Ishta’s Companion: Progress Report Eleven

Chapter Eleven is now posted; it wasn’t paid for until about noon. I was dealing with my lunch and with computer problems, so it didn’t get posted until forty minutes later.

A little more has come in since, but Chapter Twelve is still a long way from being paid for. It’s also a long way from being written — I’m only a page or two in. The next scene will be very easy to write, though, so I should be able to get it done in time with no problem.

In the past I’ve always maintained a margin of at least a couple of chapters, usually four or five, but this time I haven’t managed that. I’ve been over-committed, what with wrapping up the Kickstarter campaign, and publishing Stuart Hopen’s Warp Angel, and family trips to New England and Canada, and assorted other distractions. After Capclave this weekend, though, I should have everything except the holidays out of the way and be able to catch up on writing.

The slow income is more of a problem, really. Many readers don’t seem to be enthusiastic about this story, and others don’t seem to even be aware of it, though I’ve been making announcements everywhere I can think of. Where do fantasy readers hang out that I haven’t hit?

As for the story, I don’t see it as slow-moving because everything so far has been establishing the characters and their situation, and it’s not intended to be action-adventure — most Ethshar stories aren’t. The pace should be picking up soon, though.

Someone commented that we’re ten chapters into a story that I said would run twenty, and not much has happened; leaving aside any quibbles about whether much has happened, I really don’t know how long this one’s going to be. That twenty chapter estimate may turn out to be way low. Or not; I really don’t know. What I think of as “Part One” will be wrapping up in a couple of chapters, and I have no idea how long Part Two (of two) will be.

Well, anyway, Chapter Eleven is up.

12 thoughts on “Ishta’s Companion: Progress Report Eleven

  1. So far I am liking the story, and I hope it turns out to be a full novel-sized work. I hope that people aren’t resisting donating because you originally said it would be shorter.

    It’s possible that people don’t want to spent the same amount of money for a shorter book, though. I know that I was reluctant to do so until I got invested more in the story and characters. $20 for a Robert Asprin Myth series sized novel is a bit much to stomach. 3/4 of one of the original Ethshar books is fine, though. I’m hoping it’s closer to the latter than the former.

  2. Hargal smiled an unpleasant smile. Well, Lord Dakkar certainly thinks this is part of his own domain, and he’s sent us to investigate.”

    Insert a quotation mark.

  3. I don’t know where the fantasy readers are hanging out these days, and hope that people chime in with suggestions. These days getting the word out about a project seems to be more than half the battle.

    Personally, I prefer the serial format to Kickstarter because I find seeing the story progress to be more enjoyable than simply watching numbers climb as the clock counts down. There are some aspects of a Kickstarter campaign that might be worth adapting to serials; tiered rewards get individual donors to open their wallets wider than they might otherwise, stretch goals pull at the community more than regular goals might, etc. At least this is the theory, and I don’t know any reason that theory wouldn’t translate.

    Anyway, I hope donations pick up and that this isn’t the last serial.

  4. I agree with Ryan, I prefer the serials. Reading each chapter and trying to anticipate the story as it unfolds and then reading it again after it publishes to see the minor changes is fun. I really enjoy it and the anticipation of getting on my computer each Wednesday and checking for a new chapter and wanting that next chapter to come out is just exciting.

    I would not mind the kickstarter or even the hybrid method since then you could incorporate more of the different levels of donation getting different fringe benefits/ rewards.

    Either way, I just hope to see plenty of new Ethshar stories on the horizon, I really do enjoy the most out of any series I have read.

    I know I missed the first couple serials because I was unaware of the whole serial process, but now I cant get enough of it. Boosting the awareness for it and somehow advertising it more would definitely help the whole process, question is how? Maybe the donors, myself included, should be trying to promote this to all of our book buddies and posting links on all forms of social media, its a start anyway.

  5. I put in my $5. I would have posted more, but the extra shipping cost to get it to Canada is a bit too much for me. I’ll just wait until it’s listed in and get free shipping.

    But I think this serial format has run it’s course. I too enjoy seeing it go up chapter by chapter over time, but Kickstarter seems to be dominating the crowdsource market and will likely get you a larger audience.

    Of course with Kickstarter you kind of have to write the story first, then get it funded, which is kind of the reverse of the serial method. Theoretically you could spend months writing a book and then not get the funding to publish it.

  6. Traditionally, first-time authors have always had to write their stories “on spec.” That was the big advantage of being an established author, and of using traditional publishing instead of self-publishing. Guess I’m not getting that advantage on some projects anymore.

    Though actually, donations have picked up this week; I haven’t checked the total, but I think I had better finish writing Chapter Twelve and get started on Thirteen.

    And incidentally, here’s a first-draft thing — in the second draft, all references to the month Leafcolor will probably be replaced with Newfrost. If this weren’t a serial I’d do a global search-and-replace now, but I don’t want to confuse readers, so it’ll wait until the first draft is finished.

    There are also some unclear motivations in recent chapters that will be explained in the second draft.

  7. I like the serial format. It adds something to the process, like what people got waiting for a new issue of a periodical to come out with a new chapter of a Dickens novel or kids got waiting all week to see what happened to Flash Gordon (who was clearly going to die, but then he didn’t). There’s an inherent element of suspense which comes from the format.

    On the other hand, it seems to me the format has dangers. Some people have complained that this serial has been slow-moving. I don’t agree, but I won’t quibble. I do wonder, though, if the format doesn’t accentuate that perception.

    I get the feeling that things in the story are really starting to get moving now. If I was reading a book that was complete, where I could buzz from chapter to chapter, I might not have thought of the process of getting to the point we are at now as “slow”. But waiting a week in between chapters may accentuate this feeling of “slowness.”

    Anyway, my two cents.

    I, for one, would still be up for more serialized (or kick-startered) Ethshar.


  8. Just checked the numbers — right now, with several days to go, Chapter Twelve is $13 short of being paid for.

    Honestly, I’m a bit surprised; I thought it was covered, as a bunch of donations have come in, including a large one. But then I realized that most of the others were only $5 apiece, which would explain my misperception. There’s the one big one, a couple of middling ones, and a bunch of small ones.

    I like the serial format, too, but sometimes it’s hard to maintain. I’m looking at various options, haven’t ruled out anything.

  9. I like the serial format, but it’s better suited to some stories than others, and maybe the pacing of this one is less suited to serial format than some others. (I think _The Final Calling_ and _The Sorcerer’s Widow_ were probably the best of the earlier serials in terms of pacing; though I love _The Spriggan Mirror_ too, I’m not sure it’s paced as well as the others I mentioned.) The idea of adapting some ideas from Kickstarter campaigns to use in your serials is probably a good one.

    How much would one need to donate to get *both* a paper copy and an ebook?

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