Tag Archives: Serialization

This Plague Of Days, Episode 4, Season Two is out! (and why I won’t do this again)

Here’s the truth about reviews:

The happy ones make my day. When someone is unhappy, it drains creative energy a bit. Yeah, that’s right. I said it. I’m human. (God, the shame of that statement!)

Sometimes unhappy reviews and low ratings are a result of a misunderstanding. I’m finding that’s certainly true of This Plague of Days. Some readers love it despite it being a serial.  For a few readers, I’ve found that people have mistaken Episode 2 for Season 2. Then they’re mad at me. That sucks. I want the impossible. I want everyone to be happy.

I usually tell them in a review comment (unless they sound crazy), as gently as I can, that if they’ve bought any book in error, they can return it to Amazon for a refund and all’s well. Mistakes happen but I’ll never know if the bruised reader ever read my helpful comment and went, “Oh, okay.”

That’s one of the reasons I won’t be serializing the third season of This Plague of Days. Despite the reader’s mistaken click, I’m still stuck with a one-star review. We’ve labelled the books and I’ve made a point of warning people to click wisely in the sales description, but there is still confusion. It doesn’t happen often, but I truly am sorry when anyone gets confused or disappointed in their purchase. I’m not out to rip anyone off and the stakes are rather low to try that in this business. That would be like going to the trouble of counterfeiting dimes.

 Still, I wish there were an easier delivery system for serials because I love writing in this format. Well…

Actually, there is a better delivery system.

With Amazon serials, readers pay one low price once and episodes are delivered automatically. Personally, I’d worry that your kindle would update automatically and you wouldn’t be aware of the new arrival, but that question is moot. You see, before I launched This Plague of Days, I contacted Amazon’s  serialization department, somewhere in the bowels of the beast. 

Did I, perchance, mention that Episode 4 of Season 2 is now available for fans of serialization? All of 99 cents now.

Did I, perchance, mention that Episode 4 of Season 2 is now available for fans of serialization? All of 99 cents now.

I made my pitch for This Plague of Days. I wanted them to handle it because I knew they could spread the good word far and wide and make it easier on me. I pressed send and promptly…never heard a thing from them. This isn’t nyaa-nyaa-na-nyaa-nyaa. Sales are brisk with TPOD, but being part of Amazon serials would have been a better reader experience.  

I must admit, the guy who hated Season One and then read and reviewed Season Two anyway? Flummoxes me. He hated Season Two almost as much, but that second read…wasn’t that a self-inflicted wound? And the people who declare they hate serials but bought a serial anyway? Gobsmacked me. I guess it’s the downside of the quick one-click buy. To their credit, some people who hate serials put that aside, gave the story a chance and ended up writing nice reviews anyway. That’s actually pretty cool of them.

Most reviews have been awesome and, each day, I get a boost from the vast majority of reviewers who are so encouraging. They dig my word-jazz and want me to keep going. This isn’t an easy thing and if you’ve been reading along in this space, you know why. I appreciate the kind words. I’m a sucker for “Atta-boy! Atta-boy! Go get the ball!”

Anyone who has read any of my books will not be surprised to find I’m conditioned to expect the worst in any situation. Tonight, I got a request to list TPOD Season Two on Nook. For the foreseeable future, I’m sticking with Amazon because that’s where my books sell. (Though Season One is in paperback and Season Two should be in print, too, just in time for Christmas.)

It’s a measure of the depth of my pessimistic worldview that I expected to be be chided for not being on all sales platforms. Instead, the reader kindly replied that she understood, no hard feelings and she’d read Season Two on her computer. You know how it is when you expect Mom to slap you and you get a hug instead? It felt like that. (I’m assuming. All I remember about my childhood was getting chased with a wooden spoon. And Mom smiled when she had me running into a dead end.)

So, in honor of the vocal minority, you win, I’m sorry, I suck, you’re good. Season Three will be one book. No episodes. No 99 cents weekly. Just, bam! Here’s your story. No serialization of Season Three. Hope you love it. By the time most people are reading the third season, that’s a pretty clear signal they’re all in by now, anyway.

I don’t regret serializing Season One, though.

