There’s one more episode to go before this season is done. I’ll try to get it out there without a delay.
I wrote Dead Men for two reasons. First, I wanted to publish something more regularly and this seemed to be a way to do that. Second, I really wanted to try out the serial format. It’s something that hasn’t been practical for a long time and the form of it is intriguing. If the new publishing landscape allows me to experiment, why wouldn’t I?
Well, actually, because I don’t think people want it, not the way I’ve done it anyway. As much as I structure Dead Men like a TV show, people don’t want to consume their books that way. Or the people who were drawn to Dead Men don’t anyway. People have fallen away with each new release, and honestly, there weren’t that many to begin with.
I’ve enjoyed it – quite a bit – but it doesn’t make sense for me to continue doing it this way.
For one, I make less money. The percent Amazon pays out for a 99c sale (the price of each episode) is half that of anything $2.99 and over. I didn’t care, and still don’t, but it has to go in the cons section. A delightful person (/sarcasm) suggested that doing a serial is a cash grab, as though I’m breaking up a novel to sell it for more money. Even if this had been a deconstructed novel (it isn’t) I would have made less money than just releasing it all at once. If I’m trying to rip people off, I’m doing it wrong.
If I end an episode without finalising the plot (something I only really did once before the finale), people buy the next episode. It’s practically guaranteed. I don’t think they like the manipulation though, as they don’t necessarily move on to the following release. If I did a cliff-hanger at the end of every episode I’d have more sales (while still making less money), but I’d piss people off. I’d piss myself off.
So this doesn’t work for anyone, I guess. Though I enjoy the serial format I can’t make it work.
What to do…
I’ll release the next episode of Dead Men, then put together a Season 1 book a few weeks after, then take a break. But I’m far too stubborn (and stupid) to let go of something I like. There will be a Season 2 at some point next year, but I’ll release them all in one go. It will follow the same format, with standalone episodes and a season arc, but all in one book.
This lets me do cliff-hangers if I want to. It lets me take a longer break between episodes if I want to (because I’m the only one following along), something that makes me feel icky when I do it now. It lets me keep playing with the format without the risk of pissing people off because they don’t want to wait to see what will happen next. It’ll all be there, just a page turn away.
Dead Men Episode 7 is now live on Amazon. If I were you I’d wait for the next episode before buying it. Better yet, I’d wait for the Season 1 set to come out.
To those buying these final episodes, despite my warning in the description on Amazon that you probably shouldn’t: You rock, and I'm glad you're enjoying it. Drop me a line and I’ll send you a free copy of the Season 1 book when I’m done compiling it.
I have to write. You should go read a book.