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Upcoming Web Serial

So hey, guys, I'm gonna be releasing a web serial next month, and let's chat about how you would like to read it!

Details to get out of the way--It will be called "Summer in Orcus" it is about 90K, it will be available in ebook format as one volume at the end for sale, and possibly as a physical book if I get off my butt or convince somebody else to make it. It is already done, it is currently being edited, and yes, if you want to throw money at me to support it on Patreon, we will add a Friends of Orcus option to the Patreon. (I'm, uh, kinda hoping people will, because I'm going to put this up for free online and leave it up for the foreseeable future, barring something like "Disney options the rights for meeellions and demands I take it down," which...seems unlikely.)

It is a weird story, as you might expect. It has my usual problem, where I write things in the voice of a children's book and then REALLY BAD STUFF GOES DOWN and people are like "What is wrong with you, this isn't a children's book?" and I'm all "Uh...this isn't horrible, is it?" and then my editor drinks and my agent puts her head in her hands.

So this is a wild experiment for me. Patreon sponsorship basically means that for people supporting at the $5 or above level, I will see if I can't send out a link for a free book download at the end, because obviously if you're backing it, you should get something! (And if we see a lot of traction, I will put up extra content on the blog between story chunks--worldbuilding tidbits, mostly, about the backstory of various weird critters in the world of Orcus.)

And if we see no traction at all and people hate it, I'm still gonna put it up, because by god, I have determined on this course of action! Damn the torpedos! Full speed ahead!

Now I would like to put it out two days a week, adding up to around 5K a week, which means that I'll be able to finish it off in like...eighteen weeks or so. Which after Digger doesn't seem scary at all, but may be kinda long for many serials, but anyway, that's where we're headed.

My thought is that I will post it over at RedWombatStudio.com on its own little page, and just include a link over here when it goes live, so that people can discuss if they want, but can read without spoilers if they prefer. There will also be a big page that has links to all the story chunks in order, and a FAQ and whatnot.

So! Questions for you, O my internet! Do you like Monday and Friday? Tuesday and Thursday, like Digger was? Would you really prefer M-W-F and want me to break it into three chapters a week? Do you hate reading on the computer and would like it available as an e-book download every month if at all possible?

Anything you loathe in a serial? Anything you saw done really well and were hopeful for? Please let me know below--I'm actively soliciting feedback on this one, I've never done this with words before, and I'd love to hear your thoughts!

::grabby hands:: Monday and Friday would work really well for me personally.
There really isn't anything I hate in a serial other than being hard to read due to font/background choice.

Me, I'm for Tuesday and Thursday; it's a lovely way to break up the week. Looking forward to this like crazy-- no offense to your editor, but things that make them drink usually are the things I like best. :D

I'm all for Tuesday/Thursday as well. I like having something on the "off" days from most updates.

Honestly, I'm not going to read it until the whole thing is out, so it doesn't matter for me. I anticipate i will love it dearly and name it book-Bob at that time.

Thanks for more awesome content.

I second this. Good books have to be read in one sleepless night.

I like Tuesday Thursday, and if I can use feedly with your website updates that would be ideal, so I can know when it updates (bc I am bad at keeping up with things) I'm excited to see what you do! I'm playing with a weird long experimental thing too and don't know what to do with it.

Yes, something with its own subscribable RSS feed would be awesome, if it's not too much trouble. If you're using blogging software to make it, most of those make their own RSS feeds automatically...

A weekend update?

(Anonymous)
*Everything* updates during the week and there is nothing new under the sun on the weekends... so how about a Tuesday & Saturday update schedule?

Granted, I'm gonna try reading it no matter what days you pick, but just throwing it out there.

Also, I'm a farmer, so the concept of "weekend" is sorta a myth for me anyway. But it'd be cool to have one thing updating on a weekend, unlike every other comic and webserial ever.

-capriox

Re: A weekend update?

What they said. (I'm a freelancer not a farmer, but everything else pretty much exactly.)

(Deleted comment)
Minion opinions are not binding, but are available since you asked! Some may be invalid due to probably seeing stuff while proofreading. ;)
1) I like Tues/Thurs, there's less stuff updating on the internet on those days, if that makes sense, so I like having another thing to look forward to those days.
2) While I don't HATE reading on the computer, monthly ebooks would be NICE because I like curling up on the bed to read.
3) Try not to leave us on any SERIOUS cliffhangers. Wanting to know what comes next is a good feeling, going crazy-anxious over it is not.

