I have some questions about serialising short stories or novels on a blog – updated | Creation Robot
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I have some questions about serialising short stories or novels on a blog – updated

February 21st, 2006 · 3 Comments

How do you post short stories online?

I asked someone that has considered these issues previously, and successfully published three novels online, he recommended posting the entire story in one go. I think he’s right too, the more I look into this, the more I think serialising is the wrong approach. Serialisation, and micro payments, famously didn’t work for Stephen King’s ‘Plant’, a story that he killed before it finished. A lesson I would have recalled if I wasn’t posting at midnight.

I thought about serialisation due to the renown short attention span generated by reading anything on the internet. For web sites, less is more. 79% of readers scan pages rather than read them, only 16% read the whole page. The average read time on a blog is approximately 96 seconds, that drops to 37 seconds for the largest internet blogs.

I was incorrectly applying my knowledge of the Internet, to publishing, which I have no experience in. A poor Internet attention span is a result of trying to shift through millions of options in as short amount of time possible. Not itself indicative of inattention, or worse, stupidity. It’s a reflection of how we live and sort through the data available to us.

In posting a story I’m not asking the reader to read my blog, or even anything on the screen, I’m asking them to invest time into reading a story. Which is completely different.

What this goes to show is two fold:

  • Never consider the really big issues at midnight when you were in work for six in the morning. When you’ve been on the go for eighteen hours you are not at your best.
  • When going somewhere new, ask someone who has been there before. A basic life lesson, the only reason I didn’t do this was I didn’t expect a response. Assumptions are bad.

As it happens Cory Doctorow happens to be a nice guy, he sent me following email, and gave me permission to post it:

I disagree that serials are the way to go. THe vast majority of people who might read your fiction haven’t heard of you. If they are enticed to visit your site and read 800 words of story X, it’s very likely that many of them won’t remember to come back or won’t be motivated. Give them something to take away with them and they’ll maybe read it at their leisure and then look you up. I believe in posting efiction as PDF, well-formed XHTML and ASCII/UTF-8.

Cory

I agree, and that’s what I’ll be doing.

I decided from the word go that it’s better to post stories in parts, rather than have an 8000 word blog entry. It’s an obvious and simple starting point, and the only one I’m fixed on. After that choice made, I have a few of questions that I’d like to throw open to the floor:

  • How many words per blog entry? 200, 500, 1000, 2000 or more?
  • How frequent should a story be serialised? Daily or weekly?
  • Would you prefer neatly formatted PDFs or words pasted into my blog?

I’m really curious about how this has been done before, and how you readers think this should be done on CreationRobot. Before I CC my stories and throw them out to the universe – to love, hate or ignore them – I’d like to know the best ways of going about it.

Category: CreationRobot · Writing

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Bloggers…How long do they stay? « THE KOWALKER JOURNEY // May 5, 2008 at 7:26 AM

    [...] web sites, less is more. 79% of readers scan pages rather than read them, only 16% read the whole page. The average read [...]

  • 2 Jackdaw // Feb 22, 2006 at 11:08 AM

    I’ll have look tonight, I’ve been involved in a couple of online writing projects so it sounds good.

  • 3 Bjorn // Feb 22, 2006 at 3:44 AM

    You know JD I made The South Wind with the intent to write serials online and to have others write them. Do you think you’d want to help me with this? I already got a few stories written on it and I got some written but not yet submitted. :/

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