I’m a long-time fan of the Ethshar series by Lawrence Watt-Evans. The first book I read, With a Single Spell, is actually the second in the series, and I picked it up as a kid during a regular scouring of a favorite used bookstore. I never ran across the other books, and it never occurred to me to look and see if his other works were part of the same world or not until rereading it a few years ago. Thanks to the magic of the Internet I found his site, a whole series of stand alone novels set in that world, and went on an Ethshar binge.
There are ten published novels, starting with The Misenchanted Sword and finishing with The Vondish Ambassador (the linked page is slightly out of date as VA is now published). The interesting thing is that the last two books: The Spriggan Mirror and The Vondish Ambassador were originally published on-line as serials.
In 2005, a combination of lack of publisher interest in continuing the series and fans clamoring for additional books led Watt-Evans to try an experiment. He wrote The Spriggan Mirror as a serial. To his surprise, it was successful and was completed and published. Since then he has completed a second serial, The Vondish Ambassador. It’s an interesting variation on the normal author/publisher model and apparently a good way to prove to a publisher that there is a market for stories they’re not otherwise interested in.
So, I was excited when I saw recently that he was working on a new serial called The Final Calling. I’m especially excited for this one since it deals with Warlockry, which has been a long running mystery in the series.
The details about how serialization works are here. The short version is: the first chapter is posted for free, each chapter after that is $250, and one chapter posted per week or more slowly depending on donations. Donors over $25 get a printed copy.
Of course there’s no guarantee that enough donations will come in to cover finishing the book. But, Watt-Evans is three for three so far and good at keeping to a schedule as well. Based on his last serial status update, the story is paid up through Chapter Seven (which he’s currently writing), Chapters One and Two are posted, and Chapter Three is scheduled to post on June 30th.