View Full Version : Serial Novel Cowachunga - Expansion Pathways

Damon Shulenberger
09-25-2015, 12:03 PM
As some of you may know, I am an author with a completed manuscript Arisugawa Park. I connected with a respected agent about a year ago and we started shopping an extensively revised manuscript about 5 months ago. The rejections were polite, but firm, despite the fact that my agent (and her intern) thought the prose unique and original. One editor's publisher had had poor luck with a Japanese thriller a couple years ago and suspected that they would be gun shy to market another. Another called it an "easy pass," noting that my prose was mechanical, though the concept was ambitious. My agent planted in my ear that the real reason for many rejections was its length.

Rather than reassess the manuscript, I decided to embark upon a new literary project, as a way of halting a constant stream of doubts. I needed to go direct and improv, demonstrate to myself that I was still able to produce. I'm now on my second month of the serial novel Cowachunga (http://www.endurancewriter.com/cowachunga), which I write and publish at EnduranceWriter as I go each week.

I get 500 hits and 75-100 unique visitors each time I publish a section of Cowachunga (and this is relying strictly on organic social media + word of mouth. Should I be aiming higher? Does anyone have a similar project in mind? I think in a way I am traversing a path pioneered by The Martian, but I don't have a community of scientific peers to activate in debate on how long a cubic liter of oxygen would last at an inverse decompression rate.

09-25-2015, 12:07 PM
Just out of interest, does your agent know that you're doing this? She's okay with it? It would be a pity if she's hoping to shop both books (most agents sign up for a career rather than just the one novel) and then finds that you've already published one.

Damon Shulenberger
09-25-2015, 12:14 PM
I have kept her informed. I think she is cognizant that we live in a new publishing reality and that gaining readers of my prose through a digital serial format may ultimately benefit us more than relying on traditional publishing channels. I gave her the opportunity to break our relationship and she stuck with me - still believes in the literary value of what I am attempting. These are her words in an email yesterday, after reading what I currently have up: "Pretty amazing writing Damon. Not sure what I could do with it though - it is clearly its own genre!"

The way I see it benefitting our common goal (getting my writing published) is that it may prod editors at the big publishers to reassess their view of my prose. There is absolutely no law against taking the book offline once the final couple chapters are set to be published and making Cowachunga available exclusively as a full-book edition through a publisher.

I am a big believer in print books and traditional bookshops - if one of the larger publishers gave me an offer, I would not say no. And she would get her 15% for negotiating me the best contract possible. Personally, I look forward to it being optioned as a potential basis for Tarantino's 10th movie.

09-25-2015, 12:22 PM
As long as she's happy :) Good luck with it!

Damon Shulenberger
09-25-2015, 12:26 PM
By the way, I need assistance with the Australian lingo... would you mind having a glance and tell me if I got expressions like "out woop woop" and "nackered" right?

09-25-2015, 12:34 PM
PMed you. :) Also - I think Helix is Australian.