Project Update: My New Sci-Fi Now Serial Novellas

I chose independent publishing primarily for the complete creative freedom it afforded me. So hold tight—we’re about to have an adventure! Instead of the standard novel trilogy I’d originally planned, I’ve decided to release my new story as serial novellas. The project formerly known as The Darksider has evolved into The Syzygy Cycle, a gritty sci-fi saga comprising seven projected installments of approximately 25,000 words each.

Why the change? Obviously, I wanted to use the word heptalogy (a seven part story) in my writer’s resume. Kidding! There are several reasons. First off, I discovered the story flowed better when liberated from the conventional paradigm. The plot doesn’t divide evenly into two parts for a book-and-sequel setup, but there isn’t quite enough to satisfy my idea of a trilogy, either. Serial novellas accommodate the project’s length while maintaining the streamlined story style.

It’s also an opportunity to explore new formats. Few publishers take novellas seriously from a commercial standpoint, but indie authors aren’t beholden to industry limitations. (And if the success of Hugh Howey’s Wool collection is any indication, ebook fans don’t discriminate as long as it’s a good yarn. Get it? Wool? Yarn? Sigh, puns aren’t my forte.) Reading the first two parts of Anela Deen’s engrossing Insurrection short story serial recently opened my mind to episodic fiction. Why not embrace the full range of storytelling vehicles? I believe the serial novella experience will be as much fun for my readers as it is for me.

Finally, this format offers greater publishing flexibility. Instead of committing myself to the timeline of three lengthy books, I can release novellas more frequently and keep publishing while I work on my ambitious next project (a historical fiction that demands considerable research).

I hope to release part one—Transient Phenomena—by the end of this month. If you’re interested in an ARC, let me know in the comments or on Twitter (@jk_ullrich). Come along with me and blaze some publishing trails!

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