Monday, January 13, 2014

Serially… I need your opinions...

Serial novels. I've been seeing a lot of debate and talk about them lately. For those that don't know, a serial is a story told in short volumes. Examples include H. M. Ward's Arrangement series and Magan Vernon's Forever Wild series. 
There are advantages to writing a serial. They're shorter than novels so easier to produce. It's also a less of a risk for the reader. Buy a snippet and see if you want to continue it. You don't have the commitment of an entire book.
There are downsides. Many readers feel like authors are trying to "make a lot of money" by charging more for short works than they would for a full novel. And sometimes they get fatigued when the stories go on too long. They can be too short as well. Just when you're getting into the story, it's over.
I've just been thinking about this a lot, and I wanted to know what YOUR opinions are. So what do you think? Yay or nay on serial novels? What do you think is the right price? What would you pay?

14 comments:

  1. I would say nay. Novellas, personally, aren't my thing.
    Jackie

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  2. You know my thoughts! And no more than $.99. IMO. And make sure it is CLEAR it is a serial.

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  3. I've been thinking about this myself lately. I've got a manuscript that ended up with a cliffhanger ending. I might end up querying it and I know most agents like books that can be stand-alones, so I started wondering whether serialization was a possibility. I haven't really come to any conclusions about it, though.

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  4. Interesting topic. I have mixed feelings about it, just like I'm sure many readers do. I like the concept, but it's all about how it's executed. I've gotten into reading two serials so far, and one's going well. The other seems to have been forgotten. Three "episodes" in, and that's it since the summer of 2012. Either the author didn't like the storyline or the novels were more important to be writing. Not sure. But I feel like I was somewhat let down when enjoying something that has been halted/forgotten about.

    The other serial is going well, even with a few delays in what was a monthly installment. Each story builds off the next and the part moves smoothly from one to the next.

    So my advice to put it simply: If you start it, finish it. Make sure each part wraps up enough for readers to not feel like something's missing or feel like nothing happened, but at the same time keep them wanting more/keep the story moving to the next.

    Price? Depends on the length. Some serials are around 20 pages, some are 100+. All depends on the length, quality, and all those other factors that are a discussion for another day.

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  5. I don't really like them. Lately, I've been downloading the free samples from Amazon for my kindle. I find it's usually pretty easy to tell if I think a book is worth buying or not, re: less price investment.

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  6. I haven't read any serial novels, so I can't add too much to this discussion. I think for pricing they should be much less than a regular novel if they are so short- maybe half the price would be fair. I wouldn't spend a lot of money on something so short. If it is true that some are around 20 pages- those should be about .50 cents in my opinion.

    What an interesting topic!
    ~Jess

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  7. I am ANTI serial. But that doesn't mean I couldn't be hooked into buying one. I've experienced serials by two different authors that took completely different approaches with them. With one, the author treats it as a never-ending story - just continues to add to the story and release installments every couple of months. In that instance, the story has become completely ridiculous - the plot is murky - and I've come to feel like the readers are being taken advantage of. With the other, the author stated up front that there would be three installments and the story would conclude with that third installment (in this instance, the full story will release in paperback later this year). I appreciated the author's candor and the fact that she had set dates as to when the installments could be expected to release. While I enjoyed and appreciated that serial way more than my initial experience, I still have to say that I don't love serials. When I'm reading a really good story, I immerse myself in it and want to continue the flow from beginning to end - I want to eat, sleep and breathe the characters. I don't enjoy having the story cut off and being forced to wait for a period of even two weeks before being allowed to continue on the journey the characters have embarked on. For me, breaking the story up takes a bit away from the experience of living the story along with the characters.

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  8. I really don't like them. I have read a couple and I feel like the story just stops short and then I have to wait for the next one. Even if they are published in quick succession it leaves me waiting and then I want to start a new book and don't always want to go back to the serial. Also, the price is an issue depending on how many parts there are. When all is said and done if there are five parts in the serial at 0.99 it comes out to being more expensive than the normal price of an electronic novel. I don't mind paying up to 3.99 for a book if it's an author I love, but when that's electronic form I don't even have a book in hand to show for it so so

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    1. Sometimes that seems pricey. Overall, my opinion is I don't like them and try to avoid buying them when there are so many other books I can buy for cheaper and I don't have any waiting time to read them.

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    2. I have had good and bad with serial's price is an issue too you may get the first for .99cents but the next part was 2.99 not helpful on a tight budget

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  9. I hate serials. I'm currently reading a few and it makes me so mad that they cut off. I want to read a book. Start to finish. I love series where they bring back past book characters but to pay for 2, 3, + books for one story? Its ridiculous. And I've actually forgotten about a serial before. Or was so mad I refused to buy the author anymore. So please don't serial your books. They're too good for that.

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  10. I say why not! Movies do it all the time and people line up to see the next release. Price it reasonably for what your giving, understanding movie sequels are full length - book serials are shorter than novels so keep the price lower -gain more fan. End the story appropriately so that readers are eager to see where things left off and bash the book in the review for being led on.

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  11. I hate them with a passion! They are all of the above - too much money, too slow, too short, and by the time the final ones are coming out I give up - I don't even care what the end is anymore. To get to know an author I usually appreciate a novella, a chapter sample, or will use the local library to browse authors. Once I like one book by an author I am sold. Take you, for instance - I borrowed one book of yours last week and read it in one night. I am now officially a fan of your writing style. I will be buying every one of your books - no recommendation or samples or serials needed. Keep writing!

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