I spent the weekend at a writer’s conference, and I was delighted to meet other authors who do e-serials. It’s a form of story-telling that’s near to my heart. For those who aren’t familiar with the term, an e-serial is a story that is internet-published in segments. With mine, I post the chapter as I write, on a predetermined schedule, usually every couple of weeks. There are ways to charge for the downloads, but most—like mine—are done as reader freebies.
I started writing e-serials shortly after launching my website in 2002. A web guru at my publisher suggested I find ways to make my site “sticky”—bring people back between books. At the same time, I wanted to use my site to thank readers for their support. How could I do both at once? E-serials. I polled readers for a topic, then started Savage, a prequel telling the back-story of my male lead.
I loved the e-serials. They brought a freshness to the writing process that I missed, taking me back to the days when I would show a work-in-progress to family and friends, getting that instant feedback. The e-serials brought the reader into the process and also allowed me to tell stories I couldn’t do in the published series.
Yet I discovered that posting the stories free online didn’t satisfy every reader. Shortly after I started, readers began asking for these stories in book form, which surprised me. I started saying that I’d publish them when I was in a position to do it as a charity endeavor. That opportunity came in 2009 and 2010, with two anthologies of those old stories (Men of the Otherworld and Tales of the Otherworld) All my proceeds from those books go to World Literacy of Canada, which meant I got to re-gift these stories to a worthy cause, and that felt almost as good as writing them the first time.
In 2009 I switched to writing e-series for my young adult series, to give a little something extra to those readers. I’m still doing it, having recently started the fourth story for that series. Although e-serial writing isn’t for everyone, it’s something I’d urge writers to try. It may not pay the bills, but it pays off in so many other ways.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: BIO: I’ve been telling stories since before I could write. My earliest written efforts were disastrous. If asked for a story about girls and dolls, mine would invariably feature undead girls and evil dolls, much to my teachers’ dismay. All efforts to make me produce “normal” stories failed. Today, I continue to spin tales of ghosts and demons and werewolves, while safely locked away in my basement writing dungeon.
SPELL BOUND by Kelley Armstrong, Dutton, on-sale July 26th: Kelley Armstrong's bestselling Otherworld Series celebrates its 10th anniversary! Kelley is back with the next book in her Otherworld Series: Spell Bound (Dutton, July 26, 2011).
It's been ten years since Bitten, the first novel in Kelley Armstrong's New York Times bestselling Otherworld series. In that time hundreds of thousands of fans have ravenously devoured the adventures of Armstrong's witches, demons, and werewolves. Now, in Spell Bound, she brings them ALL TOGETHER for her most sweeping tale yet. Advance praise is beginning to roll in and people are loving it! Publishers Weekly says of Spell Bound: “Armstrong keeps the focus on hip, impulsive, and likable Savannah, building suspense with plenty of plot reversals and betrayals. Fans of the series won’t want to miss what is clearly the first battle in an Otherworld war.”
Spell Bound is once again told from the point of view of young Savannah Levine as she continues to navigate the world of supernaturals. Savannah is in terrible danger, and for once she’s powerless to help herself. At the conclusion of Waking the Witch, Savannah swore that she would give up her powers if it would help a young girl. Little did she know that someone would take her up on that promise. And now, witch hunting assassins, necromancers, half-demons, and rogue witches all seem to be after her. The threat is not just for Savannah; every member of the Otherworld might be at risk. While most of her fellow supernaturals are circling the wagons at a gathering of the council in Miami, Savannah is caught on the road, isolated from those who can protect her and unable to use her vast spell casting talent, the thing she counts on most. In a story that will change the shape of the Otherworld forever, Spell Bound gathers Elena, Clay, Paige, Lucas, Jaime, Hope, and others, who soon learn that the greatest threat to supernaturals just may come from within.