I was delighted when author Kia Zi Shiru asked me to be involved in the blog tour for her new novella, Black Sheep. The following post details her experience of publishing a serial online. I must say I am in love with the cover. Enjoy!

***
Thank you so much for having me on your
blog today, Lorraine. Today I will be talking a bit about some of the
decisions I made to publishing Black Sheep as a novella.
Until a few months ago I had no plans
to publish Black Sheep as an ebook. I thought that because it
is already an online serial I couldn’t just publish and expect
people to pay for it. After some more thoughts (and realising that my
original plan for publishing last year’s NaNoWriMo story wouldn’t
work) I decided to publish it as an ebook anyway. Because I had found
that there were actually pretty convincing arguments to do it against
the very few arguments to not do it.
The main reason is that Black Sheep
is a finished work, I have three ebooks I can release within a decent
time span without making fans worry about if I would finish the
trilogy. A lot of people don’t like to start a series that is not
finished. I can promise people that I won’t abandon the series
halfway through or anything like that because it is already finished.
Even if I would suddenly die, or fall ill, the other two novellas
could still get published (after some editing). There is no chance
that the reader would be left hanging and not know how it ends.
This combined well with my second
reason, marketing. I could learn some marketing tricks with Black
Sheep
and see how it all works without having to worry about what
my marketing audience was going to be. I already have experience with
the target audience, I know how they usually respond to it. This
means that I can focus more on trying to get people outside of the
target audience interested in the story. Black Sheep is not a
story I can easily put in categories and this has always meant that
even though I have a couple of quite loyal fans I’ve also had
trouble finding the perfect audience for it.
By publishing Black Sheep as
ebooks I open the story up to a lot of people who would have
otherwise never found it. Black Sheep is in no way traditional
and even though the online world seems to be quite forgiving about
that, I know that the general public might have more trouble with it.
But I’m trying anyway because I know Black Sheep is worth
it.
I had one argument against epublishing
it: it was already available online. To me it had always been a
strong argument until I realised I could add things to this ebook
that wasn’t available for my serial readers, editing and extra
content.
Black Sheep: Letting go of the Past
has an extra short story added to the end. One that hasn’t been
available before. This means that even for people who have already
read the serial there is still a bit that is new. For people who
haven’t read the serial it simply means they get a bit more than
just the chapters.
I’ve always been very vocal about
e-publishers getting editors involved before publishing a book
because I think that if you expect others to respect you enough to
buy something you should respect them by having a well polished
story. This includes editing. For me my own editing skills were good
enough for Black Sheep as an online serial, but not as a
published book. So I got myself an editor and she lovingly polished
it to something that is better than it was before.
In the end I only had one reason not to
publish and a lot of reasons to take the leap and show Black Sheep
to the larger public that epublishing gives. I think the ease of
downloading an ebook, the improved story and the extra short story
are totally worth the extra investment I made to also epublish Black
Sheep
.
Thank you so much Lorraine for giving
me the space on your blog to talk about why I published Black
Sheep
as a novella.
Cheers! Kia
Additional info on Author Kia and her novella Black Sheep:
Kia Zi Shiru is a Dutch girl studying
English and Creative Writing in the UK. Amongst her interests she
finds writing, reading, doing research and learning different
languages (including but not limited to: English, Dutch, French,
German, HTML, Java, PHP and Assembly). Her writing and reading habits
include books with Young Adults, gay themes, strong female or
minority characters and fantasy elements (more often then not all at
the same time).
Blurb:
Trying to rescue her son from a
destructive environment, where the end of his last relationship
almost ended in tragedy, Vic’s mother decides to move them all to a
new town. Vic, glad at being able to start anew, takes the chance to
create an image that would make his last two years of high school a
lot easier.
But that plan is sabotaged when his new
best friend, Jack, kisses him on New Year’s Eve, something Vic has
been longing for and dreading in equal measure. Vic knows being gay
in high school can be hell, and he’s scared sweet and innocent Jack
won’t be able to handle him, or his past. It scares him more than
anything now that his past has come back to haunt
him, metaphorically and literally.
Vic tries to hide the horror of his
past as long as possible, knowing that when Jack finds out what
happened he will leave him.
As Vic takes a turn for the worse
everybody but him realises how strong Jack and his love for Vic
actually are. But is that enough for Vic to move on?
Links:
Excerpt:
Fireworks lit the
sky as people celebrated the New Year, hugging and kissing as they
went around the group. Suddenly he was there, in front of me,
stepping past my outstretched hand and leaning over. His

lips
touched
my
skin,
just
one
second
on
my
cheek.
One
glance before he moved on. Then
there
was
a
girl,
same
ritual.
Now
another
guy,
just
a
simple
handshake.
Even
after
the
fireworks
my
cheek
still
tingled.
I
saw
him
sitting
at
the
other
side
of
the
bonfire.
His
long
brown
hair
reflected
the
flames,
as
if
it
were
burning.
His
blue
hoody
and
his
torn
blue
jeans
looked
so
comfy
and
soft
that
I
thought
hugging
him
would
have
felt
like
heaven.
His
beautiful
amber
eyes
met
mine
The murmuring in the
classroom swells and someone calls out. “Wow,
Jack, what
have you
done?”
I
blink, shaking my head to clear it of the
images as I look up. Jack
stands in
the doorway,
his face hidden behind his hair. My
jaw drops.
This is not the same
guy that I remembered just a few seconds ago. In the week between the
New Year’s party and today he totally changed his style. His long
brown hair is now a raven black, his comfortable and worn jeans and
t-shirt now switched out for bondage pants and a body-hugging
button-up. Wow.
Jack looks at his
feet, away from the stares of our classmates. When he reaches up to
push the hair away from his face I see the black nail polish and his
kohled eyes. His new look takes my breath away and I fall in love
with him for the second time.
The goth girls in
our class flock around him, praising his daring change, making him
blush vigorously.
After a few minutes
one of them changes her attention to me.
“Now you’re
not the
only goth
guy, Vic.”
She smiles,
licks her lips at me and winks.
“I
know, I’m
not the
only black
sheep anymore.”
I smile
back. As
I turn
to my
table I
notice that
Jack has
taken a
seat at the desk in
front of
me.
“You
look cool,
Jack.” I
nod to him while
doodling
nervously in
my drawing
book; the
shape starts out vague but soon begins to
look very
familiar. I
concentrate on detailing
his shoes
and the
flames on
them and
then work my
way up.
“Thanks,”
Jack quietly
responds after a
while. The small
parts of
his ears
that aren’t
covered by
his hair
turn red.

 

3 comments on “Guest Blog by Kia Zi Shiru: Why Publish a Serial?”

  1. Nice post. I feel like I am not alone. : )
    All three of my e-books were written as an online serial.
    When each story ended I wasn't sure what to do with them and so decided to publish them to kind of have closure.

    I had polished them to the best of my ability, and thought I did a good job, but I learned a valuable lesson when I found an editor who showed me the error of my ways.
    She is currently polishing my other books so that I can republish them. I will never publish without a professional editor again. Sometimes the lessons are painful, so glad to hear other writers go through similar tough decisions. : )

    • Hey Alex! I had the exact same experience with editing when I first started out. I thought that because I work as a news editor I could handle doing it myself, but I was so wrong. Editing fiction is a whole other kettle of fish. I think books really do need a fresh pair of eyes when it comes to proofing, etc. It's definitely worth the investment:-)

    • Hey Alex, I remember that we talked about that a while ago 😉 I was really lucky with my editor and she really likes the story so I'm glad I chose right.
      Thank you so much for your comment 🙂

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