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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.

Sheet_music_cover_-_POOR_PAULINE_(1914).jpg

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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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