“Lessons From My First Year in Serial Fiction” by Adam Sherman | Tuesday Serial

Today’s reblog comes from the Tuesday Serial Collector, and has some valuable lessons on the sort of thing I am attempting with Far Flung:

“Lessons From My First Year in Serial Fiction” by Adam Sherman

Several months into 2015, I realized I had screwed up. I had begun writing my web serial, Nowhere Island University, in February. Ever since, I had been writing chapters of varying lengths and posting them one at a time on two sites at least once a week. Sometimes, I even needed to pull all-nighters to finish a chapter or side-story. To top it off, my views were minimal and the lack of comments on both versions were disturbingly low. Finally, before a family vacation, I realized that this couldn’t continue. I needed to make changes.

The first thing I’d need to do, as suggested by other authors, would be to create what is called a buffer: that is, to make a certain amount of pre-written chapters that I could upload at my leisure. That way, I could still upload content at the appointed time even if I was occupied. It also allows you to work at whatever pace you need, as long as you can keep to schedule.

However, if you’re like me, you need to build momentum in any way, shape or form. The first comment, the first view, the first post… these need to happen soon or eventually you lose interest. I posted the first two installments (I call them tracks because I am a somewhat stupid special snowflake) to the Spacebattles forum. It was the same post where I keep the table of contents. Then, I began to work on the next installment, oblivious to the fact that I’d soon be spending multiple all-nighters, even though I was not working full time. This was solved in a way easier said than done by writing more than one installment a week. Eventually, I was able to get a backlog of over ten chapters.

Read more at http://tuesdayserial.com/?p=5172

Far Flung is listed at Web Fiction Guide

Far Flung is listed with the cool kids on Web Fiction Guide

If you ask Reddit “Where do I post my serial?” the answer is invariably “Web Fiction Guide Dot Com!”

So naturally, I had to try it out!

My listing is at webfictionguide.com/listings/far-flung/

Share and Enjoy!


 

Now, I *really* have to work on something not Far Flung for a little, but it shouldn’t be too long before I get back to it…

 

The Crew of the Tereshkova Colony Vessel Strikes Back!

jukepop

How can an unarmed colony ship fight back against far superior opponents?

Holloway’s fists clenched as the Tereshkova crawled across the field of view. The image from my camera drone zoomed out, and the holoscreen display added glowing auras to each of the ships around us. Behind the Tereshkova, the shattered remains of Asar’s capture ship drifted outward like shards of glass. One of the violet spike ships turned and flew through the center of the wreckage, diving straight toward us.

“Those bots ready?” Holloway said.

“A dozen are now,” Miji said, “More will be soon.”

“Ready to hit back?”

“With pleasure.”

Chapter 8 of Far Flung is up – Continue the adventure at my other blog!

 

What can authors learn from Deadpool?

Deadpool, image courtesy of 20th Century Fox.

Woohoo, I’m topical!

Deadpool is out, and it rocks. Seriously, go see it. I’ll wait.

Still haven’t? No worries, I’ll keep this spoiler-free.

As I’m sure many are aware, Deadpool  took a lot of arm-twisting to get into production. The studio feared the rating, figuring it would cut out half the potential audience.

Isn’t this mentality a bit odd? I mean, us readers and writers know that sex and violence (both gratuitous and plot-justified) do wonders for book sales, so why should a movie studio be surprised that an R-rated movie could do so well?

But mindful readers and good writers already knew it could succeed! In bookstores, books are organized by genre and audience. We know the YA books (usually) won’t have wanton sex and violence, while all bets are off in the aisles of books aimed at adult readers. Why shouldn’t a movie, clearly labeled as being for adults, be able to cash in just like Song of Ice and Fire, 50 Shades of Whatever, and other adult-oriented books?

Okay, my little rant is going off-topic. I wanted to write about what this means for authors.

Deadpool shows one major way to have graphic content in a story and still have it appeal to many.

You can have graphic content in writing in basically two ways, I think, if you want good art and good sales:

  1. The characters and story are developed in such ways that violence and sex are perfectly justified – it would be unrealistic not to have them there.
  2. The graphic content punctuates the story, and allows the reader to see raw desires played out in a fictional setting (rather than among real people).

Deadpool falls into category 2. The graphic nature takes it over-the-top, fulfilling dark fantasies while poking fun at our own dark natures. This is an art – the movie makers had to balance the violence carefully. If we see Deadpool drop-kick a newborn kitten, we are not going to cheer for him. But if we see him decapitate bad guys, we’re cheering for him! This is an important point – Deadpool doesn’t just have wanton violence. It has violence directed in ways that match dark desires in the audience, and that violence serves a ‘means to an end’ for the character.

We dream about getting revenge on those who wrong us, which is why so many successful antiheroes are ‘out for vengeance’. But even the bloodiest antihero has to have a “soft side”. In the movie, Deadpool really just wants to get back to his girlfriend (that’s not a spoiler, is it?). In other stories of antiheroes, there is some ‘good’ motivation we can latch onto – true love, rescuing someone, defending loved ones, desire for justice – there has to be some ‘greater good’ (at least from the antihero’s point of view).

