Despite having publishing deals with four major houses, bestselling African-American novelist Omar Tyree is experimenting with technology, self-publishing his latest novel, Corrupted, a feverish portrayal of power and ambition in the book industry, as a serialized Kindle edition e-book, releasing a chapter every week. Since July 15 and each Friday thereafter, Tyree has posted a chapter for readers to download for $1 each on, on his website, or at other e-book retail sites.

Corrupted examines what Tyree calls “the dark side of the publishing industry,” through the actions of his protagonist Vincent Biddle, a power-drunk African-American editor at a fictitious major New York City publishing house. The novel, he said, was inspired by the way both the current economy and new technology are affecting the publishing world.

Hyping the novel as “raw and unedited”—the book has been proofread by Tyree but not yet professionally edited—he invites his readers to post critiques and comments to either his website or his Twitter account @OmarTyree. He said he is open to revising the work if he considers the critiques worthy. He told PW that he expects the book to contain between 23 and 27 chapters.

“Authors with the old traditional contracts can’t make the numbers,” Tyree said referring to sales. “In one day, an editor can be fired and if you were signed by that editor, you get a new editor who does not necessarily understand your work. Here we have a black editor trying to keep his job and move up to become a senior editor, when African American [sales] numbers are not doing well,” he said. “So [the editor’s] African American authors are getting dropped. How is he going to navigate? Editors are in positions of power, but they are scared to death too because if they pick a book that doesn’t fly, they are out the door.”

Tyree has published more than 16 books and has book deals with four publishers. But he didn’t believe that Corrupted would have been an easy sell to any of them. “Most of my books are with Simon & Schuster,” Tyree said. “I have a business book with Wiley, two with Urban Books–a subsidiary of Kensington–and Scholastic is printing and distributing 12 Brown Boys,” a short story collection aimed at black pre-teen boys originally published by Just Us Books.

“I didn’t bring [Corrupted] to a publisher because it’s brand new and experimental—it’s my own individual project to connect with my readers,” he said, pointing out also that, “this book does not fit a genre.” Tyree explained that, “If I’m locked into a genre like African-American, or street, or crime, then I have to put certain things in it. A traditional publisher would [look at Corrupted and] warn, ‘Omar, you are getting away from your base!’ But this way, I can connect with a new set of readers.”

Tyree mentioned that another reason he’s self-publishing is that he didn’t come up with the idea until May, but still wanted to get the book out in the summer to catch the summer reading season. The project also works to fill in the gap until his next hardcover release, scheduled for 2012. “But I wouldn’t have been able to rush it, even as an e-book,” Tyree said, “So I thought, anyone who’s going to download it is someone who probably downloads all the time. So that’s an advantage to me–just give them a chapter a week.”

Tyree said Kindle Edition has a 90-day royalty period and he will not have sales figures for the book project until mid-October. Even then, he added, he isn’t planning to be affected by them. “Back in 2001 I was so focused on sales numbers–-but I learned the hard way that the numbers game can drive you crazy,” Tyree said. “So [for Corrupted] I decided I’m not even going to break down the numbers when the royalty statement comes. I’ve already learned: don’t think about the numbers; just think about the book.”

Tyree promised lots of drama and intrigue in upcoming chapters, “You will see the behind-the-scenes action: the meetings at the publishing house, the bidding wars, the decisions about which authors the editors have to cut loose. It’s going to get vicious!”