communities

News update: Changing of the playbook

Paywalls, post Patreon

The latest cover of Big World Network (a subscription based serial fiction and enhanced content site) looks like this.   BWN was one of the few sub/firewalled serial fiction sites to engage with the small community of writers that hang out at WebFictionGuide.  It looks like in spite of their efforts to find readers via conventions and other means that they’re trying something new.  Their new site relaunches next Friday with promises of a different method of compensating their creators and possibly a better way to loop in casual readers. bwn

A new webcontent serial experience for kids and families

Publisher’s Weekly announced the launch of “Storybird“‘s long-form format this past week. This site promises to focus on content for children who have really been neglected so far in the ebook realm and in the web serial realm thus far.

From Publisher’s Weekly: According to Mark Ury, who founded Storybird in 2010, the membership base of nearly four million members on the platform can be divided into three core users: educators (the platform is used in 300,000 schools worldwide), families, and, the “largest bulge,” tween and teen girls, who make up roughly 80% of the membership.

One caveat — you cannot publish your own writing alongside your own illustrations. The intent is to pair writers with illustrators (who I presume have been picked by Storybird) and I guess to keep some control over what is being generated.  Some further exploration of the site suggests you have to use illustrations or you cannot really unlock the interface. It’s also not yet clear what/how the writers who create the work will be compensated except those also recruited by Storybird. Further details on writing and copyrights are laid out in the Professional Writer FAQs.

In it’s current form this site is not favorable to writers — but more so the illustrators.

The Wattpad Prize

April 30 marks the last date to submit a complete original work for the  inaugural Wattpad Prize.

Winners for ten categories will be selected from a jury of Wattpad readers. The prize for winning is fairly modest — namely getting a hard copy of your work and a feature in June which generally translates to higher visibility for your work.   We’ll have to see how this fares — the “Feature” for one month is nothing to sneeze at given the userbase but one wonders why the Feature isn’t being extended out farther. In any case, you still have a few days to get your story posted, completed, and tagged if you want to throw your hat in the ring!

Newspost: Serials 2.0 – Evolving business models

Figment gets bought out by a”Traditional publisher”

One of the things that is inherent to the internet is that nothing every stays static.

Crowdfunding was the big news for a while . Last week, C.A. Sanders broke the news about donation buttons on Jukepop.   I thought that would be fairly hard to trump as October’s story. However  this morning I opened up my email and found an email from Figment.com.  I’m not active on Figment simply because Wattpad sucked me in first for mirroring my story. However, it’s a very tight community/reading site targeting a mostly young female audience.  The startling surprise is that their notice that they had been acquired by Random House.

Not much appears on their site (except this blog post here)  but GigaOm has  offered details that were lacking on their email notice.   Figment absorbed Inkpop previously and has a few hundred thousand accounts in their portfolio. Likely this is the real reason RH wanted Figment.  I suspect Figment will become a testing ground for YA promotions as well as a possible source for new stories.

That said, most serial writers in the wild aren’t writing YA.

Nor do I think it’s easy to get those who read YA to go from enjoying free content and promotions to becoming true supporters/customers. Wattpad’s early showings for its pilot fanfunding projects has been really tepid when it comes to converting readers to pledgers.  I still think there’s something to be explored there had they had more older readers involved with the entire project.

Eat Your Serial is now Maglomaniac

Sometime in the last few months “Eat Your Serial” formally folded into Maglomaniac . Eat Your Serial, for those with short memories or new to the serial game, was one of several successfully funded Kickstarted “serial” projects. Maglomaniac’s latest efforts on Twitter and the web have focused on the new author promotion/fan interaction platform “Feed my reads” and blogs focusing on lifestyle and pop culture.   More insight into their new mission can be garnered from viewing their Indiegogo “pitch.”

Per their copy: “Maglomaniac is simply the best web magazine there is. With passionate, talented, and interesting staff and writers, we are confident that we’ve got what it takes to be the next big thing on the internet. Between our website’s magazine content with a variety of features, daily posts, and original novels that span wide interest areas we know that there’s something for you at Maglomaniac.com, but what we need is some help funding an expansion of our current operation. “

While Maglomaniac still mentions that it will host the Eat Your Serial books, I find it interesting that they now only solicit complete works.  Hm.  (That to me makes it less distinctive than the other options out there.) We’ll have to see what/how/how this evolution into a “content platform” works as what made their predecessor unique now makes them no different really other than this hybrid author-services platform.

Other news round-up

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Blog Guest: Sean Munger, author of “The Armored Satchel”

Sean Munger is the last scheduled guest post from the Jukepop Serials crowd.

He is the author of  “The Armored Satchel, a spy adventure that takes place in occupied Europe during World War II (https://www.jukepopserials.com/home/read/501).

