FeatureRequest: Define Series at First Chapter

Request to make it possible to enter a Series Name and Series Description that are separate from the Story Name and Story Description when publishing the first chapter in a series.

Currently, it is only possible to set a separate series description once the second chapter in a series has been published.

This change would present a challenge in the UX when publishing a new story, as the series name/description fields could be confusing to many authors. Suggested workaround is to make [edited from this point to reflect a refinement of the original proposal] the “New Story” button in the top nav a drop-down with two options:

  1. Single Chapter: leads to the same page that currently exists.

  2. New Series: leads to similar page as the first one, but with the Series Name and Series Summary fields available. Stories published from this page will display in the main feed with the chapter and series summaries split out separately.

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Personally, I would find this very useful, especially for series that I have written in their entirety and want to set up to publish chapter by chapter. I ran into a predicament with a collection of stories because of this around the holidays.

Aahhhh, that happened to you too! I forgot! That was a separate issue though, Time. We tried to publish a collection of stories that were all in different genres (reality change - pheromone - etc), but had an issue where a genre has to apply to the entire series and can’t change from chapter to chapter.

Personally, when I know I’m publishing a multi-part work, I circumvent that issue by making the first chapter summary more of a series summary.

I agree that it can be annoying when I don’t initially intend a series, but start adding chapters anyway.

1 Like

There was that, too!

I’m a bit reluctant about this, for various reasons.

But if you want to see this change, make sure to add your “likes” to @NoamDePluma’s initial posting!

I’m trying to find the best way of expressing how I feel about this.

thinks a moment

…I prefer “how it is bad now” moreso then how it would be bad if this was implemented.

I also tried to see if you could get the exact effect you wanted by just submitting (but not publishing) a nonsense-place holder second chapter, but the system is too clever.

It does give you access to the series definition window, but, it doesn’t display it (to the reader, with the first chapter), until the second chapter is published.

Huh. I tried the same thing, but it didn’t give me the series definition window.

aha, you gotta then go to the series page, which I admit is a little confusing to get to.

In terms of being confusing to authors, I find the current system confusing in its own way. Let’s say I have a series and I want to enter the series information as something distinct from the first chapter. I first have to release TWO chapters, then after putting up the second chapter, I have to go back and modify the series description. Compare that with having the option to create a series description, then add chapters to it right from Chapter 1.

2 Likes

I agree, and I think that there’s some value for thinking about some other features like timed releases, series management, etc that might make more sense from a series perspective than a single chapter perspective.

However I also want to take a note and say that the ease of publication, great and flexible UX, and other things Martin had put a lot of work into are big draws for me in terms of why I publish here in the first place. Huzzah to Martin for all his hard work and being so open-minded to community requests!

3 Likes

Ooh, Dace, your response gave me an idea. What if the ‘new story’ button in the top menu was a drop-down list with two options: Single Chapter, and Series? If you click Single Chapter it’ll give you the same page that currently exists. If you click Series, it’ll give you the expanded version with Series Name and Series Description fields?

This approach preserves the existing flexibility Martin’s programmed in while allowing authors to do it the new way as well, so the series will display as such in the main feed even if there’s only one chapter.

3 Likes

(Me: swoops in for three seconds to throw my opinion around…)

I get where you’re coming from Noam, but it would be a lot of work for Martin for a feature that only a few authors would use. It’s potentially an extra page for Martin to maintain and test, or a separate code path to maintain and test on the existing page for submission. And this is only for authors that have tried to do what you want to do, which isn’t that many (it sounds like).

Besides all of that, having an author post chapter 1 as part of a series, explicitly setting up reader expectations for that, when they only have chapter 1 written already, can be frustrating for a reader. I put part 1 into the title of one of my stories and then never went back to write a part 2 and I know it frustrates a lot of my readers.

What I think is a better feature to push for, which could lead to this anyways, is timed chapter releases. If you’re an author who has written a whole series, or wants to break up a longer story into chapters, you could upload all or some of them and set a release schedule (chapter 1 today, chapter 2 tomorrow, etc). To me, if you have multiple chapters and are doing a release, you really are a power author putting together a plan and really know what you’re doing, and it’s a bit of a guarantee ahead of time, behind the scenes, to your reader, that you are delivering.

(Me: swoops out again lol)

3 Likes

I’m kinda with MonsterMash on this one. It’s just not a niche I see myself using.

1 Like

To me, it’s less about the reader and more about the author and what they find useful/logical. It doesn’t actually have to be two separate pages, even…the existing series editing functions would do. Unless I’ve forgotten how, though, it doesn’t look like that’s accessible right now from a single-chapter story.

It’s the extra complications and confusion for new authors / users of the site as authors. It’s already confusing enough. So we’d be adding yet another point of confusion for the handful of authors that would use it. If they understood how to use it.

Thank you @MonsterMash62 and all others for sharing your opinion.

One big issue, as I’ve already told @NoamDePluma, is that the current system allows a story to “dynamically” become a series or “stay” a single story. An abandoned series remaining just a single chapter story will still look fine, which won’t be the case with the way you’re suggesting it.

Also, your idea with the categories being separate would be difficult to pull off, as the category can be filtered against. What would a series look like where just a couple of parts would be matching the selected category?

To me this sounds like it would open up a whole series of issues which are really hard to deal with.

As it is, you can overcome any of this manually. Like by submitting two chapters at once. Or changing the series description and title once it has been established as a series. And as for the closely connected selection of stories under one title: Nothing is keeping you from creating a “theme” manually, by prepending all your single stories with a theme name.

Like “Naughty Stories: xyz”. Each story would be started with the same theme but different names. That would be way better, then the stories would keep their separate categories, tags and also ratings. None of which would be true for a real series.

2 Likes

Just a side-thought to that: it might be interesting to have the series list all tags that are common to every chapter (or maybe greater than X% of chapters, like maybe 80% or so). Being a programmer, I can see that being a lot of effort for very little gain, though.

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One option to potentially solve the confusion issue is to have an “advanced user” checkbox in the options that you can only check if you’ve already got at least one story posted or something. Personally, I don’t think it would confuse many people, but you probably have a better feel for that than I do.

1 Like