Tues. July 19, 2022: The Big Reveal for The Big Project

Tuesday,  July 19, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron Retrograde

Rainy and humid

Today, I finally get to reveal the identity of what I’ve called, for months, on this blog, “The Big Project.”

It’s a serial called LEGERDEMAIN.

“Legerdemain” means “sleight of hand. The title is the name of the city where most of the action takes place, a clifftop city full of misfits and magicians. It’s a comic noir fantasy serial.

It opens with a murder.

The central protagonist is the Sheriff of the city (and the province), Shelley Magnus-Grantone. She’s the eldest of four children, thirty-eight at the time it starts, with earth-aligned magic. She’s smart, compassionate, funny, pansexual, a strong witch, and loves her home city. She’s also allergic to children.

Her mother is the recently appointed Oracle of the kingdom, and her dad is an astronomer/astrologer.

A little yappy dog named Lord Fuster discovers the body in his garden (a stately home in the upscale Atraxia district of the city). Shelley and her team, including the newly arrived Inspector Fletcher Bain (whose magic aligns with music), race to catch the murderer. When the Priestesses of the Temples arrive, reporting that ritual objects were stolen, Shelley knows they have to stop something dark and dangerous.

The Fathomless Library is an important part of the action. The Fathomless Library has its own complex within the Arts District. Books are alive. There are teams of Inkspectors, Word Mercs, Scribes, and elite librarians called Marians, who keep books alive. The punishment for book burning is death.

There’s a running joke about Questors as an ongoing subplot. Every episode has either a Questor in it, or a reference to Questors. They are a big moneymaker for the city, and also one of its biggest annoyances to the population, especially to Shelley. They get in the way and do reckless things in pursuit of their various quests.

Another running joke is how much people love their Secret Societies in the city. So yes, I’m playing with all kinds of tropes, and hopefully turning them inside out.

With any luck, I’ve hit the right mix of humor, mystery, and fantasy. I had a great time worldbuilding, and I’ll build a website with all kinds of fun features and extras around the serial. I’m writing the web copy to read like a tourist site put up by the city’s local Chamber of Commerce. I’ve done some preliminary rough map sketches, but I’ll do more detailed maps of the overall city, the kingdom, and the individual districts.

This is a serial, not a book released chapter-by-chapter. It’s structured to be ongoing, should it take off. The initial offering has 90-ish episodes (with new episodes releasing on Tuesdays and Thursdays). It comprises three large plot arcs.

If the serial gains traction, enough people like it, the metrics work, and it continues to fit into my schedule, it will continue past the 90-ish episodes, as long as it works, in arcs of 30 or so episodes. (The first arc needed more time to establish certain elements and integrate them into the story, seeding future stories, so it comes in at 39 episodes).

If it doesn’t do what I need it to justify continuing work on it, I’ll leave it up six months or so after the last episode of this first triple arc goes up, and then take it down. In order to release as a novel, or a series of novels, it would need serious restructuring, and that might not be worth it.

So all those who “don’t start reading until the whole thing is done” are not my target market.

It’s releasing on Kindle Vella (at least for the moment), because that seemed like the best platform on which to run this experiment. The first six episodes are uploaded, approved, and scheduled to go live on their various dates.

The first three episodes are always free, and then the rest are opened with tokens. Readers buy tokens and spend them on the various series they like.

I don’t like that I can’t link directly to episodes. At this point, I can’t even link directly to the story page on Kindle Vella, although that might change once episodes go live. I mean, there are many things I don’t like about Amazon in general, but this is specifically annoying me right now, because it limits my ability to market.

It also doesn’t show me the release schedule, so I’m glad I set up a fuckton of tracking sheets and Style Sheets and all the rest, to keep track as I uploaded.

I have a huge marketing campaign planned for it, across various social media channels. I have quirky general ads, and then I have ads for each episode as it releases. The content calendar is quite crowded! And it’s a long-range campaign, not just for a few days around the launch.

The first two episodes go live on Thursday, July 28. The 3rd episode releases Tuesday, August 2nd, the 4th episode Thursday August 4th and so forth and so on.

It overlaps with the re-releases of the Topic Workbooks, so I’m flooding the internet with promotion over the next couple of weeks. And people just have to fucking deal.

This is my business. Not my hobby.

I love working on this piece so much. It makes me laugh; it surprises me. When I go back over it and do the edits/revisions/tighten it/clean up the sloppy language, there’s so much that delights me.

I hope you enjoy it, too!

Remember: July 28. First two episodes drop. First three episodes are free.

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it.

Published in: on July 19, 2022 at 6:17 am  Comments (6)  
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6 Comments

  1. Lots of luck with it. Those graphics are great. We have Vella in the UK, but do know that I’m cheering you along from the sidelines.

    Not only do we not have it in the UK, but it’s apparently only available via the store apps, and they’ve just closed down all of the Amazon store apps on android and kindle devices over here… Go figure.

    • Ick. How frustrating and complicated. I’m having a lot of fun with the graphics. The tone of the piece is a little off-kilter, so that’s what I’m trying to do with the ads. I’m even intentionally doing the text just slightly off here and there, just for that psychological “just a bit off” thing.

  2. #we DON’T have Vella in the UK… Duh!

    • It’s a shame. Of course, it might be a nightmare platform. I’m not sure yet. It will be a voyage of discovery, that’s for sure.

  3. Best of luck with the series. I have to look into Kindle Vella. Not sure what it is.

    • It’s part of the Kindle platform, but dedicated to serials. I’m looking forward to this.


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