Using Sections For Serial Fiction
Make Substack work better for serials
If you have decided to try Substack for serial fiction, here are a few things you can do to make it work better.
Create a Section for your serial/novel
Sections give you a couple of big benefits.
You get a permanent menu item at the top of your Substack website with a link to the serial.
You get an automatic index (table of contents) of your serial in the section.
Tweak your section and newsletters for serials
Once you have your serial in a section, there are a few things you should do to make the reading experience better for your readers. You want to make the reading experience as easy as possible for your readers if you want them to stick around.
Pin the first chapter of the serial/novel to the top of the section.
Go to your Substack website and then to the Section. Find the first chapter and select the three-dot "..." menu. Then select "Pin on [section name]."
Add a description of the serial at the top of the section.
Add a link to the first chapter at the top of every chapter in the story, so if someone new opens a chapter, they can quickly find the start.
Add a link (custom buttons are good for this) at the bottom of every chapter with a direct link to the next chapter for easy continuation of reading through the whole serial/novel.
I don’t think Substack envisioned fiction writers using Substack when they created it, so it is not geared for serial fiction. That is slowly changing, but it may be a while before it has built-in features similar to dedicated fiction platforms. In the meantime, sections are a good way to go.
Mark Starlin is a writer, musician, and occasional comic artist who loves creativity. He writes the ingeniously titled newsletter Mark Starlin Writes!
Hi! I am new to Substack as well, and intend to write serial fiction here. I was wondering about the following: the idea is to post the first draft as serial. And then have it professionally edited / proofread / cover created with the intention of publishing it as an ebook through the ebook stores (using Amazon and Draft2Digital's services). Is it necessary at that point to remove the serial story so that the great Zon won't punish my story somehow? Or is it enough it is behind a paywall / for paid subscribers?
Oh, and another question: has anyone published their already published books as serials to paid subscribers here?
Hello Mark. Sharron here from LEAVES. This process of setting up a separate section just for a serialized novel sounds quite complicated for the likes of me, even though you have broken it down nicely into discrete steps. Will you clarify one thing for me? (I know this may be a dumb question, but I am willing to risk it.) I already have 13 chapters published on substack of my book. If I set up a special section for it now, will I be able to move all these previously published chapters into the new section? Thanks for any help you can offer me. Sharron