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#328420 - 07/13/07 04:27 AM Would you blog your novel?
elle Offline
Koala

Registered: 10/12/05
Posts: 2966
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Read about Dave Wellington, a horror author who ended up with multiple publishing deals after he began a blog to serialise his horror novel.

You can also read my reviews of his books here.

How do you feel about this? Would you do it? Was it an inspired piece of marketing? Or do you think Dave copped out in the beginning by giving away his writing for free?
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Elle Carter Neal
BellaOnline Alumna

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#328433 - 07/13/07 05:09 AM Re: Would you blog your novel? [Re: elle]
Vance Today in History Ed Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Wolf

Registered: 12/22/05
Posts: 5376
Loc: Gloversville, New York
I have always wondered about that. Would it be smart to post some of your writings for free to get exposed?

How about posting a chapter or two for free and then charging a per chapter fee after that.

I believe Stephen King did that. Didn't he write a book and then post it on the internet and charged people by the chapter? I believe it was around the late 90's when he did this.

I feel that writers trying to break into the business today could post some free stuff for exposure and if readers like your stuff, they will pay to read more.

Of course there is the thing that if people can read your stuff for free, why would they want to buy it? That is why I think post a couple of chapters to pique the readers interest and then charge them for the rest of the chapters or an e-book or something.
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Vance Rowe
Today in History

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#328459 - 07/13/07 06:44 AM Re: Would you blog your novel? [Re: Vance Today in History Ed]
elle Offline
Koala

Registered: 10/12/05
Posts: 2966
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Yup, Stephen King did post a book online on a pay per view basis. If my memory serves me correctly, he cancelled the project part way through because of lack of interest, or at least said he wouldn't be doing it again because it wasn't worth it. But that's Stephen King, and he was probably expecting the same number in the millions logging on as those buying his paperbacks. For an ordinary Joe, the numbers SK got would probably have him drooling to the bank.

Some other writers have used the options to read some free, pay for the rest. One way I've seen is to post a chapter and then ask for donations - once the donations reach a set amount the author releases the next chapter. So some lucky people can still read it for free, but those who really want to read it will pay to get it released.

Another thing to bear in mind with the way Wellington is doing the blog novel, is that many readers prefer to read print rather than screen. You may well have huge numbers reading the whole thing for free, but you'll also get some who read part of it, like it, and buy the paperback to read the rest. Those readers may then just go ahead and buy all the books if they liked one. In many cases, purchasing the paperback is less hassle and expense than cutting, pasting, and printing the whole thing out even for the stingiest reader. Also, you have the feel good factor - nice guy, letting you read for free, you like his work, why not just buy the book as a thank you?
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Elle Carter Neal
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#328507 - 07/13/07 02:56 PM Re: Would you blog your novel? [Re: elle]
Jeanette - Editor Offline
Chipmunk

Registered: 12/12/04
Posts: 1881
Loc: Cincinnati, Ohio
The only time I have posted chapters from the novels I am writing on the internet is when I want someone's opinion about the chapter or just to see the reaction the storyline is getting. I posted 3 versions of one chapter on one of my sites and had people chose what they thought which was better. It is a way to get people interested in your work and also I have gotten several editing jobs by doing this as well.
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Jeanette Stingley - Women's Lit
http://womenslit.bellaonline.com

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#328517 - 07/13/07 04:01 PM Re: Would you blog your novel? [Re: Jeanette - Editor]
MB2345 Offline
Gecko

Registered: 01/29/07
Posts: 589
GREAT article, Elle! This really caught my imagination because it's such a creative way to reach people. Of course, Wellington had to have a well-trafficked blog with a high page-rank in order to have the exposure in the first place, but you mentioned that he had that other guy handling his publicity from the beginning.

I'm with Amadeus on this one: I think posting the first chapter or three chapters for free is fine, but then it's time to charge a fee. Otherwise, I really don't understand how Wellington would even get offered book contracts (though he did) on the novels that were already completely available for free. Or were the contracts for future work based on how good his writing was in his free samples? (Even so, four novels seems way more than he needed to post for free in order to prove himself).

I do remember reading about a secretary who lived in Brooklyn, I think, who decided to cook every recipe in Julia Child's 700-page cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and she blogged about her experience. Her blog got very popular, and it led to a book contract for her!

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#328601 - 07/14/07 12:52 AM Re: Would you blog your novel? [Re: MB2345]
Vance Today in History Ed Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Wolf

Registered: 12/22/05
Posts: 5376
Loc: Gloversville, New York
Along with Elle's point of view though, I can see where people would buy his book after reading it on the net because there are a lot of people who do not like reading from a computer screen and would rather have a tangible book in their hands and I read a little bit of his book on the site and waiting to click on the next chapter just takes away the from the flow of reading it.

It is a good way to get exposure but I think posting two or threee books for free on the web is taking a chance on not getting paid for your work.

Tease the readers and make them want to purchase your stuff. If they don't then you are no worse off than before, right?
_________________________
Vance Rowe
Today in History

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#328606 - 07/14/07 01:17 AM Re: Would you blog your novel? [Re: MB2345]
elle Offline
Koala

Registered: 10/12/05
Posts: 2966
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: Karm at Mystery Books
Otherwise, I really don't understand how Wellington would even get offered book contracts (though he did) on the novels that were already completely available for free. Or were the contracts for future work based on how good his writing was in his free samples? (Even so, four novels seems way more than he needed to post for free in order to prove himself).


