Are Serialized Stories the Next Big Thing?

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Hey, everyone! Today’s post is long, but I hope you’ll still enjoy it!

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First, I want to start off and say I haven’t been in the writing world that long. If you have been writing for 10+ years, then you’ll know more than me. However, I am noticing a trend towards posting serial stories online, and there are companies trying to capture this market.Which by the way, it’s very popular in some Asian countries.

You may be wondering what I’m talking about. Well, if you didn’t know, there are a few new websites offering to pay writers for their work. As in, if you post your serial story online, you can earn some money. Now, whenever you tell someone they’ll earn money doing what they enjoy, people jump on the opportunity. So, let me explain how this all works. Two websites, Radish and Tapas, will pay writers for posting their chapters (fyi, they are both startups) From what I’ve seen, writers online feel it’s an honor to post on these sites because you have to be “invited.”

Sorry guys, but here is my feeling on that:

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Why do I feel this way? Well, it’s simple, these websites are only inviting writers that already have huge followings online. Ok, so I know you are thinking, “But Aka, that makes sense.”

And yes, I agree with you. However, it’s clear these websites are exploiting other people’s hard work to make themselves known. Not only the writers, but also the readers, too. Most of the writers getting “invited” already offer their work for free. I get that readers will want to support the writers, but let’s be real for a second. For every 20 readers you have, only about, maybe 3 will probably pay for content. The same could be said of receiving comments. When I posted on Wattpad, my chapters would get 500-1000 reads. Guess how many people commented, like 10. Frankly, that’s one issue I have with this model. My next issue is how the “paying writers” works.

For example, you post your story, and if readers want access to your newest chapter early, they can pay a small fee (between 1 cent to 99 cents) or they can wait 5-7 days for the chapter to be released for free. Of course, a percentage of that goes to the writer. It sounds good, right? But in today’s world, most of the people who read online are teens and young adults. Well, most teens don’t have money, and if they do, they don’t have a lot of it. I’ve actually heard writers who use these websites say that don’t make much money. Generally, it’s pocket change.

Another factor is if you have to wait for chapters to be released for free, you can just read something else. In the internet age, you can binge watch and binge read thousands of different shows and books. And if a teen or young adult lives at home, it’s more likely they have access to Netflix, Hulu, Kindle Unlimited, etc. So, they have many avenues of entertainment while waiting for FREE chapters.

To illustrate my point, think of the game, Candy Crush. When it first came out, it was huge! And yeah, some people spent money on the game, but it also reached a wider audience. If I recall, it was a unique game idea at the time. In fact, I remember people would ask others if they spent money on extra moves. If the person said yes, the instant response was, “Why would you spend money on that?” Sadly, the same thinking can be said of stories online, especially since most work online for free is first drafts and unedited.

As writers, we are dealing with other entertainment mediums where people can easily binge read while waiting for our content. More importantly, you can get published books off Amazon for .99 cent to $2.99, plus no waiting for the next chapters. Or you can go to your local library, which I’m sure most teens and young adults still in school do.Not to mention you can also read manga and comics online, too. Last time I checked, the anime industry was suffering because so much anime can be found online for free now.

Oh, and I did check out Radish for myself. Of course, since writers need to be “invited,” I was thinking there would be quality stories on Radish, right? I was wrong…so wrong. I saw a book of BDSM one shots that caught my eye and thought meh, this should be an interesting read. And well, the words “one shot” should have given away who was the writer of these stories. Needless to say, the first story I read was about a 16 (or 17 years old, I can’t remember for sure) year old that was in high school and her boyfriend, who she called, “Daddy,” dominated her life. Yes, you read that right, my fellow writers, it was a high schooler and her relationship with “Daddy.” I don’t want to get into the subject of BDSM high school stories, but you catch my drift. And yes, this was a “trending” story on Radish.

