Why Serialize?

I wrote The Nex in 2008, and it was one of the most pleasant writing experiences of my life. I challenged myself to make sure every chapter included a spectacle or a revelation (or both), and had a great time doing it.

I sent it to some first readers, got some great feedback, revised it, sent it to my agent, made some changes she suggested, and then we sent it out into the world…

And nobody wanted to publish it. The rejections were mostly very nice, but they were still rejections. I could speculate about why it didn’t sell — it’s got a 13-year-old protagonist, which positions it as an upper middle grade book, but there are also lots of adult characters and, uh, situations, which makes it seem more like a young adult book, and the mismatch makes it hard to market; it’s a science fiction novel in an industry where, I’m told, fantasy novels are a much easier sell; and so on.

It’s not the first novel I’ve written and failed to sell… but I think it’s the best novel I’ve written and failed to sell. I considered just trunking it, but the thing is, I love this book. I love the narrator Randy, I love Howlaa and Wisp, I love the whole world of Nexington-on-Axis. I want people to read about them. Since I’ve had such great luck with my previous two online serials, I thought… why not do another one?

So I did.

6 Responses to Why Serialize?

  1. Max says:

    Serializing is a great idea!
    I love authors who are sufficiently proud of their work to say ‘to hell with the system’ and post their material online for all to enjoy. (Because what is art for, if not to be admired by the multitudes?)
    Anyway, just a thought, how about making an RSS feed?
    I (like probably many others) like serialized fiction, and I (like many others, no probably) am lazy and/or busy. That means that I go through the following scenario every week:
    Friday morning: Where’s the story?!
    Friday evening: GREAT! When is the next part?!
    Saturday: Waiting for the next part….
    Sunday: That was a good chapter on Fri. need to make it to the weekend.
    Monday: Ho hum.
    Tuesday: —
    And so on until Friday when I forget about it or am too busy. Then at some point I remember and go and try and catch up and it’s a lot of text and I don’t have time and….
    BUT, if it’s an RSS feed, then I don’t have to think about it. The little icon blinks to let me know there’s a new chapter, and I read it at my convenience, at home or on the move. I am able to thoroughly enjoy the story, without having to worry about it all week long.
    So, what do you say?

  2. Sean Winstead says:

    Your stories always enchant me. I was wondering if you have any tips for a teenager who wants to spend their life dreaming and writing?

    • timpratt says:

      Thanks! It’s hard to spend your *whole* life dreaming and writing — you have to go grocery shopping, clean the gutters, and scoop the cat litter occasionally — but if you want to be a writer, my only advice is: write a lot, and read even more than you write. Read all sorts of things, too, not just the sort of thing you’d like to write… though you should read a lot of that, too. And don’t get discouraged. Writing isn’t like ballet or being a model or playing professional [whatever]ball — you don’t have a practical limit on the length of your career. It can be a lifelong pursuit, and one you keep getting better and better at.

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