Sunday, September 9, 2012

Have Some Milk with Your Serial

Today is the release of part 4 of Shadow Spinner
"Part Four: The Cop" is available for the Kindle for FREE! Monday, Sept. 10 -11! Go get it now for FREE! Also, just to be nice, "Part Three: The Bedroom" will also be FREE! Monday only. Go grab them now and, remember, click the "like" button and come back later and leave a review. It would be a great help! Thanks!

And, now, on to other things... sort of...

I started this whole serial release of Shadow Spinner as a bit of an experiment. While I'm not quite ready to reveal the details of said experiment (I still need a few more releases to figure out what I'm seeing as results), I will give you some background on the whole serial thing and part of what lead up to my decision to do a serial release.

Marketing is my bane. I hate it. It's something I wish I didn't have to spend my time on, because it takes away from time I could be, oh, working on actual writing like on Brother's Keeper, because, yes, now that school has started, I have several kids a week (at least) asking me when it's coming out. Of course, I'm trying to finish Shadow Spinner first (okay, I am going to finish Spinner first), but they don't care so much about that because they just want the sequel to The House on the Corner. Then there's the part where I'm pretty sure I would have finished Spinner already if I didn't have to spend time doing marketing stuff.

All of that to say that one of the things I've seen kind of over and over again in doing marketing research is that serializations are BAD! Bad in the same way that adverbs are BAD, and not you or anyone else should ever ever ever release a novel in a serial format. It made me wonder WHY.

I mean, why not do it? There is a long tradition of authors releasing their novels in a serial format. Charles Dickens did it. He even used it to get audience reaction to his stories so that he could make tweaks to stuff before the book was finally released as a book. Heck, the whole end of Great Expectations changed between the serial release and the final book release. All of Isaac Asimov's early stuff was released serially. The whole Foundation Trilogy (when it was still a trilogy) was released that way as well as all of his early robot stuff (which turned into I, Robot).

Sure, it's not done so much today, but, really, why not do it?

So here's something about me that you might not know... or, maybe, you've managed to figure it out, I don't know. Anyway... Telling me that something is wrong or bad for no other reason than that it is wrong or bad is a pretty good way to get me to try doing it. Or, at least, to take a closer look at it to see why you're saying that. You need to have a good reason for what you're saying is what I'm getting at here. In a like manner, telling me "this is just how it's done" and so you should do it this way, too, is a good way to make me look at other options. Give me reasons not dogma.

[I just have to throw in here that my first, great Magic deck was built because someone said a deck couldn't be built around the Kird Ape. I became feared in tournaments because of that deck. Yeah, I know that's completely off topic: I blame Michael Offutt for bringing up Magic: The Gathering on his blog recently.]

At any rate, that question wouldn't leave me alone, "Why not do serializations?" I couldn't find any good reason not to, so I decided to try it out.

Which brings me to my point:

It appears that Amazon Publishing is setting up some deals for some serializations under a new imprint they're going to be starting up just for that purpose. First, I didn't realize that Amazon had its own publishing imprints, but they do (several, actually, including one for sci-fi), and, now, they want to add a new one just for serialized novels. They're looking at it as the "logical next step" in publishing, evidently, because people like things in smaller bites, and like them in forms that work on  their portable devices.

It looks like I'm not the only one to ignore the whole "don't do serializations" thing. And this is why you should ignore the whole "no adverbs" thing, too. People just like to say NO for no other reason than saying it. And you can't get good reasons as to why not, because they don't have any; they just know that other people said NO, and that's good enough for them.

I don't know how this whole serial release thing is going to work out in the end, but I'm glad, now, that I'm doing it. Not that I wasn't glad before, but, see, I'm not jumping on any bandwagon here. Not that there will be a bandwagon, but, if there is, I was here first!

Just sayin'...


  1. I just got all four of the books and I'll read them later today.

    You're right, this is a long standing literary tradition and some of the greatest writers in history published their work first as serials. Given how today's world runs, it's a good idea to explore this market. Modern technology has geared us towards liking short, manageable bits of information. And Poe wrote shorts because he didn't think that the sublime could be maintained for more than a few minutes.

