JukePop Serials Bloggity

Storytelling, one chapter at a time.

To Tweet or Not to Tweet…? — February 4, 2015

To Tweet or Not to Tweet…?

by Steven Marshall author of Galico

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So, here’s a joke for you:

This guy walks into a crowded bar and tweets @bar: “I’m HERE!” Only the bartender responds. Everyone else is oblivious to the newcomer. Baffled, the guy asks the bartender: “Why did they ignore me?” The bartender shrugs and says: “That’s what happens when you don’t put a dot in front of your @ sign.”

Get it?

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ATHENA Exposed! Co-authoring Experience from ATHENA’s Authors — February 3, 2015

ATHENA Exposed! Co-authoring Experience from ATHENA’s Authors

ATHENA has a die-hard following on JukePop, but this unique story is co-authored by 4 writers.  We thought they would offer a unique perspective about their process of writing.  A quick intro about the 4 authors below, then we’ll get right to the Q&A session.

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Ryan W. Norris is a full-time evolutionary biologist and part-time writer of (mostly hard) science fiction. He has published in Analog Science Fiction and Fact. When he writes with his collaborators you’ll see a softer side to his scifi.

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Does Professional Editing Help? Kevin Boyer Says… — February 1, 2015

Does Professional Editing Help? Kevin Boyer Says…

Hello all, this is Smiling Worg, a.k.a. Kevin Boyer, author of Dread Lord Bob.

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I recently had the opportunity to work with a professional editor on a science-fiction novel that I hope to release via traditional publishing. Overall, I must say it was an absolutely positive experience, something both I and CoPAP (my novel) needed. JukePop has asked me to share what I’ve taken away from this, which I’ve gladly agreed to do.

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Changes to JP 30 Rewards — January 26, 2015

Changes to JP 30 Rewards

Since JukePop started, we’ve been 100% focused on incentivizing authors to keep writing—with a monthly JP 30 ranking and small cash reward. It succeeded beyond our wildest dreams. So we took it up a notch, and launched the crowdfunding platform where readers can share the success of JukePop writers by buying shares of future sales revenues.
Starting this month (January), we’re changing the reward policy for JP 30 to a credit towards authors that start a crowdfund project (available now) or use our publishing services (available in a month or so). We’re hoping it will encourage all the great authors out there to take their completed works to the next level.
Thank you for continuing to stay with us as we evolve into the best platform for authors looking to publish their stories!
How to Finish a Web Serial — December 17, 2014

How to Finish a Web Serial

You’ve started a web serial. You’ve chosen a website or platform to publish on and you’ve put out the first chapter on that platform.

You’ve continued your web serial by updating chapters, interacting with your readers, and not being picky about plot holes and continuity errors.

Now it’s time to finish your serial!

But wait, when is the best time to finish a web serial?

When YOU know best. Just like with writing a novel, the ending of the story is up to you to you. Keep in mind that serials have the potential to spawn several volumes of work and can actually grow more popular the longer they are. If you’re thinking of making a sequel to your serial, consider just integrating the sequel with the current story.

What next? Continue reading

Invest in a book, share its $uccess! — November 21, 2014

Invest in a book, share its $uccess!

One of the biggest patterns we noticed is that our authors usually publish their stories as novels once the story is completed–and they get a good number of sales afterward. But not every author has the resources to make their dreams come true.

After a successful Kickstarter campaign to get more indie ebooks into local libraries, we realized it took more work than we expected to raise just $15K.  From putting together the various rewards for backers to distributing the rewards when it ends.  Not only that, but the cost of the rewards means a significant amount of funds raised would be spent on fulfilling the rewards. So we’ve been thinking about how can we improve this specifically for authors with little time and resources – and just as important make it worthwhile for the supporters.

So to make it simpler and let authors do what they’re good at, we’re introducing a crowd investment sharing platform.  Simply invest in a story you love, and share its success. Authors decide how much percent of sales revenues to share and how much funding they need, while we take care of the finances and distribution to retailers. With the funds they receive, authors can hire editors and cover artists and not have to worry about how to pay for it all. We’ve seen the power of JukePop’s supportive community, every time a story is updated, readers help by sharing the news. Imagine the power of those readers if they have a stake in the success of the story on Amazon!

This is different from other crowd funding platforms because instead of simply seeing a pitch page from the author, investors will have read the story on JukePop and perhaps gotten to know the author already. The revenue share aspect also turns these investors into the author’s biggest fans, as they may be the first ones to give the book a review on Amazon, iBook, or any ebook retailer we work with. Essentially, authors can count on investors to be their word-of-mouth marketing engine. Compare that to other crowd funding platforms where the author doesn’t usually receive assistance after the funding phase, and we think the benefits are obvious.

Curious for more? Below are some frequently asked questions with our responses.

Q: Does the author retain ownership of the content?

A: Yes. The revenue share is only limited to the sale of the book – nothing else.

 

Q: How does the math work out for the investors?

