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Please close the door and switch on the fun without fail.

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An idea
dracula gilbert
I am fairly broke, and trying to figure out what to do. I got bogged down in the next round of Annotated Fifteen Minutes, which I may still try to finish, but honestly, that seems like a next-year kind of thing. I'm making wonderful amounts of progress on Black Ribbon, but... yeah. I can't work at a NaNoWriMo pace, it doesn't work for me. NaNoWriHalfaYear, maybe. I can't sell The Secret Life of Dolls (though people have said they think I should) because of copyright/trademark issues. (The Tolkien estate, for one, comes down like a hammer on these things. I saw them go after a little one-woman BPAL knockoff enterprise for using character names. Even if I defend myself by saying it's parody/commentary, that's the thing--the Fair Use defense is just that, a defense, and you still have to go through the trouble of fighting in order to win.) I can't even get Deathly Hallows in Fifteen Minutes to work, so whipping up one of those to sell is out.

What if... I did something with Varney the Vampire, the way y'all suggested?

This is why I'm asking for opinions. Put up one with a tip jar? Sell them on Lulu? (With that, you'd at least be able to buy it in hard copy.) What I'm thinking, in the latter case, is put up every hundred pages of recap/commentary. I might quote it a bit more extensively than I did on that LJ entry, but--honestly, I'm not going to annotate the whole thing sentence by sentence, because it's repetitive as hell and it's already 1500 pages in Word. But yeah. Every hundred pages of content, cut it off, bind it, sell it. Narrative recaps have always been easier than script-format parody for me, and as you can tell from previous comments on the subject, Varney is hysterically fun. I swore I wasn't going to tweet anymore, and I broke down last night when I got to the part where Varney and the villagers started throwing bricks at each other.

But would people keep buying it? Similarly, the problem with a tip jar is that everyone gets to read it, but eventually people stop tipping. I don't know. All I know is, I would love to write something like this, and I think it's both fun and advisable to post things for free. I just can't post everything for free, because I'm broke.

Also, the thought of Giving the Gift of Varney This Christmas to the Vampire Enthusiast Who Has Everything kind of gives me the giggles.


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However you decide to produce it, I will buy The Wamphigher Edit. It's been a long time since I laughed that hard!

Plus, Secret Life of Dolls got me through a very rough summer/autumn, so I owe you some sales for that.

I'd be interested. How much were you thinking of selling these 100-page chunks for?

I have no idea. That's another question worth pursuing. I know there's pressure to keep ebooks under $10, and those are 200-300 pages. $5? I don't know.

I really like the idea, especially since Varney seems to be the comic gift that keeps on giving. Would it be possible to do a recap for each volume? Even if a lot gets glossed over, at least that way it's only in three parts and there's less chance of buyer fatigue.

Honestly, "a hundred pages of content" might legitimately end up being one volume. I might get four or five installments out of it instead of three (one per volume), but I don't think it would go to, like, 15 installments or anything. I just saw it as an arbitrary way to make sure there was a consistent amount of content, as opposed to, "Here's commentary for the first fifty chapters. Except that I got tired and skipped ten of them. $10 plz."

Yes! :D

I would totally buy it. In whatever format you put out. You give us so much free content already with the blog, I would love a way to repay you. I like supporting my internet peoples, and you are quite possibly my favorite Internet Person.

I'd buy it. And you've already got a great sales pitch there ("For the Vampire Enthusiast Who Has Everything!").

How about invoking the Street Performer Protocol?

Put up one freebie chapter, then announce how much you need to receive in order for the next chapter to be posted. After it's posted, everyone can read it for free, but the chapter after that won't get posted until you receive enough money.

And so on.

It mostly works if the poster already has a following (Lawrence Watt-Evans used it successfully), but you seem to, so it might be worth a try.

I was going to post something like this. It would take some of the guesswork out of 'and then people stop tipping' -- if people stop, you don't have to write any more. Plus it might give you a way to figure out your time commitment -- value your time at a certain amount up front rather than wondering how many people would buy the ebooks and what that would work out to be per hour/day/word/etc.

When I suggested this in the previous thread, I really was thinking of your being able to sell this much the way you sold that last Annotated, you know?

