Not so much a blog, more a series of questions... but first, the context.
It’s a new year. As I look back at the old one, I see a few personal successes such as two new books published, one concerning the idiotic Ripperology business, the other a steampunk work that seems to have done reasonably well on the Double Dragon Fictionwise list. (Jack the Theorist and Rise of the Steampunk Empire, if you wish to look either one up. The latter is published under my ‘Barnabas Corbin’ penname.).
I’ve had a few knock-backs as well, with yet more rejections from publishers and agents, and I also got rejected by the editors of the Steampunk Shakespeare anthology, who didn’t like my sonnets. Heigh ho.
So, some minor success and some huge dollops of failure. So far, so normal. This got me thinking about what I should try next, and the answer was obvious. Jump on a bandwagon. In this case, vampires. Before you groan and run away, I would like to point out that I’m fed up with vampires. All they seem to do nowadays is sparkle, gaze off into the middle distance, and bitch about how tragic they are in an attempt to pull girls.
What happened to proper vampires? The scary ones, with layers of meaning? Pick up a copy of Dracula and you’ve picked up a snapshot of the author’s fears concerning the threat of the East toward the West, the threat of the working classes, the threat of technology, the threat of women, of sex, sexuality, sensuality, decadence... It’s a rich work marred only by a dull plot and cardboard characters. Which is a pity.
Where have all the disgusting, putrid, festering gangrenous walking corpses gone? Where’s the visceral disgust and fear? Where is the horror? This irritation at today’s emasculated vampires, combined with a steampunk sensibility, got me thinking about a vampire steampunk crossover, aimed at young adults but hopefully accessible to everyone. One that puts the bite back into the vamps.
Then I thought about the format. I’ve also been toying with the idea of self publishing on Kindle. Then I thought about nineteenth century periodicals and I wondered: ‘Can we go back to that?’
Digital Publishing has changed our reading habits somewhat, but is the Kindle readership ready to accept monthly instalments, priced at something like 99 pence and spread over 12 issues? Would the readers be happy to follow a year long adventure? Would they be interested enough in following two steampunk heroines, the prim and proper Lady Roslyn Foxington, and the working class Canadian Tamara Kelly?
Would the reader care enough to see if Roslyn can achieve a little independence, if Tamara can become a little less defensive? Will the reader stay with them as they become involved in a fight to the death with the mysterious steampunked vampires? Or will the readers stay away, preferring their stories to be complete in one volume?
The chapters are almost done. I have to try and sort the covers, (another headache) and then the files will have to be converted and uploaded, but it’s not too far off... So should I try the monthly self publishing, or just hand over the finished thing to my digital publisher? All your thoughts on the above would be greatly appreciated. And a happy new year to you all.