I was delighted when author Kia Zi Shiru asked me to be involved in the blog tour for her new novella, Black Sheep. The following post details her experience of publishing a serial online. I must say I am in love with the cover. Enjoy!
Thank you so much for having me on your blog today, Lorraine. Today I will be talking a bit about some of the decisions I made to publishing Black Sheep as a novella.
Until a few months ago I had no plans to publish Black Sheep as an ebook. I thought that because it is already an online serial I couldn’t just publish and expect people to pay for it. After some more thoughts (and realising that my original plan for publishing last year’s NaNoWriMo story wouldn’t work) I decided to publish it as an ebook anyway. Because I had found that there were actually pretty convincing arguments to do it against the very few arguments to not do it.
The main reason is that Black Sheep is a finished work, I have three ebooks I can release within a decent time span without making fans worry about if I would finish the trilogy. A lot of people don’t like to start a series that is not finished. I can promise people that I won’t abandon the series halfway through or anything like that because it is already finished. Even if I would suddenly die, or fall ill, the other two novellas could still get published (after some editing). There is no chance that the reader would be left hanging and not know how it ends.
This combined well with my second reason, marketing. I could learn some marketing tricks with Black Sheep and see how it all works without having to worry about what my marketing audience was going to be. I already have experience with the target audience, I know how they usually respond to it. This means that I can focus more on trying to get people outside of the target audience interested in the story. Black Sheep is not a story I can easily put in categories and this has always meant that even though I have a couple of quite loyal fans I’ve also had trouble finding the perfect audience for it.
By publishing Black Sheep as ebooks I open the story up to a lot of people who would have otherwise never found it. Black Sheep is in no way traditional and even though the online world seems to be quite forgiving about that, I know that the general public might have more trouble with it. But I’m trying anyway because I know Black Sheep is worth it.
I had one argument against epublishing it: it was already available online. To me it had always been a strong argument until I realised I could add things to this ebook that wasn’t available for my serial readers, editing and extra content.
Black Sheep: Letting go of the Past has an extra short story added to the end. One that hasn’t been available before. This means that even for people who have already read the serial there is still a bit that is new. For people who haven’t read the serial it simply means they get a bit more than just the chapters.
I’ve always been very vocal about e-publishers getting editors involved before publishing a book because I think that if you expect others to respect you enough to buy something you should respect them by having a well polished story. This includes editing. For me my own editing skills were good enough for Black Sheep as an online serial, but not as a published book. So I got myself an editor and she lovingly polished it to something that is better than it was before.
In the end I only had one reason not to publish and a lot of reasons to take the leap and show Black Sheep to the larger public that epublishing gives. I think the ease of downloading an ebook, the improved story and the extra short story are totally worth the extra investment I made to also epublish Black Sheep.
Thank you so much Lorraine for giving me the space on your blog to talk about why I published Black Sheep as a novella.
Additional info on Author Kia and her novella Black Sheep:
Kia Zi Shiru is a Dutch girl studying English and Creative Writing in the UK. Amongst her interests she finds writing, reading, doing research and learning different languages (including but not limited to: English, Dutch, French, German, HTML, Java, PHP and Assembly). Her writing and reading habits include books with Young Adults, gay themes, strong female or minority characters and fantasy elements (more often then not all at the same time).
Trying to rescue her son from a destructive environment, where the end of his last relationship almost ended in tragedy, Vic’s mother decides to move them all to a new town. Vic, glad at being able to start anew, takes the chance to create an image that would make his last two years of high school a lot easier.
But that plan is sabotaged when his new best friend, Jack, kisses him on New Year’s Eve, something Vic has been longing for and dreading in equal measure. Vic knows being gay in high school can be hell, and he’s scared sweet and innocent Jack won’t be able to handle him, or his past. It scares him more than anything now that his past has come back to haunt him, metaphorically and literally.
Vic tries to hide the horror of his past as long as possible, knowing that when Jack finds out what happened he will leave him.
As Vic takes a turn for the worse everybody but him realises how strong Jack and his love for Vic actually are. But is that enough for Vic to move on?
Book webpage: http://www.5timeschaos.com/blacksheeptrilogy
US Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Black-Sheep-Letting-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00ALYZJMY/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1355213111&sr=1-1
UK Amazon link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Black-Sheep-Letting-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00ALYZJMY/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1355213142&sr=1-2
Smashwords link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/263832
Kobo link: http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Black-Sheep-Letting-go-Past/book-m9XSR4loTUurR9N9fSA1zw/page1.html?s=KSOuBLi5k0OsIanBzvdKOQ&r=1
Fireworks lit the sky as people celebrated the New Year, hugging and kissing as they went around the group. Suddenly he was there, in front of me, stepping past my outstretched hand and leaning over. His lips touched my skin, just one second on my cheek. One glance before he moved on. Then there was a girl, same ritual. Now another guy, just a simple handshake.
Even after the fireworks my cheek still tingled. I saw him sitting at the other side of the bonfire. His long brown hair reflected the flames, as if it were burning. His blue hoody and his torn blue jeans looked so comfy and soft that I thought hugging him would have felt like heaven. His beautiful amber eyes met mine…
The murmuring in the classroom swells and someone calls out. “Wow, Jack, what have you done?”
I blink, shaking my head to clear it of the images as I look up. Jack stands in the doorway, his face hidden behind his hair. My jaw drops.
This is not the same guy that I remembered just a few seconds ago. In the week between the New Year’s party and today he totally changed his style. His long brown hair is now a raven black, his comfortable and worn jeans and t-shirt now switched out for bondage pants and a body-hugging button-up. Wow.
Jack looks at his feet, away from the stares of our classmates. When he reaches up to push the hair away from his face I see the black nail polish and his kohled eyes. His new look takes my breath away and I fall in love with him for the second time.
The goth girls in our class flock around him, praising his daring change, making him blush vigorously.
After a few minutes one of them changes her attention to me. “Now you’re not the only goth guy, Vic.” She smiles, licks her lips at me and winks.
“I know, I’m not the only black sheep anymore.” I smile back. As I turn to my table I notice that Jack has taken a seat at the desk in front of me.
“You look cool, Jack.” I nod to him while doodling nervously in my drawing book; the shape starts out vague but soon begins to look very familiar. I concentrate on detailing his shoes and the flames on them and then work my way up.
“Thanks,” Jack quietly responds after a while. The small parts of his ears that aren’t covered by his hair turn red.