The Serialized Novel

Rekindling this topic as none of the other threads with this inquiry seemed to have an definitive solutions. I love most everything about the controls I get with Ghost, but I’m not sure it’s the right platform to publish a serialized novel. I’ve been having trouble getting Collections to work and the documentation seems a bit inconsistent. But I think I understand the model:

  1. Create a Tag for the Novel (easy)
  2. Create a Collection for the Novel
  3. Exclude posts with Novel Tag from Homepage
  4. Display Novel Posts in proper order
  5. Control READ NEXT links on each Post
  6. Control Subscriber Tier Access per Post (easy)

I just can’t get the Collections and Tag exclusions working as noted here. If I get it all working, I will post the process on this thread––with your help!––for others trying to do that same. I’ve seen other people ask questions about it, but the dialogues tail off with no SUCCESS! conclusions.

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I don’t really understand your exact use-case, but can’t you get most of what you seem to be thinking about just by using a tag to create the chapter index, and careful management of the publication-date on each post?

As an example, this would be the equivalent of your Novel index: day-by-day - Bhutan: Land of the Thunder Dragon - created using a single tag, and ensuring publication-date on each post is aligned with the travel diary. No other work, config, code or effort. :man_shrugging:

NEXT / PREV links are simply controlled by publication-date (and time if you need :slight_smile:). In this case the theme is Edition - (because it has killer handling of gallery cards), but Casper looks great too.

The main page doesn’t exclude the day-by-day entries, but you control what shows by default, simply by setting publication-dates on other entries as more recent than the tagged set. It’s also kinder to let your users decide to load-more if they want - so does it really matter if they reach your novel via that navigation?

You might also use featured-posts for non-chapter entries to manage home-page content.

TBH I am in constant awe of Ghost - it looks fantastic, runs like dark chocolate, and the DevOps is simply a BOFH dream.

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In your routes.yml examples in the the other thread, you’ve got a few mistakes in your collections.

It should look something like this:

    permalink: /{slug}/
    template: index
    filter: "tag:-[novel]"
    permalink: /novel/{slug}/
    template: index 
    filter: "tag:novel+tag:novel-title"

This is a working example straight from the routes file on one of my Ghost sites. This example assumes each chapter in a single novel is tagged with novel and novel-title. (You could use hashtags to make these private if you wanted.)

If this isn’t working, you might have a theme issue to look at.

Other things you can tinker with:

The order attribute, e.g.

order: featured desc, published_at asc

This will let you fine-tune how the posts/chapters show up. You could pin a featured post at the top with any context or chapter listings, and then everything else would publish in ascending order.

You can also use data to pull from a page or tag, e.g.

data: tag.novel-title

This will redirect URLs from /tag/novel-title to /novel-title while giving your chapter listings any details from the tag.

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Thanks for the guidance!

I’ve never seen square brackets noted as in: filter: “tag:-[novel]”. I’ll try that. It’s funny, I followed the paradigm laid out in the ghost documentation exactly, and then started trying other suggestions from the forums. I’ll report back!

Edition is my favorite free theme aesthetically, but it doesn’t handle routing and collections as expected; one user said because of its reliance of {get} elements. I’m not advanced yet to know how to wrangle those, so I went with a different theme.

I really appreciate the suggestions! I’ll fiddle with some of the others.

Hello @chipwarren Thank you for posting here. Glad to see that I am not the only one using Ghost to publish a novel!

I was able to successfully publish my novel using Ghost. While Ghost is not perfect for the novel format with a bit of massaging and some hacking I got it to work pretty well imho.

I had this same problem and my resolution was definitely a bit hacked and while it works I would not consider it a permanent solution.

I created my own theme because I did not find any good solutions with other available themes for this. My custom theme also allowed me to exclude the Novel Tags from the home page and display them where I wanted/needed them.

I too steered away from Collections as they just caused some bigger problems that left me boxed in with other things I wanted to do with my site. Where collections could have helped was a bit more organized and UX friendly layout. For example my news section is a bit odd (you have to click a link to get taken to the actual news page AFTER clicking the News button). In the end it is not a huge deal…

One issue I have with Ghost is that I cannot send an excerpt of a post sent in email newsletter. please consider voting for this here to be added to future updates of Ghost CMS.

I hope to read your novel when it is published on the web :slight_smile: Cheers!