I think part of the question for you to think about is, how many 100-page chunks do you think you'd wind up with? Obviously, I think that the more entertaining the previous installments are, the more likely people will be to stick with it -- to find out what happens, and for ongoing laughs. And I think it would also help if people understand from the outset that it's likely to be about 3-5 installments, rather than, say, 15. That lets people budget.

Yeah. I'm giving myself room so that I don't end up with one volume going 200 pages, but who knows. You hit long stretches of chapterage where nothing happens, but then you'll hit a chapter with tons to talk about. It's hard to say. You might get through 100 chapters in one set of 100 pages, but only 50 in the next. But at least each installment would be a consistent amount of recap. Maybe I'll need to write one to see how far 100 pages goes.

I'd happily buy the Lulu commentary over the Street Performer Protocol. At least then I wouldn't have to pay and then wait for everyone else to pay, if at all. I like the guarantee of content.

This is a good "Christmas gift to myself" kind of thing. How long do you estimate it will run page-wise?

I honestly have no idea. I may have to write the first hundred pages to see how much ground it covers. There are a number of chapters I want to skip through because literally nothing happens--over and over and over.

I have been loving the Varney tweets, so I'd be all over a Varney-related enterprise.

I would buy it on Lulu OR tip you in a tip jar, because your recaps are why I started reading you, and honestly I think Varney might actually be funnier than Twilight at this point.

Speaking of tipping, what if you just produced a general "Cleolinda Industries Tip Jar" that we could toss things into for any reason? So we could tip you for Varney, or for SLoD (since you can't SELL them, but accepting tips-for-anything isn't selling, is it?), or for anything you did that we found tipworthy?

I spent years saying I didn't want to do that, but I'm honestly to a point where I think I might break down and put one up.

Not to get too in-yo-face, but here is something:

I dunno if you've sold physical books through Lulu (or Createspace, which is Amazon's Lulu-alike) but I have. It's kind of a process.

Also, I'm a book designer. I design books. Like, regularly. A lot. I dunno if you have design-type experience or you know a guy or anything like that, but . . . I could help in that department. Gussy the book up and all that. I'm dead serious, I'll show you PDFs of books and covers I've designed. Not to mention that fiction is INCREDIBLY easy to lay out (much more so than poetry, which is my bread-and-butter). It's just master pages, whack the text in there, proof it quickly, bang, done. Frontmatter, backmatter, whack, whack, done. None of this title-every-other-page bullshit.

I think a physical book would be SMASHING, particularly if it is pretty. People would buy it. People LOVE books, particularly your fan base--having the physical book is really important and awesome.

edit: unless I'm incredibly thick and you're talking about ebooks, in which case, never mind.

Edited at 2010-11-30 05:59 pm (UTC)

Well, I've sold e-books before, and would probably sell this in e-book format as well. I was thinking "print version of the e-book," but that might be a good idea, yeah. Let me get back to you on that, once I have some of the material done.

Honestly, I am broke right now. I would not be able to buy 5 installments at $5 each. I could do one, but that's it right now. If I was in a different situation, I'd buy them all in a heartbeat just to support you. But right now I just can't.

Also, if I was going to spend $25 right now, I'd rather have one Lulu hard copy than a bunch of eBooks. So... maybe release one hard copy at the end? Then people like me can wait and budget and buy the whole thing.

Yeah, that's an idea, too. Someone also suggested Street Performer Protocol, which means everyone gets to read it after a certain amount of money has been raised. I don't know.

Well, Varney may be as repetitive as hell but when you re-tell it, it's completely hilarious. I think it's a great idea to do something with that and I would certainly purchase it and I have a few friends who would be really into that kind of thing as we enjoy vampire stories, regardless of how bad they are and we like it when people make fun of such stories. Also we like vampires so it's win win.

I'd say stick it on Lulu - cheap price for just a pdf and more for a print book. You give heaps of content away for free already and you have lots of fans who want to purchase stuff off you :)

I agree, I don't mind reading a pdf (or several) and I'd enjoy this book a lot. Probably I wouldn't buy a print book because of sheer room problems but I'd love to read it anyway.

I would also absolutely buy it. Again, agreeing with what most everyone else has said, you do so much for free it would be ridiculous not to pay for SOMETHING. And Varney sounds hilarious.