October 24th, 2013


Sometimes people leave you, halfway through the woods...

...do not let it grieve you. No one leaves for good. You are not alone. No one is alone.

Well, here we are: the first season of Indexing is over and done, and the book has been closed on Henrietta Marchen and her friends, at least for a time. I can't tell you yet whether there will be a second season: that decision is in the hands of greater minds than mine. I can tell you that the best way to help that second season happen is to either buy the now-complete Kindle serial (available internationally), or to pick up the print book when it comes out in December (I know that I'm looking forward to having a copy on my shelf, where I can brag about it).

A lot of people have asked me about my experience with 47North and the Amazon Kindle Serials Program, and why I chose to do it. Now that the season has ended, I thought this would be a good time to talk about those questions.

First, and easiest, is "why did you do it?" I mean, in some ways, doing a Kindle Serial goes against a lot of what I've said about the digital divide, and my unending desire to have print editions available for everything, always. I never want anyone to be left in the position of "cannot possibly get a book." At the same time, the print edition was always a part of the plan, built into my contract; it was just going to come after the ebook editions. While that certainly isn't ideal, it was about the only way something like this could happen, since a week-by-week physical serial would have been way too cost-prohibitive for any book publisher to commit to. As for why I went with the Kindle program, well...they asked me. They also offered to pay me. I am very, very fond of getting paid, as it allows me to feed my cats and keep my lights on and all those other silly things. So when someone contacts my agent and says "we want to pay you to do something cool," my attention is assured.

But the main reason I agreed was because I hadn't done anything like this before. I was a universe author for The Edge of Propinquity in 2010 (when the original Rose Marshall stories were written), but that was very different than having a tight "once every two weeks" schedule, and this was a much bigger challenge. I like challenges. I like finding out whether I can meet them. In this case, I definitely did.

In terms of "what was good about this project," well, there was a lot. I got to write a serial novel in a setting I never thought I would get to expand upon (the ATI Management Bureau began in a short story I wrote years ago); I got to see a lot of people try my work because of the low price point and the easy entry point; I got to have fun with fairy tales. Fun with fairy tales is a huge draw for me.

In terms of "what was bad," there were a few things. The nature of the project meant that I didn't have time to write all twelve segments before things started going live, and that meant that if I wanted to change something after the fact, I really couldn't. I don't think any major contradictions or errors got past us and into the published chapters, but it made the whole experience a little more nerve-wracking than it otherwise might have been. The short, fixed schedule also meant that if there were any unexpected delays on either my part or the publisher's part, I could wind up with a much shorter turn-around period for copy edits and changes. Also not so easy on my nerves, given how tightly I tend to schedule myself. And of course, there was the fact that the Kindle Serial program is currently US-only, and my audience is international, which I know was frustrating for a lot of people. (Now that the serial part is over, the finished ebook is available wherever there is Amazon.)

On the whole, this was an overwhelmingly positive experience, and I would be open to doing a second season if the stars were right (and the holes in my schedule lined up, since again, I am very tightly booked). To any authors considering the program, I can definitely recommend it, as long as you work well under pressure and don't mind sometimes needing to turn things around with little to no notice. I hope to see you all again at the next once upon a time.

Now rest, my dear, and be at ease; there’s a fire in the hearth and a wind in the eaves, and the night is so dark, and the dark is so deep, and it’s time that all good little stars go to sleep.