No, the four books that have been published are all almost exactly as they were when they were posted on the blog and they are still available to read for free. I believe that there have been some editorial changes made to the print version, though - a slightly neater wrapping up, better flow from chapter to chapter, and typos fixed of course.

Wellington is close to finishing book 6 online now. When he received the contracts last year to publish essentially reprints of books that appear on his blog, he promised his online readers that he would continue to offer free fiction on his blog - really as a thank you for sticking with him (and also for the word-of-mouth advertising they did). I think a lot of those fans have bought his books (and he did offer extra content to make up for the fact that they were buying something they'd already read).

I think the contracts were actually offered based on the huge fanbase Wellington had managed to build up. He was obviously able to convince the publishers that the readership was there and that it was worth the investment.

Also, Wellington's original intention was simply to have his work read by real readers. He had reached the stage where he was sick of submitting to agents and publishers and not getting anywhere. When he reached this point, he decided just to put it out there and entertain a few people. I don't think he believed it would get this big, but it's paid off for him.

Quote:
Of course, Wellington had to have a well-trafficked blog with a high page-rank in order to have the exposure in the first place, but you mentioned that he had that other guy handling his publicity from the beginning.


No - this was a brand new blog that he started in order to offer the novel. They had to do the advertising and get traffic from scratch. But, yes, Wellington was very lucky to have Alex Lencicki, who actually is a book publicist, as a long time friend. I think Alex had a lot of contacts in the industry he could call on for publicity as well.
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Elle Carter Neal
BellaOnline Alumna

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#328657 - 07/14/07 02:59 PM Re: Would you blog your novel? [Re: elle]
MB2345 Offline
Gecko

Registered: 01/29/07
Posts: 589
Elle, thanks for clearing up my misunderstandings. That is really an amazing story. I find it very encouraging that Wellington managed to build so much momentum for his book/writing while starting from scratch as it were. I find it even more encouraging that his fans were so loyal and willing to buy something that they'd already read.

Particularly interesting is what you said about how he'd reached an empasse with submitting his book to agents and getting nowhere. I've never gone through that myself, but I understand that it's a hugely inefficient process that can tie up an author for years: no submitting your book to multiple agents, no emailing the agents to ask if he/she has gotten to your book yet, etc.

You can literally wait for months for one agent merely to turn you down, and then you're back where you started. And if you get an agent after all that time, you face the same wait-and-see process with finding an editor. Then, if you find an editor, sometimes due to budgetary constraints, your novel is never published! Not to point out all these horrible things that aspiring writers hear too much about anyway.

But the point is that Wellington found away around it. Good for Wellington for bypassing all of that and "leapfrogging" his novel straight to the readers. I think that's very creative.

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#328715 - 07/14/07 11:45 PM Re: Would you blog your novel? [Re: MB2345]
elle Offline
Koala

Registered: 10/12/05
Posts: 2966
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Yes, that's what caught my interest about it too. All that waiting and submitting makes you wonder what you're really writing for. If you take a step back like Wellington did, and realise you just want someone to read it and be entertained, it puts it in a different perspective suddenly.
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Elle Carter Neal
BellaOnline Alumna

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#328803 - 07/15/07 03:29 PM Re: Would you blog your novel? [Re: elle]
MB2345 Offline
Gecko

Registered: 01/29/07
Posts: 589
Yes! That aspect of the publishing world is of interest to me, too. I mean, the rise of blogging proves that, essentially, everyone and his grandmother wants to write. I mean, who knew? But the rise of all those countless creative writing programs in universities and community colleges through the last 20 years proves this, too. Gone are the days when people just read fiction and wondered how people like F. Scott Fitzgerald or John Cheever could do it (and because they, the professional writers, were relatively few in number, they could actually support a family in style on their earnings).

But now everyone wants to write which is great except that publishing companies, at least in the U.S., have the perception that supply vastly outweighs demand. I'm not so sure that this is true because if we're all writing, we're probably all avid readers as well. I mean, are we not each other's built-in audience? But the publishing companies, agents, editors, hangers-on, and other gate-keepers now have a stranglehold on what few submissions actually make it to the giant publishing houses.

(I hear that the publishing industry is not nearly this bad in Australia -- at least according to Max Barry's website! smile He says it's still possible for unagented and otherwise brand new writers to get a foot in the door.)

Anyway, the whole submit-and-wait thing is frustrating because there really is this vast population out there that is committed to writing and reading as never before. The problem is how to get around the publishing industry and reach them as Wellington did in your article.

One way to do it might be through e-publishers because it's so new a field that they are actually ASKING for submissions! I reviewed a book over on the Mystery site called Underdead by Liz Jasper, and her e-pub Cerridwen Press is seeking new fiction. Her situation is interesting in that she blended genres (comedy + horror + mystery) and various agents wouldn't touch her book because it didn't conform (due to its comedy) to the now established Laurell-K-Hamilton formula of very-dark-very-violent-very-sexy vampire stories.

What the various agents were forgetting is that back in 1993, no one would touch Hamilton's first Anita Blake book (Guilty Pleasures) either because she herself was blending genres (horror + mystery). Now Hamilton has single-handedly created her own sub-genre. Janet Evanovich has blended genres successfully (comedy + mystery + romance). These days, I suppose, if you believe in your writing and you're trying something even slightly creative and new, you're going to have to get around the traditional publishing industry to find your readers -- as Liz Jasper and Wellington did.

Wow, sorry about the length of this post!

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