Friday, May 14, 2010

An Agent On Serials

Agent Michael Larsen recently posted on his blog 12 Wasy to Excite Pros About Your Novel. He mentioned the usual things - great writing, irresistible first page, your online following....

And self-publishing. eBooks, podcasts, serializations, blogs.

He sees it as test marketing.

Since he didn't go into a lot of detail, I mentioned some of my own plans in the comments section. Serializing my already self-published work is a no-brainer, but I am considering "sacrificing" the first Mick and Casey novel to an online serial and self-publication.

He replied: "You won’t be sacrificing your book. You’ll be building an audience for it."

You know, as I read all the blogs, I'm not hearing a lot of agents so openly encouraging this. But I'm not hearing many openly discouraging it either. Which is a sea change.

A lot time ago, before "March of the Penguins" I saw a small documentary on the Emperor penguin's march to the sea, which pointed out one other odd behavior where penguins and people are the same. The penguins would march for days, starving, to get to the sea, and then when they'd get there, they wouldn't jump in. They'd just mill around on the bank, which would get more and more crowded. Then as the crowd pushed and shoved, some penguin would fall in. And then suddenly they'd all rush to jump in, until some penguin hesitated, and then they'd stop. And mill around until somebody fell in again.

I think this is where we are in the new publishing paradigm. Milling on the bank, falling in, jumping in, hesitating. Me, I'm still sitting on the bank, splashing my feet in the water (because I have longer legs than a penguin), but I'm thinking I may be doing a further dive soon.


Helena Soister said...

I love the penguin analogy.
I also think you're right about a new paradigm taking place. This is one reason I'll be diving into self-publishing and am contemplating radically different book promotion ideas. Having been published before (Bantam), I learned the hard way that you have to do most promoting yourself anyway. Even if you have an agent and publisher, you're really on you're own and its always sink or swim.

The Daring Novelist said...

Yeah, I'm almost decided that I'm going to at least do my existing self-published books as serials this summer.

I'm trying to decide on a posting schedule. I'm thinking three chapters a week - Mon, Wed, Fri. Then a couple of weeks between books.

We'll see....

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

With the publishing landscape changing so much, it's hard to know WHAT to do. I think sometimes that the best thing to do is to go out on a limb a little.

The Daring Novelist said...

Yeah, I agree. I still don't know what I'd do if I got a contract offer today on a book. Things are in such flux.

But I think the key is to learn, play with things you understand or at least enjoy, and never get away from the fact that writing a good book comes first.