1. Birch Anderson

    Birch Anderson Member

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    Online Serial Fiction

    Discussion in 'By Writing Form' started by Birch Anderson, Oct 29, 2020.

    In the 2000s, there were a number of independent sites I’d visit from writers who posted their serialized fiction. Some might have been by the writers and some might have been niche sites for writers who specialized in certain kinds of fiction or fanfiction. I can’t remember any of their names, only that I’m certain that over the years, for various reasons, the sites just disappeared or became repositories for viruses and bugs – and then disappeared.

    I forgot about them until some time ago, when one of my favorite Youtube, Kikoskia, also a writer, stated that one of his stories would be a serialized work on his website. Then I remembered those online stories I used to read, and in the nostalgia trip I wondered if it would be fun to do the same thing.

    There are a few narratives in my queue that are intended to be written in an episodic fashion. One of them is just too big and isn’t structured to be a novel, and another is much too adult to be the Young Adult fantasy adventure series I imagined it would be, and even with the independence that comes with self-publishing, I’m just not certain how it should exist.

    I’m curious if anybody is familiar with publishing serialized fiction on their own website or if they have done further research into it, if it’s feasible or not (I understand that you won’t necessarily be profiting from it like marketable material, and that it depends entirely on traffic to your site – so it would all be more like an advertisement), or if the end results are actually worth the expended effort.
     
  2. Flamenco1

    Flamenco1 Member

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    Birch I don't see what the clear benefits are to reader or to yourself. Could you expand on that? What problem are you trying to resolve?
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2020
  3. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The specific sites you once frequented in the past may be gone, but the concept is certainly alive and well. Places like Wattpad and AO3 are quite robust and well-trafficked. I do post serialized stories to AO3, both fic and original. Whether there is value in doing so is very much dependent an your definition of value, your idea of engagement, and the end goal you have in mind. I enjoy the heck out of it. It's loose and fast and there's so much more room for experimentalism. Kinda' like avant-garde fashion shows. The items aren't meant to be wearable or practical. They're meant to allow the designer to stretch into areas of creativity that practicality typically forbids, to explore that forbidden realm and then bring back choice bits of regalia that were found.
     
  4. Komposten

    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Supporter Contributor

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    Please ignore this post; it's only here for scientific purposes. ;)
     
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  5. Birch Anderson

    Birch Anderson Member

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    I'm guess I'm just worried about spending so much time and effort working on fiction that nobody will bother looking at. I don't want to sound like the writer who's obsessed with making profit or cultivating masses of readers - I'm not - but I do want to know that my writing career, what I've been trying seriously to do for years, actually has somewhere to go. That there's a point to all this. Online serial fiction doesn't seem tangible to me; no matter how much time, energy, and thought you put into it, it's still just a page on the internet, and people are fickle and judgmental creatures. It's becoming more and more difficult to catch people's interest.

    I'd rather not spend time on something nobody will look at when I could be focusing on pieces that have an actual market.
     
  6. Birch Anderson

    Birch Anderson Member

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    Thanks for mentioning those sites; I've known about Wattpad for a while, but AO3 sounds interesting, as well. Many of the writing sites I've joined in the past have tended to be not so serious about writing (or developing skills as a writer, I mean), or it was simply difficult to get readers because I was new. It just seems more and more for me that writing is really about worrying who will read your work, how many, what they will think of it (if they think of it at all), and less about fun.

    a
     
  7. Flamenco1

    Flamenco1 Member

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    That would worry me if I thought like that. It seems to me that you are setting up for a fall.

    However, I think the "point to all this", if you're going to be focussed on it, needs to be very clearly defined. Looking at AO3 for example it offers a certain type of audience. Is that the type of audience you want?

    But all the best and do let us know here if you have success. And if you publish via that route I'd be interested in being one of your audience.

    ps. That final thought raised a question. Do you maintain a list of your readers and potential readers?
     
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  8. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I have to say that this remains true to a certain extent in the sites I mentioned. I belong to several venue-specific groups for them and the general conversation is that people are interested only in gushy, sycophantic, "pink-smoke-up-the-wazoo" comments from their readers. Constructive crit is - generally - not a thing they are after. That being the case, one must then divide the expectations. Places like this crit forum right here for a blunt reality check, and then back over to the serialized site for the more fannish engagement we each elaborately deny wanting in public, but which we all privately crave. ;)

    And this is an unavoidable truth. Everyone starts at the beginning, and the beginning means a dance-card with no signatures as of yet. It takes a little time, especially if you are not wont to lean into the tropes or content that create a feeding frenzy. The idea of writing a story specifically to a trope is not one that functions for me, so I have yet to ever see the water froth with piranha. But the bites are certainly there, enough to keep me coming to this particular spot in the river.

    Not to sound harsh or parental, but this last sentiment is under your control. I know that's easier said than done, especially if you are one to need interaction with others involved in similar activities. As mentioned, I follow a few groups for this kind of thing, and stats certainly are treated as badges of accomplishment and status, a behavioral paradigm that gives rise to competitiveness in the human animal. I write mostly original, and the few fandoms I do follow and write in are of the small variety. One simply has to learn to look past the other people wearing Harry Potter numbers. It's about leaning into your internal locus of control.

    ;)

    4kejym.jpg
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2020
  9. Birch Anderson

    Birch Anderson Member

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    After actually doing further research, I guess I don’t really want to be a part of AO3; not if it resembles Fiction Press or fanfiction.net. I don’t have much of an affinity with those websites. And that’s part of it – I don’t know where to begin posting my material. I’ve tried those sites mentioned, as well as DeviantArt, Quotev, and others, and I’ve never had any consistent readers, none to give critical comments or just pity likes. Part of me thinks it’s because my fiction really is that bad, another part knows that it’s just because I don’t spend enough time on those sites – and I don’t pander to the common denominator.

