What is serial fiction? How to write your book like a Television show! And why I really dig this process...
Hey everyone! Sorry for the long dark month of March...
There really is no excuse for such a long drought on the blog of a self proclaimed blogger. But hey life happens right? At least that is the excuse I am going to roll with. Well, damn I was busy you guys! Busy doing what you say?
WRITING! Specifically, SERIAL FICTION!
Now some of you may not know what serial fiction is. That's cool, because I am about to tell you. We all know what fiction is, so I'm not going to address that. To get right to it serial fiction is....
In literature, a serial, is a printing format by which a single larger work, often a work of narrative fiction... and may be released either as separate publications or within sequential issues of a periodical publication, such as a magazine or newspaper.
That's the basics. Imagine if you were able to release your book one chapter at a time, at a pace that was agreeable to you and your readers. Well this isn't exactly a new concept. In fact the serial publication had its heyday back in Victorian Age. Back when it was more difficult to bring a book to print authors often gravitated towards serial publication. In that day the rise in literacy coupled with advancements in printing and distribution allowed authors to submit their work to reader at a lower cost. IT WAS HUGE!
In fact Sherlock Holmes was originally a serial publication!
Unfortunately in the 20th and 21st century, serial publication declined. For multiple reasons, but it was mainly concerned with reader consumption. Readers were less concerned with fiction and more interested in consuming news. Now even though it declined in popularity it didn't go anywhere in fact it stayed within the mainstream.
Now, why should you care as a writer or reader? Quite simply because it is fun! I recently began publishing my second fantasy series titled, Westward: Book One of the Occultare, on Channillo. Now like Wattpad and other serial publication sites, Channillo offers its users a veritable buffet of books to choose from. Unlike Wattpad, the books are not free, because on Channillo readers are charged a minimal subscription fee of $4.99 per moth. They even offer a free trial to test it out. This structure allows writers to actually GET PAID. Which is great, right? That's the goal.
But why publish serially?
Look we can all publish on Amazon, or through crowdfunding, but let's face it. There's a lot of noise out there. It is hard to even get your book in people's hands for free, let alone to charge for it. The thing is as indie authors it is important to monetize whatever streams we can. Serial publication can be one of the streams. We just can't afford to leave money on the table.
Now beyond the obvious money argument, I want to get to the heart of why I am even posting this blog. When I started the concept for Westward, I was thinking I would publish it just like everyone else. I work on it month after month until it was polished enough to publish it. If we are all being honest with ourselves, it is a drag sometimes. The slog of writing a 100k novel can be grueling. So I thought what if I break it up. When I heard about the opportunity on Channillo, I jumped at the chance. Fortunately, I was lucky enough to feature my latest series on their platform. What I found was that producing a polished, edited, proofed chapter week after week was much simpler, and much more rewarding than my previous method of banging my face against the computer screen until a book appeared.
So far I am Five Chapters into Westward, and 25k words have been written, edited, and proofed.
(I've even had a few readers who are enjoying the series, which is a bonus. But here is why I am really enjoying the process. It takes the STRESS out of the equation. I can write at a comfortable pace, manage the day to day affairs of my writing career (i.e. platform, social media, design, etc) and most importantly my life! THAT IS IMMEASURABLY WORTHWHILE. And I am sure you'd agree.
Of course I kinda, didn't manage my blog all that well... but shhhh, it's ok.
This is where it gets fun. As I am writing chapter after chapter of Westward at my pace I am doing a few key things.
Isn't that just the best? It's like I am writing the episodes of a TV Show!
Which leads me to the big epiphany I had. EPISODIC FICTION. Now that may seem like I just took serial fiction and changed the words, but I think it warrants its own name. This little brain bubble burst within the confines of my skull as I was writing Westward. What if writers could shift the way readers consume content?
Like TV!!! Or Netflix whatever you happen to fancy.
Since my style of writing is fairly cinematic, due in part to my B.F.A. in Film Production, Theory, and Criticism, I though why shouldn't I try something crazy. What if I wrote my fiction in a way that stands out? Everyone else out here in the "indiesphere" is producing content along the same lines, not through any fault of their own. But simply because their aren't many avenues for our work to be read.
OK I'm getting there I promise...
So I decided to go for it, with a new concept. Yes, another series that I plan to produce serially, sorry EPISODICALLY via Patreon.
INTRODUCING! *pick whichever voice you like. I chose Christopher Lee. NO not me. The deceased actor with killer vocal cords. Morgan Freeman would be good too. Or James Earl Jones. Ok I'm done.*
A dark epic space fantasy casting the gods, goddesses, and heroes of ancient mythology. The Norse, Greek, Egyptian, and Celtic Pantheons square off in a battle royale for the Celestial Throne as mankind's mightiest heroes defend against the coming tide of blood and darkness. History really does repeat itself. Relive the ancient myths and legends of human history in a futuristic setting beyond anything you've read before. In short, it is Game of Thrones meets Thor Ragnorok. I expect there to be no less than one hundred episodes averaging fifteen pages in length. EXCLUSIVE TO PATREON! Read More HERE
Sounds fun right? Well I sure as hell like it!
Ok, so we have a show now. It has seasons, it is on going via biweekly episodes. That is unique, yes? Well here is where it gets fun. As a writer/author I am sure we all enjoy hearing from our readers. Reviews, the occasional social media convo, feels good right? Of course it does. Now amplify that level of audience engagement. Your story now has a direct link to your audience via this episodic format.
By straight up involving them in the creative process. Get feedback as you write your book! Grow your audience with word of mouth before you ever even publish the full OMNIBUS that of course you are going to publish afterwards. Most importantly engage and INVOLVE the audience. In the case of this experimental Patreon Page, I plan to allow the audience to help me STEER THE SHIP. That is right, I am allowing creative control into the equation. Why? Because we are breaking rules, that's flippin' why. None of this process is traditional.
In the case of this Patreon Pantheon Saga Project...MOUTH FULL!
I've developed a world of characters familiar to the audience because they are directly cast from the myths and legends we are accustomed to. A massive word with a nearly inexhaustible well of characters to choose from. Which means just like in the contemporary classic, Game of Thrones ( THE TV VERSION ), we aren't sure who might survive... But, in this case, the AUDIENCE, has some sway, as a perk of being a patron. Within limitations. How's that for audience engagement? Hey dudes and dudettes! I'm giving you the opportunity to read it, help me write it, and get it before anyone else!
Ok, so this post has been all over the place, part pitch, part education on serials, etc. The point I am trying to make, especially for authors is there isn't one single way to publish your work. We don't all have to publish a book into the black hole that is Amazon, Nook, Kobo, or any other eBook distributor. Consider how you can monetize and make your work more valuable to the readers, by standing out. I am pretty sure there isn't a single ebook out there with the load-out that this new project has. Quite honestly, it may not work at all, I may just end up writing it and publishing it to the black-hole like my other works, but at least I tried to break the mold first. Trust in your instinct guys and gals, it is what sets you apart and makes you a unique voice. If you do, I promise readers will listen to you.
OH! As for the PatheonSaga, and my new Patreon Page...
I plan to launch this Behemoth in the next couple of weeks. Most likely date is April 30th...But I wanted to generate some Buzz early. If you are interested in the project drop me a line! THE GODS WILL MAKE WAR SOON! WILL YOU AID THEM BY CASTING YOUR VOTE AND BECOMING A PATRON?!