July 8th, 2012, 10:53 AM
it could be worse
You know, I think it might work, but it has to be part of some wider marketing plan.
Eddy Webb did a serial thing a few years ago (the Whitechapel project). Once a week he put up a scene of a story with a poll at the end for his readers to choose the direction of the next episode. The poll ended in a day and within a week, he had another episode ready for folks to read/vote on. He is a very good writer and he eventually ended up with a nice following for that project. But, sadly, he couldn't finish the project nor did he have anything else (in the way of products you could buy) for his readers.
But, he did gain quite a following with all those splendid episodes (he also did a podcast of 'em, which I wouldn't recommend, just way too much time involved). I think if you had a definite end in sight for the episodes (say three months worth of weekly episodes), AND more stuff for people to buy at the end of that story line, it could work.
Keep in mind, you'd have to have the main story (novel) complete and ready to launch at the end of your run of episodes.
Anyway, something to think about...
July 8th, 2012, 02:36 PM
Absolutely. I'd be pissed and write the "author" off as a complete flake. I might even remember their name and shun anything I saw of them in the future. Not that someone who doesn't finish the project is likely to finish any more.
Originally Posted by tmso
July 8th, 2012, 03:52 PM
Anyone taking a "publish pieces of a book" approach needs to know at least vaguely what they want to get out of it. And what they will give to get it.
Different goals will produce different approaches. Among them is that of a beginner to writing who is just exploring hi/r wants and talents. S/he wants to find a few like-minded souls who together form an impromptu writers workshop and a larger group of cheerleaders who will help hi/r and hi/r fellow workshoppers.
When I started my Shapechanger Tales site I had a more professional purpose – publicize my work. To get that I would give prospective readers several things. Ones I knew I could give because I already had a track record. I had
- created and kept up several Web sites, some as part of my jobs at NASA and Boeing, some for my hobby: the Argentine tango.
- created over a dozen in-house technical publications. So I knew I could take on large writing jobs and finish them in a set time.
- written a complete long novel (a romance!); it was terrible overall but had brilliant parts. I learned a lot from the experience.
- been part of two long-running writers workshops, so had long experience writing fiction.
Enormously helpful to me were the brutally honest but friendly criticism of my writing that I got. Being forced to give that same kind of criticism taught me to apply it to my own writing.
I then did the following.
- Created a Web site using the WordPress.com free service, which hosts your site. My research had shown WP far surpassed all the other free services in many ways, including its chief competitor, Google's Blogger. I set it to Private, meaning only I could read it. Never show your works-in-progress in their early ramshackle state!
- Showed it to a few friends, who gave me advice on where it didn't work for them. After several tries I finally got a version I liked.
- Made it public and began including it in my Signature on the various forums I was part of. (SFFworld does this with your signature at the top left of every post you make. Anyone can find your site by clicking on the sig, but your site is not forced on followers of each thread.)
- Wrote two complete novels in my Shapechanger series.
- Began posting the draft chapters on my site. I got some very astute criticisms from the several regular followers and incorporated the ones I could into the drafts.
- Self-published the first book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, first as an ebook and then as a print-on-demand book.
As of now I have three novels on those two sites.
Finally, I want to make one point. When you publish material, either drafts on your site or finished works professionally, you are making promises to your prospective readers. You'd better make very sure you can keep those promises. Promises kept are long remembered. Promises broken are remembered even longer.
July 9th, 2012, 09:46 PM
It's kind of funny. I actually found your site on Wordpress awhile back and followed it, and I read your "publish pieces" blog article the other day, too. Just signed up for this site recently(was meaning to do it awhile ago), and there you are! =P
Originally Posted by Laer Carroll
I think the advice is pretty sound. I'm actually doing a serial format myself, but it's for quite a few reasons, so it works for me. I publish it all first on my website, then when I have 13 story sections(a "season" somewhat), I format them all together, add relevant character backgrounds into spots that they fit, some bonus content, and make it into an eBook. It's worked out pretty well so far.
To the original poster:
I would say, if you're going the serial route, you really need to update more often than once a month, though. I personally add a new story section every week, with some other bonus content to the site randomly. Each story section I do is almost 100% guaranteed to be between 500-1000 words(one of them is 1006, but besides that I cut them all down no matter what). This works out pretty well, since it's all quick reads, but the sections are relatively standalone(beginning, middle, ending cliffhanger), so I'm not just cutting the story off randomly in the middle one week and finishing that story next week. There are ongoing plots and all, but the sections work as a piece to that plot. Hard to explain besides that.
Anyways, I do think it can work, but updates need to be more frequent, like I said. You can't keep a viewership if you only update once a month. I do agree with your "organic" method, though. That's what I do, and I write each story section the week before I post it, so that I have some time to think about it and work the angle I want to go with. I write other stuff the rest of the time. I would say bonus content is also relatively imperative. Add in "background" stories that are unrelated to the main story as extra side content about the characters, or maybe make some maps. Add some side info about interesting nuances in your story world, or whatever. If you're doing a serial format like you want to do, there's no reason you can't offer an offshoot with other cool stuff to read about. Just make it optional, you know? If the reader wants to find out more, they can, and if they'd rather stick to the main story they can do that, too.
Mainly, you have the chance to make it a different, more exciting experience than a typical book, so if you don't take advantage of that then you are gaining very little by going the serial route, and you're giving up a lot of the benefits.
July 13th, 2012, 06:33 AM
Ebooks tend to make a lot of old-fashioned stuff possible. In my writer's group, someone's doing exactly this, with their book to be released a chapter or scene at a time. It's viable, particularly for "New Pulp", is what I get from his seemingly knowledgable-ness.
How you package them probably depends on the publisher, not you. They might want to offer a discount for x number at once - buy in bulk, save $ - and I think 99c is probably the way to go, if it's released on a chapter-a-month basis. Some print magazines might commit to a chapter a month till it's complete, then offer the book at the end. That's about as far as my business-side knowledge goes on this matter.
July 16th, 2012, 03:03 PM
Thanks for the feedback everyone. It's greatly appreciated!
After mulling over the issues that people here and elsewhere have raised, I've decided against going the serialised fiction route. I still think that it's a viable idea, but perhaps not for me at the moment.