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Old 09-19-2011, 01:44 PM   #1
polyfractal
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Question Questions about self-pub, serial eBook platform

Hi everyone. I'm a software developer that loves eBooks and self-publishing. I participated in NaNoWriMo last year, and although I didn't win (or write anything worth showing to anyone), I had a great time doing it.

Anyway, I wanted to ask all of you more successful self-pub authors some questions. I'm working on a self-pub serial ebook platform for authors. The idea is to provide a streamlined interface for authors to publish serial novels online. Think Blogger for serial novels.

I feel that serial novels can benefit from the web in ways normal novels cannot. And importantly, I feel that the general public is ready to consume online, serial novels (which certainly was not the case just a few years ago). The prevalence of e-readers and tablets has made this a very real possibility.

The main features as I see them:
  • Streamlined signup and easy publishing to your own sub-domain. Entirely hosted and configurable. Variety of default themes to adjust the look and feel of your novel, full customization if you happen to be handy with HTML/CSS
  • Full control over pricing of content, including monthly subscriptions or one-time fees, allowing free content, etc. Payments are handled for you and you receive a regular check.
  • Non-exclusive rights - aka you can also publish on Amazon, Smashwords, etc
  • Novel-specific features such as auto-magical inline linking to glossaries/family charts/index, timelines, extra content (images, video, podcasts etc). Automated builds of various format (PDF, Doc, mobi, epub, etc)
  • Community integration (if you want it heh), emails to subscribers when you update, RSS feeds, novel-specific wiki, etc
  • Main site will feature authors/novels and act as a portal to discovering content. Readers would register with the main site so login and payment credentials transfer across all authors, allowing a seamless and easy environment to purchase your content.



That's the idea anyway.

I'm curious to hear from you self-pub authors if A) there is any interest in online serial novels and B) if any of you would use a service like this. Sure, you could use Blogger or Wordpress.com, but the idea is to provide a service that is specifically tailored for serial novels. Authors could then focus on writing instead of setting up hosting and configuring blog software which isn't designed for serial novels.

Thoughts? Features that you would really want/need? Thanks!
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Old 09-19-2011, 01:48 PM   #2
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In general I'm in favor of this, but in particular I'm not sure I'd use it. One thing I've noticed about writing my novel is that I frequently have to go back and tweak things, which would be severely stepped upon if I had already published that section. And if you wait until the whole book is done, why publish in pieces instead of the whole thing at once?

Still, this could probably be useful for many writers. Short stories and a lot of non-fiction could be well suited to this.
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Old 09-19-2011, 02:08 PM   #3
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You're not involved in the project at http://www.pandamian.com/ are you?
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Old 09-19-2011, 02:29 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anamardoll View Post
One thing I've noticed about writing my novel is that I frequently have to go back and tweak things, which would be severely stepped upon if I had already published that section.
On a blog you can just go back and change the old chapters as you need to, it's mostlly just a way of getting early feedback on it but doing it in public. It's also good for getting you into a routine of writing something if you know you need to have a new chapter ready each week.

I can't really see anyone paying money to read something like that, unless it was a fairly well known writer.
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Old 09-19-2011, 02:34 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anamardoll View Post
In general I'm in favor of this, but in particular I'm not sure I'd use it. One thing I've noticed about writing my novel is that I frequently have to go back and tweak things, which would be severely stepped upon if I had already published that section. And if you wait until the whole book is done, why publish in pieces instead of the whole thing at once?

Still, this could probably be useful for many writers. Short stories and a lot of non-fiction could be well suited to this.
Mmm, that's a good point that I had not considered. The functionality would certainly be there to edit posts/chapters, but that doesn't help if the reader has already read it. Or if you have drastic plot changes.

Perhaps the entire system would be more useful for publishing short stories as you mentioned, creating stand-alone pieces that can later be compiled into anthologies. Readers could then compile their own, personal literary journals by mix/matching authors they like.

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You're not involved in the project at http://www.pandamian.com/ are you?
Nope! Although that is a cool looking project and similar to what I was describing/thinking. Thanks for the link
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Old 09-19-2011, 03:00 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by mr ploppy View Post
On a blog you can just go back and change the old chapters as you need to, it's mostlly just a way of getting early feedback on it but doing it in public. It's also good for getting you into a routine of writing something if you know you need to have a new chapter ready each week.

I can't really see anyone paying money to read something like that, unless it was a fairly well known writer.
Sure, but I wouldn't expect all my readers to re-read Chapter 5 before Chapter 16 because of the VITAL IMPORTANT CLUE that I changed.

EDIT: As polyfractal said. Read before posting, Ana, read before posting.
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Old 09-19-2011, 03:55 PM   #7
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Sure, but I wouldn't expect all my readers to re-read Chapter 5 before Chapter 16 because of the VITAL IMPORTANT CLUE that I changed.
It was more for the benefit of new readers than anything else. Mostly it was to change the clothes that people were wearing so that it fit in better with later continuity, but I did also add a lot of backstory to one of the characters so that something they did made more sense. Basically the sort of stuff you would do in a final edit, but if I hadn't had the feedback from the blog version I probably would have given up on it long before it got that far.
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Old 09-19-2011, 09:59 PM   #8
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I think its a great idea... for some one else. As mentioned above I often go back over my entire work as I write it, I can think of one time when i mentioned in early chapter "such a thing is impossible" and then in a late chapter say "sure I do such a thing all the time" I did not catch that till a re-read through because too much calendar time had passed between writing those lines.

So sounds like fun... just dont think I would take part. I would read the posts there assuming some one with talent was writing there.
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Old 09-19-2011, 11:04 PM   #9
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@OP -- you might want to chat up the folks at Webfiction.com to see what they're thinking. They're more of the target market you'd be looking at, I think.

This said, I think most of us (them) are comfortable with Wordpress and such, which seems to be the common method of delivery for serialized fiction. A few of them are involved in the previously mentioned project, though.
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