JukePop Serials Bloggity

Storytelling, one chapter at a time.

Announcing Avon Fanlit, An Interactive Fiction Contest By HarperCollins! — May 8, 2015

Announcing Avon Fanlit, An Interactive Fiction Contest By HarperCollins!

Dog_and_HeartJukePop is excited to announce that we’re teaming up with Avon Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, to give romance writers the opportunity to participate in Avon FanLit. The 12-week contest encourages participants to submit, rate, and discuss fan-written chapters. The best part? The grand prize winner will be considered for a publishing contract!

“This is Avon’s second venture into serialized publishing via the fan fiction community. We are the first major publishing house to work with JukePop, and we think they’re the perfect partner with whom to relaunch Avon FanLit.” – Liate Stehlik, SVP, Publisher @ HarperCollins

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Writing: Finding Editor — February 27, 2015

Writing: Finding Editor

Aden Ng

It’s been awhile since I posted anything. Oh who am I kidding? Happy end of the month! I’ve been feverishly editing and looking for an editor for In Evening, and celebrating Chinese New Year (Happy CNY fellow Chinese!). Aside from the serialized version of In Evening on JukePop having been updated to its final, pre-published edit, I’ve also managed to settle on Cassandra Marshall as an editor. It’s my first time looking for a market one, and I’m hoping she would be able to come through for me in regards to In Evening.

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Tea (an Aconitum short story) — February 25, 2015

Tea (an Aconitum short story)

Muse X-ing

Aconitum passed 1000 votes on JukePop Serials! I’m so excited and grateful! To celebrate, I’m having a small contest over at my Facebook page.

I’m also going to share this short story with you. It’s very special to me. You see, it was the first thing I ever wrote about Hector and Peter (it was a small test run before I started writing the actual story). I only did minimal editing to it because I wanted to show what the original idea looked like, so a few details have changed, but overall, the world and the characters are the same. I hope you’ll enjoy it.

Disclaimer: This short story contains spoilers for Chapter 13.

***

“Tea?” Hector looked enquiringly from the teapot on the table to his friend.
“Please.”
Hector retrieved two cups from the cupboard and put them on the table. They were a little worn at the…

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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.

How to Continue a Web Serial — November 5, 2014

How to Continue a Web Serial

Last week we went into a lot of depth about Starting a Web Serial, including some of the best practices for putting out a good first chapter. One of these practices was outlining, or preparing a bullet point of where you want the story to go beforehand. Since we also mentioned this in our Guide to Updating Chapters, we won’t go into much detail here, but we want to reiterate that outlining, as well as buffering, are two very effective strategies for keeping a serial going strong.

Now, problems will arise as you continue your serial, from losing readership at odd intervals, to writer’s block, to discovering plot holes or continuity issues in your first act while heading into the third, and so on. Here, we’ll discuss a few popular ideas for overcoming these hardships and keeping your serial going strong.

I’m Losing Readership. What Went Wrong?

This is a timely topic, as one of our authors, Aden Ng of 139 Years to the End of the World, recently wrote a blog about losing readers and what it feels like from an author’s perspective. As he describes, authors who publish their work may feel somewhat betrayed when no one reads it. There are indeed a few authors on JukePop that have stopped updating their chapters due to a lack of readership. However, as Aden also mentions, stopping a serial for that reason only hurts the few readers that the serial may have had. Moreover, writers who love their story don’t stop writing it–ever.

Here’s the deal: readership is always on the decline. This is what the typical analytics chart looks like for a relatively new JukePop serial:

Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 12.14.28 PM

This is not a bad thing. Readers who are perusing for a good story won’t want to read every story to the end. This trend occurs in television shows and comic book series as well; the series will have a large starting audience, then trim down to a hardcore audience at the end. How many readers you can bring in for every chapter is therefore not the best measure of quality.  Don’t forget that the trend is also a snap shot in time, and you can affect the trend by going back and editing chapters where you lost some reader’s votes.

Nothing’s wrong with your serial if it loses readership. Just keep writing and keep promoting it to old readers and new–that’s what successful authors do.

I Have Writer’s Block! What do I do!?

Yikes. The Big WB. We’re sorry to say it, but if you haven’t written that new chapter yet, it’s probably game over for this week.

Of course, things would have gone much easier had you followed our guides to updating chapters in those weeks before you acquired writer’s block. You’d have had an outline to copy/paste, or perhaps won a week off thanks to a buffer.

But if you haven’t done any of that, just write. Write crappy, nonsensical prose, and get that chapter–and that writers’ block–out of your system.

How do I Deal with Continuity Issues or Plot Holes?

