What the Dickens?

Phase II of My Plan for World Domination:

What the Dickens, indeed. Today, I’m celebrating all things serial novel. 😀
101 Arabian Nights is often cited as the first serialized novel, but serialized novels didn’t really have their heyday until the Victorian era. And one of the best known serial writers is Charles Dickens.
So what is a serial novel? And what was its purpose?

A serial novel is a story that’s told in installments–usually in popular newspapers or magazines–and then published in a bound edition later on. Kind of like the novel version of Sunday comics.

Sadly, books have been on the expensive side throughout history. (If the lack of electricity, indoor plumbing, and modern medicine didn’t kill me off, not having regular access to books would have.) This meant that usually only the rich and famous were wealthy enough to purchase books, which meant that most of the population had to do without.

*pauses as the horror of that thought sinks in*

Enter the serial novel. Whereas most people couldn’t afford to purchase books, they could afford newspapers. Suddenly the working class and the poor had access to literature that only the privileged had enjoyed before.

And to me, that’s incredibly awesome!

Fast forward to May 2011 in a little place in Salt Lake City where the Caped CONduit was being held. (And electricity, indoor plumbing, and modern medicine exist.) So many of the panels were made of awesome, but the one that really changed my world was one about clichés and why they aren’t of the devil. (At least I think it was this one. My brain cells are on strike right now. :S) Anyhow, Tracy Hickman said two things that really changed the way I’ve been thinking:

  • We need to stop focusing on getting published and be more concerned about being read.
  • Post modern stories tells us who we are, but we already know who we are. Stories should tell people who they should be, who they have the potential to become.
He also happened to have a few copies of a novel he and his wife Laura had originally published in serial form on their website. I was intrigued. Especially when he mentioned that he and Laura had an online workshop that taught people how to do this.

I signed up the next day.

And wow! What a ride it’s been–in more ways than one. (Anyone who works in and understands how to make websites function correctly has my undying admiration. I think I killed off at least a fourth of my brain cells trying to accomplish the same.)
So I’m officially giving this novel serialization thing a try. I have a novel:

Thanks to the talented Carolyn Kaufman

And while I might be slightly biased, let me just say that it’s going to be kind of awesome. What’s it about?

In THE FAIRY GODMOTHER DILEMMA, sixteen-year-old Breena must leave the only home she’s ever known in the faerie queen’s court. To add insult to injury, the faeries foist a fairy godmother on her to soften the blow. In an attempt to evade the fairy godmother’s plan for her Happily Ever After, Breena drinks a potion that’s supposed to help her escape. Instead, it turns her into a small, white cat.

Undaunted, her fairy godmother whisks her away to an enchanted castle that is sure to attract a wandering prince. But Breena has other plans. When two strangers collapse in her courtyard, she decides to help them even if it means cooperating with her fairy godmother. What she didn’t anticipate was discovering that the potion was supposed to put her into an enchanted sleep indefinitely. Now she needs to discover the purpose behind the potion and the woman who gave it to her. But if Breena wants to avoid a messy Not So Happily Every After, she needs to first determine where her fairy godmother’s loyalties lie.

You can find out more about it here.

So how does this novel serialization thing work in modern times?

Well, there are many different ways to do this, and the way I’ve chosen is through subscriptions. There will be two kinds:
  • Collectible Subscription–You’ll have access to the chapters as they’re posted. At the end of the subscription, you’ll receive a hard bound, limited edition, signed copy of the book as well as an e-book version. You’ll also have access to forums where we can chat, you can ask me what in the heck I was thinking when I had a dragon eat all of the characters, or anything else you’d like to say. It will be totally author-reader interactive. I will also be posting extras in the form of entries in a Compendium of Fairy Godmothering Terms as well as weekly Fairy Notes: The Highly Secret Papers of an Overworked, Underpaid, Very Tired Fairy Godmother. Both will be added in their entirety as bonus content in the e-book.
  • E-Book Subscription–similar to the collectible subscription, but it will be for the e-book only.
You can find a comparison of the subscriptions here. If you’d like a try before you buy, you can read the first chapter here. You’ll need a password to open the file, but you will be able to find it on the page in the link.

If you have any questions feel free to contact me here.

So what about you? Any new ventures you’ve tried or are on the verge of trying lately?

Danyelle Leafty is writer currently producing a series entitled ‘The Fairy Godmother Dilemma’ using our Scribe’s Forge Publishers method of serial publishing. Laura and I are grateful for her permission to feature her writing here.

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