Articles tagged "serial"

How To: Serialize with Lulu

There was such great response from Lulu authors at our blog post about a resurgence of interest in novel serialization, that we thought it would be helpful to talk about…

What’s the best way to make a serial novel with Lulu?

EBooks are really the way to go with serialized material, and the most important reason is length. Sizing options for print books require 32-page minimums for the best results. Don’t get us wrong, Lulu print books are a great way to compile and release your whole, finished novel at the end of the serial novel process, but most of us can’t write 32-page chapters on a regular basis. The short length of a single chapter of a novel is much more suited to a Lulu eBook. In order to harken back to the golden age of serialization, when a reader could sit down with the newspaper and read the latest installment of a Dickens epic after current events, you’re going to need a Lulu eBook. Don’t forget that Lulu will turn your .doc, .docx, .rtf, and .odt files into an EPUB eBook file for free, and provides retail distribution.

EBooks are also less of an initial investment for the author, of both time and money, and that matches the low initial investment that comes with serialized novels. Think of eBooks as a chance to test the waters with whatever project or concept you just haven’t been able to get out of your head but you’re not sure will work on a large scale. You can write one chapter, and see if readers are engaged and excited about it. If you release Chapter One and decide, based on reader feedback, that your hero needs a sidekick, guess who you’ll be able to introduce in Chapter Two? You guessed it, the pun-hurling partner in crime of your terse heroine.

Whether you decide to go with print or electronic publication (hey, if you crank out chapters Dickensian in length, more power to you!), there are some things you’ll want to consider for your personal writing process, and some of the decisions you make after you finish an installment.

The Return of the Serial Novel

Back in the early days of the novel, one of the most popular forms of publication was the serial. Charles Dickens, who was famously paid by the word, was only one of many authors in the Victorian era to publish what we now consider classics in installments, beginning with The Pickwick Papers published in 1836. Other works published in installments include Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Madame Bovary.

But as the cost of printing novels went down, the serialization of novels began to fall out of favor. Only recently have prominent authors began experimenting with the form again, notably Michael Chabon’s serialization of his novel Gentlemen of the Road in 2007. Some have even taken to micro-serialization, in the case of Jennifer Egan, who, earlier this year, published an entire short story through Twitter.

With the rise of electronic readers, and the ceaseless refreshing of one’s eBook library (along with renewed interest in short fiction) it seems only natural that serials would make a return. Renowned self-published author Neal Pollack has begun selling a serialized novel, Downward-Facing Death with installments that automatically downloaded to eReaders as they are released. The reader only needs to purchase the first installment to receive the following ones. The Huffington Post has also started publishing serialized novels, much like other news outlets would back in the day.

The idea of serializing a novel is an incredible opportunity for authors looking to take advantage of multi-platform publishing. Not only does it allow them to gradually build a fan base throughout the publication of a novel, but it gives the author time to gauge the reaction to certain characters or techniques, and change accordingly to his audience’s reaction (Dickens did this as well).

Serialization also lets readers weave in and out of a particular story, which readers are apt to do anyway with eReaders. It lets readers take a break, and then delve back into the book whenever their next installment arrives. For writers of the suspense or detective genres, the cliffhanger aspect of serials will keep readers on edge, constantly refreshing their libraries to see if the next installment has arrived. For writers, it will give them time to breathe and continue to write, even after parts of it are published.

Check out our follow-up blog post: How To: Serialize with Lulu

Would you ever write a serialized novel?