News: Starter Serials Enters the Fray and other “serial player” changes

Hi guys – Back from a fan convention with a few stories to tell whenever I can recover from all this traveling and crazy convention prep!

The end of May marks the soft launch of StarterSerials.com by Drew Hayes and his posse.  (The man doesn’t sleep apparently). He had written me via email to solicit my thoughts about “what’s needed in the indie community” and where a new webfiction or web serial site might fit in.

To give you some background, Drew was part of the Digital Novelists network launched more than five years ago.  That site was essentially a webring/hub of site and a close-knit community of writers who posted works and helped one another out by sharing traffic. They had a community that gathered at weblit.us (defunct) and via social media.

He shared the below pitch in its protoform a few weeks back. This is the new version, hot off the presses.

StarterSerials.com is a site with a single purpose: to make it easy for authors to start their web-serial without having to choose between ease and appeal. There is no monetary cost, no lessons on hosting, no domain registration, none of it. Just submit, get approved, and begin.

On top of just simplicity, StarterSerials.com is about new web-serial authors learning about the process, making their early mistakes (because we all make a few) in a safe environment with a community for support. Established authors will be volunteering their time as Mentors: offering guidance, writing blogs, and answering questions as they arise. Problems and challenges are inherent to the task of running a web-serial, but the writers won’t be facing them alone.

So if you’re an author, head to the site and send us a submission; join the incredibly talented people already writing. If you’re a reader then make sure you bookmark it, because come July there will be an explosion of exceptional content.


In that email exchange, we discussed a few things including his motivations in establishing the site and discussed my thoughts about what was being done well on other writing communities and what wasn’t.   I gave him my feedback on where he could consider going with a new community. There are, after all, lots of places popping up trying to do the “publishing house on the web/social community” concept.  While there are several “free” places that combine reading with writer/reader interaction there aren’t any that want you to “graduate” from them and end up working on your own in the web publishing sphere, namely taking your stuff and going to your own site.

We also talked a bit about platforms, including Drupal and WordPress. As many of you know, I find WordPress a pretty nice content management system. Its ability to export/import entries to a lot of different blogsites gets it major points with me. (Anything with dummy-proof backup wins as I’m one of those dummies when it comes to accidentally deleting or messing up a website.)   I was pleasantly surprised when looking at the website to see that WP will be the choice platform for community members.

In the emails, I did ask him up front about monetization. Social sites can basically take your page views and monetize them and mine your data.  I have no illusion that some of the big guys I’ve talked about are much different from Facebook or Tumblr in that regard.  But the value they return (i.e., free reads/books for those who can’t afford them or have access to them) often diminishes any background concern I have about data mining or ad-revenue . At least for now there are no ads and Drew was up front that if any advertisements do appear on the site in the future, the intent is primarily to cover operational costs.

This, for now, is openly different from the other models out there (which are really about page views, ads, and social network data).

Of course, we all know that on the internet there are no guarantees of anything but if the site is able to help bridge the gap for some webfiction authors to get to their own site and writing in a healthy, sustained manner, I’m all for it.   The webfiction realm has lots of casualties in terms of stories that never complete and it’s not healthy in the long-run.

Based on what we discussed, I decided to sign-up and check it out myself as one of the volunteer helpers, time permitting.

Starterserials.com is open for interested writers to sign-up.

Writers have until July to generate a backlog between now and the official launch.   The forums are also open for casual hellos I guess as well :).  See ya there!


New Page (Old Post)

As a housekeeping note, the initial listing of  where to publish, read, or list serials has been moved from a post to a more permanent page at  https://theonlinenovel.wordpress.com/where-to-read-or-list-serials . This just makes it easier for all of us in later referencing. Also checked a few sites that were in my queue to evaluate. (Several now have made it very clear whether it’s free to post and/or read.)

Please update your bookmarks!


Open for advice

I have had a few emails come my way recently and that is perfectly cool to continue contacting me that way.  You can find my contact on the Submissions page.


