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Marla Mason

Should I Write the Next Marla Mason Novel?

I'm debating whether or not to write Broken Mirrors -- the fifth full-length Marla Mason novel, which will resolve the cliffhanger in Spell Games -- this spring, to be published online as a reader-funded serial in the summer or fall.

If you're interested in reading that (and more importantly interested in donating, so I can actually afford to spend time writing the book instead of hustling up paying gigs), send an e-mail to tapratt@marlamason.net and tell me. I'll put you on a mailing list and notify you when/if the book goes up. (Comment and include an e-mail address and I'll put you on the list that way instead.)

I suspect I'll use this model: I'll put up the first chapter, and post subsequent chapters as soon as I receive a certain amount in donations for each chapter (probably between $200-$300 depending on how many chapters there are), not to exceed one chapter per week. (Probably be around 25-30 chapters, but it's hard to say until I get into it. Making $7500 on the book would make it worth my while -- that's only about five grand after taxes, for probably three months of hard work -- so I'd aim for that as a minimum total.)

If I get a pretty healthy response to this call for interest, I'll do it. If I only get a handful of responses, well... I probably won't, because even though my wife got her old job back (yay!) we're still broke from her half a year of unemployment, hospital bills, the new need to pay for part-time day care, etc. I can only do this if I'm reasonably sure enough people want it and are willing to pay for it. So if you're dying for book 5, tell me, and tell any of your friends who might be interested.

I would probably follow up the online serialization with e-book versions and a print version. I'd also want to offer people who donate over a certain amount some kind of freebie -- like a signed never-before-published Marla Mason chapbook. Details to be worked out if this actually happens.

And if I get a really good response to book 5, I might even decide to do book 6 next year...


Ooh ooh! Pick me, Mr. Kotter!!
Definitely interested, and would be quite happy to donate at least the price I'd pay for the paperback if it came out -- my email is the same as my username, but at gmail.

(Reminds me, I need to pick up a print copy of Bone Shop.)

Would looooove another Marla Mason book!

Having come to the Marla Mason universe only within the last year, I gobbled up everything I could, including the prequel (after it was serialized, in Kindle format). I'm totally down on a new one, but I have some reservations on the funding of it. I'm not against it, I'm just used to the "Pay X and get the book". If you did serialize the next book, I will absolutely get over my issues and jump on board, however. Anything to get more from that universe! :)

Re: Would looooove another Marla Mason book!

It doesn't entirely thrill me, either, and I'm not totally committed to it -- for one thing, I'd probably write the whole book before I posted chapter 1, so it's not like I'd save myself time or effort by *not* posting chapters -- but I know some other writers who've had good results with that method, and it's a way to insure a certain minimum return, in theory. I'm pondering other approaches too though.
Hell to the YES! I love your Marla Mason books. LOVE THEM.

I would donate whatever you wanted.

Vivi Anna

Donate $7500 and I'll post the whole thing at once and dedicate it to you, too. :)

LOL, okay let me rephrase. LOL

I love your books Tim and would donate a reasonable amount of money, no more than what the book would cost me at the store.

There how's that??? LOL
Sounds reasonable. No dedication for you though! :)
I read the previous online Marla book, and donated somewhere between TPB and HB cover prices. I'd do the same again, barring sudden reversal of fortune.
I donated online, and I bought a Lulu hard copy. So, yeah, I'd like to read it and I'll give again, but I can understand your reluctance.
I've enjoyed your Marla Mason books very much, I contributed towards Bone Shop, and will contribute toward the new book if that's what you decide to do.

However, if you're a good enough writer to come up with Marla Mason, your other possible projects might be at least as good.

Do you have any other writing in mind?

Edited at 2010-02-01 08:08 pm (UTC)
Oh, sure. I have a thriving career as a short fiction writer under the name Tim Pratt, and my agent's shopping some other novels too. (I published one novel as Tim Pratt, The Strange Adventures of Rangergirl, before moving on to Marla.) But I want to wrap up Marla's story, especially since things were left hanging at the end of Spell Games.

Count me in.

Bands like Gaia Consort have done album sponsers, Marian Call has her own "gold circle" of supporters, and I could imagine sponsoring you in a similar way. ( A patron of the arts perhaps?) I'd be in for at least $100 , probably more as it was spread over time. I would definitely pay more then the cost of a book, the value is of the story itself.

Re: Count me in.

Good to hear! I'm considering premiums -- pay a certain amount to get a signed limited chapbook, to get named in the acknowledgments, to get a character named after you, etc. Something to ponder.
Oooo, ooo, me me me me *bounces and waves hand furiously.*

I enjoyed Bone Shop, and contributed. I would certainly contribute again if another project got under way. Frankly, there was something extraordinarily fun about getting a chapter a week. I'm wondering, did writing to a serial audience affect how you approached the writing and the story?
Since Bone Shop was such an episodic story -- no single plot through-line, just lots of interesting stuff happening in a row -- I was comfortable writing it on-the-fly, posting each chapter as I wrote it. I don't know how it affected my approach, really -- maybe more cliffhanger chapter endings than usual? Though they weren't all cliffhangers...

With Broken Mirrors, I'd want to write the whole novel first and make sure it worked as a single whole. Though I would keep the serial format in mind... so no chapters that were only two lines long, probably, and maybe more cliffhangers.