From time to time you will make a mistake while writing your serial. You’ll have a character wearing a green shirt when he specifically put on a red one in the chapter before. You’ll have the villain reveal something he clearly shouldn’t have known. You may even give characters living in a futuristic world no means of long-distance communication. These incidents can be scary, frustrating, and may make you go a little paranoid wondering what else you missed.

There’s no point worrying about the stuff you missed or messed up on. Sure, we at JukePop allow authors to edit chapters, and you can also do so freely on your personal blog. But aside from cleaning up the most obvious plot holes, why bother cleaning up anything else? The web serial is a messy first draft that’s bound to get edited if you reach completion and/or choose to novelize it. If your readership sticks with you despite those errors, are the errors really so bad?

Next week we’ll talk about the big one: how to finish your serial. In the meantime, what issues do you run into while publishing your serial? How do you overcome it?

 

Kickstart Our Campaign to Fill Your Library with Indie eBooks — September 23, 2014

Kickstart Our Campaign to Fill Your Library with Indie eBooks

Ever wonder why it’s so difficult to check out ebooks in libraries?  It’s because they don’t have the infrastructure to store, distribute, and curate ebooks.  That’s no longer the case.  We provide a technology that’s easy to integrate, libraries just need a working website, and they have access to all the stories on JukePop.  (Ones that qualify at least, another service we offer.)  Watch the video below to see how our platform works for any library website.

 

With the “Upgrade Your Local Library’s eBook Catalog” Kickstarter project, we at JukePop aim to create a platform for libraries to directly port indie ebooks into their online catalogs. This means less hassle for libraries who are seeking out indie talent, and easier access to the local bookshelf for hard-working indie authors. This resource will be free to use once we reach our pledge goal, and we’re giving out many lucrative rewards to all backers along the way. Go ahead and take a more detailed look at the project.

Months ago JukePop successfully opened a new avenue for authors to publish to libraries through a partnership with Santa Clara County Library. We built the foundation of a platform which would use our unique combination of +Votes and Analytics to help libraries determine high-quality stories objectively and with little hassle, then worked with SCC to feature those stories in their online catalog. Dozens of our hottest stories have already been added, leading to some high praise in the form of the Urban Libraries Council’s 2014 Top Innovator award.

We want to expand this project across as many libraries as possible and get many more self-published titles into local libraries, all the while offering this service for free to all parties. We’ve set a modest goal of 60 libraries for now, but soon we hope to conquer the world.

Our previous work with Santa Clara makes it a cinch to implement this project in many other libraries. We only need help funding some of the technical tidbits.

Among other things, we have to:

  • Finish the software platform so that we can roll it out to libraries efficiently
  • Make the software more user-friendly for librarians to initially set up our technology and pick which eBooks they want on their site
  • The finished software platform will also lower the cost for both JukePop and libraries to implement and maintain
  • Integrate this technology with 60+ libraries

This is where you come in. If you are an avid reader, writer, or purveyor of JukePop, help us achieve our mission to upgrade your local library’s ebook catalog by contributing to our Kickstarter project here. Be sure to tell your friends and even mention it to your librarian next time you visit. They may be the first people we work with once funding is complete!

The Rewards

Since this is a Kickstarter, each donation to our project comes with a mouth-watering reward. You can read all the details on our campaign page, or check out a juicy summary of the rewards below:

The Basic Rewards

Pick Your Library – Any backers at $25 or greater can name a library of choice. We will prioritize your local community library for implementation. The more backers for a community library, the higher its priority for JukePop. So make sure you share this with your friends!

List Your eBook – We will include your eBook in our catalog for libraries to consider ($50 or greater pledge level).

One Click Publish – A platform for indie authors to easily create, format, and publish eBooks for their own use and to popular eBook retailers like Amazon and iBooks. We can only do this if you help us get to our stretch goal. If we do, we will make this free for 6 months for all authors!

eBooks of Choice – eBooks from some authors and publishers that believe in our mission.

A La Carte Rewards

Perfect for any aspiring author, or a gift to an author you know, from Cover Design to Developmental Editing. Our friends at Plympton have asked their friends who are fiction editors at Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins and Macmillan to help provide feedback to writers. All are current or former acquiring editors at Big 5 publishing houses.You will have a choice of editors based on availability and fit. Contact us to get a list of the editors.

Sample Edit – Got an idea for a book? At JukePop we know how important your opening chapters are. Get written feedback for 2000 words from acquiring editors.

Cover Design – Get your book cover designed by some of the brilliant artists behind the highly touted Recovering the Classics project. The artist will work with you to create three cover concepts presented, of which you get to choose one that the artist can develop. Contact us to get the list of contributing artists.

