JukePop Serials Bloggity

Storytelling, one chapter at a time.

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:

Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 9.27.15 PM

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 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?

 

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!

Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 10.29.07 AM

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.

 

 

How to Network on JukePop — October 6, 2014

How to Network on JukePop

Here’s an interesting conundrum. You’re an aspiring author looking for new readers, and you see that JukePop has adopted a community feed where any comment made on a story will be visible to everyone visiting the site. It strikes you to leave a comment or two on some other author’s story asking for people to read your story. What can go wrong?

Well, for one, you probably won’t attract any readers. This sort of blatant advertising is considered intrusive; people coming to read another author’s work aren’t looking for that type of suggestions. The other thing that can go wrong is you might make a terrible first impression on the authors whose works you leave your comments on. Many authors tentatively await feedback from their readers—honest feedback—and when you deliver something that’s clearly just a plug, it upsets them. This is not the road to making readers, let alone valuable friends.

So what’s a better way to network on JP? How can you invite other members of the community to check out your work without making a bad first impression or being intrusive? The solution is actually pretty ironic.

Participate.

Participate in everything.

Go ahead. Read. Leave comments—and note the plural form. Follow the author. Bookshelf their work. Share chapter releases on your social networks. +Vote the chapters you really like. Do anything and everything to make your presence known, because presence = visibility, and visible authors get read.  Give first, then receive.

This isn’t just advice for networking on JukePop; this is networking advice in general. As popular twitter personality Ksenia Anske posted a while back on her blog, the only way to really build an online presence (and, we would add, build a network) is to be present; to relentlessly make yourself visible to the world. Take it further and paint yourself in a positive light by being open, reciprocal, and fun to be around, rather than just present for the perks that may come. People will be drawn to you naturally, and afterwards be drawn to your body of work.

Next time you comment on another author’s story asking them to “check out your serial,” don’t just leave that single remark and walk away. Read and comment on the whole story. The author will see that you are genuinely interested in their work, and they might just become interested in you.

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!

 

JukePop’s 4th Bi-Annual Award — September 18, 2014

JukePop’s 4th Bi-Annual Award

JukePop’s 4th Bi-Annual award is here!

For those who don’t know, every month we award cash prizes to our top active stories based on reader +Votes, and every six months we award a deluxe $500 prize to the top-voted serial in that period. This year’s competition looks incredibly stiff, with long-time serials competing with some hot new stars in what is arguably our most active season yet. How did site wide changes like the community feed and monthly rankings affect the charts?

Let’s jump right in and see who all the frontrunners are. Note that this season, we’re not ranking authors solely on +Votes, but also on the average reading time for their story and the typical length of each chapter; stories with noticeably quick reading times or particularly short chapters may not qualify for the prize.

(DISCLAIMER: The following rankings were generated on September 15th 2014; rankings may differ by the September 30th deadline)

6) Rise by Brian Guthrie – 1654 +Votes

Rise_cover_163c38b1_20140323210221PM

On a shattered world protected from the cold of space by a water shield, the people are dependent on Ancient technology to survive. Now, that network is breaking down and the water on one shell is running out, setting the inhabitants on a path toward war. The search to find answers brings four complete strangers, each struggling with their own inner turmoil, together to prevent the destruction of the world as they know it.

5) How to Break an Evil Curse by Laura Morrison – 1742 +Votes

cover_020585f1_20140314141630PM

An evil wizard with a grudge against the King curses the King’s firstborn child so that the child will never be able to be touched by sunlight. 19 years later, Princess Julianna sets out to have a life despite the curse. Antics ensue. Will she find the man who can break the spell?

4) Retcontinuum by Shaunn Grulkowski – 1810 +Votes

Retcontinuum5_(1)_de5ee891_20140115181818PM

While time travel isn’t physically possible, science has found a way to record all of your present thoughts, feelings, and experiences over your consciousness at a fixed point in the past. This gives the user the ability to drastically alter their future.

3) Vampire Empire by Stella Purple – 1931 +Votes

Untitled-2_25fad0b1_20140228085107AM

“There are no dark princes that will sweep you off your feet into an eternal world in this land, but their looks sure can drive the mortals mad. Care to take a bite, dear?”

2) Hobson & Choi by Nick Bryan – 2142 +Votes

JP-cover_a9575b58_20140717113941AM

Enthusiastic teenager Angelina Choi has joined John Hobson’s one-man detective agency as an intern. Can she change the world before her two week stint ends, or at least find the undermotivated private eye a crime to solve? Can they solve a series of complex modern-day crimes, way out of Hobson’s comfort zone? Can they cope with each other’s dark secrets? Will they stop bickering long enough for any of that?

1) Money Matters by Dean Moses – 2161 +Votes

covrchanged_5e23e25a_20140427133017PM

Money Matters is the story of four individuals and their unique relationship with the money that bound them all together during the 1930s.

Keep an eye out for our announcement of the winner on September 30th. Don’t see your favorite serial up here? Get out there and +Vote!

 

Which story do you think deserves to win the $500 prize?

 

%d bloggers like this: