For today’s interview, we have Jerry Fan from JukePop Serials. JPS has a unique approach to publishing. You submit the first chapter, and if they like it, they will host it, allowing you to keep writing and for readers to vote on their favourites. Their vote-driven, technological approach to publishing is an innovation to watch in the digital age.
He2etic: We always start with a qualifier. Obviously we know that you’re with Jukepop Serial, but you can also mention other publications you’ve worked for, work you’ve done, a dash of shameless self promotion.
Jerry: One thing I always like to tell people is that we’re a technology platform first, publisher second. Our core team have very deep technology experience and when you pair that with our friendly editors (none of that attitude expected of publishers but all the same experience) we consider ourselves your humble, friendly, publishing partner.
I’ll also be talking about us on a Litquake digital media panel “Needle in a Haystack: Discovering New Digital Content” June 29th in San Francisco.
“Did you know that most readers don’t get past page 18 of a book they’ve purchased?”
He2etic: Jukepop Serial has a fairly unique approach to publishing. Where did the idea for it come from?
Jerry: The idea came from many different places actually. Historically speaking fiction was published chapter by chapter, but books became more popular because books got cheaper to make (book binding was a key technological advance) and distribution of books became more convenient.
But with the advent of ebook technology and self-publishing services, authors still face one big problem. Will readers like my story? The “old” way of finishing a book then trying to get it published is painful and is equal to problems start-ups face when developing a product in “stealth mode”. Spending 1-2 yrs quietly working in a garage means you could be wasting time when quickly testing the “product” concept could’ve told you to tweak the product in a different way or work on something else entirely.
That’s why we only accept the 1st chapter, so authors aren’t bogged down with finishing a manuscript before publishing. It is also why our publishing policy is so flexible and implicitly trusting, even though we pay for 1st chapters, we don’t hold our authors to any obligations to continue. (Shhhh…don’t tell everybody!) We provide the incentive for authors to start, motivation to keep writing, but in the end authors need to hook our readership through their writing.
“The thing with trends, is that some are predictive of lasting appeal and some are just blips of passing interest – but nobody knows until the trend is over.”
He2etic: When it comes to rejections, what are the most common reasons for turning down a potential new story?
Jerry: Quality. We’ve seen the first chapter as highly predictive of an authors craft and appeal to readers. Did you know that most readers don’t get past page 18 of a book they’ve purchased? Something happens in the first few chapters that gets readers to commit to finishing the book or put it down and never come back. I have so many books on my shelf that’s in that category. The reviews look great, but after reading I just can’t commit myself to them.
Even though we’re trying to be objective in our acceptances, it’s admittedly still highly subjective. That’s why we’ve recently launched a new program called Aspiring JukePop Authors. It’s one step closer to dealing with our inherent subjectivity and making sure we give deserving authors a shot. The Aspiring JukePop Authors program is still curated, but are candidates to become a JukePop Author.
We want the community to help us decide whether they want to read these types of stories. For the author to become a JukePop Author, their serials need reader +Votes and current JukePop Author Endorsements to become a JukePop Author.
He2etic: Jukepop Serial’s focus tends to be geared towards increasing the “grip” of its tales, trying to grab the reader’s interest from the start and keep them wondering “What happens next?” Do you ever worry that some great stories might have passed up because their start was a bit too slow?
Jerry: Absolutely. This is why we’re always trying to find new ways like the “Sandbox” idea to take us out of the equation as much as possible.
He2etic: I would suspect, based on JukePop’s approach, that it may have an edge over other publishers because it’s dynamic can allow for flags of current trends. Any hints or thoughts on what is currently or growing in popularity?
Jerry: The thing with trends, is that some are predictive of lasting appeal and some are just blips of passing interest – but nobody knows until the trend is over. Take a look at our JP 30 serials and you’ll find it surprising how many serials are just off the beaten path but are main stays month after month.
He2etic: Any other advice you can give for budding authors?
Jerry: Write a story you’d want to read. Don’t worry about the ending because the plot tends to develop on its own, and it’s much more fun and freeing to write that way.
He2etic: Are there any subjects or genres that just get too much literary attention and thus are commonly rejected? For example, too many zombie stories?
Jerry: The world can definitely use more zombie stories – one of my favorites on our platform! We don’t reject serials based on genre at all, we only accept based on quality of writing and the community tells us which genre is currently popular.
He2etic: Can you think of any JukePop Serial success stories? Amateurs going onto becoming professionals, or even starting their own, traditionally published novels from their initial JPS story?
Jerry: Almost too many to name. Plenty of authors have found confidence and success on our platform and have decided to take their serials and make them available on Amazon, Smashwords, etc. Woman King by Evette Davis is the most recent one that comes to mind, we attended her book launch party up in San Francisco last month. We’re also trying to urge authors forward where we can by working with our contacts in the media & entertainment industry to pitch some of our serials for production in other forms of media.
“Don’t worry about the ending because the plot tends to develop on its own, and it’s much more fun and freeing to write that way.”
He2etic: Finally, what is your personal favorite story on JukePop Serial?
Jerry: Wonder Heroes 4.0 (superhero genre), Multipocalypse (zombies!) are a couple that I’ve followed we launched. There are new serials that are up and coming, Radio Silence (crime), Hobson & Choi (crime), and The Waters of Life and Death (adventure) are making wishing the authors write faster.
So there you have it. Keep an eye on JukePop Serial’s innovative and unorthodox approach to publishing, and expect more great things from them soon!