So, I've been invited to speak on FM radio...

Hey everyone,

So I've recently been invited to speak on a popular talk radio show on a music station based in British Columbia, Canada about my books. However, I'm much more comfortable downplaying my books in favor of talking about the webfiction process and method. Now I like to think I'm pretty knowledgeable about our particular publishing niche, but I'd like to hear from you guys on what you think I should be bringing attention to. I'd like to at least (passably) sound like I know what I'm talking about, so I'm going to head deep into research on it. Also, please suggest articles I should read up on, statistics and whatnot. I'd like to do this for all of us and get more attention on the webserial/webfiction community, so help me help us all. :)

Good stuff, EJ.

I wouldn't worry too much about memorizing statistics or getting into things as though they were a university lecture. Discussion on the radio is often more effective if you just start with the broad strokes and stand prepared to break it down into tidy, successively more detailed pieces of information.

So the basic idea of webfiction is that it's posted regularly in (complete) pieces online, often with lots of cliffhangers.

Amazon thinks it's interesting enough that they're sponsoring some, but that's only a small piece of what's going on.

This isn't a new thing. Serials date all the way back to the days of Mark Twain, who would release his books in pieces through the newspapers before binding them together in a complete package. (This is one area you'll want to research).

Serials tell a different sort of story than you'd get with a novel. You learn to anticipate the climax, twist or conclusion with novels because you know there's only so many pages left, sort of like you do with movies. Serials are more like TV series, they're more involved, they sprawl, and aside from the conclusion, you don't know what to expect and when.

A novel is more like a big meal, but serials are like a snack. They're good if you tend to finish books too fast or if you want something to occupy yourself on a coffee break.

With lots of serials, the author can hear what the audience likes and doesn't like and shape the story in little ways.

(I'd suggest sticking to one way of referring to them, because we'll see better results if you fix it in the audience's mind that these are serials, rather than confusing them with Serial/webserial/webfiction/efiction, etc).

I think the main point that media currently is getting wrong is that the "serial died" between Dickens and now . For the most part it's been doing quite fine. People have been writing fiction online since the BBS days through newsgroups, websites, communities like and etc. etc.

In terms of statistics and such, I think it's hard to grasp the audience out there simply because the bigger sites don't talk about it. That said I read that Amazon's serial experiment is going well. A few of the serials hit the top 10-100 shortly after their release. That suggests quite an interesting appetite for works.

Wattpad also cites stats here:

And you're free to read through the stuff I've been compiling here -- as it refers a lot to other sites and blogs that have been recently touching on serial fic:

As I just started last month, there's not a huge backlog of posts to work through. :)

Honestly I think serial fic/online fiction is a much bigger pool than this directory and the community around it suggests. It is, however, highly fragmented and there's really not a consensus term for the genre we operate in. That's why I think people aren't aware of what is going on.

Whatever you do, don't sweat it. Have fun. DO talk about your work and thanks for offering to be a spokesman for the rest of us ;)

Hey, if they recorded it, I'd love to hear it...

Same here! Link us up if it gets posted online. :)

I think web fiction offers great creative freedom that big publishers can no longer afford. The stakes are so high that publishers are unwilling to take risks on stories that don't fit a particular market (which is understandable). But for the first time in a long time, if ever, readers are allowed to get stories that aren't being forced into a mold. I find that incredibly freeing as a writer, and fascinating as a reader. I think it's worth mentioning, if speaking on the value of web fiction, because like webcomics it is a place for authors to cut their teeth or sharpen the ones they already have. It comes at a great time as self-publishing grows ever more popular (kickstarter, ebooks, etc.) and publishers tighten their belts in the face of the economic downturn.

Well said, whibbage. That is exactly why I like to support web fiction.

Letitia Coyne sometimes writes about the formulas publishers look for to fit certain genres of fiction (romance, westerns, etc) and it always makes me wince. I would HATE to read a book that was written to fit a certain formula for mass popularity. I want to read a story that will surprise and astonish me. I want to read a creative person's unique ideas. I want to read the story that someone else needed to tell. I think all the greatest books that were ever written were by someone going out on a limb and writing what they wanted to write, not what they thought others wanted to read.

The traditional publishing industry will only let a few of these stories be told amid all the formulaic stuff. So the internet offers a new hope.

Letitia Coyne sometimes writes about the formulas publishers look for to fit certain genres of fiction (romance, westerns, etc) and it always makes me wince.

Indeed. Part of the problem is that that the "data" behind what works has fed the mentality of "well it has to be this long and have this kind of character or it won't work." I'm grateful for all the avenues we have now to self-publication to avoid such gatekeepers.

Thanks for pointing out Letitia. Will add her blog to my RSS tracker!