My thoughts were:

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(Yes, it was scarier than the trolls in Nilbog)

Don’t get me wrong, anyway a writer can make money is good, but I wouldn’t use these sites as your saving grace. From what I’ve noticed, it’s best to still pursue publication through Amazon or a traditional publisher. Yeah, use the little money making sites on the side, but don’t hold out for a huge payout. At the end of the day, if you want to be seen, you have to reach the big boys and make a name for yourself.

So, I’ll let you decide what avenue you feel is best for your writing, but be cautious of serialized websites promising to offer you money for your work. Please, if you have experience with either Radish or Tapas, please leave a comment because I would love to read a different perspective.

Question of the day: As a writer, would you be willing to try a model like Radish or Tapas, or would you rather do self-publishing or traditional publishing?

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28 thoughts on “Are Serialized Stories the Next Big Thing?

  1. What an interesting, informative and really well-written post…no surprise there….you are a wonderful writer and very engaging…and, from what you’ve shared, you are a critical thinker who stays true to what you believe in…therefore, you won’t get sucked into following the latest trends that would only serve to waste your time and talents. Keep up the great work….thanks for sharing 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Right! That’s how I felt too. I don’t blame writers who want to expand their platform online, but many of the writers are acting like it’s a privilege to be invited.

      The story I read was scary, very scary. My first thought was, “why is there BDSM stories about high school?” Then again, I didn’t want to touch that subject, nope, nope…I just stopped reading it and then uninstalled the app from my phone.

      I felt like that story was proof of “Radishes” model. They aren’t about quality, they are about popularity and the writers following.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, exactly. Most publishers (Smashwords and Amazon included) won’t allow underage erotica to be published. Now if this story in particular didn’t have erotica, it certainly was a topic that should only be explored as adults.

        Liked by 1 person

      • There was no erotica, or rather, I didn’t read that far. And yea, I totally agree with you. Even if teens are into it (and I say this loosely) Radish, as a company, should have never approved that content for their app. And it further shows how these so called “writing” apps aren’t about quality or decent content.

        Frankly, it shocks me that sites like Wattpad get away with giving money to fanfiction writers, and how Radish puts underage erotica on their site. It’s truly scary…but then again, I know A03 allows the same thing. I guess the difference is A03 isn’t trying to get writers published or promote their site as this amazing exclusive club.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve heard of Radish though not Tapas, and I received an invitation to post my stories there when they started. They also offered incentives for authors to invite those they considered would be good fit so I had a few referrers that way when it was all so new and Wattpad readers were having a meltdown seeing their favorite authors “sell out” only to return to Wattpad later on anyway because majority of readers used to free really won’t shell out money to pay for something they can get for free a few weeks later.

    You know my view on this kind of arrangement and I’d rather publish my books on Amazon and other retail outlets and get my royalties that way – and from people who actually pay for it and are used to paying for content.

    I’m surprised to see such a BDSM one-shot on Radish. Goes to show that no editing goes in their so-called “curated” content. Hardly any editing happens with small publishers as well, which is why I’d rather do my own thing and publish my own books. I pay for everything – covers and editing – and I do everything else – formatting, promotions, mailing list – and as a result I like getting 70% of my total sales to pay for all that outlay.

    You can serialize through self-publishing though and platforms like Leanpub.com allow you to do that, as well as Patreon where you charge per writing or a flat fee per month.

    Liked by 3 people

    • You made a great point, Liz – “from people who actually pay for it and are used to paying for content.” I feel like that’s the problem with this model. You are basically asking teens and young adults to pay for these chapters that will be offered for free later anyway. If a person doesn’t have much money, they aren’t going to spend it on something that’s going to be free in the future.

      Also, I saw those comments about “sell out” writers, too. Anne Todd, the author of After, has many supporters, but she also has a lot of haters. Basically, they called her a sell out who forgot her roots. I’ve even seen comments on her stories saying, “We made you, and got you where you are today. The most you can do is finish uploading the story on Wattpad.”

      It’s interesting to see what will happen, but I think turning a free market into a paid market isn’t an easy task. And honestly, teens are a hard market to get money from. Maybe when they get older and have more money, the model will do better. However, by that time they should be buying books from Amazon or the bookstore.

