Many and wonderful are the ways in which writers seek to find audiences and, in the process, make a little money. Back in December, we noted the reading-on-the-instalment-plan schemes of Lawrence Evans and Diane Duane. Now, via Galleycat, we have a Diane Duane update.
Diane's position, if you recall, was that she had written two volumes of a fantasy trilogy. Vols I and II had been published by Warner. But then, when Diane naturally sent in an outline for Vol III, the publishers took a look at the sales figures to date and said no thanks.
Subsequently, Diane wrote other books which did rather better. So she began to wonder about writing Vol III and publishing it herself through a POD system. She invited readers to let her know whether they might be willing to cough up the $20 or $25 or so which she would have to charge for the book if she was to cover her labour and publishing expenses.
Well, over at Out of Ambit, Diane's big (and slow-loading if you're not on broadband) blog, you can find the results of the poll in a post called The Big Meow. It's a fairly long and complicated story, but essentially Diane is going to serialise the novel online -- at least as long as enough people keep paying for each chapter. Then, when the book is complete, she will publish a trade paperback edition through Lulu.com.
An update on the story has been posted since the main piece appeared -- there seem to be lots of keen readers -- and doubtless other updates will follow. She says that the amount of attention and support that this proposal is garnering is simply amazing.
For anyone who is an established writer, with a favourite project which hasn't found favour with a publisher, this is perhaps something to think about. But it's hardly a viable scheme, I fear, for anyone without an existing fan base.
Another factor to bear in mind is that Diane seems to be well clued up on how to handle html, databases, mailing lists, and the like. She also seems to be a lady of formidable energy. As she mentions on her blog, she also does cookery demonstrations.
I think I shall go and lie down and have a little rest.