Insights on the Serialization of Novels: From Alpha to Beta
Shifting focus from publication to conversation
Over the past 6 months I’ve been serializing my novel Writ Large on Substack. During this process I’ve had a number of insights such as cadence of posting, length of posting, post titling and many more. But these have all been written about by others. My mantra is to do what only I can do and therefore I want to share with you my most important, pivotal insights after finishing the serialization.
Initially I saw publishing a novel on Substack as more of a one way street:-
I publish: you read.
I now believe a more effective algorithm is:-
I share: we converse. I publish.
Substack is more community than media outlet and its true power lies in the conversations that it sparks on the platform.
It’s about more than blasting chapters of a finished novel to a community of readers. It’s about interacting with participative beta readers during the formative stages of the novel’s development. And then, it’s about publishing the novel more broadly.
Based on this insight, I’ve decided to pivot Conked.io. My new social contract with subscribers is that they get to read my novel for free well before it goes mainstream, and in return they agree to communicate in an ongoing discussion, sharing their thoughts and insights about what resonates in a particular chapter and, as the narrative builds, across the entire novel.
I accept that not everyone who subscribes to my work will agree to participate as an participative beta reader, and I’m ok with that. I am secure that if something really jars with such readers, they will reach out. Many of my subscribers share posts with colleagues. I hope they will also be encouraged to share what their colleagues have to say about my writing.
Based on this reframing from publication to conversation, I feel energised to introduce the sequel to Writ Large into the conversation in the coming weeks.
Stay tuned, stay energized!
I just want to get a few readers.