      Lol, I wasn’t surprised, at all. Radish made it clear they were looking for popular writers who had a large following, not quality stories.

      I know you work hard, Liz, and you deserve all the blessings you are getting. ^__^

      Liked by 3 people

  3. For Radish, I steered clear of any romance, so I didn’t really reach so problematic stories, and also there are books out there with pretty decent plot and writing, at least not as problematic as that, but mostly it’s fantasy. For Radish and Tapas, I would recommend Tapas more since it’s a little more healthy from my experience, Radish I just used it a couple of times but didn’t read on any further.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, I’m sure Radish does have stories with decent plot and writing, but the fact stories like the one I mentioned got in, tells me a lot about their process. In the end, it isn’t about quality, and I feel like that’s what my writing journey is teaching me online.

      I probably won’t read on either of those apps. Honestly, I don’t like their model, or rather, I don’t like their approach to it. I wouldn’t mind if they had a screening process, but the fact they only invite popular writers is enough for me to steer clear.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Pretty much so, since their screening process only includes a website where the writer usually writes at but almost never a chance for the writer to include samples of their writing itself, or to see whether they are suitable. And most of the writers who get invited, are mostly very popular in the community.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Yep, it’s very biased. Since I don’t support Wattpad, it would be hypocritical of me to support Radish and Tapas, so I won’t use those sites. However, I don’t blame writers who want to earn funds from their work. For me, I’m going to focus on self-publishing using Amazon and submitting my stories to agents. I don’t want to build up readers on Free stories and then ask them to buy my work.

        From what I’ve seen on Wattpad, most, not all, readers don’t like that. I also think some writers believe they are “elites” because they got invited to those sites.

        The attitudes some of these writers have displayed is sickening. You’d think they were NY times bestsellers with the way they act over Radish and Tapas.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Very interesting information, Aka. I’m not familiar with these websites that pay for serialized series. It sounds peculiar though, because let’s say you pay $0.99 for the newest chapter, and a book as 30-40 chapters, that would be more than you’d pay for a hardcover.
    I have read blogs where writers post their serialized novels, and I love those. But I’m also one of those binge readers who like when the whole story or most of it is already posted. And I enjoy them the most when they are from people who I already follow and whose writing I know I like.
    A writer’s goals can certainly influence which route they want to or should take. I think as an industry making money is a lot harder than it used to be. And some of these avenues are not really about the amount of money you can make now, but building the foundation for something bigger in the future.
    You hit on another point, since these websites are inviting writers who already have a big following, you might assume that there’s some quality there that people are following, but recently I looked into a blog that had a huge following, and thinking that they had something worth gaining all the followers, I checked out their recent posts. Turned out that they were more like spammers posting a ridiculous amount of content, but if you checked out the information they provided it was inaccurate or outdated. People tend to me drawn to things attracting large crowds, but they’re not always worth all the attention they’re receiving.
    Thanks for the post. Lots of things to think about.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m glad you found the information interesting. And yes, I agree with you about paying too much for chapters.

      I feel many readers like to binge read stories from writers they know. I think that’s another way this model earns money. In a way, they feed off the readers need for more and unwillingness to wait.

      Yes! Making money from writing is definitely harder than before. Hmm, generally, I would agree with you it’s not about making money. From the writers I’ve seen who joined these websites, their hopes is they will be able to earn enough to write full-time. However, I don’t feel it’s feasible to look at this model as a full-time job. Unless you live cheap, I doubt you would even make $5000 a year. $5000 a year isn’t even a full-time salary.

      So true! People are always drawn to large crowds – whether online or in real life.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I definitely wouldn’t go this route personally. I would prefer the Amazon route or the traditional publishing through a company. At the moment I work as a nurse though, so I don’t mind having my story read for free, especially because it is a first draft. It might work for some though so I definitely wouldn’t discredit them if it’s been a positive experience.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I don’t discredit these websites, and I do say it’s up to what the writer feels is best. However, I feel many writers are expecting a payout from these websites. And that doesn’t seem to be the case, unfortunately.