A: Say an author wants to raise $2000, and considers that to be 50% of the book’s net sales revenue. The net sales the author is aiming for to break even for themselves and investors will therefore be $4000. If an investor puts in $40 they’ll share 1% of all future earnings. But we do the calculous for you when you click on “Invest in This Book” button. You’ll be able to see what percentage of future sales you’ll receive for every dollar you put in. The more you put in, the more you earn!

 

Q: How do investors get paid?

A: Don’t worry, we’ll handle the financial settlement once authors start selling on the retail network.

 

Q: Will you be the publisher?

A: Because we have to be the ones doing the financial settlement, we have to be the publisher in name only so we can get access to Amazon’s systems. But authors can put whatever they want on the copyright page of their book.

 

Q: Who sets the price of the book once it’s published? Author, investors, JP, or some combination of the three?

A: Authors set the price, since it’s their book. Investors have no control over anything beyond putting in the seed money. It’s entirely up to the author how much to listen to investors, though making them happy means they’ll talk about the book more.

 

Q: Who are these investors?

A: Anyone can be an “investor.” We use quotes because really, it’s more like a partnership than anything. At $40 for 1% of net revenue, investorship is within reach of anyone.

 

Q: Can investors rescind their investment afterward?

A: Once the deal is completed, the investors cannot rescind.

 

Q: Is this program open to international authors?

A: Yes!

 

Q: If I were an author, how would I get started?

A: Get on the wait list by clicking here.

 

Q: I have more questions!

A: See the FAQ here or leave a comment below.

NaNo Feed — November 18, 2014

NaNo Feed

It’s November, so you know what that means: it’s National Novel Writing Month! Authors around the globe have just 30 days to write a 50,000-word long novel from scratch, in whatever genre they choose. It’s already the middle of the month, so the deadline is fast approaching. How many novels will be written this year?

As we did last year, JukePop is accepting submissions to the contest. But this year we have a surprise!

Introducing the NaNoWriMo community feed on JukePop:

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That’s right, we’re integrating a one-stop conversation hub for all authors who are participating in our second annual NaNoWriMo contest, as well as past and future NaNo participants.  This feed will track chapter updates from stories in the contests, and conversations between participating authors. Go ahead and check it out!

The last time we ran a NaNo contest, we didn’t have this social layer, so the interaction between NaNo authors were sparse. We added the feed so they can continue to share the writing experience after November is over – and also because some of our top authors came from the NaNo contest last year.To enable this feed, go into your profile and select “I am a NaNoWriMo Author”. We’ve done that for most authors we know about already.

We’ve seen how successful the current feeds are at creating engaging conversations in the community. We’re hoping this new feed can follow the trend!

 

How to Start a Web Serial — October 30, 2014

How to Start a Web Serial

So you’ve decided to publish a web serial. You’ve thought up a story where a detective and his intern solve crimes via Twitter, or you’ve planted a wizard in old New York, or you’ve infested the world with zombies, creating a Walking Dead type of situation. All of these are great ideas for ongoing material, but do you really know where to start? A serial isn’t the same as a novel; it requires a somewhat different writing and publishing approach. In some ways it is even harder to write than a traditional book.

Luckily, you live in the Age of Information, where there are tools and avenues available to turn your serial’s success into a reality. Here, we’ll talk about what a web serial is, why you should write one, and of course, provide a step-by-step guide on how to get started.

What is a “Serial”?

First, what is a serial? The word “serial” is short for “serialized publication,” or publishing a story in episodic chunks. This was a popular way of producing stories during the Victorian era. Charles Dickens released numerous novels in serial format, as did many of his famous contemporaries. Back then, serials were viewed as the major leagues, the professional arena, the seasonal sport–while novel writing was considered the once-in-a-while olympics.

Serialized publications have since faded as a method of storytelling due to advancements such as the printing press. However, with the advent of the internet and e-readers, this form of publishing novels is coming back in a big way. Say hello to the “web serial,” a novel published in episodic chunks on the internet. JukePop is one of the few platforms seeking to bridge the gap between serials and novels; to reestablish the serial as the dominant medium it was in the past.

Why Should I Write a Web Serial?

Now, you may be wondering why you should write a web serial, as opposed to a traditional novel. “How much can I earn from writing a web serial” is probably also on your mind. As of right now, the answer to the latter question is, not a whole lot. Even the most popular serials on the web are being published for free on blogs, and few major publishers or publishing platforms are taking advantage of the medium. JukePop is one of a very small number of publishing platforms that actually pay their authors to write with them. Now we’re the olympics!

Add to that the fact that most web serials have very small readerships–readerships which only dwindle over time–that traditional publishing is still a multi-million dollar industry, and that few web serials ever make it to print upon completion, and your concerns are all valid. Here’s where the data comes in.

According to a 2014 analytics survey by Smashwords, books published as part of a series tend to make more money than books that are sold solo. (2014 Smashwords Survey, p.107-108) So there’s one big reason right away to start a web serial, which can naturally spawn several book series over time!