The reason I don’t regret the first serialization is, This Plague of Days would never have taken off if I hadn’t serialized it. Obviously Amazon Serials didn’t have much hope for me as an investment, but it worked out. Those readers who loved Season One but got annoyed (or downright pissed off) because they mistakenly thought the episodes were seasons? They probably wouldn’t have discovered the story they liked (or as cheaply) if I hadn’t launched the book as a serial. They simply would not have seen my signal flare.

Yes, serialization is more expensive to the author and more demanding of the reader. Yes, it’s damned clumsy. But it can also work as a tool of discovery. That’s crucial to get a book noticed in a sea of offerings. Readers think it’s hard to find a book to enjoy? Wow, is it ever hard to write and publish a book and get anyone to give it a chance.

Anyway, I hope you understand the choice. And now, in keeping with my worldview, I shall sit back and await the outraged emails. It’s true, you’ll get a lot less of Kit Foster’s awesome cover art this way.* It’s a no-win sitch, ain’t it?

 

*Oh, and just wait until you see the cover of Episode 5 next week! It’s so creepy! Kit’s a genius!)

A bit of research: The Prepper's Pocket guide, 101 Easy Things You Can Do To Ready Your Home for a Disaster by Bernie Carr.

A bit of research: The Prepper’s Pocket guide, 101 Easy Things You Can Do To Ready Your Home for a Disaster by Bernie Carr.

 

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Episode 3 of This Plague of Days looks like this (plus sneak peaks)

First, a thank you

Hi everyone! A few quick things to let you in on!

Season One of This Plague of Days just got its 50th review and I want to thank everyone who took the time to purchase, read and review TPOD! I appreciate every review. Well, let’s be real. I appreciate almost every review. 🙂 Here, I’m talking to the club. You’re probably only reading this if you get my flavor of chocolate neuro-fudge. There are always a few who don’t get it. That’s okay. I wish them well finding something they do enjoy, assuming they have the capacity for joy. (Ooh! That was uncalled for.)

Fifty reviews! Wow! That’s by far the most reviews I’ve had on any of my books. Also, to be real, I got a lump in my throat this morning. To write books that stirs something in people is the most any writer could hope for and I’m sincerely grateful I’ve dug the screwdriver into the pleasure center at the right angle this time.

Soon I’ll return to an office I worked in fourteen years ago.

A friend asked if i was okay with that, given that I closed my practice two years ago so I could write full time. I said yes, I’m okay with that, but only because of of you and the success of This Plague of Days. Without my readers, I’d be going back feeling like a failure. Instead, I’m optimistic. I’m finding my audience and my audience is finding me. If that takes more time, it’s worth the wait.

It’s corny, I know, but you are helping me fulfill the dreams I had when I was six years old. Sincerely, thank you so much for reading my books and digging my sour worldview for entertainment purposes.

Next, so there’s no confusion over Episode 3

If you’re reading Season 2 as a serial, the cover below is what the latest episode looks like.

(Please note, this is Episode 3, NOT Season 3. That comes out next spring.)

I know most people get the difference between episodes and seasons and I’ve been careful to explicate. Still, I know there is some confusion about serialization. If anyone clicks the wrong episode, Amazon is great about returns and refunds. The great thing is, I now notice more readers are letting go of reading episodes and are just clicking on the full seasons.

However you want to eat the chocolate neuro-fudge, it’s warm as blood and waiting. Thanks!

This Plague of Days 2 E3 0918

About the Season One paperback

I’ve had quite  a few requests from folks who want to read This Plague of Days in paperback. I appreciate that and thank you for your patience. I’ve had a bit of a sticky wicket and a bad road in getting the book formatted correctly. However, I think I got past the last road of wickets Sunday morning. I’m waiting for approval from the printer for the paperback of Season One. It’s not available yet, but soon! While you wait, here’s what Season One‘s paperback cover looks like:

Kit Foster of KitFosterDesign.com is my graphic designer. Nice and talented in one package. If you need a web banner or a cover, check out Kit's work.

Kit Foster of KitFosterDesign.com is my graphic designer. Nice and talented in one package. If you need a web banner or a cover, check out Kit’s work.

