Monday, January 5, 2009

Web publishing goes to the Dickens

Charles Dickens is known for many things; well, at least for A Christmas Carol and possibly Oliver Twist. He is perhaps somewhat less well-known for his use of unusual names (Ebenezer Scrooge, Martin Chuzzlewit, etc.) and for having published many of his works in serial form.

Doing its bit in the ongoing quest to Make Money Writing on this "Web" Thing, Underland Press has picked up the baton with the Wovel -- rhymes with "novel", looks like an inside-out vowel and is not to be confused with the Wovel, a completely different beast which would appear to rhyme with "shovel".

There are two gimmicks here: First, the Wovel appears in serial form. The author writes from Thursday to Sunday and posts the next installment in time for everyone to read it at work on Monday. During lunch or other company-approved hours, I might hasten to add. Then comes the other gimmick. Readers are invited to vote on what happens next. Votes are taken from Monday through Thursday, at which point our intrepid author starts it all over again.

Two cliffhangers for the price of one: What will your fellow readers vote for (see the results in real time), and where will the author take you from there? Always leave 'em wanting more ...

So, how do they make money off of this? As far as I can tell, they sell books.

[As far as I can tell, the Wovel wrapped up in January of 2010, about a year after this post was published.  Wunderland looks like it's still in business, though. -- D. H.]

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