We are pleased to welcome Tuesday Serial contributor Nick Bryan to the Tuesday Serial site today for the fifth installment in our guest post series. Nick is sharing some of his experience in marketing serial fiction – learned the hard way! We will be featuring guest posts every other week through December 20. You can view previous posts in the series here. Welcome, Nick!
I’ve been a webserial author for nine months now, and the hard part is always this: you put your story online, on your own site, Jukepop Serials or Wattpad, and suddenly there’s pressure to get people reading the damn thing. After all, you spent ages on it, so people should see it! Not to mention, all the other web authors seem to drench the internet with a waterfall of excitable promotion, so how do you keep up?
I don’t pretend to be an expert – otherwise I’d be rich by now – but I’ve been battling the promotional peaks (“YES GOOD REVIEWS AND SHINY STARS!”) and troughs (“OH GOD THE NUMBERS WON’T MOVE NO MATTER HOW MUCH I TWEET!”) long enough to have a few thoughts. Here, in blog-friendly list form, are the insights I’ve gathered.
1) Consistency is king
Sadly, no amount of tweeting can replace writing a decent quality serial and getting it out on time. I often worry later chapters of my serial are better than the early ones, and this early lack of consistency might let me down. Is it against the spirit of serials to go back and punch them up? I’m seriously considering it.
2) I tweet, therefore I spam
Twitter is handy in the modern world of plugging your serial fiction, but decent targeted advertising is worth considering – especially without an existing audience; tweet-and-hope can only go so far. Some serials have grown massive without any Twitter presence; put yourself out there on sites devoted to webfiction. TuesdaySerial is a good start – try Web Fiction Guide next.
3) At least it isn’t a novel
I mean, imagine having to advertise week-in, week-out for the exact same thing. At least webserials have new chapters, so we authors can say we’re pushing fresh material. People out there with whole novels to sell, I envy you not; you have a harder task than me.
4) Review your fear of reviews
Having your baby reviewed is scary, and nothing more gratifying than a mighty geyser of praise. By the same token, seeing it crushed with a hammer is true pain. Unfortunately, it’s all part of the unspoken deal you signed when you released your work into the wild. There’s no benefit in letting it get to you or (even worse) throwing a public tantrum, so try to identify valid criticisms in less good reviews, learn and move on.
5) Writing is work is life is pain
It’s easy to get distracted from the actual writing by all the things I just mentioned. They are meant to be ways of getting the writing out there, which probably comes back to point 1 – produce something decent, first and foremost, and set update targets you can meet without destroying the rest of your life.
And then, if you’ve got time, maybe plug it on Twitter or a forum, write a blog post, that kind of thing. If your serial catches on and a larger audience appears, the rest will probably follow. Now, I’m off to schedule some tweets. If you have any alternative thoughts on marketing and such, let me know below.
Nick Bryan writes the comedy-drama detective serial Hobson & Choi on Jukepop Serials. He also has various novels and short stories on the go, as well as his Twitter account. Nick is British and enjoys sleep, comedy and a nice white beer. More details on his blog.