Online-novel News and Views, Stories from around the web

In China, you can actually do this and make a living

For the long-time readers of this blog, you know from time to time we get hints that digital fiction actual works somewhere.  Light-novels are a viable format for publishing in Japan.  Cell-phone and web novels thrive and even can be lucrative in China.  In this piece, online novelists in Hong Kong get a shoutout. One thing I find particularly intriguing is the mention of a publisher, Sun Effort, whose catalogue focuses specifically on online novels.  Also think this is a first as well for a web/online novel as “Red Minibus” was turned into a live-action film with a debut on the international circuit.   So there we go, Hong Kong has charted the way. Now if we could only get a small piece of their success in the English speaking world 😉

Sparkler Monthly Creator Contest

Sparkler Monthly is running a low-key but interesting creator-driven contest. This contest asks creators to share how you as a creator share what you do with your audience.  Entries can be in any format (drawn, sung, video’d) and will be accepted through the end of June.  Good luck!

Jukepop community overhaul

In this latest blog , Jukepop announces a new facet to their comment/review feature.  Jukepop (Serials) initially began as a vote-driven site. In more recent months, they’ve added a comment feature for various stories.  Now, comments have become front-page territory as the main JP page not only shows updates but comment activities of authors and readers. It’s an interesting move and certainly will reward activity by authors and readers for simply “being present” on the community.

I’m sure those who benefited from the previous layout (i.e., Top 30 stories being top  real estate) will not be too thrilled but this shift in the other direction might actually at least let us evaluate the level of activity on Jukepop and encourage people to “delurk.”  Hopefully at some point, however, they adjust the layout so that the feed is not the center of attention  vs. the actual stories or randomize the feed. The idea of a feed can be abused easily by authors seeking to constantly have front-page real estate and can take away from the books that the site features.

Wattpad Fanfiction Writer gets a Deal with Simon and Schuster

In one of the more interesting acquisition stories out there– the series “After” written as a “One Direction” fan fiction has gotten picked up for both a book deal and movie deal.  It’s not the first Wattpad work to go both book and movie but it certainly is the first time I’ve heard of a fan fiction being optioned without little scrubbing as those of us in the fanfic community term it.  Basically the statement in this Time article is that the story will go on with just the band member names being removed.  I wonder how One Direction fans feel about their fandom being used to leverage promotion for the book, particularly since the content is purportedly “Fifty Shades of Gray” inspired.

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News post – More newspaper serials, chats and more

Just a reminder that this upcoming Sunday 12NoonEST/4pmUTC is the #serialchat on Twitter! If you have yet to sign up for Twitter or don’t get this hashtag business you might want to look at this site.  Also, not too late to sign up for Wesewrimo  at! 

Another newspaper summer serial

On July 22 Bellingham /Whatcom county launches the  ‘Memories of Light’ serial science-fiction story.

Installments will update every Monday (here) until the story finishes on August 26.   According to the article they ran another serial in 2010 (archived) featuring local settings.  This is, per their copy, their first sci-fi story to focus on a future version of their community. Hope the serialsparks some good discussions within their community.

From the blogs

This week we had a guest blog from CASanders on his own foray from the traditional print model  into serials that included a look at his process.Melanie Edmunds, author of Starwalker, blogged about her approach at her own writer blog.  Both of these authors don’t write episodic installments (rather their work can be compiled and have a strong narrative voice/plot evident throughout).  So I find the commonalities of “having an outline” or “stepping points” interesting.   It seems in line with my own “process” which mainly is to have the main guideposts in place before you wander too far into the story.

One thing also worth noting from CASanders’ blog is addressing the issue of “what brings your reader back” in each update.  It’s not necessary to have “cliffhangers” but it is necessary to spark the curiosity of the reader and raise the “stakes.”  In other words,  the author’s job is create a desire on part of the reader to want to find out what the author and his bag of characters are going to do next.

A webfiction author’s death highlights the hard side of Chinese webfic

China may have a thriving webfiction/web novel phenomenon, but it doesn’t mean payoffs for popular authors. The China Daily article talks about the death of  author “Sollong” and how he struggled to make ends meet in spite of his apparent online success.  This article offers some interesting numbers — suggesting 90 of 100 don’t make a single penny off their online fiction.  Of the remaining 10 – they suggest one can make “enviable salary”, 3-5 can make a wage, and the rest are making pocket money.

Do serials, e-publishing kill your chances at publication?

One of the ever present and recycling questions on the Wattpad forums is one asking if posting on Wattpad means you’ll absolutely take yourself out of eventual eligibility for print publication. Bibliocrunch’s #indiechat hosted Wattpad author Brittany Geragotelis who pretty much proved that isn’t the case. Take a look at some of the press for Brittany and then take a gander at the #indiechat twitter transcript.

Another article this month about Beth Reekles and her Wattpad book going to print also demonstrates that there are sometimes unusual and new paths to publication. The Publisher’s Weekly blog on author Nikki Kelly also shows how enterprising authors can use success on Wattpad to approach agents and publishers.


June 7, Biweekly News Roundup

YA Readers in the Age of Social Networking: A CBC Forum

This Publisher Weekly piece  isn’t per se about serials/online novels but about teen readers.  Using some data /information provided from Wattpad, Teenreads, and Tumblr, the panelists draw some conclusions about how teens read, when it’s best to engage them with new works, and offer other ideas.  This forum appears to have been discussed fairly widely. Additional article here

For those who don’t care about the teen audience, some randomly interesting information from the first article:

  • Wattpad has 15 million active readers, half under the age of 25
  • 80% of traffic is through mobile devices

I haven’t quite brought up the issue of designing websites to be mobile device friendly, but it does beg the question – what does your serial look like on the mobile web?

Chinese Military Fantasy web novels – a unique subset of literature that could not exist anywhere except online

I was forwarded an article on China and its digital habits that pointed a foreign policy article that discusses the phenomena of Chinese military novels. Per that article  the author asserts that are thousands of Chinese war fantasy novels on the Internet that have really no other place to exist because of their content.  I’m always fascinated by the online writing/reading habits in East Asia, but isn’t it something to realize that writing online sometimes is the only method of expression available to a writer?   (Please note that you  may have to register to see the second article. It is free.)

Serial novels reveal how we’re willing to wait for a good story

This piece from the Minnesota Star Tribune provides a general background on what serials were historically and tries to wrap up with how ebooks seem to be generating interest in the format.  There are actual references to Webfiction Guide, Eat your cereal (publisher) and Denver Cereal (a specific serial) although the author has mislabeled these as “publishers.”

Other Stories: