Last autumn, I received a direct message asking if I would produce content for Channillo, which bills itself as a publishing platform for serialized fiction. I had nearly (or so I thought at the time) finished a Project Dandelion and did not want to release it on Channillo, but was having fun writing a piece outside of my normal genre, and thought, “what the hell. I’ll throw it out there and see if anyone bites.”
As a side note, the origin of the now three vignettes contained in Dark Places is here. I’ve been told it’s a fun read in its own right.
So here’s the skinny. Pros and cons of Channillo from the perspective of an author, not a reader. These are my opinions and may not reflect reality.
Channillo’s interface is clean and simple. You click Your Series, Edit Series, Update Content, Add A Chapter, and voila’, you are presented with a text box in which you can paste your content.
Formatting was a bit kludgy, but I think after a month or so I had a handle on how to cut and paste from Google Docs or Word to get the formatting that I wanted.
Editing content is simple. Just click Your Series, Edit Series, Update Content, and Edit or Delete as needed.
You can schedule content out based on your release schedule. I release new content every two weeks and have content loaded to release through May 2016, I believe. (This post was authored in February 2016.)
There is a simple stat interface, to view how many subscribers you have on your series, how much money you’ve earned, etc…
There are a few.
First, you need to be a paying subscriber to publish content. For $4.99/month, you can be a Channillo author. Now, at around seven subscribers, you break even, and so it’s not hard to get enough readers to make a little bit of cash; however, it feels a bit like two ticks and no dog. I sometimes wonder if the only people reading Channillo are the people who are paying to publish on Channillo. As an author, I should know how many readers are on this platform. I do not.
Speaking of getting paid, Channillo does not pay you until you get $50.00 banked. Not a big deal, but worth noting.
Also, you can get statistics on how much you’ve earned, how many subscribers you have, and if you’ve gained or lost subscribers this month. But that’s it. I don’t know if my subscribers are actually reading my material, or like me, have subscribed and forgotten about the content. (I subscribed to another author to attempt to get a subscriber’s perspective as well).
The feedback for readers is anemic. No stars, hearts, or likes. A simple text box. Even the most popular titles only have a handful of comments and those are generally from one or two readers with multiple comments.
Also, no notification is sent to readers when new content is available. If a reader doesn’t remember to log in, they will never see your work.
Lastly, Channillo does nothing to promote your content. I’ve never seen one tweet or email saying “Here’s some cool new material on Channillo” promoting any book. Authors are promoting Channillo; Channillo does nothing to promote its authors.
I reached out to Channillo’s founder about the absolute lack of content promotion and quickly got this response:
“Thank you for your feedback. We will continue to work at being more effective at promoting Channillo and our authors. I hope you are enjoying the platform so far.”
“There, there. Go away and write more.”
Channillo is an okay platform for earning a little money while you are composing a piece. Who else will pay you for an incomplete work? But the reality is that without an increase in marketing and promotion, better analytics for authors, and increased engagement for readers, Channillo will never really be more than a niche online community.