We live in a world where waiting has become a thing of the past. Bingeing movies, TV shows, books, and even comics are included. A little off topic, even credit cards make things happen instantly. Don't have cash? Just charge it and enjoy. Have you considered podcasts or radio as serials, perhaps? The digital age has transformed us into a right now society. Which, come on, isn't always a bad thing.
Patience? What's that?
Book serials, on the other hand, have an overarching story line. The characters age and change: like in The Vampire Diaries. Often, they come in episodes or parts shorter than a novel: 80-100 pages long installments. Episodes (whether novel-sized or chapter sized) are separately published in eBook format and get their own cover. Once a story arc has been finished, the author groups the parts together and publishes it as a novel (often called a ‘season’). The book receives a title, a new ISBN, and usually also appears in print form.
Did you know that book serials go back to the 1800s: The Victorian Era?
According to Publishdrive by Monica Dube: During the 19th century, cheap printing and distribution made magazines the most popular format for wide distribution of literature.
At the time, it was highly popular to pick up newspapers and magazines, which were affordable for people who wouldn’t be able to pay for a complete book. Last but not least, monthly or periodical magazines provided steady income for authors. Most famous example of serialized fiction from this age is Charles Dickens.
During the Victorian era, serials were popular all over Europe, but also in the United States. According to the Scribner’s Monthly, only the best writers were able to secure a spot in a magazine; second and third rate writers had to resort to publishing a novel.
The serialized format has reformed not only the way publishing works, but also the types of novels authors were writing. Cliffhangers became popular, and the pace of the novel has changed to keep up interest in the course of a whole year. Authors and publishers were also receptive of the audience’s reactions and changing the direction of the story if they needed to.
I have just now decided to dip my toes into serial writing with a story called: A SPIRIT WITHIN, which will be available on Kindle Vella, a new serialized platform soon to be released on Amazon.
A SPIRIT WITHIN summary:
How do you solve a murder when everyone thinks you’re crazy?
Being plagued by a ghost that only you can see and hear will do that to you. Nineteen-year-old Bailey should never have gotten into the car with her boyfriend, Jude, the night of the party. Now he’s gone, she’s got a traumatic brain injury, and—oh yeah, she can suddenly see dead people.
And Jude is one of them.
Too bad the only person willing to help, doesn’t believe the supernatural exists.
Until Bailey becomes a target herself.
I asked several avid readers if they liked serials, or would give it a chance. The overwhelming response was: Yes, they would, but they were extremely wary about starting a story and not knowing if the author would ever finish it.
Let this be a warning, my fellow authors, if you start a serial, make sure you complete it. Your readers deserve this for giving you a chance.
Out of the millions of books out there, for someone to choose your work to read is a huge honor. I take that seriously. Also, having OCD helps. I MUST FINISH THIS.
I hope you stay tuned and keep following, because A SPIRIT WITHIN is going to blow your socks off.