I love the Marla Mason series and would contribute to another book. I have no idea what goes into it, but would love book five to be offered via Kindle since I'm inevitably bad at remembering to check online for things on any sort of regular basis.
I would be interested in Book 5. I have done this before with other authors and although I sometimes find it hard to wait for the next chapter, I find this a good model.

cailleuch(at)yahoo(dot)com will find me.
I'm definitely looking forward to the next book and I'd be willing to pay up to $1 per 10K words. I don't have the patience for serial written chapters though. I've never been disappointed by your books. I'd even do a half now, half when it's done deal. But serial isn't my bag.


Any chance of you starting a podcast? That would be awesome.

Email is Zorknot at Gmail
I love podcasts, but it's not my medium. You wouldn't want to listen to me talk that much, believe me. :)



...I must mention that I first gave Marla Mason a try based on a podcast interview you did. Granted, I don't remember anything particular about your voice--it was what you said and how you presented yourself, not your voice specifically, that roped me in. ;-)

I mean, I'm sure your voice was lovely!

Oh, you know what I mean.
I liked the series and I would chip in for a new one. Which reminds me I need to send something in so I can read the prequel book you posted.
Forgot to add email missingvolume at gmail dot com
OMG YES! I will donate as much as I can every time. Please, please please please PLEASE!

Yes, absolutely! Reading the prequel serial was an awful lot of fun - I was quite sad when it ended.

As a starving student, I'm not sure I could afford to donate much each week. But I could do enough that after all the chapters are up, I'd have donated the amount I would have paid (list) for a hardcover edition. If that's okay, anyway.

Email is zhaneelgryphon@gmail.com


I really enjoyed the Prequel that I purchased off of Lulu.com. I don't like e-books, or reading stories online, so I would not donate any money for a chapter by chapter online effort, but I would pay for a print book.
("... tuckerization," he whispered ...)
I'd love to purchase a hard copy of anything Marla, especially if it involves a resolution to the cliffhanger. I'm not fond of the remembering-to-read-it-online method but if that's what you go for then I'd donate something. I'm just a give-it-to-me-in-print-so-I-can-keep-it-forever kind of girl. And I'm *so* into a chapbook. Email is kiara squiggly-at-thing waiting for fairies dot com.

Yes please

I was happy with the ending of the 4th book, but I'd be happy to see Marla continue her quest with support from the readers.
I'd want to donate as well, since I'm pretty sure I can swing three months of donations in my budget.

'Course I still need to finish book 1, but as I have all 4 books its really more of a need to find a week that nothing else is due review wise to read them XD This would give me incentive!



Happy but concerned

I'm happy to pay for more Marla :-D but am a bit concerned about the "write the book but hold it hostage" thingie. What if you get enough interest but not enough to keep posting chapters? Also, I'm kinda more used to paying a chunk of change at once versus weekly...so I guess I have to figure out what I feel it's worth and then divvy it up and pay over time...this seems kinda weird on the practical side. I'd rather just send you some $$$ up front and know I'll actually get it. I dunno, it sounds like there are a lot of impracticalities here and it's kinda risky both for you (to be fair) and for us (donating and hoping enough other people chip in, or hoping we gave "enough" whatever that is)....

Sorry to be a downer--I donated to Bone Shop and plan to buy the POD version at some point. You're very talented and I've enjoyed everything of yours I've read/heard, and especially love Marla Mason! I'm just trying to wrap my brain around this as a consumer, like no doubt you're doing as the author-who-needs-a-paycheck.

Re: Happy but concerned

Yeah, I'm not entirely in love with the model either, but I know some people it's worked well for. I wouldn't expect weekly payments, particularly -- onetime payments are great!

If I *do* do the hostageware thing, I'd probably roll over the amounts donated -- for instance, if I got $500 the first week, I'd consider the second chapter paid for too. I wouldn't reset to zero with each chapter, if that makes since?

I may not end up going that way at all, though. I'm considering some other possibilities...


Re: Happy but concerned

AH! Duh, sorry, I hadn't considered the possibility of rollover. I think that makes sense.

Anyway, however you set it up, you can count on me--just keep the rules clear is all I ask. :-) Thanks!
You know, based on these reactions, I think it's clear.
Well, my vote's yes. I'll try to rustle up some cash to save until then.
By the way, congrats on your wife getting her job back.

I'd personally totally donate at least the equivalent price of a print copy, though I can see the reservations with going the "reach x amount in donations before the next chapter is posted" route.
Different medium, but what a lot of web comics tend to do is have certain fun extras and exclusive content that changes up every week or so as incentives (usually desktop wallpapers, sketches, mini-comics etc.) that are made available upon donating. A few even include x amount of extra pages in the regular update/an extra side story when donation goals are reached.
There's also some website that a few of them use--though the name of it escapes me at the moment--that acts as a sort of membership for a fee that gives access to exclusive content. Just some thoughts.

Oh, please do! I bought all four books after being introduced to Marla through the online prequel. And got at least one other reader buying them, too. :)


I was happy to donate for Bone Shop and now that I have birthday monies, I'm FINALLY able to buy the print version! I'm definitely up for doing the same for Broken Mirrors!!!

I wonder if you can do something like a subscription where only people who donate a certain weekly/monthly amount can read the serialized version then make the entire novel available as a POD book at the end. Say if it's 18 chapters like Bone Shop, a reader could donate $20 for the entire serialization (about $1.11/week). I would happily do that and then buy the print version at the end as well. Because online is great but nothing beats hanging out on the couch with a book :)

Forgot my email address!



Love Marla Mason!

Please write a conclusion!

I am a Young Adult Librarian and recommend these books to my older teens all the time!

jtgillette at gmail dot com


been waiting for book 5

I would pay to read more not a problem.I just bought bone shop and i read the pale dog. love the stories!!!!
Marla Mason

February 2011

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