Please note that the times in this post are in GMT. Also, the advice here is possibly subjective as they’re strictly from the author’s experiences.
sinisterSonnet and I had an argument on this topic just the other day. Regular readers of HoGW will testify that this is something I’ve stressed over. It got me thinking, ‘Surely, there are other authors who have the same problem’. Technically, we can release at any time we wish. sinisterSonnet seems to think so. “People don’t care when so long as there is something there to read!” he argues.
Some of you might agree, but others like me, the kind who like consistency might not. Either way, it’s an interesting topic and I’m willing to share my experiences on. I’ve tried and tested many release times over the last year. Perhaps, you can take something from it. Below are the various times I have tried releasing my chapters and view rates (number of people reading/viewing the chapter in the first two hours) and engagement (number of people commenting/sending PMs soon after the chapter is released) I’ve gotten as well as my experiences.
Let’s see the Best time To Release New Chapters For Your Web Serial/Novel.
View Rate: High (views are accumulated quickly for the first few hours)
Engagement: High (comments roll in for the first few hours)
My Experience: Releasing chapters at two in the morning is only something I wouldn’t recommend for people who aren’t night owls. Which says something about the people who are up at this time to read them. Thankfully, I caught on early on that the majority of my views and readers are located in the USA. That means they are at least six hours behind so they effectively receive the chapters 5-8 hours earlier. They are probably settling in after their days at work or school. As for those in Europe, ….
View Rate: Low
My Experience: Personally, I would never suggest releasing chapters at this time. First off, so much happens at seven. Even if you’re the early bird type, there’s a lot you’ll be doing at that time. Exercising, prepping for work or your kids for school, come to mind. You don’t need to add one more thing to that list. If you can schedule your release ahead of time, do so. It would certainly take the load off if it was worth it.
It wasn’t for me. I put up a poll once. Asking when to release chapters. I wanted the input and to be democratic. I regretted it. 7 am won. However, come the next day, I released the chapter and the results… in the first two hours after release, I had less than fifty views. I was confused. One thing though, the people who actually did read between 7 and 8 was suspiciously close to the number that voted for that in the poll. I can say this about those people, they are a motivated bunch. Then again, they are probably early risers.
View Rate: Medium
My Experience: Honestly, releasing at noon was hit and miss at first. The number of views in the first few hours is not bad. However, I have had much better. The thing is though, once I got more established I noticed that my more regular readers had no problem reaching out at this time. That means you can expect to hear from your regular commenters if you post at this time.
It’s not that they are super committed. I’ve noticed that sometimes, even when the view rate is high, my regular commenters are quiet. I know immediately that they have not read the new chapter yet. However, other times, they respond quickly. So, if you’re after the view rate, it might not necessarily be for you. But If you’re the type who likes to hear from the readers, by all means, release at noon.
View Rate: High
My Experience: The beginning of this post had a warning telling readers that some of its contents may be subjective and this is probably the most subjective number here. When I first started HoGW, I always released at 4 pm. Seriously. Every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday at 4 pm, like clockwork there’d be a new HoGW chapter, I continued that way for five months. Eventually, once I got more established, the views and comments started coming in.
That’s the problem. I honestly, couldn’t tell you if the release time factored in or if my reader base merely grew to expect and come when the chapter did. My money is on the latter. It’s a point for consistency, I guess. However, it might also be that the time itself was convenient both for the readers and for me.
View Rate: Low
My Experience: This is one of the reasons I feel the 4 pm success was a product of my consistency. Releasing at 6 has earned me some of my poorest view rates and comments almost comparable to releasing at 7 am. I’m not sure why. might be that 6 pm is downtime for most people. Dinner, time with family, things like that. Plus, like I say, most of my views come from the states so people are either getting back to work (1 pm) or now getting into it (10 am). Who knows. I probably never try it again though.
10 pm-2 am
View Rate: High
My Experience: This is fast becoming my go-to time. I’ve noticed that my main platform, royalroadl, is very active around this time so I try to match it. However, I fear it’s becoming a bit disruptive. I’m one of those night owls I warned against in the start of the post. That means I get most of my work done in the 9 pm to 4 am period. There’s no problem when I do not have a post scheduled that day but before and after releases, things get hectic.
First, I have to get everything out, across all my platforms; Fantasy-Books, Royalroadl, Patreon and now LupineKing.com. I do this manually. Patreon is easy, royalroadl, okay, Fantasy-Books and this new site, not so much. Then, for the first few hours after I post, I watch the views and comments, replying and connecting with the readers. That means I don’t get to do any actual work. When things calm down a few hours later. I still find myself wound up. I barely get any work done. I think I’m going to have to separate my release times from my work times. I’ll make a post about it when I have more info.
Finding a good release time can be tricky. You need to find a time convenient both for you and your readers. It seems to me that consistency can turn any time into a great time but readers are also quite happy to read whenever stuff is available especially when it favours them. You can do what I did, experiment, hold polls and see what suits you, your readers and your content best.
That notwithstanding remember that you produce work for people to read. The work itself should not come secondary but never make the mistake of not connecting and catering to the people who you are producing the material for.
As for you authors, what times have you found to be best for views and engagement?
Readers, which release times favour you the most?