In the next series of posts, we’ll be highlighting guest blogs from several authors who are part of the Jukepop Serials family. Regular followers of this blog should be well familiar with Jukepop Serials — but in case you’re among the new followers, they debuted last year on the web and in the app realm. They’re primarily focused on original stories unlike some of the other web/online novel publishers. And it’s important to note that currently all stories at Jukepop are free to read with account registration.
The first of the Jukepop authors to be featured is Kevin A.M. Lewis , author of “Metal Shadow Prelude” (http://jukepopserials.com/home/read/15) — one of the debut serials on Jukepop when it launched in 2012. Prelude is described by Kevin as an “over-the-top action fantasy serial about the hunt for the Moon-Child, a woman prophesied as the harbinger of the end of the world.It also serves as the prologue for Metal Shadow, a fantasy epic about nine heroes reincarnated to battle Godden, the ultimate villain.“
Please introduce yourself to our audience
My name’s Kevin A.M. Lewis and I’m the first-time author of Metal Shadow Prelude on Jukepop Serials.
I’m 22, I live in Brooklyn, New York, I’m a college dropout with no recollection of anything I ever learned in school, and I’ve worked retail and that’s all I intend to say about it.
I’ve been publishing short stories and serials since I was seventeen on a Gamespot forum called the Writers’ Lounge, as well as critiquing and editing the literature of the countless writers who passed through there. I attribute the time I spent(d) there to both my skills as a writer being what they now are, along with my incredible writing ego: the Prelude’s second draft won 2008 Series of the Year over there, which pretty much puts me in the same category as a local hero.
How did you hear about Jukepop Serials? What interested you in the program?
I heard about Jukepop on Craigslist while looking for work. When I visited the (then WIP) website, JP’s vision completely clicked with me. Chapter by chapter publication? Heck, that’s what I’ve been doing since high school. Getting paid for it? What a dream!
Did you have a complete work before approaching JP to make your pitch? Or did you decide to post what you were writing along the way?
The first story that I considered publishing with JP wasn’t the already-completed first episode of Metal Shadow–which I now look back at, cringe openly, and praise the heavens I never published–but the prologue to it: the award-winning Metal Shadow Prelude.
I had previously deleted the Prelude in a night of blind fury at my own inadequacy as a writer, and I’d wanted a reason to rewrite it. Choosing to serialize the Prelude meant I would have to rewrite every single line from scratch and NOT EDIT and NOT DELETE the chapters once they came out, which I thought would be an adequate punishment for letting down my previous readership. For those who don’t know, rewriting a story is the writer’s equivalent to getting a rematch with the world champion after a ten-year hiatus.
Naturally, since I had become a much better writer since the 2008 draft, I wanted to upgrade everything along the way. So I scrounged up the opening two chapters, the only ones left in the wreckage, “spruced” the daylights out of them, and submitted. The moment I got that acceptance email, my whole “punishment” plan kind of went to the dumps. I started putting out chapters happily.
I cranked out seven chapters, then I took a long break from publishing chapters or even bothering with the Prelude at all because I didn’t feel it was living up to the second draft. Then, in early 2013, I came back to it and made an outline, with the goal of expanding on the original as much as possible with the new one. Every chapter I’ve published so far (chapter 8 onward) has come from that new outline. The second draft of the Prelude was only about eleven five-thousand-word chapters; this one will be fifty-two chapters with an average length of 1.3k words. Mathematically speaking, this means it should be over nine thousand times better than the last one.
Yes: over nine thousand.
Could you describe your typical writing ritual/process? Was it different for you from writing other things?
My process has evolved strictly to help me combat writer’s block, since it has always had a tendency of sneaking up on me when I least expect it. My days of blindly spewing out prose whenever the muse deemed fit–then slumping when she didn’t–are over. And I’m very happy to report that.
I’ve broken the process down into three steps, with each requiring some repetition until I feel my work is ready for the next stage. For the Prelude, I did steps one and two after coming back from my hiatus, and now I have only to do step three each week to put out chapters. First, I brainstorm; I write down everything that inspires me about the story. Then I outline; turn the brainstorm into modern English, reordering parts and adding/deleting parts until someone who never read the story could take over and write it pitch-perfect as I envisioned. Then I expand the outline into a narration…and done. A little proofreading afterward and my content is ready.
I feel it’s important to point out, though, that I’ve also learned to look forward to catching errors and typos. I know it sounds weird, but writer’s block has no chance of stopping an error-loving writer.
How does the Jukepop Serials staff or other writers get involved in the process prior to posting your chapters?
Jukepop’s always sending out newsletters to alert its authors and readers of new features to the site, with the occasional survey here and there. It’s a new site, so they could use all the feedback they can get. To that end I sometimes hit them up on twitter or via email with new ideas and even criticisms of certain features. I still don’t know how they put up with me.
As for getting involved with my writing process–which to me sounds like “interfering” with my writing process–there’s none of that going on. Jukepop authors write and submit chapters autonomously.
How much do you interact with readers? Do you know how many readers you’re reaching? How? And how do you get feedback from them?
The site is small right now, so there’s not a lot of strictly-readers to interact with. However, I’m always conversing with my fellow authors on Twitter and through chapter reviews of their serials, so it never feels like an empty room. Authors also have the ability to track certain aspects of their readership through a feature called “My Influence”
Do you interact with other JP authors?
Mainly through Twitter, but we occasionally leave reviews for each other, offering honest feedback and thoughts. I think I’m developing a reputation for being too brutally honest, though. Blame the Writers’ Lounge for that.
What do you think distinguishes the more popular JP writers from those who haven’t quite as had as many votes? Do you think the voting enhances the experience for the reader?
The most popular JP authors (those who have been or are on the top 30) have all had one thing in common: they knew how to spread the word about their serial. Far. And because of that, they’re getting paid.
I don’t think +Voting is meant to be something to enhance the reader’s experience, but rather as an incentive for authors to market their serials–and hence market the site itself. It’s worked splendidly so far.
If you were able to provide advice to someone thinking about submitting to Jukepop Serials, what would you tell them to consider?
Quality AND quantity. Does your story have it?
What will you do once you’ve finished your serial?
Publish it. Go back to school. Turn it into a video game. Of course.
Will you publish another serial? If yes, where?
Hah, Metal Shadow Prelude is only the tip of the iceberg! The main canon will be a Jukepop Serials exclusive and I intend to have it take the site by storm. I also have a few other story ideas that I want to get out, and in the interest of supporting JP in its early days I will also probably publish them there.
Once you go serial, it’s hard to go back.
My special thanks to Kevin for being the first guinea pig in this series of guest posts/blogs. He’s a funny guy — definitely reach out to him for more questions or to otherwise cheer him on.
Kevin’s story “Metal Shadow Prelude” can be read at http://jukepopserials.com/home/read/15
He can be reached at