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Chuck Abbe

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Registered: 01/01/18
Publilshing full length novel one chapter at a time
Posted: Jan 1, 2018 2:52 PM
 
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I have been working on my first novel for a while and have about 16000 words, probably about half of the finished book. I am wondering about the possibility of publishing it one chapter at a time, maybe with the first chapter free and then a small price for a limited period of time for succeeding chapters; at the conclusion of which I would publish download and hard copies of the entire novel. I think Stephen King did something similar to this with The Green Mile - not sure how successful it was. Any advice or suggestions?
Adam Carter

Posts: 99
Registered: 10/02/12
Re: Publilshing full length novel one chapter at a time
Posted: Jan 1, 2018 3:01 PM   in response to: Chuck Abbe in response to: Chuck Abbe
 
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Problem is, the cheapest you can sell each chapter for would be 99p (99c). If your book is comprised of 10 chapters, you're asking readers to pay £10 ($10) for the whole thing.

Sorry to be blunt, but no one's going to do that when they can get full novels for 99p all over the place. You're only setting yourself up for one-star reviews from people who thought they were getting the whole thing.

On a side note, since this is your first novel and it's not finished yet, you'd be doing yourself a disservice to publish any of it until it's finished and been redrafted. I may be old school but I personally think the best place for a first novel is the bin. (Which is curiously what Stephen King did until his wife took it out of the bin.)
Mrs Julia Evans

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Re: Publilshing full length novel one chapter at a time
Posted: Jan 1, 2018 3:37 PM   in response to: Chuck Abbe in response to: Chuck Abbe
 
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Chuck Abbe wrote:
I have been working on my first novel for a while and have about 16000 words, probably about half of the finished book. I am wondering about the possibility of publishing it one chapter at a time, maybe with the first chapter free and then a small price for a limited period of time for succeeding chapters; at the conclusion of which I would publish download and hard copies of the entire novel. I think Stephen King did something similar to this with The Green Mile - not sure how successful it was. Any advice or suggestions?

My suggestion is to finish your book - if you ever do (so many people never do) - and then publish it, in full, as a book.

Assuming you get any sales at all (many newbies don't), the last thing you want to do is p*ss off any potentially loyal readers by leaving them hanging. It's one thing to give them a whole book that finishes with a cliff-hanger, and quite another to sell them a serialised version of your story, without warning them, in advance, how much it will cost them to read the whole story. Assuming you're aiming for a book of around 30-35k words, put yourself in the shoes of the reader. Would you want to pay that much for what is, even at 35k words, still not a full length novel?

When you're Stephen King, you can do what the heck you want. When you're a newbie starting out with no fan-base, you need to make your readers as happy as possible, to encourage positive feedback. The last thing you want to do is have them thinking you're a scam artist.

Just my thoughts. J
Brad the wronger

Posts: 329
Registered: 07/13/17
Re: Publilshing full length novel one chapter at a time
Posted: Jan 1, 2018 4:08 PM   in response to: Chuck Abbe in response to: Chuck Abbe
 
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Andy Weir did the same thing, except on his blog. He published one chapter at a time, got feedback, made changes, and once he thought the book was done, he published it.
B.L. Alley

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Registered: 06/14/14
Re: Publilshing full length novel one chapter at a time
Posted: Jan 1, 2018 4:21 PM   in response to: Chuck Abbe in response to: Chuck Abbe
 
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32,000 is a novella. Publishers don't consider a work a novel unless it's at least 80,000 words, and the common sense minimum is 40,000.

As others said, don't publish it for sale, post the chapters on your own site if you must, build interest, then publish the finished book. If you don't reach 40k words, avoid the temptation to pad the book, it will only suffer. Instead, proudly publish the novella. Most famous authors have published shorter works.
C. Gold

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Registered: 02/17/15
Re: Publilshing full length novel one chapter at a time
Posted: Jan 1, 2018 4:25 PM   in response to: Chuck Abbe in response to: Chuck Abbe
 
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No. Just no.

Some authors can craft enjoyable serials, but many do what you are thinking of doing--just chopping up the book and depositing it piecemeal and they get terrible 1 star reviews. Simply tossing a chapter out there doesn't have the same consideration for the reader as a segment of writing specifically designed for serialization purposes.

