As you may know, I’m a huge fan of short fiction. Here’s why. Writing short fiction is both sensible, and profitable.
For new writers, writing a short story is a lot easier than writing (and finishing) a novel. Experienced writers can test ideas with short stories, and can win a new audience for their novels when they release shorter works regularly.
We talked about what a short story was yesterday on the freelance writing blog. Today, let’s look at what a serial might be.
In general terms, a serial publication just means regular installments of a story, or TV show, or magazine. In self-publishing, let’s define a serial as a series of ebooks which tell a story episode by episode.
The story is incomplete, so readers need to read each episode. Some readers enjoy this, others don’t. Tip: make sure that your book description mentions that this is a serial, not a complete story. Readers need to know what they’re getting.
You’ll find writers offering series/ serials as ebooks on the ebook retailers, with various degrees of success. As far as I know, there hasn’t been a breakout hit in serial format, unless you count 50 Shades of Grey, in its earliest fan fiction incarnations.
How to Write a Serial — Write and Publish a Short Story
You can write a serial in various ways:
* Expand a published, successful short story into a serial;
* Chop up an already-written novel into episodes — however, be wary of this. Each of your installments/ episodes should aim to end on a cliffhanger;
* Write a serial from scratch.
I prefer the first method; here’s why. Your aim is to build your readership, so you want readers to look forward to each new release. When you expand a short story which is selling, you know that the story works. Few novels can be sliced into a serial without a lot of rewriting. And if you write a serial from scratch, as soon as you release the first part, you’re committed to writing, and releasing the next episodes on a schedule. What if they don’t sell?
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