Why We Wrote a Serial Novel

Hi, guys. Austin here. Today is the official release date of Nimbus: A Steampunk Novel (Part One)! For those of you who have already purchased it during the pre-release weekend, we hope you’re enjoying it. We can’t wait to hear your comments on this site, Facebook, or to see the reviews on Amazon.com (hint hint!).

As for everyone who hasn’t purchased a copy yet, cruise on over to Amazon and get your copy today! Or, you can always wait the next ten weeks and read the weekly (free!) installments here at Professor Beej.

Either way, we hope you enjoy the ride and love the world of Nimbus as much as we do.



One thing we began talking about early in the writing process–well, really before any writing actually began–was the idea of doing Nimbus as a serialized novel. Huddled together in B.J.’s office, with our notebooks spread across our laps, we came up with an outline: four novella-length parts that make a cohesive and complete narrative.

Stephen King’s The Green Mile was a kind of inspiration for us as far as the serialization goes, but the idea was also something more than that. We wanted to experiment with ebook technology, and in essence experiment with the old and new conventions of what it means to be a writer. So, why exactly did we decide to serialize our novel?



Before we answer that question, let’s bring up something else:  Traditionally, steampunk stories occur in the Victorian era–something that neither B.J. nor myself like very much about the genre. What’s so great about the Victorian age, anyway? The people back then were struggling financially, child labor was at an unbelievable high, sexually oppression was at extraordinary levels (I mean, they would cover table legs with sheets because even that was too sexually suggestive!), and I’m sad to say that the 19th century spawned novels by the Bronte sisters (in my opinion, the worst thing to happen that century—and yes, I realize the American Civil War took place, too).

So, we decided to take steampunk in another direction and create our world—a world where we get to create our own rules.

Yes, we’re control freaks.

The Victorian era was also famous for its serialized novels—an irony that isn’t lost on these two authors—but that’s not really why we decided to go the serialization route. As B.J. said, “It’s meta.” And while that often sounds pretentious, I think it’s one of those facetious half-truths, and I think it also applies to what we’re trying to do with Nimbus.



B.J. and I like to think in terms of television. For those of you who know us personally, we have a habit of relating everything back to TV. We like to think of the four parts of Nimbus as being seasons, with each chapter being an episode from that season. So, we’re bringing weekly “episodes” to you guys here on this blog, but if you want to go ahead and buy the complete season, there’s Amazon for that.



In case you haven’t noticed, there’s no good answer for that. Serializing the novel is a great way to experiment with the emerging ebook technology. It gives people an alternative when they want to delve deeper than a short story, but don’t want to become completely immersed in a novel. Of course, no publisher—or at least very few publishers—would spring for a serialized novel in print. It just wouldn’t work. Ebooks provide a fantastic alternative to that, and like television, it allows us to tamper with the typical conventions of storytelling.

So, in short, why did we decide to serialize the novel?

Because we wanted to.

Be sure to check out our Nimbus Release Giveaway for your chance to win one of 5 copies of Nimbus: A Steampunk Novel or a $25 Amazon gift card. 

By B.J. Keeton

B.J. KEETON is a writer, teacher, and runner. When he isn't trying to think of a way to trick Fox into putting Firefly back on the air, he is either writing science fiction, watching an obscene amount of genre television, or looking for new ways to integrate fitness into his geektastic lifestyle. He is also the author of BIRTHRIGHT and co-author of NIMBUS. Both books are available for Amazon Kindle.


  1. You could always say that the serialization is an homage to the Victorian era… I think that you could spin that to great effect. 😀

  2. That’s good news. Good thing I tried checking out your blog. I’ll be heading to Amazon now. Cool! Thanks!

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