Cyndy Aleo

Four Little Bees Writing & Editing

author, freelance writing, editing, and a little bit of web development, helping clients with content development, book editing, and blog set-up and customization

Lessons Learned: Publishing a Serial

When I first started writing The Forest's Son, I was still writing a lot of fan fiction. And as the story progressed, it felt much more like the serialization of writing fanfic than it did a single novel. Each part had a logical cut-off point that was more than a chapter ending. The entire draft in Scrivener was set up in sections, with shorter chapters in each of them. 

When I decided to publish it, it made sense to me to publish it exactly the way it was written. It was a five-part serial.

My problem? I tried to make everyone happy.

I had a lot of people (okay, several people) ask me if I would put it out as one title later on. And for paperback purposes, that makes more sense. So I did.

But then it became confusing, still having the serialization out there with the compilation. So I took the serialized titles down, and now have a title on Amazon with zero reviews.

Wow, I am a mess, and I should have known better.

So let me tell you all the places I screwed this one up, and hopefully it will help someone else in the future.

1. Don't try to make other people happy.

Seriously, I know better than this. The story was a serial, and I should have left it that way, the hell with what other people said. I'm not in this to sell a bazillion copies, or I'd be writing stuff other than what I write. I should have stuck to my guns and said "No, this is a serial."

2. Don't rely on Amazon to do things right.

What a lot of people won't say is that Amazon is a damn disaster on the technical end. I'd upload the titles and try to set the sale dates, and of the five serial parts? I had issues with 4/5. And the 5th? That one Amazon released early.

KDP is not a seamless experience, and anyone who tells you it is is lying. Worst of all, Amazon is pretty much useless when it comes to customer support when things go pear-shaped. I ended up having to delete and repost some of the parts. My KDP dash is a mess as a result, because once something has "been published" even if it never showed up with a buy link? They consider it published, and you can't delete it.

Amazon has also made it a PITA to make something free. That's bothersome.

If I ever did this again? I might sell it directly. Or use Smashwords. Or anything other than KDP, so Amazon, take note.

3. People outside of Romancelandia (and specifically, it seems, the Erotica Neighborhood) do not understand serials.

This part astounds me, but it seems like the general public does not understand how serials work. I mean, DICKENS wrote his novels as serializations. How is this still so confusing?

When I set up the pricing, I did so in a way that BUYING IT AS A SERIAL WAS CHEAPER THAN BUYING IT AS A SINGLE BOOK. I really wanted people to read it the way I intended. But there appeared to be a mentality that it was somehow MORE to buy it as a serial, and I have no idea how I could have made that more easily understood. Maybe I should have made the single title $9.99 USD? ;)