Publishing a book online in serial form

I’ve recently published a fiction book, first in serial form on my own website, then as an entire book on Publishing the book in serial form, chapter by chapter, was an interesting experience. It was an experiment. I wanted to see the pros and cons from an author’s point of view and from a reader’s point of view.

The book is A Word If You Please, featuring Trilby Trench and a collection of friends and foes. Trilby Trench is a technical writer who likes a bit of action. As Trilby’s friends know, adventure stalks Trilby and she stalks it right back. The serialised book is online on the Trilby Trench site (free of charge). You can also download the book from as a Kindle ebook (USD $3.11) and a paperback (USD $6.99).

Why serialise a book?

I’d been wondering about publishing in serial form for a while. What would it be like for me as author and for the people reading my book?

For example, would publishing the book in serial form be a good way of getting feedback from readers? In my case, the answer is yes. More people have sent me comments about this book than about the other fiction books I’ve published. The comments come in on Facebook, the Trilby Trench site, and other social media.

For an author, publishing a book chapter by chapter can be a challenge. Once you’ve published a chapter, you can’t go back and change it. That’d be breaking an unwritten contract with your readers. Actually, it’s a written contract, kind of! So, if your plot goes awry or you forgot to include something in an earlier chapter, you have to work around that. Before publishing the first chapter, you need a very good plan for the entire book. I like to have it mostly written, though not necessarily polished and complete.

This way of publishing made me think a lot about my readers.

What do readers think of the experience? Some may find it fun to have to wait for the next instalment. The suspense may increase their interest in the book. Others may find it annoying to have a break artificially imposed on them, or may lose the thread of the story. Perhaps a serialised book would stick in people’s memories longer than if they’d read it all in one go. Perhaps some people simply wait until all the chapters are available!

Where to publish a book in serial form?

I took a look at a few options for where and how to publish the book online.

Wattpad is an online community for readers and writers. If you publish your work there, you have a ready audience and a medium that’s well designed to bring authors and readers together. I wasn’t too sure that the primary Wattpad audience was right for my book. The most popular genres there are science fiction, young adult, and fantasy, and my book doesn’t fit into those categories. Also, Wattpad keeps popping up requests to log in, even if you’re a reader and not an author. I think that’s a barrier to entry for readers.

I also like the look of Inkitt. It has a clean UI, and it focuses on readers rather than authors.

After careful consideration, I decided to publish the book on my own blog or site, so that I could have more control.

One option was to publish the book on this blog (, where you’re reading this post). One the one hand, the focus of this blog is fiction as well as technical writing, so it’d be a good place for the book. On the other hand, this blog is primarily a blog, whereas I wanted a site that focused on the book rather than the blog posts. So, I needed a different layout, and I didn’t want to mess with ffeathers.

After weighing up the options, I decided to create a new website for the book. In fact, the website is for the character, Trilby Trench, as I plan to publish more than one book with Trilby as hero. Hence the site name and URL, The site runs on WordPress, hosted by Bluehost. I’m using the Author theme, with some CSS tweaks to change font sizes (the default size was too small) and colours.

What do you think about serialised fiction?

If you have any comments from your experience as a reader of serial fiction, either my book or others, I’m keen to know what you think. What are the pros and cons of reading serialised fiction? Comments from authors would be interesting too!

About Sarah Maddox

Technical writer, author and blogger in Sydney

Posted on 29 July 2017, in book, Fiction, Trilby Trench and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Well, I think creating a new of was a really good idea.
    Publishing serially, I don’t know about that. I really want to try it out but I want to finish writing the first draft of my book.

  2. Jack Chandler

    Thank you for this post, I’ve been considering posting my first novel in serial. My favorite authors, Dickens and Dumas did it and I thought it would be fun. The information on how, where, and why is a huge help to. All the best!

  3. hey, helpful post, yo.*
    Have tried the serialized approach to writing and have found that when it works, it totally works. (Meaning when you get characters that get real quickly, its becomes of matter of writing the next chapter just to find out what happens next! lol)
    In any event, my question is: my hesitancy with going the set-up-a-site-to-publish route is: does the SEO’ing** of the site become a co-equal task to the writing or have you found networks that generate organic readers.

    * I don’t really speak (or even write) in that style, but, hell, this is a comment. and I did enjoy your post
    ** not a ‘real’ word

    • Hallo clark

      Thanks for a fun comment. 🙂 I like your new word. I think we should go with it! SEOing is tricky and does take time. There’s a bit to learn, about the way search engines work and how they rate a page, so that you can make sure your work doesn’t fall through the cracks in the intertubes.

      There’s also the matter of promoting the book in other forums, such as social media and blog posts. I figure, though, that you’d have to do a lot of promotion anyway. I think it’s only the big name authors who can just spit out a book and then leave it to the publisher to promote and distribute. You can use those other platforms to funnel traffic towards your site. Looking at it that way, SEOing becomes just another tool in your box.

      Have you found that your work does well in a confederated site where other similar works appear too?


  4. i have a complete book with 300 chapters how do i post it serially, is there any short cut . post ing every chapter one by one is really time consuming .

    please reply i am struck.

  5. I have already published several novels via and kindle, but I have a current novel that I have finished but needs feedback because it could be halved to make a more focused/streamlined novel or left as is.
    How much does it cost your to do WordPress via Bluehost, at which I already have an (idle) account ?

  1. Pingback: What Does It Mean To Publish A Book Serially?

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