“A book a year is slacking.”

This sentiment got some traction in writerland a couple of weeks ago, but since the beginning of this digital publishing surge, it’s been a (sometimes unspoken) maxim. No, actually, it’s been around a long time. Way back in the day when I was a member of RWA and went to all the chapter meetings (MARA), there were two prolific category writers in my chapter. They worked for both Harlequin and Silhouette and put out three titles a year minimum. Then you have the James Patterson-type book mills wherein a team of ghostwriters is assigned to an idea and a title and off they go. I now know of many writers, especially erotic romance and erotica writers who espouse this view.

It begs some questions, of course, the main one being, “How many pages/words do these books have, anyway?” Come to find out many of them are short stories. Many are novellas. Some are category-length (the size of a Harlequin Presents, or about 50,000 – 60,000 words). Never mind the fact that I do, actually, write that many GOOD words every year. (Good words meaning ones I want to keep. I throw out as many words as I keep.) As far as I can tell, nobody’s writing longer works at the pace of one title per year. (“George RR Martin is not your bitch.”)

I sure as hell am not. What’s an epic writer who is NOT, in fact, George RR Martin, to do with this business when she’s lucky to be able to put out one title per year? This, combined with some other book news that I will not belabor because it’s been belabored quite enough, has got me thinking about what I write and how I write it. How can I capitalize on the fact that I do write the equivalent of three category-length titles per year?

There was only one answer to that. It’s not a new idea. It’s not even an idea I necessarily like because it involves a way of reading I don’t care for. But other people do like it. A LOT. If it works, it’ll keep my name out there for the next year until Dunham is released (July 4, 2013–save the date!) and, hopefully, build excitement. If it doesn’t, no harm done. (I don’t think.)

Dunham serial coverBeginning July 4, 2012, I will be posting one unedited chapter of Dunham per week, every Wednesday at 6:00 a.m. US Central time, for one year. I’ll offer them as free downloads here, at Smashwords, and at All Romance eBooks, and send email reminders to those who request one. It will be the serial equivalent of an Advance Review Copy (ARC).

Fifty-two chapters! you say. That’s a lot! Yeah. It is. In fact, it’s approximately 140,000 words, which (for my fans) is half the length of The Proviso, longer than Stay, and nearly as long as Magdalene. It’s also somewhere around 70% of the finished book. Oh, hey, it’s a swashbuckler with lots and lots of angst, set during the Revolutionary War. They have ships! They go places! They blow things up! So of course it’ll prop a door open! (Eh, but that’s the beauty of digital, innit?)

Hopefully, by the time July 4, 2013, rolls around, you and a gazillion other people will want to know how it ends and buy the book to find out.

I’ll be frank: This is a marketing ploy. I hate marketing. I suck at marketing. So do the most of the rest of us. I also can’t put out two or three titles a year to do my marketing for me. I’m not asking for any money via tip jar or a Kickstarter campaign. I’m offering a free hit and hoping you will get hooked and, in turn, you will hook your friends. Please hook your friends!

Some details:

1) The cover is for the serial. It will not be the cover for the finished book. I thought it would be utterly gauche to go without a cover.

2) Remember, this will be unedited. The finished novel will be professionally edited and available in print as well as digital.

3) Though the serial is offered only here, Smashwords, and All Romance eBooks (of necessity because neither Barnes & Noble nor Amazon will allow me to offer it for free) (fuckers), the complete book will be offered at all the normal retail outlets.

4) Even if you opt in for the email reminders of a new installment, I won’t keep track of your email and I won’t spam you. I just don’t work that way (which is why I suck at marketing!).

5) Each installment will be available for download in DRM-free EPUB, PRC/MOBI/Kindle, and PDF. I’ll even post the text itself online at theproviso.com/dunham (not live yet).

6) Hopefully by the time the serial begins, I’ll have come up with back-cover copy that reflects the story accurately and does not suck. Until then…

It’s 1780. He’s an earl acquitted of treason and out for revenge. She’s a pirate planning a suicide mission. Their first kiss sparks a tavern brawl—and then things get interesting.

2 thoughts on ““A book a year is slacking.”

  • August 19, 2013 at 8:16 pm

    “Slacking,” They say? Well, I say: “Kiss my grits, or bite my shorts, your choice. Want fries with that?” The nerve of Them.

  • August 19, 2013 at 10:15 pm

    Indeed. Bastids.


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