Fiction

5 Reasons to Publish with JukePop

JukePoP SerialsI’m not a huge fan of “X Reasons” blog posts, but it seems appropriate in this case. I stumbled on JukePop by way of Black Hill Press and the Summer Writing Project, and published my story “Will Kill for Food” chapter by chapter. Until then, I had only shared my works in progress with a few people, and strictly on a For Your Eyes Only basis. Publishing with JukePop has been a huge boost to my ability to see, and to present, myself as a writer. It’s a tremendous resource for  any new writer looking to take that giant first step into publishing.

So, the reasons . . .

 

Reason 1: Get Naked

Publishing a story and asking people you know to read it is a little bit like going up to their door stark naked, knocking, and asking them what they think. It’s one thing to leak chapters to people whose opinion (and tact) you trust. It’s another to post it online, ask friends, family, and others who might be less understanding, and likely more judgmental, about what you’re spending your time on to read and comment. It’s a lot scarier.

At some point you have to make that leap. JukePop offers new writers that opportunity. People read, comment, vote (or don’t vote). And in my case, many wrote directly to me (rather than post their comments on the site) their thoughts and support.

 

Reson 2: Get Connected

JukePop is all about interaction. The front page of the site is a feed of comments on stories. Everything about the site encourages readers to vote and comment.

The writers on the site are an active group. Within days of posting my first chapter, writers of other serials on the site welcomed me to the site and commented on my work. In turn, I read parts of their stories, even though most were from genres that don’t really interest me. I also started interacting with these same authors on Twitter.

That is not to say that JukePop will boost your Twitter numbers. Rather, it increases your chances of developing higher quality connections in Twitter and elsewhere.

 

Reason 3: Get Feedback

JukePop is also all about metrics. Not only how many people are reading your story, but more importantly, how JukePop metricsmany read through to the end of each chapter. You get demographics (gender, age, location), view and vote trends, average reading times per chapter. You can view the data for each chapter to see how your readers responded. Really a wealth of information to inform you about the habits of your readership. The author interface allows writers to edit their stories, so you can respond to comments by editing your story and asking for more comments on your revisions.

 

Reason 4: Get into Libraries

JukePop is working with public libraries to supply quality, self-published stories. If your story meets the criteria, it could be selected and become available at one of the participating libraries. How cool is that?

 

Reason 5: Get Money

JukePop offers a couple of ways for authors to earn money. Authors can add a “Support the Author” button to their chapters, or can offer some chapters for free and require a fee to unlock others. Also, JukePop pays authors who are in the top 30 vote-getting stories each month.None of this is enough to quit your day job. But as any writer knows, every little bit of support helps.

There are other reasons to publish with JukePop, of course. These, to me, are the highlights. Oh, with one addition. My interactions with the editor have all been great. Welcoming, professional, responsive. This isn’t a big machine. It’s justpeople, like the rest of us, who enjoy good writing and want to do more to get it out there for people to read.

Posted by Scott Alumbaugh in Fiction, Will Kill for Food, 2 comments

“Will Kill For Food” is now a serial

Will-Kill-for-Food coverThis morning my novella, Will Kill for Food, was accepted by JukePop for online publishing. The short story (no pun there) is that I’d like to ask anyone who’s interested to go here to read the first chapter. If you like it, you might go further and join the site to give the story a + vote, add the story to your bookshelf, and continue reading chapters as I post them in the upcoming weeks. That would help me win the contest and get the novella published on paper.

The longer story is that JukePop and Black Hill Press are collaborating on a contest of sorts. Black Hill Press is going to publish three top novellas posted on JukePop as part of a Summer Writing Project . The selection will be based on reader reaction: how many readers give it a + vote, add it to their bookshelves, and read through to the end.

