A novel idea

I began work on Dreamdarkers several years ago, first written as a blog experiment—a daily post that served as a chapter in a short story.  That wee bit of fun promptly took on a life of its own.  Now this long while later it has finally reached maturity, at least in the sense that any writer can achieve: no one ever completes a work of poetry or prose, but rather they abandon it, for to do otherwise is to spend eternity on a single piece.  At some point a writer must walk away from it lest they tweak and edit and modify and redact until death.

Thus The Breaking of Worlds Book I: Dreamdarkers has reached its age of abandonment.  The story must continue, something it can only do if I move on to the next book in the series.  (Not to mention unrelated books I want to write!)

But finishing a book opens a whole world of drama for a writer.  In the archaic world of publishing, one must find an agent, then a publisher, then jump through hoops trying to make the book “acceptable” for publication.  And in making it acceptable for publication, the work becomes something other, something else, something new, for it no longer is what the author wrote but instead is what a publisher accepts.

Does it need to be that way?  Therein lies the question of the hour.

In pondering how I might handle Dreamdarkers (because, by golly, I want to get the story told, a long story, a story that only begins with this book), I’ve decided to toss out some random thoughts on what I’ve considered beyond the entrenched mode of publishing a book.  Not that I mind jumping through hoops to get published, but crowd-sourcing opinions never hurts.

Publishing through the existing industry means perhaps a good advance and not worrying about distribution and marketing and the like.  It’s also painful.

So let me tell you what I’ve been considering…

Whether daily or every other day, post a chapter of the novel here on my blog.  The first three chapters would be posted as public, available for everyone to see and read.

When it’s time to post the fourth chapter, allow people to decide if they want to continue reading it.  If they do, they can pay for it.

Paying for it means they can continue reading it here on my blog, but they can also receive either a printed copy or an electronic copy as well.  This provides a more comfortable reading experience while also allowing purchasers to remain involved in whatever comments conversation is happening on each post.

It’s that simple.

No, it wouldn’t give me a big advance, but it would get the series started, give people a try-before-you-buy opportunity by reading the first three chapters for free, and it would let me move on to the next book instead of tinkering with this one while I look for an agent and publisher.

Yes, I understand the financial implications of going this route.  I also understand what print-on-demand and e-book publication mean with regards to income and brick-and-mortar (bookstore) availability.

But honestly, the publishing industry is too entrenched, too good-ol’-boy, too slow.

And son of a gun, I want to tell some stories!  I want to share!  I want others to read what my imagination keeps creating.

So from an orbital level, how does this sound?  Too silly?  Too limited?  Or what?

Please be honest and forthcoming.  Tell me what you think.  I’d like to move forward as quickly as possible.  I want to keep writing.

4 thoughts on “A novel idea”

  1. Jason, I have no idea if this is a viable concept. Yesterday, I read an article in our local newspaper about the trilogy of wildly popular “Grey” erotic/bondage novels (i.e., “Fifty Shades of Grey,” “Fifty Shades Freed,” and “Fifty Shades Darker”). The article relates that “James’ [the author] story jumped from free downloads promoted on fan sites to not-free e-books, and finally to Knopf, home of Toni Morrison and John Updike.” Of course, these novels deal with sex and bondage/S&M; I don’t know if your book(s) would attract a similar large audience that would make such a distribution scheme workable.

    I remember a “Little Rascals/Our Gang” episode from my youth. The Little Rascals decided to put on a show and asked the audience of kids to pay upon leaving if they had a good time. The show itself was an unmitigated disaster from a theatrical viewpoint (nothing went right, there was mayhem, and lots of slapstick violence), but of course the kids in the audience loved it and showered the Little Rascals with cash as they left.

    And, Charles Dickens was extraordinarily successful with serialized publication of his novels–but times have changed a lot since Victorian England.

    It seems to me that you’ve got to have a large enough base to which you can advertise the availability of your novel. If your audience consists only of those folks who are regular readers of Xenogere, I don’t think it’s going to work.

  2. Jason, a lot of the published authors I follow are starting to put their backlist books up as ebooks, because of the state of the publishing industry. I also know several people who have self published and are available on Amazon.

    I think your idea has merit, but have you thought of combining methods? Get it on Amazon in addition to having it here on Xenogere, because then we can start reviewing it and getting more people to buy.

  3. Thank you for the feedback, Scott and Marni. I’m still feeling my way through the ideas and approaches available.

    I should have mentioned that I would make the book available on Amazon at the same time I begin publishing it here. Scott’s comment about relying solely on the readership of xenogere is quite true: plenty of readers for a blog but not nearly enough for a book. Using Amazon will increase the reach and availability. Plus I’m hoping for word-of-mouth and other crowdsourced marketing.

    But again I’m still trying to figure out what approach to take, and I haven’t stopped delving into the shadowy world of literary agents and big-name publishers (a process that no doubt will turn all my hair gray!).

  4. Drat, I missed this. When recently tidying up my blogroll I
    accidentally linked to Xenogere via a particular post, and as a
    result I’ve been calling by to see the same post for weeks.
    Sheeesh! The above post is interesting to me given our recent
    off-Xenogere correspondence. Good advice too, I would have thought,
    from Scott and mArNiAc. You know how interested I am in this
    project. Got to be a way to make it work. And do get in touch if I
    can be of any help in the ways I do best. C

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