Doors of Pine – Reader beware!

As most of you know I’m an avid reader of ebooks thanks to the low cost. I’m still picky though, so this post is not so much a review as a warning – ‘Doors of Pine’, by Mark Williams, is not a novel, it’s just the introduction to something that may, eventually, become a novel.

At the end of this snippet of a story, the author wrote this :

“Visit: for updates.”

Excuse me?

Despite being a Kindle user for a year now, it still took me a while to realise Mark Williams must be serializing his novel. [Believe me, that was the kindest interpretation I could come up with].

Now I know that Dickens serialized most of his novels, so there is nothing new about the concept. John Scalzi is doing the same with one of his stories, perhaps to counterbalance the outrageous prices his publisher charges for his ebooks. So I can’t really argue about serialization being a scam. It’s not. However a serialization should be advertised as such.

I couldn’t remember seeing anything to that effect when I bought Doors of Pine [$0.99], so I went back to double check. This is what the blurb says :

“Doorways separate one space from another. Open a door and enter another dimension. We’re not alone in the Universe, just in our dimension. This is a preview to the beginning of Earth’s awakening to inter-dimensional travel.”

The bold on the word ‘preview’ is mine.

I guess I’m a bit of a purist, but to me, preview does not mean serialization. I certainly interpreted it to mean something like ‘first book of a series’ rather than ‘first chapter[s] of a book’.

With the wisdom of hindsight I’d have to concede that the author ‘sort of’ told the truth, but I’m still very annoyed. $0.99 is not much to waste on an ebook, but my time is a great deal more valuable than that, so I resent having my expectations dashed. This is not a good way to market a book, especially when the author is an unknown.

Publishing-as-you-go is also not a great way to write a book. Some of the concepts underlying Doors of Pine [what there is of it] were interesting, however the writing itself could have done with a good edit by a professional editor. But of course no indie can afford to hire an editor for one chapter at a time.

Essentially then, Mark Williams is asking readers to pay for the serialization of a first draft. It’s not illegal by any stretch of the imagination, but it left me with a sour taste in my mouth, and enough anger to write a very negative post.

Not a great way to market a book. Sorry.




About acflory

I am the kind of person who always has to know why things are the way they are so my interests range from genetics and biology to politics and what makes people tick. For fun I play online mmorpgs, read, listen to a music, dance when I get the chance and landscape my rather large block. Work is writing. When a story I am working on is going well I'm on cloud nine. On bad days I go out and dig big holes... View all posts by acflory

12 responses to “Doors of Pine – Reader beware!

  • metan

    I hate getting close to the end of a kindle book and wondering how on earth they will wind it up sufficiently by the end, and then being disappointed….grrrrr.

    I have no problem with a book dished out in parts when we are made aware of these parts at the start, and a well-written/edited serial is an interesting type of reading (as you know, I am very much looking forward to number 1 of John scalzi’s series being delivered to my kindle).
    Doing it in an underhanded way like this is hugely insulting to the readers and, as you said, that authors name will be remembered as one to avoid, not seek out.


  • candy korman

    There is a big difference between a first draft and the version of a book — long, short, electronic or conventional — a writer offers to readers. I could see serializing a novel that lends itself to the process. A saga where each chapter has a beginning, middle and cliffhanger end, might be fun to read on a blog, but selling it bit-by-bit… I’m with you.


    • acflory

      Yeah, not on. 😦 Makes me wonder how many other writers out there are only into epublishing for the so-called money. I suspect I’ve been shielded from the nastier aspects of this transition period by being surrounded by the creme de la creme.

      In case I haven’t said it recently, you guys are the best. 🙂


  • bharatwrites

    I agree. Although he hasn’t lied, it’s shifty of him to do this. Bad idea though. When people are screwed over like this, they will remember the author’s name and will resist reading his actual book, no matter how tempting.


  • lorddavidprosser

    Thanks for the fair warning. I hate getting to the end of a book and be left with a cliffhanger. It’s not bad if I’m prepared for it.


  • Ilil Arbel

    That’s why my serialization is given for free, no strings attached, no sales, on a blog. It’s not just because of the ethics , but because I gain something highly valuable as well — the readers’ views and comments. It does not cost them and it does not cost me any money, but we all gain. Some readers have already been using the book in their studies, or essays, which is fine with me, and I like the communication! And some day, when I am done with the research and the writing, I will get the book tightened up, professionally edited and proofread, and with luck, it will have a ready audience. I would be ashamed to charge anyone for reading a chapter.


    • acflory

      Oh that’s brilliant Ilil! Congratulations. Not that i’m surprised given your meticulous research abilities.

      I think it was the … brazen-ness of getting people to pay for a draft that floored me. Literally every writer I know is fastidious about their work, and wouldn’t dream of publishing anything that wasn’t 110%.

      Oh well. Live and learn.


      • Ilil Arbel

        Thanks, Andrea! I can’t believe I never gave you the link… here it is.

        And as for people being fastidious about their work, I have seen so many sloppy books being published, it’s amazing. Then again, I can understand the need. So many people these days simply need money to survive, and they think that publishing is going to pay, since it’s so easy to do so after the “indie revolution.” As always, if we write good books, they will stick around. If they are not so good, they will disappear… such is publishing,


        • acflory

          Thanks for that link Ilil. 🙂

          I guess my Pollyanna switch was turned off yesterday because I couldn’t see any silver-linings. Now though I can see that longevity itself is the most powerful tool a dedicated indie author has in their repertoire.

          I guess it’s the waiting part of longevity that grates. 🙂


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