Sean and I have crossed paths here and there over the years, and when I found out about his serial ebook project, I had to know more. So here is Sean, in the digital flesh.
1) Why a serialized fiction project?
Serialized fiction is something my writing partner David Wright and I have been interested in for a long time. In fact, we started our first serialized project more than two years ago at our website, Collective Inkwell. It was a horror novel called Available Darkness.
We published a new entry each Friday and developed a decent sized audience in a reasonably short time, but life nudged its way to the front and we both got busy with the immediate needs of life which forced us to pause the project. We resurrected it earlier this year and published it on Kindle and print this summer.
But our new project, Yesterday’s Gone, was an entirely different beast from day one!
By mid-summer, our small imprint had published five titles. Unfortunately, those five titles were in four different markets. We knew we really needed to fix this. It's difficult to hit critical mass on Kindle without multiple titles. But just because someone loves your book about vampires, doesn't mean they’re going to love your book about how to build an online writing business.
Yesterday's Gone was designed from day one to capitalize on the all-too-easy to click Kindle consumer phenomenon. This serial was a way for us to get six high quality titles to market that would keep readers at the edge of their seat, leave them wanting for more, and hopefully telling their friends about all the fun they had reading.
2) Did you choose a post-apocalyptic story because of the nature of the project, or was that always in the plans?
That's a great question!
Full credit for the premise goes to Dave. We were already discussing doing a serial, but to his way of thinking, it would be easier to get our first season to market if it was set in a world where we wouldn't end up drowning in research. With a post-apocalyptic setting, we essentially built ourselves a giant sandbox where we made all the rules.
Of course, there were still a ton of things to research and we had to make sure our dates and times all lined up, and that locations in our story matched locations on the map. This was especially difficult while doing some of the larger scenes in New York and Times Square, but was still significantly less work than it would have been if we were writing something set in the real world.
3) How does the collaboration work? Back and forth for each chapter, or write and rewrite?
Dave and I have been writing together for three years now. We met during what was the first few weeks for each of us online. Our collaboration is natural, organic, and wonderfully fluid. A project of this scope would've been impossible without it.
As far as Yesterdays Gone specifically, we started by writing the “pilot.” We decided there would be six characters and that each of us would handle the POV for three of them. Once finished, I sent my work to Dave and he pieced them all together.
For episodes 2-6, we each stuck with the characters we started with, following the same process, where I would write my three POV’s then send them to Dave for arrangement. I polished his copy and sent it back. Dave excels at structure, and I'm slightly better voice so that rhythm works really well for us.
4) How many episodes will you do, and what happens after they are finished?
There are six episodes in the first season, and right now we have at least three seasons planned, though if the audience is asking, we’ll definitely deliver more. We’re not sure six episodes is the perfect number for a season. Seems like there’s a lot to experiment with there. The next serial we have planned will have a different number of episodes and a slightly different page count for each one, almost for sure.
Dave's been getting the episodes to Kindle one at a time, but we’ve been fast-tracking the entire project since there isn't the big built-in audience that there will be for Season II. Once we’re in the second season, we’ll launch each episodes anywhere from a week to a month apart, depending on audience feedback.
5) Do you see other possibilities for invention and experimentation with form in the digital era?
Absolutely! I am thoroughly in love with where self-publishing is right now, and I think experimentation is everything. We have many, many plans, in multiple genres. And we can't wait to explore them all.
We hope you enjoy this trailer, and will share it on Facebook, Twitter and email. You can start with the pilot of Yesterday's Gone for just $.99 or get the entire season for $4.99, which is a super great deal!
If you’re a reader who likes the extra goodies (like exclusive chapters and sneak peeks), or an author who wants a behind-the-scenes look at the writing and marketing process for this project, sign up to be a “goner,” here.Thanks for having me at the Haunted Computer, Scott.