Stephen King's New Work Only on Internet

Stephen King plans to begin an experiment in direct publishing Monday by posting the first installment of a new novel online and asking readers to pay through the honor system.

Installment one of The Plant will be posted on King’s Web site on July 24 and installment two on Aug. 21. Part three will appear in September if “pay-through” equals or exceeds 75 percent, according to a message on his Web site dated July 11.

Readers will be asked to send King a check or money order for $1 per installment in a direct transaction that King describes as a way to thumb your nose at the publishing industry.

‘No More Tiresome Encryption!’

“My friends, we have a chance to become Big Publishing’s worst nightmare,” the Web site reads. “Not only are we going glueless, look Ma, no e-Book! No tiresome encryption!”

The novel, to be posted in parts ranging from 5,000 to 7,000 words, is described as “sort of funny and at the same time pretty gruesome.” It describes a “vampire vine” that takes over the offices of a paperback publishing company and offers financial success for human sacrifice.

King, 52, said he’s counting on two things: honest readers, and a story that will be good enough to keep them reading.

“Remember: Pay and the story rolls. Steal and the story folds,” he wrote on the site. “No stealing from the blind newsboy!”

The multimillionaire horror author got the idea after a reader mailed him $2.50 out of guilt at having read his e-book, Riding the Bullet, for free from an unauthorized Web site.

That work was only available online through several book-related Web sites. It went on sale in March. King wrote the book while recuperating from being struck by a van last summer.