Per Sean: “In this serial, Max Volcker, a young German who grew up in America, assumes the identity of a crack Nazi intelligence agent called “the Specter.” Using the Specter’s steel-reinforced briefcase packed with false identity papers and counterfeit cash, Max decides to become a double agent for the Allies—but finds the world of espionage is a lot more dangerous than he bargained for!”

Sean -please provide some background about yourself.

I am currently studying for a Ph.D. in American history. As part of my course of study, I also teach history classes at the university. This is definitely a full-time job, even during the summer—right now I’m preparing to teach a summer course on the history of the Iraq War. I do my writing in the evenings or on weekends or basically whenever there’s time.

Hobby-wise, I love to cook, especially spicy food—I can make several different Indian and Chinese dishes. I learned to cook mainly because restaurants could never make anything spicy enough for me, so I realized if I wanted food with a kick, I’d have to do it myself! I also read about and research, in a very unprofessional armchair-sleuth kind of way, missing persons cases, which have fascinated me for a long time. You’ll see I often post about missing persons on my blog (at seanmunger.com).

What are your current writing projects? Do you have another Jukepop serial in the works?

Right now I’m working on a new horror novel, titled Doppelgänger. It’s a creepy Victorian haunted house story, set in the 1880s, but it has a twist to it, and I hope it’s successful. I’m also putting the finishing touches on my second zombie novel, The Zombie Rebellion, which will be coming out from Samhain Publishing in May 2014. These have been my main projects recently. Strange as it sounds, The Armored Satchel started as a sideline.

I may do another serial. The character of Max has grown on me, and I think he’d be interesting to put into another adventure. I already have some vague thoughts on that but I’m not entirely decided on how to proceed yet.

Longer-term, I’ve got two projects in the pipeline that are likely to take a long time to get finished. The first is a book called The Valley of Forever, which I’ve been working on since 2010. It’s a science fiction book about the nature of time. The second is more speculative, but I’m hoping to do a re-boot of my science fiction series which began in 2006 with Life Without Giamotti. That’s a much longer-term project. (more…)

Blog Guest: Beth Raymond, author of “Secrets of the Conclave”

In this post, Online Novel continues highlighting authors who are part of the Jukepop Serials family.  

The third of the Jukepop authors to be featured is Beth Raymond, author of “Secrets of the Conclave” (http://www.jukepopserials.com/home/read/63), a story of political control and rebellion in a matriarchal society, with a little magic on the side.

bethraymondI’m not a professional writer. Well, I am, sort of—I’m a lawyer, and I write in that capacity. But the writing I do in my day job is far from creative. So, on the side, I write fiction. I realize it is rather cliché to be a lawyer and an author of fiction, but I had been writing fiction long before I ever became a lawyer. Indeed, I’ve written stories off-and-on throughout my life and I’ve taken courses in fiction writing both in college and as a pre-law school, working adult. Yet all of my previous work was in the short story format. I’d never tackled a novel, nor had I ever submitted anything for publication.

In 2005, I finally decided to try writing a novel as part of National Novel Writing Month. The product of this effort became the first draft of my serial, Secrets of the Conclave, now published at JukePop Serials. Admittedly, it wasn’t a very good draft—at times, it was downright cringe-worthy—but that’s not really the goal of NaNoWriMo, as participants like to call it. Instead, the goal is to write 50,000 words in a single month, and I succeeded in that. At the time, I had intended to edit that first draft, expand it, and try to publish it in some fashion—but then real life got in the way. And by real life, I mean law school, clerking, and my first job as a lawyer.

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Blog Guest: Nick Bryan, author of “Hobson & Choi”

In this post, Online Novel continues highlighting authors who are part of the Jukepop Serials family.  

hobsonchoi-cover

The second of the Jukepop authors to be featured is Nick Bryan , author of “Hobson & Choi” (http://jukepopserials.com/home/read/431), an ongoing black comedy/detective serial which began on Jukepop in February 2013  and has gone on to place reliably in the mid-20s of their monthly top 30.   This interview was collaborative, meaning Nick had free reign to creatively interpret my questions… 

Nick Bryan, you’re the author of detective saga Hobson & Choi from Jukepop Serials. Can you pitch us your serial as quickly as possible?

On the surface, Hobson & Choi is an OTT detective story, in which two mismatched partners – a worldweary detective and a teenage girl – look into a strange murder case where the perpetrator appears to be a large dog. There’s a lot of fun banter between them and some silly yet dangerous situations.

However, it’s also a little about roles – the characters are very self-aware, Choi in particular knows she’s a teenager trying to be an adult in a very grown-up world, and both of them have incidents in their past which have smashed them into certain roles. So there will be scenes dealing with that, but most of the time, it’s a fun adventure in which we swing from tense scenes in dark, bloody buildings to a whole chapter about Hobson eating breakfast in a terrible pub. It’s relevant to the plot, I swear.

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