away. But knowing you don't post until Monday means they won't try back for a whole week. That's a long time to expect people to wait and check back. WIth so little online time to spare as it is, you can't ask readers to wait for you.
g) Read some of the blogs that do this successful and figure out what they did. My favorite:
h) Like any other blog, give yourself 6 months to a year to develop a steady stream of followers, readers, and commenters. You can help yourself out a little by developing a marketing strategy much like new book releases. Set up your blog site way ahead of time, develop a great graphic look, and tap into all of your online friends for help getting the word out. Make buttons for your friends to use to send readers your way and have something up on your site before you start that's sort of the virutal equivelant to the back of the book summary. Set up some way for people to subscribe by email so you can send out an email notification when the blog goes live and when new updates are posted. Tap into your blog friends and set up a blog tour promoting your new story blog.
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Re: Good or Bad Idea?

Postby Hillsy » 16 Aug 2011, 04:24

I thought of doing something like this as well, however I decided against it (largely because I don't feel comfortable running a blog in general).

The others above picked up on most of the issues I had, I'd also add....

i) don't post too much, too infrequently. Pick a target, say 1500 word and try and break everything down to that....getting a big chunk once a month isn't a great method for web-seriels. People what small, regular updates to keep their interst ticking over without making it a chore to read...that way they'll tune in each week for a 20 minute read rather than having to put aside 2 hours to catch up.....which leads me toooooo.
j) Depending on the size, remember that people will largely read from most recent entry, back a few, then - if they like it, consider catching up. If you end up with 2 years worth of story then that's a hell of a lot of reading to catch up on where you are now. Think like a comic if you can. Have a storyline that will run for, say a few months, then end it and start another. You can loosely tie these in to the theme runnign through it, but it also means a new reader doesn't have to go back 2 years just to find out why the MC is hanging upside down from a crane in an abandoned copper mine. Once they've caught up with plot then they can always go back and read another 2-month-long story line to better understand the characters....and so on....and so on.

Like I said the interweb is perfect for magazine-style-serials and I thoguht about doing one myself....just make sure you've got a 'marketing strategy' if you want it to be successful
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Re: Good or Bad Idea?

Postby Claudie » 16 Aug 2011, 07:52

Hillsy wrote:j) Depending on the size, remember that people will largely read from most recent entry, back a few, then - if they like it, consider catching up. If you end up with 2 years worth of story then that's a hell of a lot of reading to catch up on where you are now. Think like a comic if you can. Have a storyline that will run for, say a few months, then end it and start another. You can loosely tie these in to the theme runnign through it, but it also means a new reader doesn't have to go back 2 years just to find out why the MC is hanging upside down from a crane in an abandoned copper mine. Once they've caught up with plot then they can always go back and read another 2-month-long story line to better understand the characters....and so on....and so on.


Another way to do this would be to have a "synopsis so far" page so that new readers can catch up to the main points from the beginning without having to reread the entire piece right away. This'd give them an idea of where the Major Scenes are, too, and allow them to read those.
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Re: Good or Bad Idea?

Postby Watcher55 » 16 Aug 2011, 08:34

Claudie wrote:
Hillsy wrote:j) Depending on the size, remember that people will largely read from most recent entry, back a few, then - if they like it, consider catching up. If you end up with 2 years worth of story then that's a hell of a lot of reading to catch up on where you are now. Think like a comic if you can. Have a storyline that will run for, say a few months, then end it and start another. You can loosely tie these in to the theme runnign through it, but it also means a new reader doesn't have to go back 2 years just to find out why the MC is hanging upside down from a crane in an abandoned copper mine. Once they've caught up with plot then they can always go back and read another 2-month-long story line to better understand the characters....and so on....and so on.


Another way to do this would be to have a "synopsis so far" page so that new readers can catch up to the main points from the beginning without having to reread the entire piece right away. This'd give them an idea of where the Major Scenes are, too, and allow them to read those.


Like what? A synopsis every three posts or so - or a separate updated "synopsis tab"?
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Re: Good or Bad Idea?