I so very much second #3 ... the Dickensian cliffhanger every chapter thing is stressful if done as well as I think you could do it (and annoying when done badly).

If nothing else, it seems rather likely that your readers can be trusted to want to know what comes next without your needing to leave little Nell in precarious circumstances at the end of each chapter.

I second the person who wanted it available in an rss feed; I forget about even the most awesome of things if their RSS feed fails, and then I look back and have 5 months to catch up on (or 4 years. That was sad.)

If you want to give people a reason to donate money (not that I think they need a reason), you might take a page from some of the artists I follow. The best method here is the one where Patreons get earlier/faster acess to the product. IE the artist releases the same pictures to their gallery, but they might share one a week for free, and three a week for Patreons, or have a time delay between Patreons and everyone else. You don't have to pay for the content, you simply get it faster if you do.

Either way, I'm good with whatever release plan you use, we'll be reading and contributing over here.

The details of the schedule don't matter to me at all. But if I have to remember to look for it manually, experience shows that no matter how much I like it, I will forget about it fairly soon (and then binge-read a couple of years later when I happen to remember). So please have an RSS feed for the serial?

Hmm--for those asking for RSS feeds, will a "next chapter of Orcus is live, click here" appearing in the RSS work? I'm still noodling with how to do this on the website, and that could be the difference between permanent pages and more blog-post style...

Hope you will offer an option to buy the ebook sooner than 'end of the serial'. :)

*does note here that offering the e-book in advance of the end of the serial slays donations and artists need to eat*

Edited at 2016-08-30 10:35 am (UTC)

On the question of what days to pick I would like it very much if there was an update on the weekend. Especially if said weekend update day was Sunday. Next to no webcomics I read update on Sunday so I'd be happy to have a serial from you to fill that gap.




Sundays are a content wasteland! I'd love to have this to look forward to when the work week is done.

Digger was such a fixture in my life I'm confident in your judicious application of the cliffhanger and other serial-narrative techniques, but I'd love to see an early-access/ preorder-the-book Patreon model as well as a site where it can be ad-supported as well just because I remember the days when I had no money and being able to click through and make a very tiny difference mattered.

You say it's already done which allays risks of that great painful disappointment that comes of building one's joy for the day around looking forward to something and having it postponed. I like the thought of one day being a weekend release - in the morning on Saturday maybe, the echo of childhood cartoons - even if I might sometimes personally save it for Mondays as a light in darkness.

Extras on the world are always wonderful and short companion pieces make great extra stuff to sell/gift. Very excited!

I am a grownup and capable of being patient and waiting a day or two to read it if the day it's convenient to publish is a day I am too busy adulting. (I am capable. I don't always do so.) I may even wait until the weekend and then read both parts from that week together. Honestly, though, I think you will get more complaints from people who don't want to wait for the next installment than from people upset because you picked the wrong two days of the week to publish each installment.

I do dislike reading on the computer (vs paper or mobile), but for you, I will manage. ;-)

Are you going to be releasing it as Ursula Vernon or as T Kingfisher? I only ask cause it seems like having it be posted at your tkingfisher-dot-com site seems like it makes more sense than redwombatstudio, if you're using the latter penname. In either case having a reminder/link/discussion thread here is something I'd enjoy.

As to your actual questions: No particular preference on days of the week. And having grown up in the lands of fanfic, I'm perfectly fine reading on a computer screen (in fact, since I don't actually have a tablet and my phone is both super old and small, computer screen is how I read my ebooks as well).

Edited at 2016-08-29 05:41 am (UTC)

Excited!

(Anonymous)
I've got some fairly strong opinions on web serials: I've been writing my own story/imaginary encyclopedia, but only for a couple of months so it's kind of the confidence of ignorance.

Put it out on whatever days feel good to you. MWF is really common, and I think there's some advantages to the more regular release style, but 2x a week is plenty. If you can avoid MWF then you're probably at an advantage because your audience's attention isn't as divided, but I don't know how much difference it makes. I was always happy on Tuesday and Thursdays when you were doing Digger anyway.

The thing I hope for in a web serial is for the author to take advantage of the medium and do something that's different to print books. Eg. Wildbow writes stories that are just gigantic and would/will be difficult to squeeze into book format. Others do interesting things with formatting, put in little asides/bonuses/worldbuilding regularly, and so on. I know a couple of authors that put up extra or bonus chapters if a donation bonus for the week/month is met, so that's a fun way for people to support them that makes everyone happy.

