BlackHill Press Partnership & Leveraging Libraries — May 21, 2014

BlackHill Press Partnership & Leveraging Libraries

It’s no secret that JukePop has been shaking things up in the publishing world since we went live late 2012. Our commitment to the classic print serialization model has led to the creation of nearly 1,000 works of outstanding fiction–and that’s in one and a half years alone. Moreover, we’ve opened a new avenue for authors and libraries to collaborate. Perhaps the next bestselling book will originate from a library near you!

We believe that this shaking up of the industry is not only warranted, but necessary. Big publishers’ current models of publication have taken on signs of old age in this high-tech, information-oriented era. It’s no longer enough for a publishing house to put out a few dozen books a year. Readers want more stories from more places. They want to discover new talent in new genres.

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Enter BlackHill Press!

It’s time to shake things up some more. Starting June 1, JukePop will be partnering with California Public Libraries and BlackHill Press for a Summer Writing Project. This event will last until August 31st, 2014, after which BlackHill Press will select 3 stories from JukePop’s library catalog to publish as full-fledged novellas.

Let’s lay out the criteria some more:

  • Create an account or log in and submit your entry (only one chapter is needed) to “Summer Writing Project” by clicking on “Submit” in “My Accounts”
  • Round 1: Selected stories (Round 1 Finalists) will be distributed to partner libraries based on reader analytics (retention + reading time) and presented in conjunction with library Summer Reading programs.
  • Round 2: Black Hill Press will select three (3) stories from Round 1 Finalists to be published as a special Summer Writing Project collection with cover artwork by Jeannie Phan.

What does this venture mean? Well, aside from that 3 JukePop serials are about to receive fantastic cover art by Jeannie Phan, it means one thing: libraries have now entered the publishing equation.

Traditionally, publishers sought submissions and would have interns and editors go through them one by one, selecting the ones they liked and discarding the rest. This method resulted in many now popular titles like Harry Potter getting shafted time and again because they didn’t meet the publishers’ strict, often archaic criteria. This also resulted in a lot of needless paperwork like cover letters and pitches.

JukePop’s Analytics tool streamlines and objectifies this process tremendously. We select which titles get into libraries based not on one editor’s preference, but on reader retention stats recorded by Analytics. This ensures that quality titles like Black Hearts and I Feel Fine get proper recognition, while ensuring they are selected exclusively by readers. No cover letters or pitches are required; just submit, get +Votes, and make it big.

If you are a JukePop author seeking to enter our library program, sign up for the Summer Writing Project today for your chance to have your serial published by BlackHill Press.


First Impressions: The Synopsis — May 8, 2014

First Impressions: The Synopsis

Writing a synopsis is hard. You have to consider numerous factors, such as how to simplify the premise of your story into a seemingly handful of words, or even which premise to present at all. Then you have to stylize it to represent the story’s writing style. You have to bake in certain keywords and phrases to attract the attention of your desired reader. You have to double and triple check if the opening line is good enough, then experiment one last time with it to see if you can make it even better.

All this is to accomplish one goal: to summarize the premise of your story in a way that entices people to read. A marketing pitch if you will. (It’s also known as the blurb, the book description, and the summary.) It goes without saying that a misworded synopsis may repel the readers you are writing for and even attract the readers you aren’t. A synopsis with poor writing or a convoluted premise will certainly alienate both. That’s why the synopsis should be looked at with the same reverence as the book cover during the publishing process. You’ve heard this advice before: people judge books by their covers.

The importance of writing a great synopsis for your story cannot be overstated. Too often do authors take great care polishing chapters yet submit a quickly written synopsis without much thought. Some of our newest stories, such as this and this, can do a much better job with their synopses. They are either summarizing far too much of the story to begin with or not summarizing their story’s premise clearly. It’s fine to tell readers some of the things that happen in your story in the synopsis, but be stingy about what you reveal, not generous.

We have few rules on JukePop about what to write in your synopsis. We only request that the first 200 characters of your synopsis engage the reader with a strong opening line. Let them know clearly and concisely what your story is about. Try to mention the central theme, character and setting. Try to excite the type of reader you think would enjoy the story. You can absolutely have a longer synopsis, but any text beyond the first 200 characters will not be visible until the reader clicks on the cover to start reading chapter one. Additionally, since stories are constantly evolving, we encourage authors to revise and update their synopsis to reflect their serial’s ongoing storyline.

Here are a couple of stories we feel have good synopses:

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One final note about synopses: did you know you are able to edit your synopsis at any time by clicking “Edit Serial Details” under My Submissions? If your synopsis looks anything like the first examples, now’s the time to go fix it!

Remember, your synopsis is your first – and possibly ONLY – opportunity to let readers know your serial is worthy of their time. Think of it as the blurb on a book jacket. It is your space to capture a reader’s interest. First impressions are everything, and if you don’t catch your readers’ attention with the synopsis, they likely won’t even bother reading any further.


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