Actually, what I have is a deadline for finishing a novel that is long past and, finally, the novel is letting me write it. Add in spending a large chunk of yesterday working on an upcoming author event for our local library, the largest and most exciting one we’ve ever hosted before, and my brain is not in the blogosphere. So, I’m going to throw the floor open to you guys today. If you’ve seen anything about the publishing industry you want to talk about, post it here. If you have a question you want one of us to answer, now’s your chance. If there’s a topic you want one of us to do a post, or series of posts, about, let us know.
The floor is yours. Have fun.
Topic: Serial Novels Online
I’m about to start serializing Pride’s Children, the mainstream novel I’ve been working on for – well, you don’t actually want to know, but many years.
Any information from people who’ve already done it (I’ve been following Witchfinder at Sarah Hoyt’s blog, and several others) – a discussion of positive or negative results – would be appreciated.
The story IS finished (I think, as a beginner, I need that – more experienced writers can write as they go, knowing they can finish). It is NOT my first novel.
I have enough material in close-to-final-draft state so I won’t have to stop putting new scenes/chapters up if I hit snags with polishing the rest.
Posting the novel is one of my reasons for starting my blog, which is tiny but has achieved, organically (ie, without me pushing it), the basic steps: likes, followers, comments, spam. WordPress and I can live together – I appreciate their making blogs possible, and have managed to survive the learning process (comments on blog quality also appreciated).
I’m aiming for a posting rate, after a full chapter or two, of 1-2 scenes per week (6-10 double-spaced pdf pages per scene).
If the story is finished, you avoid the main drawback — writing only a chapter a week means the story meandered weird places and will be a stone b*tch to revise/finish.
Give me a link on my blog when you start. I’ll put it in one of the roundups.
BTW serializing novels on Amazon 3 to 6k words at a time is — I’ve heard, I haven’t done it — the “thing” to do these days.
Thanks! I will.
But I love following Witchfinder – and hearing you talk about it. It has been a real education to follow a writer who knows what she’s doing – even if life sometimes gets in the way. I hope you still LIKE it.
And that Noah’s Boy is getting finished.
I haven’t seen any stats on how well the serialized novels are doing on Amazon. I saw yesterday that Scalzi is doing one for Tor at 99 cents an installment. As a reader, I’m not sure I like the idea of paying potentially $20 bucks or more for a novel by the time the serialization is done (assuming 20 chapters at 99 cents each). So, I’m curious to see how this trend goes and if it is worth it to both the author and the reader.
I tossed a novel into the Amazon Breakthrough Novel contest. And got onto the chat board about it. I was _astonished_ by (1) the number of people who think doing well in contests is a viable way to acquire a Traditional Publisher. (2) The number of people putting the same novel into the contest for the third time. “I think I’ve got the pitch right this time . . . ” (3) And by the number who sneer at self-publishing. Yes. In an Amazon.com contest.
Okay. So I’m a hermit. My social life is 90% on line. I haven’t been able to make myself go to groups of local writers and so forth. Is that the only reason I’m so unaware of contests? Or am I looking a very small subset of writers?
I have some vague memory of looking at that contest and realizing the PRIZE was a non-negotiable publishing contract WITH some imprint.
The non-negotiable part damped my interest (I believe I read the contest rules, and some discussion, possibly on The Passive Voice), and I haven’t returned.
So the contest submission process was, in my mind, just another slushpile you could send your work to.
I have friends who look to contest wins for validation and traditional publishing exposure. I don’t suppose their chances are any worse than if they submit to an agent – they are still accepting the gatekeeper model.
It just comes down to: How many people are you going to let in the space between you and paying readers?
I think half the entrants want to be finalists, not the grand prize winner. The “No negotiation” contract comes with a $50,000 advance. For that, I figured I could swallow a whole lot of other conditions. Not that I think I have any chance of winning, but . . .
Oh, and gatekeeper-wise, I agree with pretty much everyone here. I’m really enjoying the Indie publishing scene. The complete control, the lack of outside pressure, the freedom to mix and match genres . . . the miniscule sales, on the other hand . . .
So for me, a good showing in the contest _might_ increase sales of my other stuff. Free advertising, with that “lottery ticket” thrill to it. 😉
But if you don’t win the Grand Prize, no 50 grand and no publishing contract – just exposure.
There are probably agents who look for this kind of preselected work – and will try to sign the finalists. More power to all of them – and, if you enter, all the free advertising you can stand.
Miniscule sales are miniscule sales – but with traditional publishing, if there is no contract, there are NO sales, and if the sales are miniscule, no FUTURE contracts – and no future sales.
At least you bought a lottery ticket! I fervently pray that you win. There.
Well, there are four “First Prizes” with publishing contracts, $15K advances, but the odds are still pretty poor. But getting through a few rounds and getting bragging rights on the Kindle chat boards might be useful for pulling in readers.
Meh. It’s worth a try, doesn’t take much of my work time, and even if it’s eliminated in the first round, the manuscript’s only been tied up for three weeks.
Just remember that you can’t flog your own work on the kindle boards except in the meet the author board and the contest boards. Not only will you be attacked — like rabid, hungry zombie dogs on a pile of brains — by the denizens of the boards but Amazon can and sometimes will ban you.
That said, fingers crossed for you. Keep us informed.
Pam, I entered the first year and it was amazing the conversations on the boards and some of the comments about the entries I saw. Many of those who enter do feel this is their way to a “contract”. Now that Amazon has its own imprints, I’m sure that is more true than ever. I’d bet that a lot of those who are saying that are your age and mine — in other words, folks who are so entrenched in the legacy publishing fantasy that they haven’t realized just how much can be done and made through self-publishing or by going through a small press.
As for the contract, the Amazon contract is actually not as bad as some of those I’ve seen from publishers holding contests like this. But yeah, the author is behind the eight ball when it comes to who holds the power. Frankly, unless you are someone who really puts a lot of worth into contest awards — and let’s be honest, how many of us really go out and read a book because it won a contest? — or unless you want to see if you are on the right track with a novel or not (I did this with the book that shall never be named and entered it in an RWA contest to see if I was hitting the romance buttons right), contests are something that simply slow down the process of writing and getting your work into the readers’ hands.
Just my two cents’ worth.
What surprised me was a comment from someone who didn’t actually want to win, they wanted to do well enough to land a contract from a “Real” publisher. Go figure.
Sigh. They just don’t understand that publishing doesn’t work the way they think it does and that, if there were to get a contract from a “real” publisher, they’d be signing away their baby for maybe not only the length of their life but for that of their children as well — and possibly never see another dime after the initial advance, if they were lucky enough to get one.
The Brain in the Blogosphere! Sounds like one of those old thrillers. You know, the Hand That Couldn’t Stop Playing Brahms, The Giant Girls that Danced on the Beach in Bikinis, Killer Tomatoes From Outer Space? I kinda think someone should do it.
He had been blogging all night when it happened… It was a dark and spam-filled posting… Anony Mouse tapped on his shoulder and said, “Try shift-control-apple. That always works.”
http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2013/01/22/25-hard-truths-about-writing-and-publishing/ – something for next week?
Thanks! I’ll keep it in mind.