A serial segment is a short mini-arc that has a beginning, middle, and a temporary conclusion with a bit of trouble introduced at the end. It is longer than a typical chapter as it has to introduce characters, set up the serial-wide problem, solve a little one, and stir up more trouble before the end. I think of serial segments as novelettes with mild cliffhangers. I've seen them successfully done in romance and sci-fi, but you need to give the reader good quality to deserve the 99c they pay for your material.

Finish your story and make sure it doesn't need additional content. 32k words is really short but you'd have a better chance of selling it as a whole than one chapter at a time which couldn't be that many words.
Salamander Mall...

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Registered: 10/16/17
Re: Publilshing full length novel one chapter at a time
Posted: Jan 1, 2018 4:44 PM   in response to: Chuck Abbe in response to: Chuck Abbe
 
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Why in the world would I want to pay $10 or more for a book worth $2.99 or less? Since you've been woking on the book "awhile" without being anywhere near the end, why should I believe that you'll ever finish it? Or finish it in my lifetime? Or that you'll not get near the end, then feel a need to go back and revise Chapter One, a revision that I'd never see? Exactly how long will I have to wait between chapters?

Not just a bad idea, but a terrible idea, one which shows absolutely no consideration for readers.

Just my opinion, of course.
Amis

Posts: 254
Registered: 02/25/17
Re: Publilshing full length novel one chapter at a time
Posted: Jan 1, 2018 4:47 PM   in response to: Brad the wronger in response to: Brad the wronger
 
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Sure but putting a chapter at a time on your own blog in order to get feedback and selling a chapter at a time on Zon are two entirely different things and potential readers will react differently to them.
resteasy

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Registered: 07/02/12
Re: Publilshing full length novel one chapter at a time
Posted: Jan 1, 2018 4:56 PM   in response to: Chuck Abbe in response to: Chuck Abbe
 
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Chuck Abbe wrote:.

think Stephen King did something similar to this with The Green Mile - not sure how successful it was. Any advice or suggestions?

Yes, he was successful enough to have a film made of the story. But that is Stephen King. Who are you?
Brad the wronger

Posts: 329
Registered: 07/13/17
Re: Publilshing full length novel one chapter at a time
Posted: Jan 1, 2018 4:59 PM   in response to: Amis in response to: Amis
 
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I'm just reporting what Andy Weir did. He seemed successful with "The Martian". He attributed his massive sales to the interest he built through his blog posts and his interaction with readers. By doing that, he created future customers. Quite possibly you wouldn't be successful doing the same.
B.L. Alley

Posts: 1,242
Registered: 06/14/14
Re: Publilshing full length novel one chapter at a time
Posted: Jan 1, 2018 5:30 PM   in response to: Brad the wronger in response to: Brad the wronger
 
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He also happened to write an exceptionally entertaining book, so there's that.
Brad the wronger

Posts: 329
Registered: 07/13/17
Re: Publilshing full length novel one chapter at a time
Posted: Jan 1, 2018 7:08 PM   in response to: B.L. Alley in response to: B.L. Alley
 
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That would be the point.
Now, if he hadn't posted chapters or segments on his blog, listened to feedback, and made the changes, the quality of his writing wouldn't have been as good and his book wouldn't have been nearly as entertaining. But it's a tactic that won't work for everyone.
B.L. Alley

Posts: 1,242
Registered: 06/14/14
Re: Publilshing full length novel one chapter at a time
Posted: Jan 1, 2018 7:18 PM   in response to: Brad the wronger in response to: Brad the wronger
 
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The feedback refined his storytelling, but he clearly has a knack for it and his technical detail is impressive. Lightning in a bottle for sure.
Amis

Posts: 254
Registered: 02/25/17
Re: Publilshing full length novel one chapter at a time
Posted: Jan 1, 2018 7:36 PM   in response to: Brad the wronger in response to: Brad the wronger
 
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You said, "Andy Weir did the same thing". What I'm saying is that what Andy Weir did and what they OP is talking about are very different things. As you say Andy Weir used his blog to get feedback, listened to the feedback and made changes. IMO that's as different as night and day to what the OP is proposing.
Brad the wronger

Posts: 329
Registered: 07/13/17
Re: Publilshing full length novel one chapter at a time
Posted: Jan 1, 2018 8:15 PM   in response to: Amis in response to: Amis
 
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You said, "Andy Weir did the same thing".

No, what I said was:

Andy Weir did the same thing, except on his blog.

Use some reading comprehension.
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