book promotion

Serialization: Part one of a series …

… exploring the ins and outs of publishing a series. I’ve been considering the idea for some time, and GD’s in-house serial has spurred me to action.


The Perils of Pauline, the most famous of the early-cinema serials.

I’m in my snatch-and-grab mode, picking brains. I start with a quick look-see: is an article potentially useful? I don’t over-think it. One good line and I scarf up the whole to digest and boil down later. I have a file with twenty pages and I’ve only just started.

Many sites specialize in the format. The one I like best so far is Plympton Publishing, but I don’t know how hard it is to get accepted. The key, of course, is … will they take you on? Then, what size readership do they have, of what inclinations?

I haven’t delved enough to be able to answer these basic questions, but I like what I read of them. Plympton was started by two members of the Harvard Crimson, and they serialize classic fiction. (Possibly new stuff as well? Dunno, yet.) So, they may have a soft spot for a classic-feel piece (author intrusion up-the-ass, silly footnotes an additional source of delight or irritation, depending on your tolerance for suchlike) detailing the faux-historical exploits of a pivotal figure in a previously undisclosed event in Elizabethan politics … who happens to be a cat.

I’m excited by what I read. Again, it’s no silver bullet. Have your sales mechanism in shape, in case you should be eagerly sought out. (I can dream, can’t I?) For me, that means my website in full flower, all them back pages linked to a menu, discoverable. Most of the serial sites (so I understand) do not pay; think of the process as a teaser with wide exposure.

My intention is to publish my novella free-to-all on my website. Would a serial site object to a competing outlet? No problem. They can have book one, I still have books two and three to myself. Does this hobble an eventual pub-for-a-price? I don’t think so. I’ll handle it the way I’ve handled the novella.

I’ve temporarily removed a lot of juicy material to streamline a shortie. And I’ve added mucho speculation on matters that are still up in the air. Nothing I write is ever set for good and all. I revise constantly. Something in the news knocks me out, that might work for Sly? In it goes. I have no shame. I steal (hmmm … adapt) right and left.

So: does a fake sighting of the Virgin Mary ever come to pass, or do my creatures only discuss it? This is one of my favorite gimmicks for getting business in without actually getting it in.

Spoiler: Yes. The Virgin Mary visitation does transpire. It’s got to. The official from the Inquisition who shows up to vet the miracle turns out to be an old client of way-past-her-prime Buttercup (I conceived her while reading Princess Bride), a street-walker roped into the scheme. As a witness! No one actually sees the Blessed Virgin. Like at Lourdes, it’s all say-so. This situation is the answer to another problem I’ve been wrestling with. The fool is able to be blackmailed. Sly needs something done for him, and the scum-bucket is just the one, the perfect one, to do it.

Buttercup recognizes her interrogator from her glory days in a top house in Paris, where she role-played Virgin Mary for a sicko who liked to dress as a priest and pretend to bang … uh huh. C’mon, how can I not go in that direction? Too too tasty not to at least explore. (It’s not yet written.) To bypass the gotta-be-a-total-riot bit, impossible!

In my next post I will try to answer the following questions:

> What are the various forms of serialization?   > What are the advantages?   > Who has been successful at it, and how have they handled it?

Part three will be a report of my explorations. I’ll contact a few of these sites and get the low-down. Leave no stone unturned, that’s the name of this game, right?


No Stone Unturned #1: Anybody got a kit-cat who might pose prettily in a tiny pair of boots? A photo would be great, a video even better (with a voice-over of the animal’s musings), posted to YouTube. Your cat could be the new Grumpy Cat.

Our Gang of Four is having none of it. Our guys are hopeless.


No Stone Unturned #2: I am just now reading about a service called Thunderclap, that sends out a one-time announcement of a book’s being published. You must have a hundred people sign up on your behalf, but I guess the notice gets emailed to their entire bank of subscribers.

But!honestly, how likely am I to pay attention to an email notification for a book I’ve never heard of? Not very. Don’t we all go through the reams in our in-boxes, delete, delete, delete?

I’ll check this out also.


