Writing a serialized story isn’t a cakewalk. We know this; our authors know this. It takes time, commitment, and quite a bit of planning and forethought to put out chapter after chapter until the story’s end. Unbeknown to most, it also takes courage. Serial writers are the modern-day equivalent of athletes in the writing world, and only those who dare to push their limits make it the furthest.
We’ve observed a few analytical trends so far about what makes a successful serial, but we’ve never really dived into scheduling, which is one of the most critical aspects of serialization. Let’s settle that once and for all. Here is a definitive guide to scheduling chapter updates for your serial story on JukePop!
Secret #1: More Updates = Better Retention
Pop quiz: when’s the best time to release your new chapter? Weekly? Biweekly? Monthly? YEARLY?
If any of you have been paying attention to the analytics, you already know the answer to this. The more rarely a chapter is released, the less activity occurs on the story. Conversely, the more often the story is updated, the more new readers will flock to it and old readers will return. There really is no competition here: releasing one or more chapters each week is a schedule for success.
You can also settle for a chapter every two weeks. However, this schedule is the absolute slowest you should go with, as the retention rate will start to suffer past this point.
Secret #2: Breaks are Allowed
Yeesh, a chapter a week. Does that sound like punishment for some crime you never committed? Then perhaps this will cheer you up: taking a break after a meaty chapter release is both allowed and, occasionally, a good thing to do.
When we say “meaty,” we don’t just mean a long chapter; we mean chapters with good cliffhangers, a lot of character, setting, and/or plot development, and also chapters readers might consider climatic or conclusive of a story arc. All of these things pique the reader’s interest and sometimes exhaust their interest in your story. That’s why readers need extra time to digest meaty chapters.
Of course, taking too many breaks and taking breaks unnecessarily is as counterproductive as slowing down your schedule, so don’t get too comfortable.
Secret #3: Talking to Readers Brings them Back
Talking to readers is like maintaining gravity; you keep them in your orbit whether you’re releasing chapters or not. That’s why it’s immensely helpful to tell readers what your story’s update schedule will be. They get the benefit of knowing when to anticipate your next chapter release, while you get to keep their attention and their readership.
Secret #4: All Birds Get the Worm
On the topic of the best time of the week to release a chapter, we don’t see a huge difference between one day or another. A lot of authors release chapters on the weekends, so there’s a window at the beginning of the week where competition is light. However, releasing on the weekends won’t stop your current readership from reading your latest chapter. At most, it may only mitigate how easily discoverable your story is at that point in time. Pretty much any day is a good day to release a chapter.
Secret #5: Buffers Help
A “buffer” is a group of chapters you wrote, but didn’t release right away. These can help you keep your chapter update schedule going in numerous ways. Say something comes up one week and you can’t write a new chapter for next week. Say a reader suggests something that you think is worth adding to the story in the future. That group of chapters you didn’t release yet can come in plenty handy at times like these. Buffers help you stay on schedule and direct your plot more effectively.
Whew, that’s a lot of secrets, but we’ve still got a bunch more. Let’s put a lid on this one and leave the rest of the tips for a part 2.