So I think this is the main takeaway from Deadpool for authors:

If you want lots of graphic content in your story, give it a direction. There is a reason your characters inflict violence, and a ‘point’ to your sex scenes. The point might be humorous or over-the-top, but it matters. If the scenes are there just because you’re hoping they will sell copies – well, this strategy does inexplicably work sometimes (*cough* 50 Shades *cough*), but it’s not something you can rely on for a good reputation as an author.

Am I overthinking this, or am I on to something here? Let me know!

Writing: Paying with Exposure (Reblog)

Wise words about writing for “exposure” on today’s reblog.

As I write a serial and release parts for free (at least at first), I have to agree – the exposure I’m getting is a) not that much, b) ain’t going to pay the bills, c) only helping me in very small way towards being a full-time writer.

That’s why my serial isn’t the only thing I write (and why there are long gaps between parts) – I’m always working on submissions for paying publishers as well.

Aden Ng

Any person working in the arts can tell you, the hardest thing to sell is exposure. Personally, I prefer the phrase, “You can’t eat exposure”. But that’s what many “publishers” offer, and even as recently as last week, I have been offered to ‘write for exposure’.

I’m here to give four reasons why you should never, on your worst days, accept that offer.

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First Impressions – Fade to Black by Tim McBain & L.T. Vargus

Awake in the Dark

Howdy! I’ve got a First Impression here. I’m looking at Fade to Black today because one of the authors contacted me and asked me to. Yeah, I do that kind of thing, when I can.

At the Amazon page for the Awake in the Dark series, I read the first chapters of Fade to Black by Tim McBain & L.T. Vargus.

It starts off with:

Any minute now a hooded man will come barreling out of nowhere and kill me.
So that sucks.
I know this because it has happened six times before. I wake up in this alley, hung from a post by a piece of rope lashed to one ankle, tied in a hangman’s knot. After several minutes of work, I pry my bonds free, and about thirty seconds after I hit the ground, this guy in a black hooded robe gives me a pretty bad case of death.

So that gives a pretty good idea of the “voice” of this work – witty, sardonic, and dark all mingled nicely. It’s a funny read with a quick pace, making for nice easy reading. The narrative is a little raw at times – I thought it could have been a bit crisper. There are few too many adjectives and adverbs for my critical eye, but the style can be justified as the main character’s storytelling. I thought some lines were trying too hard to be witty, but overall I appreciated the humour.

The story starts with a nicely intense sequence with Jeff Grobnagger running from someone trying to kill him. The reader learns that Jeff has run down this datrk alley before and has been killed already, six times before! The reader then finds out that Jeff passed out from a seizure while in a grocery store and had the dream or vision of his own grizzly death. Jeff is helped by Glenn, another customer at the store. Jeff, refusing to take an ambulance, instead accepts a ride to Glenn’s home.  Glenn thinks that Jeff’s seizures are a form of astral projection, and Glenn reveals that his missing daughter was involved with groups interested in magic and the occult.

This all happens in the first 2 chapters, so it’s a lot. I appreciate the fast pace, however I really thought it odd that Glenn reveals so much right away. It was a bit of a stretch to go from “I’ll help this guy who passed out” to “I’ll take him home” and then to “I’ll tell him everything about my missing daughter”. Sure, it gets the exposition out of the way quickly and gets the story going, but I would have appreciated a little more justification. (I have to admit – this might be part of the humour going straight over my head…)

Thanks to the fast pace and humour, this is a series I’ll definitely try out. At the very least, I’ll check out the first book in the series – it’s less than $1 for Kindle.

Other things I’ve learned from looking in to this:

  • Having a dirt cheap or free first book in your series is really effective
  • Never be afraid to contact bloggers / authors and ask them to check out your free sample
  • Make sure you have a free sample that rocks

Check out the Awake in the Dark Series on Amazon:

L.T. Vargus can be found at ltvargus.com

Tim McBain can be found on Twitter, @RealTimMcBain

FREE eBook and The Year of Marketing (Help for Self-published Authors)

This reblog from Diane Tibert’s website gives a lot of useful insights into promoting self-publishing. This author hails from my home and native land, so I just had to give her a shoutout!

Diane Tibert

Lessons in Self-publishingI’ve reached many milestones in the past twenty years in my writing career, but there are still things I want to accomplish and things I need to learn.

One of the things I’m working to improve is my marketing abilities. I’ve done minor things to promote my books, but that’s not enough. In 2015, I attended farmers’ and craft markets to increase my exposure and, well, sell a few books. Obviously one-on-one sales increased; that was a no-brainer.

However, I saw an increase in online sales too. I can only assume it was due to meeting people, giving them my business card and introducing them to my books.

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