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The Serialization of eBooks: The Rationale Behind The Unknown

Originally posted on my Contingency Writer’s Blog

Charles Dickens (Public Domain)

Charles Dickens (Public Domain)

In 2014, I conducted a poll inquiring what readers thought of “book serializations.” Out of a varied group of 41
respondents, 31.7% indicated that they did not know the meaning of ‘book serialization.’ 26.9% indicated a relatively neutral attitude,19.5% had a negative outlook, and 14.7% were positive towards book serializations. The opinion of the remainder was dependent upon factors such as the genre of book serializations, and the format (e.g. comics, manga) [1].

Being only a group of 41 respondents, it isn’t a representative sample of the general readership. However, it did provide a measure of insight – these reactions were mixed or unestablished.

The meaning of ‘book serialization’ varies. Charles Dickens and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote serials, although they varied in length. In general, a book serialization entails a story begin broken up into parts, and then published in a periodical or in eBook form, rather than the entirety of the story begin published in a novel.

The question to ask may be, ‘why serialize in the first place?’ Unless the traditional format is such (e.g. comic books), why serialize mainstream genres?

The answer for me was a multi-faceted one. Firstly, why not? The fact that it’s a relatively unseen medium in novel-dominated genres does not indicate that it is unsuccessful. Could it not open up an untapped market? I thought of myself. I used to be an avid reader of novels. From my elementary into early high school years (primary to secondary), I was frequently looking for new books. As my schoolwork increased, and I was given assigned readings, however, I found that my desire and ability to recreationally read decreased. I began to shy away from 300+ page books. Yet, if a story was short enough, I would be more likely to read it. For I still loved to read. Now, there are readers who make time no matter the workload. They’re ravenous readers year round. There are also readers like myself who enjoy reading, but find it more challenging to make time, and for which serials could be a fantastic prospect.

Writing Cubism

The Trials & Tribulations of Writing

Secondly, serials are great when there’s little time to spare on the writing. I had written about three novellas before I became interested in serializations. These novellas generally took a couple of years or more to develop, and I saw my writing style mature over the course of each project. However, I did not believe these novellas to be worthy of publication. I saw need for improvement. I then wrote two short stories (“War at Our Doorstep” and “400 Years of Silence”), which would become my first published eBooks. I felt fairly confident in my writing style, and the reviews I received were generally favorable if not exceeding my expectations. Shortly after, I had the idea for my current Detective Games series. The setting would vary across the world, and the character roster would be expansive. It would be a hefty project, and certainly take me beyond 300+ pages. But I wasn’t ready to write another novella, much less a novel. I was (am) in college and the coursework didn’t allow for as much free time or mental energy as I would require. So I wrote my first serial, and often found greater motivation than I had for my longer projects.

Thirdly, serials can be great for testing the market and trying out new ideas without fully committing to a novel. The idea of the Detective Games wasn’t an ordinary one. Detectives across the world linked by a common villain? Exploring the journeys of each detective, in each region (thus far the United States, France, England, and Ireland have been utilized. My vision is to include South American, Eastern European, Middle Eastern, African, and Asian countries with detective adventures as well) and then uniting them all in a finale? I wanted to get more feedback than could be offered by beta readers. Publishing serials could provide the feedback I needed (as indicated with the feedback I received with short stories), without requiring me to travel the globe and finish the novel first. Likewise, it could be beneficial to the readers who, as aforementioned, wanted shorter stories to read.

Design #2

The upcoming second installment in The Detective Games series.

Finally, it could gradually provide resources and exposure. Over time, readers could discover the series as it was being released, as opposed to releasing a single colossal book or trilogy. It could generate more exposure through the additional releases, revenues to continue supporting the series (rather than potentially waiting for years, or even never earning enough to cover the costs of time spent), and allow for the series to be cancelled if the reaction was overly negative. The alternative being years upon years spent on a dismal book. Readers couldalso contribute to the series as it progressed by providing feedback and speculation – establishing a collaborative environment – rather than an author or editor calling all the shots. And it could be fun!

As it stands, the Detective Games has one installment. I’m receiving a great deal of feedback, and have finished the next installment and am having it beta read. Although the revenues are very small at this point, that’s not the point. I’m engaging readers and learning along the way. Revenues can come as the series progresses and gains greater exposure. In my experience, serializations are a worthwhile endeavor. In addition to benefits separate to author and reader, they may also serve to bring both groups closer together. That’s ideal in establishing a lasting impact.

Side Notes

  • I’ve been utilizing Write On by Kindle, Goodreads, and WattPad to gather more feedback prior to publishing serials, and I’ve received a great deal of constructive feedback!
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Possible Prompts

Below is a list of prompts I’ve come up with in response to today’s DailyPost topic. I’m certain many have been used before, ideas are hardly new nowadays, though these are what came off the top of my head.