    I know it would be more difficult, but I think it would just be better if I set up my own site and put the stories I want to serialize there, since the other options seem too restrictive (some sites demand absolutely no adult content, which I find demeaning for all parties. I don’t write smut, it’s just a matter of principle).

    Unfortunately, I don’t have any repeat readers of which to maintain a list, but thank you very much for the wishes. I’ll certainly let you know once I get a site off the ground, if you wish.
     
  10. Birch Anderson

    Birch Anderson Member

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    I know – I’m really at fault because I have a habit of joining a site, posting all the stories I’ve done specifically for public viewing, and then eventually abandoning ship when those stories fail to cause a reaction. I’ve always been convinced that it’s because my fiction really is that bad. I suppose this thread in itself is another iteration of what I’ve been asking for years: “Where and how do I set up a platform?” I haven’t been getting bites because I haven’t really been spending enough time on the shore.

    I must sound about half my age when I whinge about myself online. It’s just that for all the years I’ve been writing I’ve not once had anyone read my stories, not anyone willing enough to give a critical assessment or something like that. I prefer original works, as well; a lot of fandoms, if not all of them, have communities that are so voraciously competitive that writing in those veins seems like it would be a brutal chore.

    Often, I confuse self-confidence with pomposity, and usually won’t bother talking about my stories to other people. I’m gradually learning about advertising for authors to combat this. I really shouldn’t believe that every story that a writer creates and publicly shows off is an advertisement for that writer, but it’s true in a sense. Whatever you make and make public is a way to let others know about you and the other projects you’ve done.

    Damn it, I’ve been reading too many “self-help for writers” blogs. I should just keep writing and stop worrying. I’ve also made this thread into a self-deprecating tangent and I apologize for wasting time.
     
  11. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributor Contributor

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    LiveJournal used to be a great place for this - it was where I serialized my first novel before taking it down for publisher submission. Unfortunately it is absolutely dead now.

    AO3 is definitely the biggest platform right now in regards to traffic, although most of that is for fanfic, not original fiction. Since you're not getting much traction, I have to ask if you're engaging with other writer's stories there, leaving Kudos and more importantly Comments. On a fanfic level (I write both fanfic and original fic, but only post fanfic on AO3) a lot of my success has been through networking with other writers in my fandom, commenting on their work, following them on Twitter and Tumblr, etc.

    If you show that you're interested in engaging with other people's work, it increases your chances that they will do you a solid and check out your work, maybe turning their own Dear Readers on to your stuff. Give people a reason to want to seek out what you've written instead of just throwing it out into the ether and expecting anyone to care. I know that sounds kind of harsh, be the reality is that many platforms have a community aspect to them, and if you don't put any effort in becoming part of the community they're going to respond with the same level of interest in you.
     
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  12. Birch Anderson

    Birch Anderson Member

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    Wow, I didn't know LiveJournal was a hub for serial fiction. I mean, I knew it became a wasteland after Moscow purchased it, but nothing before then.

    I know it really is my fault that I don't communicate with a site's community as often as I really should. That's the biggest thing; networking is the whole point of making any form of art and sending it out. It's just difficult for me to give say something online without feeling like I'm saying something idiotic or completely off the point, so I often keep quiet. If you keep quiet, you don't confuse and irritate anyone.

    At the same time, nobody gets to know you.
     
  13. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributor Contributor

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    I can promise you that you're really overthinking this. I'm not saying you should compliment any stories you don't like, but I can guarantee you that there isn't an author alive on AO3 that doesn't want to hear from you if you like what they've written. It doesn't have to be anything profound or extensive, even a "I really liked that line where X said XXXX" or, "I was having a tough day but this chapter really made my day brighter." It's honestly that simple. Some recent comments on my fanfics that have literally made my day:

    This is so lovely, thanks for writing and sharing this!

    Love this! I could see it all happening! So sweet and soft

    The night before insight was really cute and david’s “you make me feel real” made me want to throw my phone across the room (in a good way of course). this was so sweet and perfect thank you for writing and sharing
     
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  14. DriedPen

    DriedPen Member

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    I was part of that serialized fiction days. In my case, there was an artist who had an interest in 1930 pulp erotica book covers, and so he would draw these book covers, but many on his website wanted to have stories that went with his art. I happened along at the right time, and so we teamed up. It started with me writing stories for covers he had drawn, but it was difficult, so then I would write the stories, and from within the story, he would draw a cover for it. It was a unique collaboration.

    But then , he got married and lost interest, and I started having kids, so the collaboration stopped.

    But as interesting as it was. All was not lost. I honed my writing skills and style, and somewhere along the lines, readers enjoyed both the covers and the stories. I say that because there was lots of requests for series to the stories that I wrote. That was a confidence builder for me, and something that many authors struggle with. After all, that is what writers block is...a lack of confidence that what you write has merit.

    Maybe reading up on how to counter that will help you with your confidence issues???
     
  15. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Potatoes again? Supporter Contributor

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    It's worked on occasion:

    [​IMG]
     
  16. marshipan

    marshipan Contributor Contributor

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    Patreon could be an option but you'll need a presence elsewhere in order to gain fans/subscribers.
    Radishfiction is another serialization site but I don't know anything about it.
     

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