And then there’s this:

Kit’s work doesn’t stop with great book covers. He also supplied me with great artwork for my new business. I’m starting November 4 and just getting things pulled together and sorted out. If you ever wonder why I don’t already have the paperbacks lined up and out there, there’s a distinct lack of interns and staff around here and my family refuses to wear the Oompa Loompa outfits. 

This Plague of Days Seasons One and Two are bestsellers, but no, I’m absolutely not in the plus column yet. I took two years off work to set up Ex Parte Press and I need to supplement my income to take the firm to the next level. I’m not quitting writing. I’m adding enterprises so I can fund book promotion efforts and let the kids have lunches and suppers again. I based this economical measure knowing that, since breakfast is the most important meal of the day, we’d save a lot of cash nixing the other two meals. I’m also playing the lottery wicked hard and I assume that ploy always works out, right?

Here’s my new website and practice, if you’re curious. 

(Unless you live in Other London, it won’t do you a damn bit of good unless I contact you psychically.) 

For other books of suspense, there are more options.

If you liked TPOD, try Murders Among Dead Trees, for instance.

To buy more books by me, check the right sidebar for affiliate links at  AllThatChazz.com. Thanks again!


This Plague of Days: Explaining Serialization to Readers

Somebody thought I was trying to rip them off. That upsets me greatly, so, before we get into the heady release of Season 2, a post to clear things up. If anyone else wants to know about serialization, here it is:

There are all kinds of reasons to serialize which I’ve explained on my blog for writers. This post is for readers who don’t care about that behind-the-scenes stuff. Serialization is an old thing (i.e. Dickens et al) that’s new again. Some readers will inevitably become confused as to what’s going on. They’re used to buying one book, or books in a series, so serial’s look weird at first. (Too bad Amazon Serials didn’t go for This Plague of Days, though I’m told this same landmine pops up for them, too.)

Season One of This Plague of Days is the complete first book.

This is the beginning of a large story arc. It was sold weekly, as episodes, through the summer of 2013. There were five episodes in Season One. It’s a lot of fun to write this way. It’s much like writing for television (hence “seasons” and “episodes”.) People had the option of buying Season One at once, one episode each week and some even bought both.

I was surprised how many people preferred to read it episodically.

The episodes cost 99 cents and at that price people were getting a novella. I kept the price at $3.99 so readers could read a big chunk of the beginning (Episode One) and decide whether they wanted to give the next episode a chance, bail, or just go get the whole thing at a discount.

After Season One ended, I did a huge giveaway (close to 14,000 free copies) and then raised the price to $4.99. At 106,000 words and years in the making, I think that’s very fair for many hours of entertainment. You know…if you dig it. If you don’t dig it, no price is fair and I hope you didn’t pick it up. I don’t want to waste anyone’s time. I know my flavor won’t be for everyone, but judging from the happy feedback, I’m very grateful that I’ve finally written something so many people enjoy. I’ve written nine other books I love, but this is the one that seems to have potential to be the biggest hit.

The criticism I received was based on a misapprehension. That’s okay. We’re all human here, right? No zombies in the room? Good.

As I write this on September 25, the episodes you see listed make up Season One. Season Two does not release until October 1, 2013.

We kept the same theme through the covers and labelled the covers Episodes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 (versus Season One) to try to avoid any confusion with Season Two. My cover artist, Kit Foster of KitFosterDesign.com, created a Season Two cover that has a very different look to distinguish it from Season One. All the covers are labelled (we hope clearly) so no one clicks too quickly and gets something they don’t want (i.e. If you bought Season One, you’ve got all the available episodes already.)

Sorry if you missed it. If you’ve purchased any book in error, please return it to Amazon for an easy refund.  I never want anyone to feel ripped off. EV-ER. I’m in the brain tickle business to avoid anyone feeling ripped off.

Wait. It’s September 25!

I better get back to the final polishes of Season Two. There’s wood to pile, I’ve got to drive a kid to the orthodontist, we have a house guest tonight and SEASON TWO‘S RELEASE IS JUST DAYS AWAY! 

Oh, dear. I need interns. I need more coffee. I need somebody else to stack a cord of wood.

Crap.

Anyway, I hope that clears things up and no hard feelings.


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