Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Serial Bowl Is Empty

Well... here we are at the bottom of the bowl. One bite left and some milk to sip from the bottom.

This whole thing has kind of reminded me of when I was a kid. Every once in a while, we would just have cereal for dinner. It wasn't one of those kinds of things where my mom would just decide not to cook and we just ate whatever we wanted; it was an actual, declared cereal night. Yeah, it seems kind of weird to me, now, too, so I can only imagine those happened because my mom or, possibly, my dad wanted the cereal. Specifically. Like, "I want cereal tonight." Anyway...

When we had cereal nights, my dad always used one of the great, giant salad bowls to have his cereal in. All the rest of us would be using normal bowls, but there would be my dad with this huge bowl that was bigger than all of the other bowls combined. He'd pour in, like, half a box of cereal and something like a quart of milk. Maybe, it was closer to half a gallon? I don't really know. I think I'd probably have to experiment by making a bowl that big, but I'm quite sure I wouldn't be able to eat all of it.

And I could never believe that my dad could eat that much either. It was so much cereal! But he did always eat all of it. Amazingly. It was rather... impressive. At least it was to me when I was eight.

At any rate, the Shadow Spinner serialization has been more than a bit like one of those giant bowls of cereal, and being here at the last chapter is somewhat reminiscent of watching my dad take that last bite and, then, tilting the bowl back and drinking the last of the milk with whatever crumbs were left behind.

I can't believe it's over... but, here we are at the end.

Not that I haven't given my thoughts previously on the whole serial experience, I figured, now that it's actually over, I should probably sum it up or give final thoughts or... something, so here are some final thoughts (but, really, if you want it all broken out by points and stuff, go back and read that other post):

I think one of the things we're going to be seeing as we transition away from traditional publishing (and, yes, we are transitioning away from it, at least as it is in its current iteration) is more shorter works and more frequent publications. Rather than indie authors writing full-blown novels, we'll see series of novelettes and novellas. Sure, there will still be the occasional epic fantasy piece, and long, literary pieces will probably continue as they are for quite a while (they are the most resistant to change), but I think we're moving toward things that people can sit down and finish in a sitting or two. People just like that.

And, no, I have no data to back that up. It's just my feeling of how things are going. I could be wrong, but I don't think I am. This will continue our move, culturally, away from physical books, because the expense of printing tiny 20-30,000 word pre-novels will just be too high.

Personally, I've been pretty happy with the experience. It's a lot of work releasing a book chapter by chapter, especially when if you devote a significant amount of time to author's notes the way I do, but I think it was worth it. I know that I brought in a lot of readers and made many connections that I never would have if I had only released Spinner as a single book.

Yes, I have another serialization some time in the future. But that's the future...

For now, here's the last part of Shadow Spinner along with the list of all of today's FREE! offerings.
"Part Thirty-four: Uri'el" (also FREE! tomorrow, Tuesday, October 1)
"Part Thirty-three: Justice"
"Part Thirty-two: The Gate"
"Part Thirty-one: The Serpent Strikes"
"Part Twenty-four: The Serpent"
"Part Twenty-three: The Harlot"
"Part Eighteen: The Angel"
"Part Seventeen: The Tree of Light"
"Part Sixteen: The Dark Tree"
And that's that. Nine FREE! parts today, which, granted, is not as many as on some days, but, well, I've used up all of my free days for a while. Still... Look for something special coming up round about Halloween. No, I mean it. Something special and not just from me. But that's all you're getting out of me for the moment about that.

For those of you that have been following along with Tib's adventures, I hope this brings this (first) story to a satisfactory conclusion. I'm not saying there will be another story about Tiberius, but there could be. One day. Maybe. Mostly, I'm toying with the idea of the origins of Michael and Edward; I'm just not sure I'll have time to get them down on "paper."


  1. Congratulations on crossing the finish line with this!

    I think you're right and that as with music, the way books are written and sold will change.

    Perhaps this is in bad taste, but I would like to know if publishing serials is more lucrative than publishing a novel in it's entirety.

  2. Congratulations on reaching the end!
    You're right that we are seeing shorter pieces of work. And more of them.
    We've never had just cereal for dinner, although I've been known to grab a bowl if dinner wasn't enough.

  3. I don't ever remember eating cereal for dinner.

    Congratulations on your serialization even if I only read the first one. I haven't yet bought the book, but I will.

    Saw a picture on Facebook which would have been perfect for your cover.

