It’s 1am, I’m looking at a project in Scrivener and I may be about to do something either crazy, brilliant or the fictional writing equivalent of publishing suicide. Funnily enough, it wouldn’t be the first career decision I’ve made in the middle of the night, and I hope it won’t be the last either – life’s dull enough as it is.
The idea of splitting a narrative into parts and dishing it out in chunks to a hopefully ever-growing audience isn’t exactly groundbreaking. Perhaps the most famous author to use the formula is Charles Dickens, who’s first serial, The Pickwick Papers (fun fact: Pickwick travels to Ipswich, my home town, in chapter 22) was published in 1836.
Another author who springs to mind is Conan Doyle, who chose to publish his short stories starring Sherlock Holmes in The Strand not long later in the 1890s.
Fast forwarding, modern audiences will be most familiar with this format through visual media. Television shows, comics and even machinima series all settle into this form rather nicely thanks to newspapers and the Internet. Listeners will be used to the concept was well, with radio dramas thankfully remaining popular with their fans on the airwaves.
But with the rise of Indie Publishing and more and more budding writers like me eager to reach readers, I wonder if using my blog as a host for a story split into parts, to be released weekly, is a good idea. It’s a risk, I know that. Will it appeal to the readership I’ve managed to gather already? Do I have enough of a social presence to attract new readers over Twitter? I’m not on Facebook, is this likely to hurt my chances?
It’s a tough market out there, no denying that. Journalism is one of the most competitive industries there is – and I couldn’t stand the pressure in that hot box. The world of self publishing seems, if anything, even more brutal. I love supporting my fellow authors, but my Twitter feed is often drowning in offers of e-books and links to glowing reviews. I’m going to have to work very hard to make my work stand out. I had some great feedback and advice from the Community Pool today, which I’m very thankful for.
The biggest question of course is the one every writer faces before releasing something they love into the world; is it good enough at all? Honestly, I have no idea, but you know what? Sod it. I like it, time to be bold.
…So, who’s interested in a little light beta reading?