Note: this path assumes that you know how to write a complete 50,000 word story, create a cover, and edit your own work. It also assumes that you know how to record audio. Furthermore it assumes that you know where to put your writing and audio once it’s complete. This is also not my personal path and I will post a follow-up to this post explaining my own path.
A recent conversation with a friend of mine led me to realize how many different paths there are to get a story into a reader’s hands. This one will focus on serialization and possibilities therein.
Warning: There may be math involved.
If you’re looking to write, but you worry it’ll take you too long to write that monster epic you’re looking to produce, here’s a little trick you can try using.
One of the best ways to get visibility is through consistency. If you put out content on a regular basis, week in and week out, you have a chance of getting noticed because people will follow those that continuously put out content. If you’re not putting out content on a regular schedule, this is when readers will forget about you and disappear. Trust me, I’ve discovered this the hard way.
If you only have one hour a day to commit to doing this, your path will be easier than you think. The biggest obstacle in your path will be staying on track and focusing every single day. It will require only seven hours of your time a week and will get you putting out content faster than you thought possible.
Step 1: Write 1000 words a day Monday-Friday.
This will give you an easy 5000 words a week. This sounds like a challenge. It is. I’m challenging you to week in and week out write 1000 words a day every weekday. Without fail. Don’t give me excuses about how tough life is. I never said this would be simple. You need to trust me. It’s not as difficult as you might think. Honest. You can do this!
Step 2: Edit and put a cover on your story.
Yes, you should learn how to do covers. If this is a serial, you’ll want to have a similar cover for all the weeks you’re writing the serial. In this step you’ll also want to assemble your front matter and get your ebook ready to publish in all the locations you want to publish. If you want to go wide, don’t go into Kindle Select. If you want to focus on Amazon only, go Kindle Select. This choice is really yours.
Yes, you’re into week one and you’ve already written a 5000 word start to your serial. Drop that out on Amazon for 99 cents. Ignore it! Don’t go checking your stats. Don’t even tell anyone. Trust me!
Step 3: Sunday – Record the audio of what you’ve written.
Yes, you wrote 5000 words. It’ll be short audio. It shouldn’t take you long to record and edit 5000 words. Put that audio up on your website. Make sure your hosting plan can support your audio and you don’t have to worry about. Again, don’t tell anyone what you’re doing. Allow this to happen organically. Make sure your blog post points to where they can buy the ebook version.
Step 4: Repeat steps 1-3 for 10 weeks.
Yes, that’s right. Remember how I said you’ll need to do this week in and week out? Yes, you need to do this weekly. Every week. We’re going for consistency here. So if you can’t commit to doing this on a regular schedule, don’t start. I’m not saying give up on writing. I’m saying that this method requires commitment. A lot of it.
At the ten week point, you should have written 50,000 words, give or take. Assemble all your files into one book and drop that book. Make sure in the description of your book, you note that this is a collection of the first serial. You don’t want to upset readers that have found you along the way. The cover should either be the same or similar. For 10 weeks you’ve put out a 99 cent story of 5000 words all leading up to the end of your serial. Now you’ve got a completed book. Put that out for at least $4.99. This is a great discount for those that chose to wait, but if they want to follow along weekly, they’ll pay a slight premium.
Take all your audio, split it into chapters, and drop that onto Audible as a complete audio book. Price what you feel appropriate.
Now it’s 10 weeks later and you’ve got a total of 12 (10 serialized stories, 1 full ebook, and 1 audio book) items up for sale. How’d that feel? Weird? It should. You’ve come further than many will ever get and it only took you 7 hours a week to do it.
Some options you can mix in here.
Only publish every other week. Still write, edit, record, but release the ebook at 10,000 words. This gives the reader a little more. Then you’d be putting out 5 10,000 word serials every other week, and at the end of 10 weeks, one 50,000 word novel. That’s still respectable. Very respectable.
Want to do it even more aggressively because you have more time to commit and/or you write faster? Fine. Do 2000 words a day each weekday. Then you’re putting out a 10,000 word serial every week, an audio production, and every 5 weeks, a new book.
Why 50,000? If you’re doing a serial, you’ll need to be compact and pushing the action. This will be something that at the end of each serial you’ll need a cliffhanger to pull the reader back in to pick up again next week. Most pulp novels from the 30s, 40s, and 50s were 30,000-50,000 words long. That’s what you’re doing with this process. You’re becoming a serialized pulp writer. It doesn’t matter what genre you choose. Romance, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Thriller, Mystery. Any will work with this method.
You MUST remain consistent to be successful. Look at the podcasters that made it to get their publishing contracts. They were publishing audio weekly, week in, week out. Without fail. If you’re not pushing out content on a regular basis, you will see things drop off.
This isn’t a trick. I’m not trying to pull a fast one on you. This is the new world of publishing and anything is possible. Even if you don’t have a rig to record with, there shouldn’t be anything stopping you from opening up your word processor and writing 1000 words a day 5 days a week. An hour on Saturday to edit and cover, and wow, look at you go! This is possible. Very possible. I don’t know anyone personally doing this, but it wouldn’t surprise me if there are many.
If you made it the full 10 weeks dropping every week (or every other week, or 5 weeks if you went for 2000 words a day), this is your time to shout to the world what you’ve done. You should be excited. Now is the time to check your numbers. Remember, I said don’t check them. Why? Numbers disappoint people. If you’re out there every day looking at numbers, you’ll get depressed and stop. You don’t want to lose momentum.
The biggest trick, writing the next 50,000 words. Yes, you need to keep this going. Celebrate, but continue to put out the content. Don’t let it slip and fall behind schedule. That’s how you’ll lose readers. If you can keep it up, you’ll put out 5 books in a year (take two weeks off at some point) and you’ll have written 250,000 words (or 500,000 and 10 books if you go for 2000 words). That doesn’t sound like a lot, but if you’re sticking to this schedule, it’ll add up so quickly. Don’t be too aggressive until you know what you’re capable of.
If you can stick to this schedule for a full year producing serials, ebooks, and audio, I would recommend starting up a pateron. This is another revenue stream and I won’t go into it here. Do your own research. Just know that consistency is key to all of this working. Stay on track and you can do it.
Do I guarantee this will work? Simply, no. I don’t know you. Your situation. Your writing ability. If you try this and it doesn’t work out for you, look at what you’ve accomplished no matter how long you try. Seriously. Are you further along in your writing than you were when you started? How many books did you complete? Did you follow all the steps as closely as possible?
If you do try this, let me know how it goes. I’d love to follow along. I want to cheer your successes. If you have questions, ask. I’d love to do all I can to help. Honestly. I’d love to see this work for someone. Give it a try. You’ve got almost nothing to lose. If you have fun doing it, then all the better.
I’m off to go make words happen
Until Next Time!