Current Events Questions:
i. If you were given the chance, how would you have “solved” the dilemma of raising the debt ceiling? Would you have utilized existing legislation, or developed your own? If you developed your own, what would this legislation entail?
ii. What do you think of the Presidential Office? How has it fared over the years? Explain.
iii. Should Americans, or any member of a particular country for that matter, be required to know basic knowledge about their country and perhaps the world? For example, the basic workings of their gov’t, their type of government, how the country is organized (provincial, states, etc.). Explain.
iv. According to an industry report, 95% of online music downloads are illegal. What do you think of this figure? Should additional action be taken to protect intellectual property on the internet, or should the music industry provide music for free? Explain. Consider the artists that create the music.
[http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2009/jan/16/online-music-illegal-downloads] [http://hothardware.com/News/95-of-Music-Downloads-are-Illegal-IFPI/]

Other Questions:
I. What type of pages do you usually bookmark, “like,” tweet, or favorite?
II. What are the characteristics of love? Can true love really hurt?
III. What is your favorite poem? Explain.
IV. If you could be the leader of every country in the world, simultaneously, for one day, able to pass any and all legislation you desire without question, what would you do?
V. If you had the resources to make the next blockbuster film, what would it be about?
VI. If you could tame any animal and have it as a pet, what would you choose? Explain.
VII. What sort of games did you used to play as a kid? Write about the one that first comes to mind.
VIII. (Multiple Questions) How do you define an idea as original? Are any ideas really original, or simply derivatives from another’s inspiration? Why do we have intellectual property laws? Explain.

You Can’t Avoid It Forever

Goals… they seem great when you plan them, but when it comes down to achieving them, procrastination is suddenly right there with you. That’s my dilemma right now with my book – write ten pages a day for a few weeks, revise the novel, find a good agent, then get published!

Simple, right?

Not so simple.

Lately I’ve been experimenting with various writing techniques, seeing how I may incorporate them into my book. The problem is, many of them either appear trite or unconventional, taking away the morale and literary momentum I had previously attained. Tomorrow will hopefully change that – time to take to the pen with a greater determination!

Coming up, my review on True Grit!

The One Thing EVERY Writer Needs

My Idea Boxes

Idea Boxes

When I read Erica Johnson’s, or rather, Shari Lopatin’s10 Reasons Every Writer Should Keep an Idea Box, it made me think for a bit – even to the point of considering buying my own “idea box” from Barnes and Noble (and I found the one mentioned here). Then I recalled my suitcase, my 3DS, my blog, and the many other places I store my ideas – they were all idea boxes, simply not consolidated into a singular medium.

My Suitcase – I started using my suitcase when the clusters of papers scattered around my room became overwhelming. The folders within helped me to separate each of my writing projects into organized categories, and I could fit a few pens here and there for use on the go, with easily accessible sheets of paper in the two end-side binders.

My 3DS –Who would have thought my Nintendo 3DS would actually help me

100_6972

My Nintendo 3DS

along in my writing? In addition to it’s internet browser, and plethora of apps, there is a program called “Game Notes” – which I have found to be invaluable in the past few months. My latest writing project has produced a variety of random ideas which beg to jotted down immediately. If I feel the idea slipping away, faster than my hand can write, I record it on the 3DS Sound Program, essentially explaining the idea to myself when I need to recall it later.

My Blog – Although I don’t traditionally use my blog for storing ideas regarding fictional mediums, I do find it imperative for allocating my blog ideas for dates that I am lacking in creativity. In the drafts section of my dashboard I find this solace, and there I store my many brainstorms – good and bad, for potential future use or deletion.

My Notebooks – In the area of stationaries, I am certainly not lacking! And, in the long run, they are definitively the most vital in recording my thoughts and conveying bursts of inspiration, especially those which make themselves out to be quite lengthy. I’ve written entire manuscripts in my notebooks, and I can always return to them when I wish to review, with a hint of nostalgia, how my writing has exponentially developed. Unlike a computer, they cannot crash or catch viruses, though I can certainly lose them! This is why I store the majority of my idea-books on a shelf in my bedroom, easily found and kept track of, even with my INFP unorganized personality.

My Computer – Aside from my blog, I tend to use computers as an archive of my thought processes. Generally for the purpose of temporarily storing and printing out my final drafts (which find their way to my suitcase – if I don’t give in to my unorganized tendencies)

My Mind – The most unreliable finds itself to be my first and last resort. When I have an idea, I make certain to record it into one of the above mediums, but if I (for some odd reason) find myself without, then I attempt to store it in my brain by memorization. “Make the character do this… Make the character do this… Make the character do this… What did I want the character to do again? Oh yes! Make the character do this…” Even though I have a keen memory, I don’t always maintain the best concentration when other, more important thoughts, bring themselves to center stage.

