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Racing The Blue Monarch - Lap by Lap Notes

Why a serial novel?

April 29, 2015

Tags: Racing the Blue Monarch, Michael J. Daley, self-publishing, story, imagination, style, voice, enthusiasm, solar energy, education, serial novel, serialization, newspaper industry, syndication, experiment, online publishing, Avi, marketing, author, book, audience, blank page, writers, Electric Vehicles, golf cart, EV, automobile

My latest EV - not just stories emerge from the imagination!
As I begin the marketing efforts for Racing the Blue Monarch in earnest, I'm getting two reactions to releasing it as a serialized novel. The best one is Neat-O (or its age-appropriate equivalent) accompanied with a certain excitement for both the story and the format. The other reaction is a bit more challenging simply, WHY? Why aren't you just publishing the story as a book?

The simple answer is that I want to. It is an experiment that appeals to me. The unusual path is inspiring enough energy in me to engage me thoroughly in a task that does not come easy: marketing! But there are deeper origins to the choice as well. The core idea for Racing the Blue Monarch came into my imagination a long time ago when I was deeply involved in solar energy education. Henson and his amazing Helic Turbines that are Blue Monarch's energetic heart emerged from a swirl of new knowledge about global warming dangers, participation in the Tour de Sol Electric Car Races, and my own falling in love with Electric Vehicles as the obvious answer to my CO2 spewing automobiles. I went on to build two EV's myself and right now am in love with my electric golf cart.

An inspiring idea all alone is not enough to make a book. Writers will understand this. There needs to be DRIVE and DEDICATION and a CREATIVE ENERGY that keeps the imagination burning through the long long process of getting the words down. A story must start speaking to you. Seducing you. Making you fall in love with it. Part of that process involves the discovery of mysterious things like style and voice and audience and what I call anchor scenes. Those are the high points of the story. The bits you really really want to tell. When the story starts speaking to you in these seductive elements, then a way appears at last that can organize all the vast possibilities of the blank page into the words that need to be there.

The catalyst for that wonderful moment in the coming to life of Racing the Blue Monarch was an encounter with the famous children's author Avi. I met him at a publishing party at a time when he was deeply involved in promoting a new venture of his own called Breakfast Serials. Breakfast Serials revived an old form, syndicating kids stories to newspapers to be published in installments. Avi and his colleagues were looking for stories. Two very important requirements for such stories: brief chapters with strong cliff-hanger endings. Bing! A light went on. Wouldn't a near future solar race car thriller just fit that bill? The question inspired me to embrace my untold story with enthusiasm and having a form to pour the words into turned out to be the key to success.

Unfortunately, that took a couple years as most novels do. When my story finally existed, Breakfast Serials had enjoyed its heyday. The newspaper industry began to contract under internet competition. Their great publishing model no longer worked. Attempts to market the book complete failed. My agent gave up. The self-publishing option remained as the only way my story would reach readers. And so I went back to the original form of serialization. As a TV kid, it's the way I always got stories, week by week. Online publishing is offering new opportunities for this format. It is an experiment that does not close off other routes to publication. I've always been intrigued by the first serial rights section in my publishing contracts. The publisher always reserved this right to themselves and yet I never saw any of them use it to get the story out into the world before it was a book. Always seemed like an opportunity lost to entice readers into your world. So here I am, experimenting to find out.

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