I'm considering serialising my next story and I'd really like to know what you think of serialised fiction. My story is an eerie romance/mystery with light sci fi/horror elements, named Lake Ephemeral. I think it would translate well to a serial format, but I'm hesitant to release it this way because I have no idea how readers will feel about it. I LOVE the thought of the old serial novels of yesteryear. And in the internet age, I'm thinking it would be great to experiment and receive reader feedback along the way. Although the story has a definite plot and ending - it would be amazing to weave some reader feedback into the writing! (Also, this format would allow me some free time to work on other projects, such as a prequel for my Dollhouse series and the editing of books 2, 3 and 4 of that series.) I'd like to know your thoughts on releasing Lake Ephemeral as a serialised story (and I'll ask again at the end of this post, so that you don't have to scroll back up): A. Go for it - love the idea! B. It's not for me. I'd never buy in serialised format. C. This story itself doesn't appeal to me. D. Other  

So, what's the story?

This is the (unedited) first chapter, which gives a very good view of the story as a whole. Yes, it's a short one 🙂 (This is not the actual cover. Just a lovely pic to help illustrate the mood.)  

LAKE EPHEMERAL

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Chapter 1

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Seven manors on overgrown estates stood watch around Lake Ephemeral. A leaning iron fence kept them in and away from any adventurous onlookers. Foliage grew monstrously tall--strange and fantastical like triffids. Reeds and bulrushes rose like battalions around the lake’s edge, draped with Morning Glory. Half of the year, the lake was a bowl-shaped parkland, with stone statues of two children in its centre. But from April to September, rainfall drowned the park and turned it into a lake--and then the statues would disappear beneath the water. The lake was ephemeral, fed by yearly rains and a small underground river, and the entire estate was simply named Lake Ephemeral. I came to the lake as an orphan—returned to the place from which I’d been born. A place of which I had no memory. To meet a mother I’d never known I had. At first, the lake seemed a wild place of wonder and liberty. The other children who lived there were free to do as they pleased. Children with strange, intense eyes like mine. I no longer felt quite so alone, because I was like them. Almost. But I soon discovered there were worse things at Lake Ephemeral than triffids.

*

Kite draws his strong, wiry arms around me—our bodies wet and cold from the lake. In front of us, moonlight falls into the gaping holes of the ruins of the seventh manor, vines spilling in through the rooftops and windows. Voices and rustles come in snatches through the night air. They’re waiting for us. We’ll find a way through, Kite tells me quietly, his dark hair threading wetly down the sides of his face. I tilt my chin in determination, but I have no words that wouldn’t sound hollow. Even if we manage to get away from here, the manors will just rebuild themselves brick by brick in the back of our minds, and the vines will wind and claw their way to us. No matter how far we run. Wiping my mud-caked hands on my jeans, I try to still the shivers that race along my back. Whispers gather around us—a swarm that rises from the earth. Kite hears it too, but pretends he doesn’t. At age nineteen, he’s grown so tall I can barely glimpse the nuggetty nine-year-old boy he was when I first came to Lake Ephemeral. His marbled-green eyes have hardened since then. Seraphin, I promise you, he adds. His voice is deep and sure. He half-turns so I can’t see inside him. Because he knows, as I do, that it’s already too late. Far, far too late.

Copyright Anya Allyn 2014

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What would this serialised story involve?

It would be released in 10,000-12,000 word (approx. 40 pages) segments. No more than six segments in total. Even if the last segment should run to far more than 10,000-12,000 words, I would keep it to one last segment. The protagonist, Seraphin Ferron, would grow from an eight-year-old child to the age of eighteen, and she would be aged eight and nine in the first two parts of the serial. The story as a whole would be for readers aged 16+ and would involve adult situations (when Seraphin is of age). The emphasis of the story is on the mystery, but it will have strong romantic elements. Being that the emphasis is on mystery, the segments would involve cliffhangers. Seraphin is Australian. Malachite (Kite) is American. It will be written in UK English (Hey, I'm Australian! 😀 ) I wrote the Dollhouse books in American English as they featured an American protagonist and it seemed to make sense to do this.  

Is the story complete?

The first segments are, but not the whole story. The entire story though, has been plotted, right through to the end. As part of my experiment with a serialised story, I'd like to include some reader interaction and input along the way!  

Would there be a release schedule?

I haven't planned that far ahead! This is new to me. I'd love to experiment with a serialised story, but not if readers will hate it!  

Is there a cover yet?

Not yet. I have an incredible artist working on the cover right now. I'm super-excited about what he is going to do with my ideas for the cover art. His work is stunning! (No, the posted image is not the cover. The story doesn't have a wolf in it 😀  (Apologies to werewolf fans!!) I just liked the image, and the girl in my story will have similar hair.)  

What would the total cost be?

First of all, I certainly wouldn't want it to cost any more than a novel, and I think speaking  in money terms is important because it's important to the reader. I'm very conscious of the fact that readers might want to know the overall cost to them before they start a serial (even if the first in the series is free, as it's still an investment in time). When publishing a novel myself, I price at $4.99.  If I were to publish in serial format, it would be in 12,000 words segments (approx. 40 pages) and I'd price each one at 0.99c. 1st part: Free 2nd part: 0.99 3rd part: 0.99 4th part: 0.99 5th part: 0.99 6th part: 0.99 Total:     $ 4.99 Releasing this way would be at a loss to me, as Amazon (where the largest numbers of my sales originate from) only pay half the royalty rate for anything priced under $2.99. So, if I price at 0.99 for each segment, I receive only a few cents for each (0.35c to be exact. And when I deduct the cost of cover art, editing and proofreading... it could well run at a big loss altogether). When the serial is finished, I would release as a novel, for those readers who prefer to read a whole book in one sitting.  

Your thoughts?

A. Go for it - love the idea! B. It's not for me. I'd never buy in serialised format. C. This story itself doesn't appeal to me. D. Other     Image credit