  4. Hey, as I've mentioned before, Random House wanted to do that with us. They just chickened out (which is fitting, since the publishing industry always seems to chicken out of new "scary" ideas while continuing to deny change will ever come).

    I think we'll definitely see shorter stories and more serials in the future. And frankly, I look forward to it.

  5. I've never much cared for cereal. Smashwords statistics show people prefer longer books to shorter ones. They also say $3.99 is an optimum price so I take that with a grain of salt.

  6. I usually have cereal for dinner a couple times a week. Especially on weekends and my wife and I have a big lunch. This past Saturday I had 2 regular bowls and afterwards wished I'd eaten only one. No giant sized bowls for me.

    Good for you on finishing the series. Your assessment of the future of publication may be true. It certainly makes sense. I still prefer an actual novel length book made of paper pages. Average 300 pages with about 8 page chapters is my ideal. I'm still not much of a fan of reading off of a screen though maybe if I used an e-reader I'd start liking it more.

    Tossing It Out

  7. Congrats on finishing! To me that would be a bittersweet sort of thing.

    As to cereal for dinner, we have what I call "snack night" meaning have whatever you want, and clean up after yourselves. The boys can get pretty creative, but a lot of the time, they eat cereal. Like 1/2 a box, but one bowl at a time. There's the sog factor involved after all. I'm not into cereal at all, it's too sweet most of the time.

    I think you may be right about the direction of indie (and publishing in general). I still think there are even more changes coming that no one can predict yet.

    Tina @ Life is Good

  8. Awesome. That's such a great feeling. And at the same time, so strange. I hosted a beta reading in the same fashion back in 2008, and it was an amazing experience. I had amassed quite a group of readers by the end, and after almost a year of twice weekly excerpts, it was bizarre for all of us to come to "the end." Perhaps if I'd started a year or two later it would have ended up a serial story like this one.

    As a reader, I'm okay with serialization, but I'd rather have a whole book at once. In fact, I'll binge read and take down 3 novels in a single weekend if I really like a story. --And that's why it's no good for me to start a book unless it's a stand alone or 3+ books have already been released.

  9. Had to laugh at Cereal Night - I used to do the same thing when my kids were little. Usually did it when my husband was out of town, although he did participate once in a while (and yes, he used a bigger bowl). lol

    Thanks so much for stopping by my blog to see Alex. It's great to meet you!

  10. Anne: Thanks!
    You know, I don't really know. I know that I have made more money (not much) releasing like this, but that was because I could run the free promos on so many things which increased my visibility. With a single book, you just can't do that. But I'm not certain that an established author could actually make more just by breaking the book into smaller pieces. I think if it looked like a money making scheme, people would get mad.

    ADSL: thank you

    Alex: Thanks!
    So cereal for dessert? Peanut Bitter Cap'n Crunch?

    Jo: I guess I haven't seen that picture?

    ABftS: I'm not certain I want to see more shorter works, but I wouldn't mind more serializations.

    Pat: It depends on the perspective you're taking, I think. People would rather pay, at the same price (say $3.99), for an 80k word book rather than a 50k word book. It feels like a better value. However, when it comes to established authors, it doesn't work that way, and an 80k word book will cost more than a 50k word book. Basically, I think Smashwords' stats are skewed.

    Lee: I think I tend more toward 10-12 page chapters.
    I'm not a fan of reading at my computer because, well, I'm sitting at my computer, and I rather be sitting on the couch or in bed. One day, I'll get an e-reader, I suppose.

    Tina: Oh, yeah, I'm sure there are things coming that no one has even thought of yet. The mobile revolution isn't over.

    Crystal: I go back and forth on that. At one point, when I was much younger, I quit reading series one book at a time and would wait until the whole thing was out, buy all the books, and read it all at once. Then, I got burned by buying a really bad series (and by an author I liked!) and regretted by all the books since I couldn't finish it. So, now, it kind of varies for me.

    Karen: It's great to meet you, too!

    I wonder what it is with the bigger bowl thing...?

  11. Cereal for dinner is amazing. Especially if I've had a big lunch. Just a bowl made for humans though, not the Jethro Bodine bowl your dad used to use.

  12. The resurrection of serial novels is one of those things that could have happened with the advent of the internet. There are movies online, shows online (Emmy winners, too)...It's only going to grow.

    Congrats on the end of your serial :)

  13. Rusty: Jethro Bodine? Is that a Beverly Hillbillies joke? Man, now I have to go look that up.

    Jeanne: I think it's mobile devices that have made all of those things really take off.