Semiweekly News Roundup, Ending 4/14/2013

From royalty to fugitive

In this showbiz article from Asia comes news of a live action adaptation of a successful online novel from China.  Again, no surprise here. As has been discussed on Pandamian and in other blogs, the serial prose/online novel format works quite well overseas.

Paywalls are Scary Growth Killers

In these two pieces, the authors reflect on paywalls. In general, there’s a great deal of uneasiness about paywalls and whether anyone truly is going to be able to monetize off a largely closed content system.

More data and observations from Kindle Serials

In another interesting piece from PaidContent, author Laura Hazard Owen summarizes several pieces of information related to webcontent. Of note is her link to the WSJ which then links to another piece from April 11 on serial novels.  Catch this one before it goes behind the firewall. To summarize

* Their Kindle serial update frequency worked best for them on weekly basis
* Their best selling entry came in at 80,000 copies. Wow.

I think the comment on the bad reaction to the one story that sold episodes at 1.99 e ach was pretty insightful. I think the tolerance for the format largely is underwritten by the low price. The Kindle Serials model works more like a subscription and I think that while there may be room to experiment upwards with pricing… not by too much.  Serials are still very much a gamble for readers unless they know the author well and asking someone to invest beyond the common currency of the internet (which hovers around 0.99-2.99) is a lot to ask.

Waterstones founder to launch Spotify-like service for books in 2013

If you recall from a previous news post, Waterstones was experimenting with adding “in store/book only” copy to their in-store books.  This sounded like a measure to try to drive people back to their stores to buy books.  Now it appears they’re jumping into serials as well. 

All well and good, I wish them well. I’m fairly sure that Amazon’s success along with a lot of media profiling of serials end of 2012 and in early 2013 is going to mean more folks entering into the marketplace this year.   Hopefully this is good news for the rest of us independently serializers 🙂

Self Publishing Podcast talks Free Serials

Several of the podcast’s hosts are serializers on Kindle. They have done it both ways — releasing “episodes” of a season as different books as well as participating in the formal Kindle Serials program.  I mentioned their experiment in a previous post. In this podcast, they reflect on their free episodes experiment.

It sounds like the experiment has had some mixed results, including a disappointing lack of reviews.  This spurs a conversation about their readers and some pondering about what direction they should take for future episodes. I think this is a great podcast, but if you can’t spend the hour to listen or watch on Youtubetake a look at the show notes at the youtube channel.  Warning for moderate language :p.

I still wonder had this run as a donation model off their website if this might have resulted in folks simply providing money out of their good will as opposed to it becoming about reads for reviews or motivating other sales.

Admin notes /

So folks, the Blogger UI is kind of irritating me with its tendency to code clunky html.  So I will be experimenting with a WordPress version of this site.   I apologize for the confusion and encourage those of you using RSS feed trackers to use

Two – as I said in the last post with Najela Cobb – if you are a serial writer with webfiction cred doing something new and are interested in being interviewed, please contact me with your name, URL (of your past or current work), and briefly describe what you think you have to share with other readers (current and future) of this blog.


Wattpad – Reflections as reader and writer

I think a lot of webfiction authors currently think that “publishing on the web on a Blogspot or WordPress blog” is sufficient to find readers.  And that might be true for those who are social network butterflies (or have passionate readers who are in their stead).  However, I suspect that the vast majority of webfiction on the web is largely overlooked.

One of the challenges of finding readers is making decisions about how to seek them out.  My position is that if your goal is to find readers, you should be looking to find those sites with readers. (See last week’s post. )

More or less, I’ve already talked the basics about Wattpad at Tuesday Serial.

I’m not sure how many people who write online novels or other fiction currently are even aware of the site itself. In particular, I think those targeting female readers need to pay particular attention to the platform just as the investors have.  

What Wattpad has done is impressive in both the development of clients as well as capturing of investment capital (see: While I don’t think the social engagement is as robust as it could be as the clubs are imbalanced with readers vs. writers (unlike Goodreads), there is still a tantalizing ability to reach into the mobile phone market.

I’m a consumer of Wattpad stories. Admittedly my digital genre grazing habits reflect what I don’t like being caught  buying  in the store (ahem historical romance) and so my ebook consumption tends to be decidedly non-literary. I consider it entertainment and research (after all, romance is the most lucrative of genres in digital and possibly print book market).

Wattpad’s app doesn’t feature easy access to the social aspects like the club forums. Rather it focuses solely on delivering Wattpad stories to your portable experience.  The interface is similar to Wattpad’s Nook and Amazon counterparts, featuring thumbnails of books you’re currently “subscribed to”, and queuing up updates for you when you launch the app. It allows you to discover and add books to your reader list from within the app (although it is buggy across the platforms in that sometimes the web and device versions get out of synch.)  What it does very well is alert you via native alert systems on your technology of choice that an update has come in.   The Wattpad apps seem to try to remember where you left off reading something, which is enormously helpful compared to the alternative of stories posted via blog format.

Initially I was a bit leery about Wattpad because simply put, I had never heard of it. (But TE Waters told me to look, and since I respect her mad internet skills, I did.)  I put up a few chapters slowly and waited to see what would happen. As it turns out, my initial lukewarm response to Wattpad had  to be readjusted as I started to see the Wattpad version begin to rack up consistent reads every week and gradually increase readership over time.

Starting this month, I’m going to be paying more attention to the short and long-term impacts of posting on Wattpad in terms of readers stats. I had started posting some of this info up at Webfiction Guide at :

Seven months ago I started to shift from posting complete chapters (or biweekly frequency) to posting the same day as my website.What I wish I had paid a little more attention to was the middle part of this curve and tracking it with more frequency and consistency. As I alluded to, with a long serial work like mine (with a length that is an outlier to the far right of the bell curve of story length on Wattpad), there’s a probability that the middle of that curve might flatten.  Such an observation could show  people have given up on the story or are still working on catching up.

Being the data geek that I am, I have a theory that I’m actually doing it all wrong by posting with such a “long tail,” but I’m hoping that hitting completion might remedy that problem.


Overall Reads
First Chapter
Chapter 15 Pt A&B
Third from Last
Second from Last
Current Last  
April 2012
June 2012
Sept 2012
Nov 3 2012

Anyways, I’ll be tracking these stats as I continue to post new works and wind down old ones. If any of you are doing the same I’d love to hear from you!