Serialised Novels: Do you have the patience to wait until the next installment?

Would you buy the next novel from your favourite author in installments? That is, every month a chapter or more would be published like a novella I presume. This is being advocated as a new way to improve the publishing industry over anywhere from 6-18 months.

I know this is cynical, but what I hear is once the serial ends, the book will be released as a novel with various covers and in edited and unabridged forms in order to make up the shortfall in the publishing industry.

What’s interesting in this article is that it advocates serialisation because the novel needs tension. But what I can’t figure out is how that works when most times the body of a novel might not actually give a reader any tension whatsoever . Does that mean each installment would need a cliffhanger?

I much prefer publishers releasing novels in a series much more quickly.  God knows how long I’ve spent waiting for the next book in a series to the point that I get into an entirely different series and forget what I was waiting for.

You want to keep readers’ attention for the books and assorted merchandise, don’t keep readers waiting. Delayed gratification works well on TV when you tune in every week for a new episode, but a book?

 

6 Comments

  • I have read a few serial novels where you buy the book and each week you get another chapter. It was fun, and I looked forward to them. Although some did unnecessary recaps that made me a tad insane.

    • Verushka says:

      Over here, with our cooking shows, we have long ad breaks and then they come back and recap the last 5 minutes before we get to the new stuff — that is exactly what your experience reminded me of — it’d drive me insane too!

  • Cayt says:

    Ugh, I’m not into that idea at all. I hate it enough waiting for the next book in a series. I don’t want to sit around waiting per chapter. I like to read a book in one or two sittings. I’m definitely not going to read a book if I have to read it chapter by chapter, every month. I’d absolutely wait until it’s released as a proper book!

    • Verushka says:

      I would do that too — I mean, you’re right, waiting for the next in a series is long enough, every month is just way too hard. And long. And frustrating.

  • Oh man, I don’t know if I could handle that. Especially in today’s Netflix world where binge-watching/binge-reading is more of the norm. That kind of delayed gratification… not sure I’m even built for that anymore. I like to fully immerse myself in one story, and then move to the next. I feel like this way of structuring a story encourages having a few going at once in order to fill your time. I’d have to fully agree, though I do enjoy series, I’d so much rather just have books in series released very closely together as you said. Even better – one huge, honking book. I love me a good 500+ page book that I can really dig in to for days/weeks at a time. Nothing better.

  • Verushka says:

    I am definitely not a fan of delayed gratification either and I was thrilled when I read that publishers were trying to publish faster instead of having months and months inbetween books of a series. I know with something like serial books, I would very well lose interest in a serial given how long i’d have to wait for the next one bc there’s always a good book out there to read you know? And one you wouldn’t have to keep waiting for.

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