    Best wishes on the new release and I'll let you know what I think. Now I'm off to the Land of Nod.

  2. Be curious to hear your results of this experiment. I didn't realize serializations were bad.
    And it's been ages since I played, but I had a killer black deck. My wife refused to play if I brought it out.

  3. Snagged it up!

    Also, I like how in the publishing industry, it's always bad until it's not. Like, NEVER write a book over 100,000 words. And then the next fad book of the moment comes out and its a fantasy story that's almost 1000 pages. And yet if you take a 1000 page fantasy story to an agent, they won't even LOOK at it and will tell you, "Oh, no, we couldn't sell that in a million years!"

  4. I have no idea how to go about marketing. All I do is write a blog post and then go visit other people's blogs. Plus I try to read books other people have written. I'm the most ineffectual (haven't got a clue) marketer in the world. But that probably explains why I'm so mediocre. Oh well, I have a day job lol.


    I did that for a while on one of my billion blogs, posting 5 pages of a book at a time and at least some people read it. I still do it on my existing blogs, writing parts of stories and posting them and then collecting them into books.

    Comic books are serials, of a sort, as was "Lost," so I like this idea.

    But then, I like your writing, too, even though I'm behind and haven't finished the last segment. I did download this one and I'm going to get to them all.

    ALSO: I noted that we are all apparently guinea pigs in your mad experiment here. Whatever you're up to, I hope it leads to my getting superpowers.

  6. Yes, I've been thinking this is a trend that might come back because of e-readers. I think people do want smaller, bite size readings. And for some reason, I don't know why, it takes me almost twice as long to read a novel on the Kindle as it does a paper book. Might be the formating. Don't know. But smaller chunks would be easier for me.

  7. Hi, Andrew,
    i'm thinking if it's working for you and there's no reason not to do it, then continue with it. Like you said, you'll only be moving onward with what you were doing before. And boy do I know abour how marketing eats into the time I should spend writing and editing.

  8. Anne: I look forward to hearing what you think about them!
    Poe is one of the few short story writers that I just like. I don't think I've ever read a story of his I didn't like, in fact.

    Alex: Occasionally, I play with my kids, which is fun, but it's not the same thing. I miss competitions and tournaments.

    ABftS: Yeah, I think you just have to ignore those guys. The learned to talk from watching Jim Carrey in Ace Ventura.

    Michael: Theoretically, you have a publisher that should be helping you with that stuff.

    Briane: But you forget, "comic books are for kids," so those don't count.

    As for the experiment, I'm still trying to get Amazon to cooperate on delivering the radioactive spider bites with the downloads, but they keep telling me they can't do it. Like I believe that.

    L.G.: It takes me longer to read electronically because I don't have a portable device which means all of my electronic reading has to be sitting at the computer, which I don't really like to do.

    J.L.: Well, I don't actually know if it's working, yet. We'll see.

  9. Am curious to learn the results of your experiment with this. I also learned something new about Charles Dickens today. Great posting!

  10. G_G: Thanks! I'll let y'all know what I learn as soon I know what I've learned :)

  11. I'll be around when you announce the results to your experiment.

  12. First, I just realized I wasn't following you! Yup, I'm a jerk. But that has been taken care of now.

    Second, I'm intrigued by the idea of serialization. So so many of the *great* authors went about it this way. I look forward to how your experiment goes. I need to pay a few things down and then your books on my to buy list :)

  13. I had no idea serializations were 'bad'! (Good thing I didn't read that anywhere before I started with my serial experiment - I would have been quite disheartened!) I'm also still figuring out whether the serialization of a novel is a good or bad thing...

  14. Gina: Well, good! I hope to see you then.

    Tasha: Well, don't pass up the free bits when I offer those. Part 4 is free through today.
    And I'm looking forward to how my experiment goes, too.

    Rachel: See, that's why you can't believe everything you read. Except, well, what you read from me. heh heh

  15. I've got them all and am enjoying the installments immensely. I am behind 'liking' and reviewing them. But they're great!

  16. Rusty: Well, I'm glad you like them! Now, get busy with the "liking"! :P