01/21/13

Serial – Not Just for Breakfast Anymore

Hey everyone. I did a guest post on Lindsay Buroker’s blog and I received lots of questions about it, so I figured I would talk a little bit more about writing for Kindle Serials, here at my home blog.

First of all, I’d like to define exactly what is involved in serials, so we are all on the same page (screen, for you Kindlers).

I wrote a Kindle-Serial novel for 47North, called The Scourge. A Kindle Serial is a new type of novel that begins life as a series of episodes that are automatically (and periodically) downloaded onto Kindles (or other devices that have the Kindle app installed). A reader pays $1.99 for the novel, and one episode downloads to his or her device every two weeks until the novel is finished. The reader never has to pay for any other episodes. $1.99 covers the entire novel. You just get it a little bit at a time.

But you get the story as it’s written, so if you buy it now, you will get all episodes that have been released thus far, (we’re on episode 5 at the moment), and then you will get episode six on Tuesday, and episode 7 in two weeks, and episode 8 (the final episode) two weeks after that. Confused yet?

Here’s a good example: Let’s say you love The Walking Dead television series (guilty). So you decide you are going to buy the whole season 1. But let’s pretend season 1 is still airing. They are still showing episodes every week and the season isn’t finished. If it were a Kindle Serial, you would get every episode that has already aired, then you would start receiving each new episode at the same time as everyone else. Until the season is over. But you never have to pay for any other episode in Season 1 again. Make sense?

Once all the serial episodes are delivered (the novel is finished) it is no longer a Kindle Serial. 47North turns it into a standard property, which means The Scourge gets an ebook version, a print version, and an audiobook version, and the price goes up. So, in our analogy above, the entire season 1 of The Walking Dead  is over (all episodes have been aired), so it gets turned into a box set and you can watch it as often as you like. But unlike a box set of a tv show, if you paid for the serial as it was being written, you end up with all the episodes as an ebook and you don’t have to pay for the “box set”. Lucky you. Unless you want a print version or audiobook version of the “box set” in which case you would end this metaphor immediately.

So, that’s how the Kindle Serials work. Now, to answer a few other questions I’ve gotten concerning serials:

1. Yes, I have a standard publishing contract with 47North. They created the cover for me, provide copy editing, proofreading and some editorial direction. I received an advance for the book and will get royalties when the advance earns out. (Which it pretty much has already. Yay me.)

2. Yes, The price of the book as a Kindle Serial is fairly low. But the exposure I receive from Amazon is priceless. I am selling far more books with this title than I ever have with my independent title, and I get far more exposure. And, when it becomes a standard property of 47North, the price goes up. Win.

3. Yes, writing this way is difficult. There are many, many challenges, but there are also many, many rewards. I will post on those pros and cons in a couple of days.

4. Yes, working with 47North and Amazon Publishing is a joy. They allow me input into a lot of areas that other publishers never would. What sort of areas? Well, massive input into the what the cover will look like. Input into the marketing blurbs (including bio, synopsis, back cover blurb, and to whom it should be marketed). Their royalties are better than standard publisher royalties, and they pay on a quarterly basis (with ‘standard’ publishers you are lucky if you get paid every six months). And they know how to get things done quickly and efficiently without sacrificing quality.

5. Yes, you receive email notification from Amazon when a new episode is available. And no, you don’t have a ton of little episodes cluttering up your Kindle. It is always just one book, it just grows bigger with each episode. Your place is still marked in the book, but you just have more to read. And your percentage read goes down.

Got questions on Kindle Serials or writing serials? Please let me know in the comments. This is a fascinating way to write and I enjoy talking about it.

That’s it for now. I’ll have an Episode 6 post a little later this week (Episode 6 comes out on Tuesday, by the way), then will post more about serials after that. Thanks for reading!

 

 

11/2/12

The Big News: 47North

I have been sitting on a piece of “Big News” for a while now. It’s exciting and awesome and I have been going crazy having to sit quietly in my corner until I could announce it.

But the time has come.

***FANFARE***

I have just signed a publishing contract with 47North for my newest novel, The Scourge.

***MORE FANFARE***

47North

I have signed a contract with 47North publishing for my latest novel, The Scourge. Let there be cakes and cheeses and dried meats.

Yes. I am chuffed. I am beside myself. And beside everyone else.

*Attempts backflip*

The novel is called “The Scourge,” and it is a historical fiction with a paranormal/horror twist. 47North, a division of Amazon Publishing, will start “The Scourge” in the brand new “Kindle Serials” program. In this program, readers pay one price and then get the novel delivered to their kindle in  ”episodes” every two weeks. One low price, one entire novel delivered to your kindle in eight or ten episodes. I’ll be talking more about the “Kindle Serials” program in later blogs.

But this is more than an e-book contract.

The first episode of the novel will be released on November 13. Once the serial run is complete, the novel will become a standard 47North title, to be re-released in e-book, print and audio versions. I can’t tell you how excited I am about working with 47North and Amazon Publishing. They have been an absolute joy to deal with and have asked for my input on everything from episode length to cover style. A class act all the way.

But enough about them. This post is about The Scourge.

The novel takes place in a 14th century England ravaged by a ghastly new plague that drives its victims mad. Victims of this plague roam the country, attacking and devouring all living creatures they come into contact with.

The story revolves around a knight, Sir Edward Dallingridge of Sussex, who has been separated from his wife, Lady Elizabeth. Sir Edward and two of his knights set off from Bodiam, in the south of England, to St. Edmund’s Bury, in the central east, to find the Lady Elizabeth.

The three knights ride through the swiftly changing landscape of England, encountering madness, violence and sorrow. And through it all, the gnawing fear of losing his wife keeps Sir Edward riding deeper and deeper into the thickening darkness of unholy terror.

Sound good? Then please keep your eyes open for it on November 13. You will be able to buy it at this link:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Scourge-Kindle-Serial-ebook/dp/B009VIC33O

It will be one of only a few Kindle Serials so far, and hopefully it will get some attention.

Yay, me!