Serialized fiction is an interesting way of writing a full-length novel, or even producing works longer than usually published as a single volume. Curiosity Quills is no stranger to serials, with great titles like the bestselling Real Vampires Don’t Sparkle, and the popular Silent Clarion, among others. In fact, serials are so popular over on Wattpad that some have even been picked up by traditional publishers.
With so many success stories, it’s easy to see why serialized fiction is becoming so prominent in the writing community. Here are just a few benefits of writing fiction in a serialized form:
Instant Gratification - when you’ve spent months writing a novel, then just as long having it critiqued, before you begin making revisions, it’s easy to feel like you’ve achieved nothing with your time. Sure, you have 90k words, but how many of those words are ready to be unleashed to the world? With serials, if you plan beforehand so you know where your story is headed, you can begin publishing as soon as you’ve written (and polished) your first chapter. And if you’ve promoted your new serial, soon the feedback will follow.
Promotion for Existing Works - In some cases writing a serial serves as a marketing tool for your already published novel(s). If you’re a new author, readers might be cautious to spend money on your debut. But, if they can read a story you’ve written for free, in small, easy to digest instalments, it’s not hard to get them hooked. Soon they’re coming back for more, and once they’re a fan of your writing, they’ll be eager to buy the novel(s) you already have available.
Exploring Other Worlds - Serials can also be great if you want to explore a time period before/ after your published novel(s), or try out a new genre. Perhaps you’ve got a great idea for a prequel, featuring a supporting character from your published works. Or maybe you normally write historical-fantasies, but want to experiment with a far-future cyberpunk story. Starting a new novel might seem like a gamble, a serial could be safer.
Feedback as you write - Critique partners and beta readers are great, but often the best feedback comes from a complete stranger who’s stumbled upon your work, and loved it. With serials, you get this on a weekly/ bi-weekly/ monthly basis, depending on how frequently you update. This sort of regular feedback can be really useful for a new writer who wants to hone their craft.
One chapter a week is far less daunting than 90k words - Ninety-thousand words. That sound like a lot, doesn’t it? Then you’ve got to factor in editing and revisions. Completing a full-length novel is no mean feat, and every author who achieves this should be proud. But for some, the prospect is just too much and it puts them off writing what could be an amazing story. On the other hand, writing a chapter a week doesn’t seem too hard, does it? Some people are better suited to breaking down larger tasks into smaller, bite-size pieces. If you’ve got the desire to write, but a full length novel feels too much for you, perhaps a serial would work?
It allows you to produce works longer than usually published as a single volume - Let’s be honest here. Unless you’re George R.R. Martin or similar, you’re probably not going to be able to publish a 1040 page epic! Most publishers will decline anything over 100k words, unless it’s exceptional. But sometimes, a story just cannot be told in a single volume. Lord of the Rings is a perfect example of this. Sure, you can release sequels, and have an epic series, spanning seven books or more. But again, if we’re being honest, who really likes the waiting period between books in a series? Sometimes a year seems too much, let alone five or ten! A week to wait for another part of a much loved story isn’t so bad, though.
It offers fiction on the go - These days almost everyone has a tablet, smartphone or laptop. With fiction so accessible, people want their entertainment at their fingertips. Kindle books are great, but sometimes you can’t afford a new book, or you’re saving the latest title by your favourite author to savour on your days off. So what do you read while commuting to work, or in the five minutes you have spare between chasing kids, or during your lunch break at school/ collage?
Serials are perfect, because you get them in small, manageable instalments. So many people have been scared off reading big novels, due to the length (GRRM I’m looking at you!), but imagine if these books had been presented in bite-size chunks. Perfect.
It works for TV - Movies are great, but people don’t watch a movie every day. For starters they’re time consuming. You might only have 30 minutes spare while you eat dinner to watch something. Plus, films don’t leave much room for speculation. You’re only left wondering what’s going to happen next for the duration of the movie. Then it’s all wrapped up. Great TV shows leave you with something to talk about all week until the next episode. Serialized fiction works in much the same way.
If it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for you - What do Stephen King, Orson Scott Card, Arthur Conan Doyle and Charles Dickens all have in common? That’s right, they’ve all produced serialized fiction! With greats like that serializing their work, and the many benefits that come of writing fiction in this way, it’s not hard to see why some many people are opting for serials instead of or alongside traditionally published works. It’s certainly something I considered when I made the decisions to serialize my new dual-POV contemporary-romance, All It Takes, which begins on 01.21.15!