What is Your Writing Box?

Do you rely on the ole’ noggin, or go digital with an iTouch, iPad, Droid, or other high-end technologies? Whatever the case, I most certainly agree with Shari Lopatin- keeping a writing box (or boxes), in it’s many forms, altogether calls for and develops observation, authorial solidification, unique perspectives, annihilating boredom, instills importance, literary diversity, and a most fun experience (most certainly instead of fumbling around for an idea you have hopelessly forgotten).

If you don’t have one and you call yourself a writer – get one! You won’t regret it. My idea boxes have helped me to grow and mature as a writing, fine tuning my skills by learning from my mistakes and gain innovative perspective and experience. Inspiration may strike from the slightest of ideas, and by writing one down, you may find yourself one day with a bestselling novel in your hands.

Shifting into High Gear

02.19.10

Image by colemama via Flickr

Lately I’ve been somewhat restless – sure I’ve gotten my sleep at night, but I’ve been itching to do something – in literary terms. I’ve been wanting to get back to my writing and finally finish one of my many “work-in-progress” novels, then get it published – no matter how long it takes. I suppose it’s the lack of momentum that is keeping me in a rut, and to truly achieve the momentum needed, I have to get back to writing each day.

My first big-time writing project sprouted from an idea I had in 8th Grade, as well as a short story I drafted for a school assignment about the same time. After working on it for years, I finally ended the story back in 2010 or late 2009, though it was without much satisfaction – considering it didn’t meet up to the standards I wanted it to. My second project, and the one I wish to resume, was originally released as serials on InheritanceForums.com,  which I discovered was most likely my best work of the time. After releasing a few serials, I stopped posting them on the website and made a quick choice to turn it into a novel. To this day I only have about 10 pages or so written of it, not including the various chapters I’ve drafted here and there – then tossed when they didn’t seem to suit the tone I was trying to create. Next, next week I hope to officially take on this project with a full-throttle, one-way, nonstop perspective. Then we’ll see where I go from there.

As for blogging! I may post occasional updates as to my writing pursuits, although I’ll mainly be posting reviews for Scorpia Rising, the Nintendo 3DS, and finally catching up on the Weekly Photo Challenge.

Thanks for reading!

DP: If you could bring one fictional character to life for a day…

Cover of Beeton's Christmas Annual for 1887, f...

Image via Wikipedia

If you could bring one fictional character to life for a day, who would you choose?

Quite like one of the prompts I came up with a while ago – and it’s quite a fun topic to answer!

Jason Bourne would be an interesting character to bring to life, though a bit difficult to fit into our society – what with his compulsive need to engage in scenes of intense action.

Or better yet, Sherlock Holmes, with his acute deductive reasoning – and inclination towards the complex, he would be the perfect man to bring into the 21st Century, and a help to the police force, to be sure. Although this subject has been explored by many unofficial Sherlock Holmes authors and scriptwriters, it will be officially explored in a novel by Anthony Horowitz quite soon – one I’m certainly looking forward to!

Photography Prompts

Nature

Image via Wikipedia

The Weekly Photo Challenge has been a welcome asset to my blog as of late, and I’ve decided to develop a few topics of my own.
-Darkness & Light
-Instinct
-Perspective
-Irony
-Humanity
-Nature
-Exclamation
-Joyous
-Illuminate
-Universal
-Discovery
-Fantasy
-Treacherous
-Scrumptious

DP: What’s your hidden talent?

Passion flower

Image by doug88888 via Flickr

Ironically enough, it’s writing. When I wrote a miniature play, which I hope to expand one day, the teacher it was presented to seemed quite surprised, and gave me one immediate line of feedback, “Never stop writing.” And as you can see with this Post-a-Day challenge, there’s no chance of that happening!

Writing is an amazing art – it’s on the opposite side of the spectrum with calculations and proofs, and may seem a bit unruly to a person who rather favors that spectrum, but for a writer… it’s really something magical. Having words flow out of you, and watching a story unfold. Seeing characters come to life, a world come to fruition, and a beautiful literary legacy, even if it never goes beyond your study (room, My Documents folder, etc.), unfold, is something to behold. Again it is so with poetry, though one may dare turn it into a calculation-game,  it unravels the eternal, divinely established beauty of the imagination, and tears away the barriers of ordinary life.

That is why I write, and that’s my hidden talent.

Standing Up to Writer’s Block II

Here’s an even greater compilation of prompts than before, including the topics from the previous list, and the updates that were made thereof.

