It’s an ongoing process, this “art” of writing. Ongoing not only in the sense of the writing itself, but also in the sense of learning.
Two months ago, I thought I had wanted an ongoing monthly serial. That’s what the Blue Daunia saga was meant, from the outset of inception, to be. I regaled myself with the starry notion of reviving the old-school dime novel serials, or even of putting the comic book “continuum” thing into text form.
I did not find the schedule of such a task to be overly rigorous… it was, and is, quite possible to maintain and sustain a monthly serial. So it’s not really the difficulty of the undertaking (as massive as it is) that has recently caused me to change my mind on the format.
And indeed, the format is changing. I’ve come to realize how daunting a task the marketing of a monthly serial can be. Here are a couple of the problems:
A) The Time In-Between: I mean this from the point of view of the reader, not the writer. Where a series is concerned, the modern-day audience is trained to digest installments on a weekly basis, as per television… or by binge-digesting the “season”, as per Netflix or Hulu. True, when I speak of Blue Daunia I am speaking of the written word rather than an audio-visual production, but the modern take on output and consumption has been formed nonetheless. Furthering this analogy, as I am equating “issues” of a “serial” with “episodes” of a “series”, I would also equate “novels” of an ongoing “saga” with “sequels” of a “movie”: with a series of novels and movies alike, the reader/viewer is content to wait a year or more between larger, novel- or movie-sized chunks. It is as expected as the weekly interval of episodes of a series. (This having been said, I will not be making my potential readers wait even that long… I plan on publishing a Blue Daunia novel every 6 months or so, not every year or two).
B) The Pricing: I pose a question to those who may be reading this: When you are seeking out new reading material, would you rather discover a series of novels that piques your interest and pay $4 (give or take) for a novel-sized volume and realize you only missed out on one or two others that you would have to invest in…. OR… Would you rather discover a serial that piques your interest and realize that, while the current issue is only 99 cents, you’ve already missed 22 issues and would have to invest 22 bucks to catch yourself up, and then realize that it will have to wait a month between each portion? Or, to put it another way: if, three years from now, a friend of yours talked up an excellent serial they’ve been reading as something you should really check out, how would you feel when you discover that, having been three years, there are 36 one-dollar issues you would have to invest in just to have to read 720,000 words (roughly 3,600 pages) just to catch up to where your friend is? The marketing and price-to-volume logistics are troublesome, to say the least.
So, as much as I would love for you to do so, I’m here and now asking you not to invest in the first two “issues” of the Blue Daunia saga available on the Kindle store. As much as I would love your support and your dollars, I’m going to be honest… as soon as the third chunk of what has turned out to be a three-part story arc is complete (later this month, October 2017), I’m going to release all three parts as the proper First Novel of the Series of Novels it really should have been all along. For the several dozens who have already invested in the first two issues, I am still going to publish the tail-end as “Issue #3”, as I feel it is only right to do so, rather than to make these loyalists essentially re-purchase the first two issues all over again, just for the sake of being able to read the conclusion of the first story-arc. But for everyone else, you can (if I may so humbly request you do) pick up the first NOVEL of the Blue Daunia saga, which will be known as Volume One.
From that point on, the series will be handled in novel format, like Fleming’s James Bond or Rowling’s Harry Potter. The reasons for doing so, much like Problems A and B above, are two-fold:
A) I’ve jammed myself up with Issue #3 in terms of the length and pacing. I’ve spent the first two issues building up slowly to the action, and both of the first issues were 20,000+ words. But now that it’s all set up, the action of the 3rd issue, if so published, would be so lightning-fast compared to the first two as to seem alien to the reader, not only in terms of pacing but also in terms of page-count: you see, I’ve not much more to say to finish the first tale other than another 10,000 words or less, half or less the length of the first two issues… and could therefore not justify charging the same price (which I will have to do anyway, sadly, as 99 cents is as cheap as Amazon will allow a Kindle book to be).
B) I won’t feel so confined by a set monthly word-count, and can allow future novels in the series to breathe a bit more, develop at a more natural pace, than trying to time everything out in a monthly 20k-word allotment. I can develop the characters more thoroughly… add subplots whereas the current telling of the tale focuses on following one specific set of people along one path towards a unified goal. I can build the world more strongly, vibrantly and dynamically, adding politics and struggles and regimes and rises and falls. I can even do spin-off novels of certain characters (Redwood and Morlana spring to mind). And, most importantly to me personally (again being quite honest here), I can explore other much-dreamt-of writing projects in-between, not the least of which is this blog itself (which I have woefully neglected), as well as other non-fantasy novels which have long been brewing in my mind.
To current readers of the series, I apologize for any inconvenience all of this might cause. As I’ve stated, the 3rd chunk will still be made available separately, so that you don’t have to re-purchase what you’ve already bought by buying the first novel. But yes, from now on, Blue Daunia will be a series of novels rather than a monthly “comic book in text form”.
Anyways… Cheers! And Happy Reading and Writing!