I have a great time doing it. And though it may not show in the episodes themselves (which have to be posted on deadline, ready or not), I have grown a lot as a writer while writing these.
And my blog has never had as many subscribers and visitors as it has since I started publishing serial stories. I've nearly doubled my traffic.
I didn't expect to make money, though I hoped that there would be some indirect benefit. I didn't expect lots of comments and interaction because I know that readers don't comment nearly as much as writers do -- and writers don't tend to comment on fiction as much as on posts about writing.
So the Blogstory Experiment has been a success.
Since I've been doing the serial, my sales have completely dropped off. Since the beginning of June, I have sold.... TWO books at Amazon. Two.
Seriously, two books.
I've sold three at Barnes and Noble, and an unknown quantity -- possibly none -- at Apple and the smaller stores that Smashwords distributes to.
I did expect a drop in sales this year for several reasons. One is because it's the slow time of year. Also, I have been expecting a little shakeout in indie publishing about now -- just the natural cycle of business. I also expected a drop in sales because I have seriously cut back blogging and most internet interaction in order to write.
But the third, and more important reason I expected a drop in sales is the very reason I cut back on blogging to write: If you don't write and publish more books regularly, your career stalls. And no amount of blogging and marketing can overcome that kind of stall when it happens. You can delay it, but you can't stop it.
Due to a number of things -- everything from the death of my father to the Bright Shiny Things of indie publishing -- my writing production slowed considerably over the past couple of years, and then when the Vortex of Crap hit me this winter and spring, my writing for publication slowed to a complete and utter stop.
But that's okay, crap happens, and there is a buffer of time between when your writing is interrupted and when you have an actual stall in your career/sales. The engine starts making funny noises but if you give it a little gas, things pick right up again. That's why I cut back on blogging to write -- to prevent that stall.
But I couldn't get up to speed fast enough to prevent the stall. It has happened. Any momentum I already had is gone now.
And I have to blame, in part, the serial.
It's incredibly rewarding, in terms of personal fulfillment, and all that. But it's a very time consuming kind of writing, and it's hampering my ability to make a living. And as far as I can tell, it has not actually earned anything itself to make up for that. (One donation, maybe two or three books sales.)
So I have to stop and ask: are all those visitors I see in the stats really reading this, or are they mostly servers and spam bots, and I'm actually only writing this for the three or four people who have commented?
And if there are other people, silently but diligently reading the way the stats indicate.... are any of those people actually fans? Is it worth a $5 Paypal donation or the purchase of a $3 book? Is it even worth a comment?
If so, here are the links:
The Case of the Misplaced Hero: In most ebook formats at Smashwords, plus Amazon's Kindle Store, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Diesel, Apple iBookstore.
Now also at Amazon's international stores: UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Japan.
Or donate via Paypal
Regardless of the answer, I have to make some decisions.
What I really want to do is just cut back to posting the story once a week. But if there isn't really an audience, I need to move this to my journal and concentrate on my mercenary writing.
See you in the funny papers.