1. Write about your life’s biggest adventure.
2. Write about your top ten hobbies – elaborating on each.
3. Write an interview between you and someone else.
4. Write about the most interesting conversation you’ve ever had (and can remember).
5. Write a review on the best movie you have ever seen.
6. Write your own step-by-step process to blog fame.
7. What is the most beautiful place you’ve ever seen? (e.g. Paris: The Eiffel Tower at Sunset, your well-furnished backyard, etc.)
8. Write about your life from the eyes of another person.
9. A Day in Another’s Shoes: Write about what it would be like to live a life in drastically different conditions than yours. (e.g. In poverty, in great wealth, as royalty, as a news broadcaster, etc.)
10. Write a brief poem (a minimum of 100 words – afterall, this is WordPress) about your day today.
11. The Best Thing I Ever Ate… Just like the TV show, describe the best thing you’ve ever eaten. Don’t forget to include all the mouth-watering details, and having your readers come back for seconds!

12. Write about one of your biggest social blunders, the likes of which you tend to share, or be reminded of, among friends and family.
13. Write a Q&A on a subject you specialize in.
14. What woulld your dream life look like?
15. What would world peace look like?
16. Write about an important figure in history who has drastically changed the way you personally live – for the better.
17. Share your favorite food or drink recipe with your readers – whether you have made it yourself, or at the expense of another.
18. Envision what your life will look like 5 years from now. Any drastic changes? Big achievements? Notable actions?
+10 years
+20 years
+30 years
19. If you were the President/Leader/King, what would you do?
20. If you had a talk show on TV, what would you do? Who would you invite?

21. If you could purchase anything (donations included as a “purchase”), all funds provided at no catch or condition, what would it be?
22. If you could visit any country in the world, expenses aside, where would it be?
23. If you owned a massive, multi-billion dollar frachise, what would be the company’s primary focus?
24. Write your favorite quote and what it means to you.
25. Blog about something (or a subject) you’ve NEVER blogged about before
26. If you could have anyone view your blog, who would it be? (e.g. Your favorite teacher, Harry Potter, Leonardo DiCaprio, etc.)

Here’s some more [topics that “specialize in the ridiculous”] a friend and I thought up:
27. If you could pilot any vehicle, what would it be? (Gundams and Death Star included)
28. Did you read about a character that met a tragic end, much to your distaste? How would change the storyline if you were the writer?
29. If you could have any EPIC super power, what would it be?
30. Which two beings would create the most epic duel-to-the-death scenario?
31. What kind of office supply would you be, and why? (e.g. “I’d be like a rubber band because you can only stretch me so far before I snap, a blank paper waiting for ideas, etc.)

32. If your life was a play/movie, which actors would you choose to play the main characters?

33. If you could go back in time and redo any moment in your life, which moment would that be, and why?

34. What is your opinion regarding the End of the World? Is it all just superstition, or does some of the hysteria ring true?

35. If you could develop a video game, what would it be about? And through which company would you work?

36. What is your dream job? Have you achieved it?

37. What is the WORST thing you’ve ever eaten? Or alternatively, what would younever eat? [e.g. raw snail]

38. If you could start your own country, what would it be called?

+ What would its infrastructure (economic basis) be based upon?
+ How would you “fuel” your nation? Would you go Eco-Friendly, or the way of Oil?

39. If you could spend the day with any fictional character (from movies, books, video games, etc.) who or what would it be and what would you do?

40. If you could visit any fictional realm (e.g. The world of Narnia), which would it be and why?

The Magic Behind Post-A-Day 2011

Writer L. Frank Baum, writing with pen.

Image via Wikipedia

There is a certain magic behind the Post-A-Day & Post-A-Week challenges. They have the potential, when utilized correctly, to expand the limits of your writing abilities – sharpening them into a fine, masterful point. They ignite the creative spark within their participants mind, and bring dormant flames rising out of the ashes of Writer’s Block and closed minds.

As I’ve participated in the Post-A-Day 2011 challenge, I’ve discovered that inspiration has become easier to attain. By a constant habit of meeting deadlines – day after day and week after week, I’ve driven a stake through the common writer’s ditch of procrastination, and taken on an increasingly forward approach to my writing.

Listed below are four tips to help get you the most out of your Post-A-Day and Post-A-Week challenges:

1. Don’t settle for the minimum – if you’re in Post A Week, make a full-fledged attempt at posting each day, without putting it off, that way you may just find yourself coming closer and closer to a Post A Day mindset of consistency.
2. Don’t by afraid to make extra posts, especially if you’re participating in the Post A Day challenge. This will provide the maximum writing workout you’re looking for.
3. Store up acorns for the winter! Record any and all ideas you have for your blog in your drafts, and return to them frequently for necessary revisions and elaborations. This will aid in keeping you up with your goals, even when you may be running short on time.
4. Pre-heat the Oven: Many of the best recipes out there require you to pre-heat your oven, and so too may it prove useful, even essential, to set some of your completed drafts on auto-publish. This is especially handy when you’re going on a vacation or business trip where you may or may not be able to update and fully manage your blog. You can set drafts to publish day after day at the same time, or mix it up a little if you so desire.