Editorial Consultation – Nothing beats feedback from a great editor and finding one is hard. You’ll get your manuscript reviewed and feedback given via a 30 minute phone call or a 2-3 page editorial memo.

Editorial Feedback – Ready for detailed feedback? Get your manuscript reviewed by current or former acquiring editors at Big 5 publishing houses and get a detailed 5-7 page editorial memo analyzing it.

Developmental Editing – There’s a great story in every manuscript, but often it takes a great editor to help you shape it. Get a comprehensive line edit of your manuscript, direct feedback in a 7 page memo.

We’re eager to get started on this project and we hope you are too. Help make this a success by donating to the campaign or sharing a link with your friends on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Thank you in advance for your incredible support, and we look forward to upgrading your local library soon!

 

All About +Votes — September 15, 2014

All About +Votes

When you finish reading a chapter of a story you really like, don’t you sometimes wish you could let the author know how you felt?

Online publishing platforms have the advantage of commenting systems and star ratings which allow readers to leave feedback for authors, but it’s not good enough. On JukePop we believe providing actionable and quantifiable feedback for authors and accomplish this with +Voting: the ability for readers to place their vote on a chapter they appreciate. +Votes are the easiest feedback for readers to leave, quantifiable for authors’ analytics and takes the thinking out of the process.

+Voting is at the heart of our mission to objectively determine quality stories. Through it, we can reward authors with cash prizes or elect stories for placement in libraries. Here, we’ll explain how +Votes work and some of the things they have permitted authors to do on our site that they couldn’t do otherwise. Whether you’re a reader, an author, or just someone on the outside looking in, this is easily the most important feature of JukePop that you should get familiar with. Take notes!

How +Votes Work 

Screen Shot 2014-09-15 at 12.59.52 PM

+Votes can be left on each and every chapter of a story on JukePop. The voting button is found under the story’s book cover. You can also automatically leave +Votes by clicking “next chapter” if the auto-vote feature is enabled in your settings (we automatically turn on the feature when you create an account).

Each reader can only leave 1 +Vote on a chapter, but they can vote on as many chapters as they like. For instance, if person A likes chapters 1 and 10 of a story, but none of the others, they can leave 2 +Votes by clicking the +Vote button on chapter 1 and then chapter 10. If person B likes all 10 chapters, they can leave 10 +Votes by turning on auto-vote and just reading normally up to chapter 10. Even person C, who only reads up to chapter 5 and then loses interest in the story, can provide feedback by leaving auto-vote turned on while they read. Then the author will know they lost interest because person C will not leave +Votes on the remaining chapters. (We don’t reveal who +Voted, just an aggregate view for authors.)

+Votes from all readers accumulate to create two rankings for the story: the monthly +Vote ranking and all-time +Vote ranking. Monthly +Vote rankings are reset each month, while all-time +Votes are a permanent record of all +Votes ever left on a story. We reward authors cash prizes based on who earns the most monthly +Votes with one of their stories.

Why +Votes Matter

This system of quick, democratic feedback allows authors to gauge collective interest in their story at a glance, as well as allows readers to support their favorite stories in a free, noncommittal way. +Votes are also used to form very informative analytic graphs, which in turn help us choose quality titles to place in our library program. As mentioned before, we pay our authors based on their story’s monthly rankings, with a $500 bi-annual award going out to the top +Voted story every six months. All these incentives then inspire authors to promote their stories in the hopes of getting more +Votes, creating a feedback loop.

Star ratings, reviews, and comments are certainly useful tools, but with +Votes JukePop has been able to do much more with the stories on our site than the average publishing platform. We believe this mechanism is the key to objectively determining quality titles, something few other publishing platforms have been able to do.

What do you think of +Votes?

 

Switching POVs = Bad — August 18, 2014

Switching POVs = Bad

K.A.M. Lewis

Over the past couple of months, I’ve been studying the analytics for my free-to-read fantasy serial on JukePop, Metal Shadow. Looking at analytics isn’t always fun. I’m sure long-time readers of this blog know this. Either the analytics reveal something great, or they reveal something terrifying. I’ve yet to witness a middle ground.

However, analytics remains a very useful tool for testing hypotheses about reader preferences. Today I noticed something both great and terrifying while studying it. I sort of expected it when I set out to write the latest chapters, but it still sort of shocked me.

Exhibit A:

JP Analytics for Metal Shadow JP Analytics for Metal Shadow

Bleh. I hate looking at those first two dips, the ones on chapters 6 and 10. I wish I could take them back.

But now we’ve got some new dips since before, don’t we? One on chapter 13, 18, and another on 22…

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