The fuller story is that JukePop and Black Hill Press focus on two non-standard writing forms: serials and novellas, respectively. JukePop publishes serials online at their website.  Readers get to vote on stories, one chapter at a time, and comment on them. Authors get feedback which they can use to alter the existing chapters or to help guide them in subsequent chapters. Black Hill Press is a collective dedicating to publishing novellas. I invite you to check out JukePop and Black Hill Press. I think they’re doing interesting things.

Even without the contest, I am glad I stumbled on these two resources. Will Kill for Food runs about 17k words. Far too long to submit as a short story, and about 70k words short of a novel. I could edit it down, or fill it out. But I like the story at its present length. I also think it will be interesting to publish it over time (one chapter per week for eight weeks). I’ve ordered a couple of novellas from Black Hill press, and I’m still poking around JukePop reading first chapters (of all the non-fantasy, YA books, anyway).

So we’ll see.

Posted by Scott Alumbaugh in Fiction, Will Kill for Food, 0 comments

Adventure!

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

My son and I have been reading classic boys adventure novels. You know, Treasure Island, King Solomon’s Mines, Journey to the Centre of the Earth . . . It started because I noticed that the most complex thing he seems to read these days is comics like Calvin and Hobbes and TinTin. These are certainly classics in their own right, and I’m glad he appreciates them. But they aren’t really the stuff of vocabulary building or critical thought development. Especially after the tenth or twentieth reading.

I hate to be a dad, but sometimes I can’t help myself.

Selfishly, I also wanted a good excuse to read these books because I skipped most of them when I was his age. It might be more truthful to say that no one forced me to read them. Regardless, like most new experiences, I wanted to expose Kazu to them. He could take or leave them. But he would do so knowingly rather than just dismissing them because they were different.

So I started the New Experience for Kazu dance: I suggest something; he groans and says it sounds boring; I drag him into it anyway. Sometimes it works (sailing); sometimes it bombs (sushi). We always read in the evening before bed. At that point, Kazu is usually tired enough that he will tolerate even a boring book, so long as someone reads it to him. So I thought I’d try it out.

“Hey, Kazu.”
“Yeah.”
“I was thinking we could read a pirate novel.”
“No, thank you.”
“It’s like Pirates of the Caribbean. You like those movies.”
“Yeah, but that’s different, Dad. They’re funny.”
“Maybe this book is funny.”
“What’s it called?”
Treasure Island.”
“Sounds boring.”
“Let’s try it and see.”
“No, thanks.”
“Too late. I already downloaded it. Let’s check it out.”
“Let’s not and say we did.”

Over his objections, I read the first chapter to him that evening. It wasn’t a total bomb, so we continued. A few nights later we reached a particularly suspenseful scene: the one when after ransacking the inn for Billy Bones’s treasure map, blind Pew and the rest of the crew nearly find Jim Hawkins and his mom hiding in a culvert. Kazu clutched my leg in anticipation while he read over my shoulder.

It was so rewarding to see him feel that apprehensive about the characters in that boring old book. Not because I could say, “I told you so.” But because at a time when kids’ entertainment is so fast-paced, so over-the-top in terms of plot and pacing and effects, so quick to make every character hip, it was good to know that Stevenson’s writing still packed a punch, so to speak. It was rewarding to find a book I could enjoy on something close to the same level as my son.

As we read, we’d stop to look up new words, talk about the structure of the book, and (something missing entirely from comics) how the characters changed or developed. Sort of a mini-book club with just the two of us.

As we neared the end, we watched a couple of movie versions of Treasure Island: the 1950 Disney version (with the ur-cinematic pirate Robert Newton as Long John Silver) and a BBC mini-series made a few years ago (with Eddie Izzard in the same role and a heavily painted Elijah Wood as the cheese-craving castaway Ben Gunn). We talked about changes the directors made to the plot, whether the characters sounded and looked as we had imagined. (We have yet to compare the Muppets’ Treasure Island to Disney’s, but we’re looking forward to that one.

Posted by Scott Alumbaugh in Fiction, 0 comments