Serialized Fiction: Our eBook Experiment

Do you like to be left hanging? Ever since I was a child, I’ve loved cliffhangers. My fascination began with a TV show called Cliffhangers, which ran for less than a season in the 70’s. The show featured three stories every week, one about a vampire, a mystery, and an Indiana Jones sorta adventure. Every segment left the hero hanging and questions lingering with a… “to be continued…” I hated having to wait a WHOOOOOOLE week. Yet, as each new episode drew closer, I grew more excited and eager to see what would happen next. And when it comes to serialized stories, it’s always about WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? Years later, I loved and hated other shows in a similar way — LOST, X-Files, Carnivale, The Wire, Deadwood, The Walking Dead, Battlestar Gallactica, Breaking Bad, The Sopranos, and too many more to name without coming off like a guy who never gets off the couch. Though these shows span different genres, they have a few things in common. They all have great stories, they all have storylines which stretch across seasons, and they all have flawed but memorable characters. And, of course, they always leave you wondering what happens next? SERIALIZED BOOKS While serialization has been around for ages, it wasn’t until Stephen King did it with The Green Mile in the 90’s, that I discovered it. King managed to do what the best TV shows did – he kept me hanging from book to book, always wanting more. It was the most awesome reading experience I ever had! While I’d always dreamed of creating a serialized TV show, King...
Are eBooks The Next Webcomic Bubble?

Are eBooks The Next Webcomic Bubble?

In the summer of 2000, I had this genius REVOLUTIONARY idea… I would put a comic strip on the web! Nobody was doing it (or so I thought) and I’d make a name for myself. Hell, I’d be the next Bill Watterson! I loved comic strips. As a child, I used to get lost in the world of Peanuts. As a teenager, I loved the satirical wit of Bloom County. And then I discovered the magic that was Calvin and Hobbes. So I created the comic Todd and Penguin, and waited for the world to take notice. And not knowing anything about anything, I then spent a few years in relative obscurity. After a glowing review from Eric Burns at Websnark and getting picked up by Keenspot in 2005, the comic started to get some attention and a decent following. But something interesting happened in that space of five years. As hosting got cheaper, a handful of companies sprang up offering free webcomic hosting, suddenly ANYBODY could put a comic online. And it seems like almost EVERYBODY did. Seriously, there were thousands upon thousands of new webcomics! And HOLY SHIT, the crap floodgates had opened! It was as if anyone with a scanner and a pen was putting a comic on the web and calling themselves an artist. And there were some awful, AWFUL comics out there. Stuff that made you cringe in embarrassment for the creator and cry just a little bit for the form. Technology’s blessings are also its biggest curses. Suddenly, people who never would have thought to draw a comic before suddenly think that they...

Beyond eBooks: The Active eBook?

J.A. Konrath has a great post up about the future of eBook technology. Tech always changes and with those changes comes price drops and new features. While eBooks are a new delivery system, they aren’t yet bringing much new to the table. Konrath suggests a way in which that could soon change. Most of the big internet successes of the last decade were because of users adding to the site. And as I explained above, users are eager to add content concerning books. The want to do reviews and recommendations and talk to authors and even write fan fic. All of this happens outside of a book. What if it happened inside of a book? What if you don’t join a social network to discuss books, but instead you joined a book that was a social network? What exactly does Konrath have in mind? Nothing short of a revolutionary way to consider your story. Read the entire fascinating post at J.A. Konrath’s blog....
Is Your Website Keeping You From Being Published?

Is Your Website Keeping You From Being Published?

The rules have changed. It used to be that to break into the publishing business you not only needed talent, but you also had to know the right people, make the right connections, or sometimes, just be in the right place at the right time. With the advent of blogging and social media, more and more authors are finding their way past the gatekeepers and finding their audiences—with or without publishers. With a bit of web savvy, moxie, and talent, today’s author has more power than ever to get their words into the hands of eager readers. Yet, too many authors seem to be ignoring this relatively new path to publication. Or worse, they are scaring away potential readers with awful websites. You know that saying about not judging a book by its cover? While people may give some leeway to a book with a bad cover, not nearly as many people are as forgiving of a poor website. Hideous wallpaper backgrounds, clashing colors, and frames with visible borders (ugh!) look about as contemporary as the fade in Kid ‘N Play’s hair styles. Whether the design is gaudy and stuck in the 90’s, its content impossible to navigate, or it is simply a static page (which is nothing but a glorified business card), too many writers are scaring away readers and relegating themselves to relative obscurity in today‘s digital world. Considering how easy it is these days to publish content to a blog with a clean theme and a simple layout, there is no excuse for a bad website. The Lessons We Can Learn From Good Author Sites There...
6 People to Read and Trust in the World of Publishing

6 People to Read and Trust in the World of Publishing

Writing a book can be rough, seeing that book to print like a barefoot trip to the dentist over broken glass. We’re in the dilated pupil of a publishing sea change. There are a lot of voices out there, many of them yelling. Knowing who to listen to, deserving not only your brevity of time, but your limited trust, is essential to maintaining your sharp focus and overall sanity. Dave and I are getting to know more people in the publishing and self-publishing circles. These are some voices we feel are worth listening to. Joanna Penn is an author, speaker and business consultant based in Australia, though, as she is quick to point out, she is in fact British. Joanna blogs at the Creative Penn with an interesting mix of interviews and posts which cover everything from writing tips to marketing and WordPress to podcasting. Like us, Joanna is intrigued by every step of the publishing process. Follow Joanna on Twitter. Jonathan Fields is author of the WSJ bestseller, Career Renegade. Jonathan is always thoughtful and intelligent. Cool stuff falls from the dude when he walks. Jonathan recently launched, Tribal Author, a site designed to help modern authors navigate their way through the winding boulevards of a quickly changing landscape. He released the rather remarkable (and free!) guide for new authors called, The Truth About Book Marketing. Follow Jonathan on Twitter. Booksquare has two taglines, and I can’t decide which I like more. Dissecting the publishing industry with love and skepticism or The whole truth and nothing but the truth, unless making it up is easier or funnier. Both are...
There are 3 Types of Author – Which One Are You?

There are 3 Types of Author – Which One Are You?

There are as many different types of authors as there are people. Every one of us is housing a different brain, each brewing its own particular brand of brilliance. The type of author you are isn’t about the way you frame your words, or which genre you choose to write in. You might prefer to fill your pages with short sentences, or perhaps long winded poetry. Children’s books, horror novels, self-help or biographies, it doesn’t matter. Style and genre have nothing to do with what we’re talking about today. We could split one group of authors into two and then those two groups into four, forever and ever ad infinitum, but for the sake of simplicity, let’s say there are three types of author. We’ll call them the Squirrel, the Horse and the Lion. Which type of author are you? The Squirrel? You want to make it, and someday you just might. You hit your daily word count, at least usually. You enjoy talking to other writers and gathering their feedback, though you are sometimes shy. When you do get feedback, you imagine incorporating it into your revised pages, often setting it aside for the day you’ll return to the story. Maybe you’ve done NanoWriMo once or twice, maybe you’ll do it again. You have one or more unfinished manuscripts in the bottom drawer of your desk, or more likely, on the hard drive of your desktop. You enjoy writing and some days you even love it. You know you are talented and that given time, you could develop your craft enough to maybe even get published. Though you...