If you don't know about it already you should definitely list it on webfictionguide.com (http://webfictionguide.com/) to get a bit of extra traffic - I've enjoyed everything I've read from you so far, so I'm sure I'll enjoy this enough to put up a good review for you there. If you can get your already dedicated fanbase to vote for you on topwebfiction (which is a part of web fiction guide) then being near the top of the list is a huge traffic bonus.

Summer in Orcus sounds like it has Orcs in it. Which makes me think of "It's all fun and games until somebody loses an eye, and somebody else takes the eye and puts it on a stick."

I can't wait.

Cheers!
Stable
(My story: The Archive Of Unusual Events (https://theunusualarchive.wordpress.com) )

I think my only thing would be being able to see past 'episodes' - hate the ones that block you from viewing the previous week or two, kills it if you've gone on vacation o_O

How exciting!!!

I personally need something to look forward to on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

But honestly, I will enjoy it regardless of when it releases. Thank you for giving us another way to enjoy your storytelling!

I would be happiest with Tuesday/Thursday. Most of the comics that I read update M/W/F and it would be lovely to have something to look forward to on the other days.
Really, though, I am super excited to read new work by you and will accept any posting schedule that shows up. Thank you for announcing this with such short notice -waiting weeks for it to start would be agonizing!

Actually. seconded on this!

Yay! *muppet flail*

Ok...M/W/F works for me [edit:as noted above, Tues/Thurs would be better]...breaks the week into handy chunks. I take it the monthly ebook thing would be like a 'previously on' per chapter digest of the prior month? Which would be handy if anyone misses more than an episode or two.

Umm..might there be some pictures?

Edited at 2016-08-29 11:59 am (UTC)

Thank you for such pleasant Monday morning news! Yay for more stories.

Answer to your update schedule question: I will happily read them whenever they appear. I prefer ebook downloads, but will certainly read on the computer screen if that is the only option.

Answer to the loathing: The only thing that bothers me about posted serials is being told the schedule is "updates every X," visiting the page on X day, and seeing nothing. A little note saying "Hey guys, this is Kevin. Ursula took off for a camelback tour of Greater Alta and so the next update will be three weeks from tomorrow." would be really really appreciated.

Answer to really well done: You might consider a PayPal button or a Patreon button at the bottom of your story page. Lee/Miller used to do that (called it "putting out the hat") so that readers could read the story and tip accordingly, just like if we were walking down the street and stopped to listen to music.

Also, I second the comment above about being able to get to previous installments of the story, in case life gets in the way of visiting on release days.


I second these comments!

(Deleted comment)
Don't be so hard on yourself re: editor and agent.

Your editor would be drinking regardless.

I'm happy with any schedule and any format, but three a week would be fun. And I'll contribute at Patreon. Post the link!

I don't have any opinions on delivery or format, I'm just happy you're doing this!

I admit, given that it will all be written and edited in advance, I am non-plussed at your serializing it; in my mind, at least, the point of serialization is getting around the limitations of technology and money; books got serialized in magazines because they were being written in chapters and this way the authors could get paid by the chapter when the thing was done, and because most publication (or later, most genre publication) was by magazine so it made sense for novels to ride that railroad; webcomics are serialized because they're (usually) written concurrently, even with a good-sized buffer, and TV shows are serialized because the medium only supported continuous broadcast stream (and, in fact, now that we have other technologies, Netflix has started doing entire series as a single download).

So part of me wants things nownownow (and I'm not entirely certain there's artistic or financial support for stretching it out--although mabye there is!). That said, I think this will be a lot of fun, and I will totally get on this ride.

I agree with this, I have not been a fan of serials for several reasons:

- im not patient
- im not organised
- i forget things
- i really really hate short chunks of an overall story ie short stories!
- pricing for serials has been such that i would end up paying about 3 times what the final book was worth - and even more than that again when you take the exchange rate into consideration - the US $5 = about NZ $7 for me - 7 * 18 weeks = $126 !!

I am quite happy to take a punt on a random work by Ursula, but the whole concept of serials holds no attraction for me at all.

As commented above, if the work is finished, I am uncertain why - given the apparent difficulties in setting up the mechanics of this - that its a desired choice?

If the answer is to give those who do support on Patreon some value for their contribution then *shrug* OK I can see the point in that.

This probably sounds all kinds of negative, however I am trying to explain why this concept doesnt work for me personally.

?

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