Serialized fiction

If you follow any of the blog posts about publishing today, you know that times are a-changin’.  With the introduction of POD (print-on-demand) printing technology and eBooks (electronic versions of books in whatever format – .mobi, .pdf, kindle, etc.), the traditional printing paradigm in shifting…to the past.

Serialized Fiction was something those crazy Victorian’s got into, and I wouldn’t doubt it is even older than that.  I mean, really, can you imagining listening to the entire Iliad in one go?

I think not.

When I first conceived of writing seven (friggin’) stories based on the seven deadly sins, I thought the tales would be short and punchy.  Not quite as concise as a short story (usually less than 20,000 words), but not as long as a novel (usually more than 75,000 words).  I envisioned novella length stories that I could write quickly while learning the craft of writing.

Anyway, while researching the idea, I soon found out that traditional publishers didn’t want anything to do with novellas, so I re-conceived the idea into novel length stories.

And now, self-published Serialized Fiction is all the rage.

Damn it!  I’m always behind the curve.

Well, it really shouldn’t surprise anyone that serialized fiction is gaining popularity, because what are all those genre series about anyway?  All those book trilogies are like Americans after decades at the Chinese buffet trough – fat.

With eBooks becoming as ubiquitous as real books and with our collective attention span becoming the inverse of our waistline, shorter serialized tales have gained popularity.

Yet another decision to make, folks.  Once one is ready to publish, should one break that novel up into manageable bite sizes?

To chunk or not to chunk, that is the question.

I don’t know the answer, but as writers, we should be aware of all the different ways readers might consume our stories.

Until later, remember to chew.

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4 thoughts on “Serialized fiction

  1. Ooh, this is a good question, and one I’m dealing with. Conspiracy is 215,000 words: way too long for a first novel. The typical method is to break the big ‘un into a trilogy (I’m thinking of Trudi Canavan’s Black Magician Trilogy), but frequently there’s just not enough story to create a trilogy and you end up with three shorter, weaker books rather than one good big story. I’m not sure I have enough for three, and you don’t see many two-book sets.

    I’ll probably end up chunking. *sigh*

    1. 215k? Yeah, that is long, but I wouldn’t abandon the idea of two books. Yeah, you don’t see too many of those, but that doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t go that route.

      Plus I’m not sure how one goes about dividing a longer work up. Do you leave your readers with a cliff hanger or story question each time? How much time in between installments? How do you control access to the material?

      So many questions…

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