Is Serializing The Novel the Wave of the Future for Writers?


Am so happy! And a  bit scared (feeling very Bridget Jones with how I said that, ha ha).

I just finished my novel, The Last King, and I plan to release it in December as a serial. This is nothing new of course. It was a wildly popular means of gaining the attention of readers back in the 19th century.

Far From the Madding Crowd (1874)by Thomas Hardy appeared as a monthly serial in Cornhill Magazine and Alexander Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo was published in Journal des Débats in eighteen parts.Uncle Tom’s Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe, was published over a 40-week period by National Era, an abolitionist magazine.

Serialization was so standard in American literature that authors from that era often built installment structure into their creative process. “The consumption of fiction during that time was different than the 20th century,” states Wikipedia on the issue.

“Instead of being read in single volume, a novel would often be consumed by readers in installments over a period as long as a year, with the authors and periodicals often responding to audience reaction.”

But it wasn’t just in the 19th century where this was happening. Tom Wolfe who wrote The Bonfire of the Vanities released his book in 27 parts in Rolling Stone (I actually remember the hoopla surrounding the book as a young girl) and author Michael Chabon serialized Gentlemen of the Road in The New York Times Magazine in 2007.

Wow. Impressive! Now I want to try it, too.

What’s great about doing it this way, I believe, is that for an unknown author like myself, it gives me a chance to gain a readership base while doing more re-writes on the book (I plan on releasing 50 new pages a month; that’s a slow release, that will go on for about a year and, in fact, it might frustrate some readers, but hey, why not give it a shot?).

Even Amazon has been getting in on the serial action, too. They have debuted the Amazon Kindle Series. This is how they describe the series on their site: Kindle Serials are books published in episodes. When you buy a Kindle Serial, you will receive all existing episodes on your Kindle immediately, followed by future episodes as they are published. Enjoy reading as the author creates the story, and discuss episodes with other readers in the Kindle forums.

Most of the serials I’ve seen on Amazon are only $1.99 which means readers can save money by paying a cheap price, even as they slowly but surely receive an authors entire work (making it worthwhile for them to take the plunge on an unknown series). If it’s a big book, a buck ninety-nine is quite s steal.

I also like the idea of getting fan feedback. I figure, if I serialize my book, this could give me time to gauge reader’s reactions and, in away, the reader becomes a participant in the creation of the story (of course, my book is already completed, but feedback can good, just the same).

The Count of Monte Cristo: Serialized

The Count of Monte Cristo: Serialized

Anyway, I think it’s great. I have even hired Ella D. Curry Creations of Black Pearl Magazine to help me with publicity for the project. It could all be a big disaster. It could also work out wonderfully.

Personally, I find the unknown to be very exciting.



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Johna953 says: May 01, 2014 at 8:55 am

Keep working ,fantastic job!