As you may have noticed, in the title of this post, I mentioned the magic words ‘Early Access’. Lately, I’ve been thinking about what it means to be an indie writer, and what an indie writer can give that others (those owned by a publisher) can’t. I started this self-publishing project with the decision that I needed to make money from my writing if I was to continue doing it, and while I’m not fully supporting myself by it, I’ve certainly felt better about the time I’ve put into writing books now that I’m being compensated. But I also know that I earned most of my fans because of all those years I spent posting for free online, drawing in readers one chapter at a time, and building an audience that was ultimately willing to buy my work.
So, I’ve been thinking about those things, and long story short, I had an idea…
Here’s what I propose, and I’m posting this because I want to know how many people would actually be interested in it. My idea is to open a subscription through Gumroad, where you buy the book (Shadow Sun) in advance, and in return, you get to read the chapters as I write (and edit) them (just like Wattpad). Then at the end, I’ll email you a digital copy of the full manuscript for free (format of your choice, because you already paid for it). You’d be buying the book in advance and reading as I go, then you’ll get the final draft later on once it’s completed and fully edited. (details may vary)
With the subscription, you’d automatically get all updates when I post them, and you can read the chapters one at a time, or else let them add up and read them at once, up until the finish. Then I’ll go further into editing in order to publish by the deadline (Feb 2015, hopefully). Currently, I have around 20 chapters completed (with quite a bit of editing), so that would give a good jump start into assuring that you’re going to get something to read straight away.
And Gumroad supports Paypal exchanges from over 40 countries, so most of you can be included. (On that note, those of you who were not able to get Nevermor because of unavailability, can get a Kindle compatible file through Gumroad.)
Considering the length of Shadow Sun and the amount of time I have to work on it, I anticipate around 40 chapters (maybe; could be more or less) So at that rate, and depending when I start, you’d probably get up to 2 chapters a week. Considering that I can pull it off, the book will be completely posted in 5 months, and that will leave me with some time to edit and rewrite what I need to. And then voila! On release day, you get a copy of the final version without lifting a finger.
If I do this, I don’t know when it will start. I still have to think on it a bit, and I have a few things that are going to occupy my time soon, so this might start in August. July possibly, but I don’t know yet.
This project would be good in a lot of ways, I think.
1.) You get to see it early, as I write it, like in the old days, chapter per chapter. (I will try to have the chapters in ‘good to great’ shape by the time I post them, so it’ll still be good quality, though it may still go through some tweaking before I publish it to get everything lined up better.)
2.) I can get input from the outside as I write, and if it’s really going downhill or ends poorly, I have people to tell me so before I release it, and I can rewrite if I have to. (This has been a heavy thought on my mind about this book. I really don’t want it to be terrible and ruin the whole trilogy. Writing a series is stressful…)
3.) I can stay in touch with my fans, which is something that I have missed since deciding to publish. I like to know what people are thinking as they read, and readers no longer comment like they used to. In a way, they can’t, so there’s no blame.
4) Knowing that I have to keep up with posting will push me to keep going, because I have to be honest – I’ve really been dragging my feet with this one. I keep getting stuck, but if I have fans praising me as I go along, I’ll be more excited about it. (I’m fickle, I know. Sometimes I need a good kick.)
5) Perhaps some readers might write early reviews that can be ready to post before the book comes out, to help drum up interest in the series as a whole.
6) In addition to the chapters, you’ll likely be privy to some of my personal thoughts on the different parts of the story, my concerns, so on. I will probably ask for input at times. So in a way, it’s like you’re getting super secret commentary as I go along.
So, who likes this idea, and who would be interested in participating if I decide to offer it? Of course, you need to have read books 1 and 2 first. Some of you may think it’s a better idea to wait until the book is done before you read it, and that’s fine as well. I’m interested in hearing what you think. This is as much of an experiment as it is a way to reconnect with my fans, and just to do something different from other writers out there who have no control over their books.
So, just click below and tell me what you think, and feel free to comment!!