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On JukePop we also have Analytics to help authors gauge reader interest in their story. This tool shows reader retention and dropoff rates for each chapter, allowing authors to pinpoint which chapter lost readers and which chapters intrigued them–purely objectively. These analytics are only possible when a novel is published chapter by chapter, and with JukePop’s +Vote system in use. You can do this to some extent with novels, but we think it’s not always economical to wait until after a novel is complete to know where it needs work.

And you know what? Serial writing is fun. The community of authors and readers of web serials is hugely supportive of each other, always up for sharing ideas and cross-promoting and even co-authoring with each other. With a family this lively, there’s no better time to jump in and get your feet wet.

How do I Start a Web Serial?

Back to your major league story idea. You’ve got the idea, and you’ve decided to write it as a serial. What next?

First, you’re going to need a place to publish your story. This will determine the size and type of audience you have, your options of reading environments (the “web reader”), the amount of control you have over each release, possible rewards, the analytical data available to you about your readers, and finally, your options for publishing after completion of your serial. To keep things simple for you, we’ll grade each of our favorite options using these 5 criteria. Most options are free, but some can be costly if you really want to hit the ground running.

Option A: JukePop

Submit your story to JukePop, more details here.  Or to our regular contests, right now, we’ve got a NaNoWriMo 2014 contest running with $250 worth of cash prizes, details here.

Audience: Mature & accomplished authors and supportive readers who have been known to donate $500 or more to stories they like.

Web Reader: Your story is freely available, but following chapters require registration to read and +vote so we know who to award monthly cash prizes.  (JukePop also have apps on Google Play and iOS.)

Release Schedule: Chapter by chapter; release whenever you like.

Rewards: Cash prizes available if your story hits the monthly top 30 in +Votes. One chapter must be released in that month to qualify.

Analytics: In-depth analytics on reader retention available; see where your readers are losing interest and where they are enjoying the read, how long they are reading, and which demographics read your story the most.

Options After Completion: Will help publish your completed serial directly to a library. JukePop also hosts competitions and special events routinely to help publishers and indie press acquire up-and-coming novels. Check out the 3 graduates that got publishing contracts from Black Hill Press Summer Writing Competition.

Option B: Personal Blog

You can set up a free personal blog from sites like WordPress or Blogspot.

Audience: Entirely dependent on your ability to market your website. This is good if you’re a capable promoter or willing to learn, but bad if you have no idea how to even add a share button to your site.

Web Reader: Since this is your blog, the reading environment is fully customizable, but many custom themes can cost a lot of money or may require skills with coding.

Release Schedule: 100% dictated by you.

Rewards: As of now, there are no known blogging platforms that pay users to serialize fiction or non-fiction stories.

Analytics: Most blogging platforms allow you to view the number of views your blog gets and where they’re coming from, but they don’t offer insight on reader retention rates.

Options After Completion: Very few options. You can try to submit your novel to a publisher afterwards, but most will require that you take down your blog before they work with you.

Option C: Other Platforms

There are other places where you can publish stories online, such as Fiction Press, Fine Stories, and Wattpad.

Audience: These websites have been around for a while, and the quality of the stories vary significantly – and most cater to Fan Fiction.

Web Reader: All have adequate web readers, some have flexible formatting options but may not have the most focused reading experience.

Release Schedule: 100% dictated by you.

Rewards: Some of these sites also have occasional contests – you’ll need to check and see which ones are current running.

Analytics: Most do not have any form of robust analytics.

Options After Completion: Very few options. You can try to submit your novel to a publisher afterwards, but most will require that you take down your blog before they work with you.

Take your time choosing a platform to publish your web serial. Always go with your gut. In many cases you will be able to transfer your story from one platform to another.

Once you’ve done that, it’s time for the hard part: putting out that first chapter on this new platform. This is the catalyst that determines whether readers will bookmark, save, bookshelf, or otherwise mark your story for future reading. No pressure!

You may have heard the advice to outline your story before starting that first chapter. In the web serial world, having some idea of where you want to take things will help you craft a better first chapter, second chapter, and so on, as well as stick to your chapter release schedule once it gets rolling. Of course not all authors are fond of outlining, so it’s up to you whether to outline or not. Either way, make a first chapter that really speaks about your story and hooks readers in. This chapter will make or break your release.

After writing the chapter, format it for the web reader your chosen publishing platform uses by following their in-house guide, then upload it and you’re done! You’ve started a web serial. Begin promoting your work by recommending it to friends and family members (follow these 5 Fast Tips for more ideas), and in the meantime, start writing that next chapter. From here on out you’re in the major leagues, and preparation is key.

Next week we’ll talk about how to continue your serial, including tips for beating writers’ block, advice for attracting readers, how to get snazzy cover art, and more. Stay tuned!

So which platform would you choose and why? Let us know in the comments section.

 

 

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