28 May 2011

Smashwords is Anti-Serial

Yesterday I happily uploaded chapter two of my serial novel, Aeryn Daring and the Scientific Detective (written under the pen name Calliope Strange), to Smashwords. This morning, I learned that Smashwords doesn't allow serials.

Here's the relevant passage from the Terms of Service:
9d. You further warrant the book represents a complete work:
• this is not a work-in-progress;
• the uploaded file is not a partial sample or sample chapter, or is not a collection of sample chapters
• the uploaded book represents a complete story with a beginning, middle and end;not a short serial
I suppose I can understand why; they don't want unhappy customers who've bought a chapter or two of something, only to find that the rest of the work never appears. On the other hand, serials have a long history and it seems a shame not to allow them to flourish. The age of ebooks seems perfect for the serial: bite-sized bits of fiction to read on the morning commute, which over time add up to a complete work.

I'm also publishing this book on Kindle, but I haven't found any similar restrictions in their Content Guidelines, so unless they tell me I can't do it, I'll keep posting them there.

So what now? I'm glad I can keep publishing on Kindle, but I want the chapters to be available on other platforms, too. But I've got a few ideas. First, I can publish each chapter on my own website (once my website has actually got some substance), as well as selling the printed version on Etsy and ArtFire (and on the website). Or I can find an online publication that might want to publish it as a serial. Then, once the whole work has appeared, I can publish the whole book on Smashwords, Kindle, and wherever else (plus a POD print version).

So here's my To Do lost for Aeryn:
  • get website up
  • add individual chapters in various formats for purchase via PayPal
  • format and print cheapo print versions
  • print deluxe versions, complete with letterpress covers and colour insert
Any suggestions are welcome, too.

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