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  6. I still see a value in those sites. At the very least you get your voice out there. Maybe you gain an audience, maybe you don’t. It all comes down to why you are writing, what you are writing, and your personal writing goals. Anyone who writes just to chase trends or make dumpster trucks full of money, is not going to last long as a writer. There are lots of options these days to get your voice out there. I don’t think its about which avenues are better, but more about finding a path that aligns best with your goals. I don’t use those sites because the mode of transmission doesn’t fit how I want to get my voice heard, what I am writing, and why I am writing which is the most important to me.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I see the value in these websites, too, but as I stated in another comment, I feel like writers are expecting a payout from these sites. Sadly, that isn’t the case. There are a lot of options for writers these days, and I do mention that it’s the writer’s decision to find what works for them. However, I also think people need realistic expectation.

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  7. Honestly I’ve never really heard of the sites before and personally I don’t think I’d do it. Getting paid to write a column or story for a site or newspaper and stuff like that sounds fine to me though. As long as it is new and not found elsewhere. Its a way of drawing other readers to you as a writer should they like your article or post. It’s a little different but in the end you’ve got to get your work out there and draw different people into your readership. 🙂 Great post! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Love this post and I want to respond, but wow, where do I start? 😉 First, I believe if one is writing to get published, or paid for their work, this is not the route to go. I think you would have much greater success self publishing where you have a bulk of the control. I self published a book years ago, and hopefully will be self publishing some others later this year so that I can take advantage of shows and conventions that come through my area. I have sold more books out the back of my car than online, but that’s just me 😉 In fact, I’m giving away the digital version of my book on Amazon, just trying to get people to read it. The book industry is a hard sell these days.

    On the subject of serialized stories, I love this format for both readers and writers. If you are serializing a first draft it is very helpful in finding mistakes, plot devices that didn’t work, and the overall flow and entertainment of your writing. As you know, I serialize like crazy on my blog. I always have a serial going it seems, lol. I enjoy the interaction that comes from readers and in a lot of cases it helps shape the final story if others are following as it is being written. I think I may be an anomaly among writers sometimes. It doesn’t bother me I’m putting my work out there for free. To be honest, I do not have huge aspirations of financial success. I just want to tell my stories, and get them out there for people to read. I’m usually willing to explore different avenues , but the sites you talk about here seem to be a waste of time and effort, no matter what my aspirations may be.

    Thanks for this post. You always have interesting topics that fuel discussion, and your response to others are of the highest quality as well. I have fun reading the comments, as well as your article. Keep writing and blogging, my friend 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! I’m so happy you liked my post. I definitely agree if you want to make money, then writing isn’t the best route to go. Hmm, for me, I don’t know if I’ll self-publish. Honestly, I haven’t decided yet. Once you self-publish your book, let me know! I would love to buy a hardcopy.

      You know, many people have said the book industry is a hard sell these days. There are many stories out in the world today, so the competition is harsh.

      Well, I won’t say the sites are a waste of time, but they definitely don’t pay enough to make a living. You’re welcome! I’m glad you liked the post.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Great post – I didn’t even know sites like those existed, but then I’m only just getting back into writing after a long break, so I guess a lot has changed.

    Just my personal opinion, but I think a lot of writers undervalue their work and so they’re flattered to be accepted and/or invited to something like that. Personally, I would rather focus on becoming a better writer and wait until I know I’m producing work that’s good enough to self-publish. Then again, maybe that’s because I’m a control freak and I don’t like the thought of handing control of my work over to anyone else 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! I’m so happy you liked the post. And yep, there are so many sites for writers these days.

      I see what you mean. I guess it is flattering to be invited to those sites, but after seeing the quality there, I don’t know anymore.

      I agree! I would rather focus on my craft and produce better quality work. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts with us!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I always find new content platforms interesting. I do think it sounds like these platforms have mixed online distribution systems. If you’re focused on following, build an influence platform connecting popular authors with advertisers and paying gigs. If you’re focused on a quality content platform, let all authors apply with samples of their writing.

    Liked by 1 person

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