What might make me open and read the email is a great title. I’ve pondered what makes me pull a book off the shelf in a store, when all I see is a spine. A book/author I’ve heard about/admire, that’ll do it. Other than that, it’s the title! A really interesting title! That reflects, hopefully, an interesting mind-set. Not another The Something-Something Saga. There’s way too much of that. Boring!

When Harry Met Sally, that was a great title. Bob vs. the Aliens, that’s another.

The thumbnails on Amazon may get my attention, but they do not get me to buy. It’s a title that tempts me to read the blurb, and/or the Look Inside.

This might be a good topic to discuss. I’ll tackle it myself, if no one else gets to it first.









11 thoughts on “Serialization: Part one of a series …

  1. GD Deckard says:

    It’s always a trip to read your posts, Mimi. I look forward to learning about serialization services the easy Mimi-Reviewed way. Mainly because you enjoy baring the relevant facts.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m familiar with Thunderclap. It’s not a great way to sell books. I think it might be an okay way to raise awareness about an author or a cause. It’s difficult to get people to send out the announcement via Twitter or FB because that person must sign up with Thunderclap to send the message–too high a bar for many rushed and pathetic people. The effectiveness of the clap depends on how many followers/likers a person has–if they have 20 followers their reach is next to nothing. It takes a lot of time to pester people to get them to participate in Thunderclap, time that could be spent in much more productive ways. I’d skip it.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. mimispeike says:

    Thanks, Janice. Good to know. People don’t get around to a lot, even when I know for sure they are interested. It’s quite a struggle, isn’t it?

    GD, I’m gonna crack this nut, one way or another.


  4. atthysgage says:

    Yeah I haven’t tried Thunderclap myself, but I know a few authors at Black Opal have, and none of them reached the bar. Like Janice says, it’s just not as easy as it sounds.


  5. mimispeike says:

    I just tried to contact Plympton and got a failure notice for the email address I had found. So I went to their website and hit Submit, and was told: Due to the overwhelming number of submissions we have received, we are accepting no new material at this time. Check back.

    So it’s no problem attracting people who want to submit. I wonder how hard it is to get readers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • atthysgage says:

      I have a feeling that getting readers is always the hard part. There is so much to choose from, both free and otherwise (try to get noticed over at WattPage sometime, if you want an exercise in frustration.) Everyone is inundated. And sadly, the Kidnapped by One Direction fan fiction at WattPage will probably always get more downloads than the elegant and engrossing novel we/you/I spent a year crafting.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Getting readers — that’s the trick, isn’t it? I suspect that any promotional group involving authors promoting other authors’ works is steeped in the illusion that an author’s recommendation to strangers, of someone else’s work, is influential. This may be true if the recommending author is Neil Gaiman or Stephen King or J.K. Rowling. But let’s be real, if it’s an unknown author who also has their own book to promote, that tweet or FB share or reblog promoting YOUR book is likely to have all the impact of a 1.2 quake in the middle of the Gobi Desert.

    Why is that?

    My completely non-scientific opinion is this: Having invested in the illusion stated above, the recommending author’s motivation isn’t to sell your book, it’s to have the promotion favor returned by you. (I welcome any scientific evidence proving me wrong. Bring it. Bring it hard.)

    My gut tells me the best way to promote an unknown author’s book is for their enthusiastic friends who believe in that book to talk it up to everyone they know — repeatedly, relentlessly. Provide copies for their book clubs to read and discuss. Call Aunt Mildred in the dead of winter, tell her she has a chance to win an all expense paid trip for two to Hawaii if she’ll just read the book you’re going to send her, tell all her friends, and get at least 3 other people to buy a copy.

    Basically, I think you need a dedicated street team.

    Or help from Neil, Stephen, or Jo.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. mimispeike says:

    Curtis! You are a card, sir! I just noticed that in tags you have put Virgin Mary. People googling Virgin Mary may bop into here on that account. I love it!

    I’ll use that idea in promoting my novella. I won’t charm any Virgin Mary fans, but I might get some press off the outrage I provoke.

    Liked by 1 person

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