Posting in Installments vs. Single Chapters

I just finished a new story that’s a bit long for me (5500 words), and I’m trying to decide whether to post all of it at once, or whether I should stretch it out in 2 or 3 installments delivered over the course of a week. I usually do the latter, but this story is a slow build.

As an author, I usually prefer posting in installments because I tend to get more feedback that way. But I know that some readers prefer longer, complete works. What are your thoughts?

I enjoy it when there is a build up from when the first installment is posted and then there is anticipation till the next one. Many times after I have read the entire story, I will then return and reread it from start to finish. So either way is good, but in installments it gives the author a chance to perhaps tweak where the story is going.

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i love episodic thrills!

I generally don’t like installments because, for my taste, the installments are nearly always too brief. The wait until the next installment can be too long in a way that sometimes frustrates my interest in the story. (If you’ve read my previous posts, you’ll know I’m strongly against posting installments as an excuse for not having completed the story.) It’s like commercial interruptions on television (I never watch network tv anymore). If you’ve ever read Hugo’s Les Misérables, you’ll know that many of his chapters are very brief. In his case it works because he nearly always ends each chapter with an explicit cliffhanger, and the complexity of his narrative leaves one with lots of feelings and questions that can’t be dissipated if one puts the book down.

Rubbrsome has it right: when he posts in installments, he never waits more than 24 hours before posting the next installment. That’s because he’s conceived & written the entire story beforehand, and because with nearly all of his stories, it’s hard not to get emotionally invested in his characters.

Post it all at once, especially if it has a slow build

I like installments in case I “finish” too early on a big long story :joy:

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If it’s a long story, I’ll divide it into chapters. My general strategy however is to wait until the entire story is finished before I post anything. That way you don’t leave people waiting too long for the next part.

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In the past, I’ve mostly posted long stories chapter-by-chapter as I finished them, but after my last attempt, I’ve decided only to post finished stories, since I don’t want to lose interest and leave a half-finished story floating out there. If the story is particularly long or has suitable cliffhangers that lend themselves to a chapter break, I would still break a story into installments.

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I don’t like it when a story doesn’t manage to get to sex (or at least some kind of mind control or transformation action) in the first batch of text posted. If someone posts a 2-3 page warmup that just begins to set the stage I generally consider that not enough to be worth posting. If it’s a very long story and there are multiple chapters and the intro is just short then I think it’s ok to post the intro and first chapter at the same time. But generally I don’t want to see “here’s 2 pages, what do you think even though there’s no mind control or sex yet?” What I think is… write some more first.

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