Groundbreaking Online Wovel Launched by Book Publisher

Wed Jun 11, 2008 9:10am EDT

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

PORTLAND, Ore.--(Business Wire)--
All of those years of reading horror stories by flashlight under
her blanket left Underland Press publisher Victoria Blake with the
distinct sense that something intangible was creeping up behind her.
The former Dark Horse editor now realizes that the something was
technology. With vocal online communities offering feedback and
opinions about everything, Blake wondered why readers couldn't be
asked to decide the plot of a fiction novel. Developing this idea,
Black thought up the wovel(TM).

   "A wovel is a web novel," Blake says. "Unlike straight serialized
fiction, the plot of the wovel is determined by the readers. The fans
vote after every installment, and the author spools the story out,
every Monday rain or shine until the story is complete."

   Initial reader response has been tremendous. After quietly
launching her new company Underland Press at Book Expo America on June
1, Blake's site had nearly 1,000 visitors in the first 10 days, with
700 of them voting on the first installment of Kealan Patrick Burke's
zombie wovel, "The Living." Burke is the Bram Stroker Award winner
whom Publisher's Weekly called "a newcomer worth watching," and
Booklist called "one of the most original authors in contemporary

   "Underland will publish both paper-and-ink titles and online
titles," Blake explained. "I didn't want my company to be limited by
the confines of paper and ink, or by the confines of the web. My
vision for Underland is to combine the best of the web with the best
of print, and to see what happens with a little bit of imagination and
a little bit of guts. Like the readers and fans, I can't wait to see
what comes next."

   How It Works: Weaving a Wovel

   The author posts an installment every week, rain or shine.
Installment length hits the sweet-spot of online reading--long enough
to get interested, short enough to read in the cubicle at work. At the
end of every installment, the author writes in a plot branch point.
Does the heroine kill her lover? Will the zombies catch the soldier?
Is the box empty, or is it filled with bees?

   The readers decide.

   On Monday, the post goes up. Voting is open through Thursday. The
author writes Thursday and Friday. The editors edit Friday and
Saturday, just in time for a new post on Monday.

   Part literature, part Exquisite Corpse. The pace of print
journalism, the imagination of fiction, the spark of reader

   Because of the immediate reader demand, the original schedule has
been accelerated to accommodate the fast-growing voter base. The next
installment will be posted on June 16. New readers can read past posts
online, and vote on current posts as they are made live.

   For information, please visit or
visit Victoria Blake's blog at


   We like stories that scare us. We like the macabre--monsters and
magic and men with nothing to lose. More than anything, we like to be
intrigued and entertained. Underland Press was started to bring the
best of the world's scary and strange stories to life and to light. In
print and online, we're making the books you can't put down.

WriteBrain Media
Denise Dorman, Publicist
Phone 24/7: 630.845.4694

Copyright Business Wire 2008