Postby Sommer Leigh » 16 Aug 2011, 10:02

Watcher55 wrote:
Claudie wrote:
Hillsy wrote:j) Depending on the size, remember that people will largely read from most recent entry, back a few, then - if they like it, consider catching up. If you end up with 2 years worth of story then that's a hell of a lot of reading to catch up on where you are now. Think like a comic if you can. Have a storyline that will run for, say a few months, then end it and start another. You can loosely tie these in to the theme runnign through it, but it also means a new reader doesn't have to go back 2 years just to find out why the MC is hanging upside down from a crane in an abandoned copper mine. Once they've caught up with plot then they can always go back and read another 2-month-long story line to better understand the characters....and so on....and so on.


Another way to do this would be to have a "synopsis so far" page so that new readers can catch up to the main points from the beginning without having to reread the entire piece right away. This'd give them an idea of where the Major Scenes are, too, and allow them to read those.


Like what? A synopsis every three posts or so - or a separate updated "synopsis tab"?


A synopsis tab is what I've seen that works the best, and have it updated with each story arc/chapter whatever makes a good break. I would also recommend having a set of quick links on the side to the beginning of each arc/chapter/part however you want to break it up, that way people don't have to go searching for the beginning of the parts for a good place to start.
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Re: Good or Bad Idea?

Postby Claudie » 17 Aug 2011, 07:54

Watcher55 wrote:
Claudie wrote:
Hillsy wrote:j) Depending on the size, remember that people will largely read from most recent entry, back a few, then - if they like it, consider catching up. If you end up with 2 years worth of story then that's a hell of a lot of reading to catch up on where you are now. Think like a comic if you can. Have a storyline that will run for, say a few months, then end it and start another. You can loosely tie these in to the theme runnign through it, but it also means a new reader doesn't have to go back 2 years just to find out why the MC is hanging upside down from a crane in an abandoned copper mine. Once they've caught up with plot then they can always go back and read another 2-month-long story line to better understand the characters....and so on....and so on.


Another way to do this would be to have a "synopsis so far" page so that new readers can catch up to the main points from the beginning without having to reread the entire piece right away. This'd give them an idea of where the Major Scenes are, too, and allow them to read those.


Like what? A synopsis every three posts or so - or a separate updated "synopsis tab"?


Whenever makes a good break, as long as it is regular, is what I was thinking of. Also, I second Sommer's suggestion of quick links.
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Re: Good or Bad Idea?

Postby Watcher55 » 17 Aug 2011, 08:11

Yeah, I like the quick links idea a lot - I wish "Author! Author!" would use them.
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Re: Good or Bad Idea?

Postby Falls Apart » 18 Aug 2011, 11:58

Wow!! Thanks for all the advice; this is really good. Some of this stuff, I never thought of before. Now, I think I'm definitely going to do it (and keep this page as a reference) although I won't be ready to start it for a while :)
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Re: Good or Bad Idea?

Postby Danyelle » 22 Aug 2011, 14:49

I've been a lurker, so this is my first post, but serial publishing is something that has fascinated me for a while. I liked the idea, and the Internet makes this a viable option, but I'd stumbled on the how part of doing a serial novel. I thought of doing it by blog, but wasn't sure how that would work--especially since a 1-3k-word post would be hard on the eyes.

I've been doing my serial through Tracy Hickman's Scribe's Forge method. The way it works is I post the chapters on a bi-weekly basis, but only those who have subscribed are able to access my work. I like that his method allows me to keep my work semi-private while still being able to share it. :)
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Re: Good or Bad Idea?

Postby TaylorNapolsky » 28 Aug 2011, 06:51

Yeah I've thought about doing this too. It would be cool if you could think of a way to monetize it.
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Re: Good or Bad Idea?

Postby MattLarkin » 28 Aug 2011, 07:47

TaylorNapolsky wrote:Yeah I've thought about doing this too. It would be cool if you could think of a way to monetize it.

I don't know, I think the lure is drawing people in to buy your other books with your writing.

I'm not sure I'd pay even my favorite authors for a web serial.
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Re: Good or Bad Idea?

Postby parker102 » 03 Sep 2012, 09:58

hmm i guess its a really good idea. who doesn't like comics. so when you add web to it. well i think you should get on with it.
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