I have seen a number of posts this past week about publishing and the world of professional writing, and a number of them raised the same question that I have been pondering; a theory that I am currently testing.
As the industry has changed, so changed the mindset of the read. The instant access offered to us all by e-readers led to a shift in reading choices, with more interest being expressed in short stories and anthologies than longer novels. I am not saying they overtook the popularity of novels, but the interest and demand for novellas and short work increased at a rapid rate.
What happened as a result… writers started putting short fiction out into the market. It made sense. However, it would appear that in an instant world, were we want everything to come in manageable chunks, we are seeing another shift in the demands of readers. Long ‘Short’ stories, or short novellas – term them what you will – have become the order of the day. Serials are in an ever-increasing demand. A short burst of fiction that either tells one short story at a time, following the life of a set character, or a longer tale, serialized into perfect commute sized installments.
Does anybody else remember that Stephen King published several of his bodies of work as regular serials in publications. Is the writing world coming full circle and harking back to the days of yesteryear, or are we, as readers, becoming impatient, a victim of a world that seemingly encourages short attention spans.
I have looked at this for a while now, and have seen other writers have great success with serials. So much so that I have tried my hand at it myself. My series Diaries of the damned is (will be) a collection of 9 stories around 12,000 words each telling the tale of a group of survivors fleeing the zombie apocalypse.
I have, now published the first three, and this coming Friday, the fourth installment will be released. I work on a two-week system, and so far the results have been better than I expected. I charge 99 cents per story, and have sold many more than when I had my novel priced at the same amount. This makes me believe that length is on of the things people look at nowadays when buying a story.
Of course, a serial also encourages more sales, because the story is not truly complete.
However, what I have been pondering today is, how would this work with novels? Could the future see novels being published electronically in weekly serials? Would that see an increase in reader, or would it be taking things one step too far.
I like to think (and my reviews would agree) that I tell a good story. What I lack is a natural flair or ability to market myself. I am determined to find out the best tactics, and use them to climb to the top. Of course, if I find that golden ticket, I will pass it on. I wouldn’t want to be lonely up there.