Tweetchat and News Updates: Serialities and Webfiction World seeking stories

Feedback for Next Tweetchat

The Twitter chat on Wed pm did not work out well, so I’ll be interested in your feedback on whether to go with a weekend or weekday evening for the next chat tentatively scheduled for early October.  Please feel free to poke me @whirlyshirly or leave comments here to provide that feedback.  Since we did not touch on promotion and finding readers, I’ll hold the topic … still think it’s one that many folks will be interested in.

Serialities launches

Serialities is the latest entrant to the webfic/serial fiction world.  It states in its copy that it will differ from the current offerings by allowing the audience shape the story.

Sword Art Online Light Novel to be published in English

Perhaps due to the success of the anime, the Sword Art Online light novel now appears to be heading to publication in English.  Light novels are, for those who aren’t aware, usually published in serialized format in magazines in Japan. They usually are accompanied by illustrations and eventually are compiled into print novels.

This seems to be an interesting chapter in the history of a property that initially started as a web novel.

Webfiction World Returns/ Seeking Stories

In this  “reintroduction podcast”, Fes Works and Kira Lerner explain “webfiction,” some history of the entire artform, and what it entails. For some of you who are more tied to WordPress.com and fiction, the category webfiction captures “online (prose) serials” as well as web tvs and other types of formats (like blogfic).

In any case, Webfiction World has asked for those of you authors interested in having your story read/converted into an aural format, to please contact them through the website. And in case you haven’t queued into past podcasts, I would encourage you to go through their archives.

News Roundup + Transcript for #serialchat on Twitter

Jukepop Serials solicits reader/writer input to select new serials

Jukepop has set up a new area on their website for “aspiring Jukepop authors“. Per their website copy: The serials in this section are from candidates who are hoping to become JukePop Serials Authors. We are asking the community to help us decide! For Aspiring JukePop Authors to become JukePop Serials Authors, they need +Votes from our readers and Endorsements from our authors. If a serial receives enough +Votes and Endorsements then it will move into JukePop Serials’ main catalog.    I think this is an interesting idea so long as the existing community giving input does have readers and not only writers.

Sparkler Monthly Issue #1 Live

Chromatic Press’ monthly serial came out this past Sunday.  Among the five available features for preview are two prose serials, two comics, and one audio drama.  Subscription to this first issue allows access to downloadable formats. Future issues will retail $5USD and proceeds go directly back to the creators.  Of the five, actually, I enjoyed the audio drama the most… although maybe that’s because I like the idea of scifi and horror/suspense being mixed together? Haha.  In any case, light novel “Tokyo Demons” which I’ve discussed in the past will now continue in Sparker Monthly.

Wattpad news of note

  • Another Wattpad/Nikki Kelly article  in Publisher’s Weekly talks about her path to publication.  Kelly is an experienced creator who (I would guess) was quite strategic about what she posted on Wattpad.

Editor-in-chief Liz Szabla at Feiwel and Friends has just acquired worldwide rights to the Styclar Saga, a YA paranormal trilogy by Nikki Kelly, in an agentless deal. Earlier this year, the 27-year-old Londoner serialized her first book, Lailah, on the online writing community Wattpad with impressive results: the novel has had almost two million reads, more than 15,000 votes and upwards of 3,000 comments. Feiwel and Friends will release Lailah in hardcover in 2015.

  • New York Time’s talks with Brittany  Geragotelis (“Life’s a Witch”)  in “Reveling in a Bookstore’s Smell“. More of a slice of life piece than a work blog.

Twitter Chat!!

Thank you to all who jumped into the #serialchat this past Sunday.  The transcript (loosely organized by topic) is posted here: http://t.co/8JWO5NjcgL .

As a follow-up please note we are planning two weeknight chats in August-September.  Please coordinate with

  •  Kira @epiguide: European timezones + North American afternoons
  • SGL @whirlyshirly: North American  chat, Late August –  9pm EST/6pm CST

We will post blog times HERE as dates /nights/ times are confirmed.

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.