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What Type of Substack Fiction Would You Pay For?
Let me know what type of story you'd be willing get a paying subscription to read. Also some reviews of SERPENT SWORD and a podcast appearance.
Putting Novels and Short Stories on Substack?
Soon after I started this Substack, my father suggested I could monetize it by posting a full novel, chapter by chapter, for premium subscribers. Although the concept was appealing, I wasn’t sure which one of my projects I’d be willing to risk on a rather speculative venture. I’m leery of posting anything from my Long War (The Thing in the Woods and The Atlanta Incursion) or Battle for the Wastelands series, since those are on Kindle Unlimited and anything posted here wouldn’t be eligible. KU e-books have to be Amazon exclusive; I once had to track down the administrator of a web forum to remove someone’s copy-paste of my first Amazon story “I am the Wendigo” before they let me put it in KU.
(That said, it’s not like everything in either fictional world has to be on Kindle Unlimited. I could set something in either world but elsewhere in time or space — for my Wastelands fans there are maritime republics west of Grendel’s realm where there’s war and intrigue aplenty, and I had idea for a story set in the world’s far north long before the rise of Grendel called “War on the Whale-Road.” For my Long War fans, I had the idea of writing a 2003-set story centered on the idea that the real reason for the Iraq War was to capture a stargate from Saddam Hussein. U.S. Marines versus the Iraqi Republican Guard, jihadi cannon fodder, and aliens?)
I could also post short fiction — my unpublished story “Man of Iron, Rising Sun” features a Chinese soldier in powered armor fighting Japanese Zeroes during a very dieselpunk World War II could be posted in three parts in its original 3200-word form and, if my revisions take it past 4,000 words, as four. “The Past Is Ashes,” which deliberately inverts the Doomed Hometown trope, would also likely be four parts. Most short story markets don’t pay well or are super-selective, so this might be a useful idea depending on how many paying subscribers I get.
Although Charles Dickens and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote serialized fiction for newspapers back in the day, what I’m proposing is more akin what John Ringo is doing on his new Substack. He had a superhero project that Baen Books wasn’t interested in and decided to publish it there. Within a few days of firing it up, he had over 200 paying subscribers. Here’s his story’s free prologue if you want to check it out. When it’s done, he plans on self-publishing it as a full-length novel if Baen ultimately doesn’t pick it up.
Soooo, if I were to write something for Substack, what would you pay to read? Reply back to this email with your suggestions or post in the comments. They don’t have to be one of the specific projects listed — they could be as wide as a whole genre. One premium subscriber suggested military fantasy already. Once I have suggestions, I’ll go into my idea files and see if I’ve got something appropriate. If I’ve got multiple useful ideas, I’ll see if I can set up a poll.
Subscriptions cost $8 per month or $80 per year, although those aren’t the only options. Check out the subscription button at the bottom of the newsletter for more.
Serpent Sword Blog Reviews and A Podcast Appearance
One of the techniques I use to market my fiction is to send out Advance Review Copies (ARCs) to people who will read, review, and promote the book. I’ll be adopting this strategy in a more organized fashion going forward (more on that in a later email), but here are some reviews I’ve gotten from the people I have sent ARCs:
Marygrace Depp-She has reviewed Battle and, more recently, reviewed “Son of Grendel.” Here is her blog review of Serpent Sword. She started out reviewing books on YouTube, but moved over to Instagram. Here’re her videos, which you can watch if you have an Instagram account.
Also, a podcast interview (mostly) about the Wastelands series went online Friday:
Blasters and Blades Podcast Episode #247-Serpent Sword comes up here, but the focus is on the first book. Props to Dad for introducing me to speculative fiction with Calvin and Hobbes and letting me read his Stephen King books when I was older.
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