Serial Fiction (My Novel, Divided?)

All-the-Year-Round-001It’s 1am, I’m looking at a project in Scrivener and I may be about to do something either crazy, brilliant or the fictional writing equivalent of publishing suicide. Funnily enough, it wouldn’t be the first career decision I’ve made in the middle of the night, and I hope it won’t be the last either – life’s dull enough as it is.

The idea of splitting a narrative into parts and dishing it out in chunks to a hopefully ever-growing audience isn’t exactly groundbreaking. Perhaps the most famous author to use the formula is Charles Dickens, who’s first serial, The Pickwick Papers (fun fact: Pickwick travels to Ipswich, my home town, in chapter 22) was published in 1836.

Another author who springs to mind is Conan Doyle, who chose to publish his short stories starring Sherlock Holmes in The Strand not long later in the 1890s.

The_Strand_Magazine_bound_volume_1894Fast forwarding, modern audiences will be most familiar with this format through visual media. Television shows, comics and even machinima series all settle into this form rather nicely thanks to newspapers and the Internet. Listeners will be used to the concept was well, with radio dramas thankfully remaining popular with their fans on the airwaves.

But with the rise of Indie Publishing and more and more budding writers like me eager to reach readers, I wonder if using my blog as a host for a story split into parts, to be released weekly, is a good idea. It’s a risk, I know that. Will it appeal to the readership I’ve managed to gather already? Do I have enough of a social presence to attract new readers over Twitter? I’m not on Facebook, is this likely to hurt my chances?

It’s a tough market out there, no denying that. Journalism is one of the most competitive industries there is – and I couldn’t stand the pressure in that hot box. The world of self publishing seems, if anything, even more brutal. I love supporting my fellow authors, but my Twitter feed is often drowning in offers of e-books and links to glowing reviews. I’m going to have to work very hard to make my work stand out. I had some great feedback and advice from the Community Pool today, which I’m very thankful for.

The biggest question of course is the one every writer faces before releasing something they love into the world; is it good enough at all? Honestly, I have no idea, but you know what? Sod it. I like it, time to be bold.

…So, who’s interested in a little light beta reading?

10 thoughts on “Serial Fiction (My Novel, Divided?)

  1. Go for it! Like you mentioned, loads of authors have made great use of the serial format. I don’t think you need to worry about appealing to your reader base, as I’d assume most of them are writers themselves (or at least people who read fiction). It’d also have the benefit of giving you feedback as you go. I can’t think of a disadvantage, really (but do make sure that WordPress doesn’t have any sneaky clause that says anything you upload becomes their property).

    I also volunteer my eyes for beta reading.


    • I was waiting for your comment, else I was planning to poke you on Twitter until you relented but look! You volunteered, how kind of you. :D

      Good point about the WordPress thing as well, I hadn’t thought of that. I assume since I’m playing for the webspace I hold the content rights, but I better check. Thank you dear.


      • You thought of pestering me? I’m flattered :D

        By “beta-reading”, did you mean you would email your work to people in advance of posting it and they’d give feedback and such? If so, let me know and I’ll PM you my email.

        Though I feel a bit silly now because you agreed earlier to beta-read some of my work and I haven’t sent you anything yet :(


      • Yep that is indeed what I meant, if that’s okay with you? So PM away :)

        And don’t worry the offer to beta for you won’t expire! Anytime you want something looked at I’d be glad to.


  2. I feel like I’m a little late to the party (mainly because I can’t remember which days were when :/ ) but if you’re worried about your current readership, maybe set up a separate blog dedicated to your novel? And on the whole publicising yourself thing, there’s a great site dedicated to web fiction:
    :) good luck! And I’m bad at commitments, but if you need secondary/tertiary/etc betas, I’d be more than happy to give your work a read :)


    • I have that problem often, it comes from working so many night shifts, so no worries :) Thank you for the link, I’ll check it out!

      And thanks for the offer! I’ll take all the betas I can get. I’ll message you in the next few days with a little something after I re-draft. Any time I can return the favour please let me know!


  3. Pingback: Shelving It « The Robotic Hermit

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