I really don’t like talking about myself in the “I’m so great” hype type of sense. If I plan to self-publish, I guess I need to do a little chest thumping every now and again, but it really isn’t me. One of the things holding me back from getting my work “out there” is I’ve been struggling with my brand. I’ve been collecting all sorts of information on what I should and shouldn’t do. All sorts of advice on how to market myself and so on. I think the best piece of advice I’ve received is the traditional, “be who you are” advice.
I’ve been trying to pigeon-hole my first book in the traditional book way. I’ve started the sequel and found I’m struggling with the “book” mentality. I don’t seem to write that way. I’ve written part one of book two and started part two. Each of these first five parts taking about 100 pages as a substory all its own.
Let me back track about five years and start where I started writing again. I started with a space opera that went nowhere. I wrote 160,000 words in two years and no end was forth coming. The problem lay in the way I was writing the darn thing. The first “book” consisted of seven stories (novellas if you will) that were complete (in the first draft sense of complete) on their own. Each told a mini-story about a series of galactic events. So I had seven stories that I could put together and call a book, each progressing the over arching story, but the seven stories themselves didn’t tell a story. That is, there was no reason to call those seven together a book as opposed to six or eight. Essentially there was a missing layer of story that prevented the first book from being a book.
Then I switched to a fantasy story that I’d been wanting to write for nearly twenty years. I’ve spent the last (going on) three years writing this story, I’ve found something similar happening. The first book, while a complete book this time, is broken into three distinct story parts. Each making sense on their own as a sub-story.
Over this same period of time, I have been getting more and more into Japanese Anime and Manga. I really like the serialized episodic story telling. Essentially, that’s the way I’ve been writing. A story arc, followed by the next arc, and so on. The nice thing about this type of story telling is that it goes on as long as the story needs. It doesn’t force itself into a certain size, it doesn’t force itself to wrap up all the loose ends before the next arc begins. Stories flow one into the next. Unfortunately, I’ve been trying to write this way, only trying to press the story into a book form as well.
After doing a little research into the way things are being marketed on the Amazon Kindle, I’ve decided to release my work the way it ought to be released, namely, episodically. More and more serialized fiction has been appearing on the kindle, so it seems there is a market for the stuff. I had thought about this a lot last fall, but a couple of months ago, I heard an interview with Sean Platt and David Wright (actually the interview was with one of them and I don’t remember which one it was). They’ve written a post apocalyptic serial that seems to be doing quiet well, and it’s exactly what I’ve been thinking about trying myself.
So when considering my so-called “brand” I think I will specialize in episodic fiction. It just seems to make more sense for the way I write. The nice thing about this type of writing is that I can take an episode and make it an aside to build the characters that support the protagonist. A technique I really enjoy in the Japanese Anime/Manga story telling form. It really gets the reader invested fully in all of the characters, and I want to do the same thing.