Superhero webfiction experiment

So lately I've been really killing myself with updates for the Points Between, over things that, after publishing, are monumentally silly. It took me two and a half weeks to finish the latest chapter because I was hung up on getting the main character downstairs. That was the first paragraph, and it's the stupidest reason in the world to be hung up on something, because the solution is to write "he went downstairs."

The truth is, the block was probably something else, and that fixation was just what I hung my hat on because I'm not sure how to describe it. But it convinced me that as I'm going along publishing this monstrosity I need to clear my palette from time to time. Which leads to this...

Because I clearly have too much free time, I'm starting a little superhero webfiction project. The basic idea is that it will only update once a month, like an actual comic book, and each update will be split into four acts (also similar to a lot of comic books). Drupal actually makes it kind of easy to organize this because they let you nest your books, so I create a "book" called "Curveball" (that's the name of the webfic series) and then I can create a page for "Issue 1" and then add four sub-pages to that (Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four) and if this turned into a multi-year thing I could even add Seasons and group issues under that.

But I'm not entering it into the WFG database because The Points Between is my priority and I really need to focus on those weekly updates. This is just to provide some relief, from time to time (writing superheroes is fun! Go figure!) Anyway, I thought I'd mention it here because it interests me and I like to talk about things that interest me...

Excelsior and all that!

This is the preliminary link, though eventually I'll be creating a landing page for it just like I do for my other stuff:

So... this experiment is taking an unexpected, but fascinating, change.

I was browsing around Amazon and I noticed that there is actually a rather brisk business for superhero fiction--but most of the fiction is sold as standalone novels.

There is also a rather brisk business in selling short stories, which I didn't expect.

So I was thinking "superhero fiction... short stories... comic books... superhero fiction... short stories... comic books..."

Then I thought "create serial superhero fiction modeled after a comic book and sell a new issue on Amazon (and other sites) every month."


So the experiment is expanding. Every month on my site (starting in July I think) I'll be releasing a new issue of Curveball, the new "prose comic" (I can't think of a better term for it just yet) on sites like Amazon, Barnes&Noble, etc. for 99 cents. Why 99 cents? Because a real comic book will run you about $2.50, and this won't have pretty pictures. Except for the cover. I'm spending money on two pretty good artists to design two covers that I can rotate for this thing.

Anyway, this should be interesting. I have about six issues worth of material so far. I'll y'all know how it works out, because if it works for me, it should definitely work for you guys who've been doing this for a while, and know what you're doing.

Cool. I'm not putting it up that way, but Legion of Nothing will be going up on Amazon as soon as it can be arranged. I've currently got roughly 4 books worth.

That's a really cool idea Ubersoft. I hope you get a lot of success with it. Superheroes are the new Twilight for now because of the movies that have been coming out...especially the Avengers movie.

It would be kind of awesome if I could actually find some success with it, but while I have a pretty good handle on how it will be produced every month, and I understand the distribution aspects of it, I'm still sort of clueless about the marketing. I mean, the passive aspect to marketing I think have pretty well worked out, in that by presenting it as a "comic" the target audience is already going to be expecting it to be an ongoing serial, because that's what comics are. However, the *active* marketing--the important part that actually lets people know it's out there and gets them to check it out--well. No clue.

I'm not sure how to do that either, but you have more of a platform for it than most of us, I think.

With as many readers as you have for the comic you do, an advertisement on the same page as your comic could easily get you readers. Beyond that from what I've read, one of the best marketing tools in ebooks is having multiple ebooks, thereby increasing the chance that people will find them. Assuming you put out 12 issues a year, it could easily increase the visibility of your series as well as that of "Pay Me, Bug!"

That assumes, of course, that the various gurus of ebook self-publishing (Konrath, Dean Wesley Smith) actually know what they're talking about.

This may or may not be true. I don't have enough experience to tell.

The backlist thing occurred to me as well. It'll be interesting to see if that works.

As far as the webcomic thing goes, it's hard to say. There was very little crossover when I started publishing Pay Me, Bug! -- but now that I've integrated all my sites together into one big tagged-and-indexed thing there does seem to be more cross-traffic.

Ah! Prose Comic is such a cool term! It's one of those not really accurate but people will know what you mean sort of terms.

But yeah we could all do with better idea of how to market.