Serial Fiction in the Kindle Market

After having spent some time immersing myself in the indie Kindle market (and when I say that I am really referring to the wider ebook market as a whole, it's just that I'm a Kindle owner and so that's my direct experience) both as an author and reader, it has become clear to me that the one thing that really excels in this brave new digital world is serial fiction. By that I mean series of books which follow a recurring main character or books set in a particular 'universe' in which several adventures take place. Of course there are stand-alone indie novels which have achieved great success, but those indie authors who have found long-term, sustained success have most often achieved it through offering a series of books to their readers (or more than one series if they're really prolific).

I can see the appeal.

Since the TV series Lost exploded onto our screens back in 2004 I've become a bit of a devotee of quality serial telly. [Okay, so people take issue with the ending of Lost but by and large it was an exceptional piece of televisual storytelling, keeping its audience guessing for six years, right up until the very end, and that's some achievement right there. Rant over.] Of course, 'quality' is subjective and so I can only talk about the shows which really push my buttons, regardless of their perceived worth. I loved Lost. I also love Fringe. I loved The 4400 (until it was cancelled!!!!). I love Supernatural. I also love Doctor Who. And all of these shows follow the same format: individual episodes which can be viewed and enjoyed in isolation but with an overall story arc which spans multiple seasons.

When I was a young aspiring writer I wanted to be like Stephen King who, with the exception of The Dark Tower sequence, has always written stand alone novels. But times have changed and I have changed. What really excites me now is creating a unique universe and revisiting it over the course of multiple adventures. I love the idea of story arcs, dropping hints at future developments, and cliffhangers which lead us into the next instalment. The Kindle market is made for this format. Affordable, easy to download ebooks are the perfect way to keep readers and fans returning. I've said it before (as have so many others), now is an exciting time for authors. Especially if you have a gripping serial in mind . . .

Comments

L. David Hesler said…
So interesting that you posted this, Lee. I'm working on the same kind of thing right now. It's been brewing for a while... I actually posted a cryptic message about it sometime ago on my own blog.

I'm eager to see what kind of serial work you create. By the way, I would argue that many of Stephen King's stories actually take place within the Dark Tower universe. Just my two cents.

The ease of distribution has transformed the entire process of writing fiction. I read an article a few months ago about how modern writers need to raise the bar and create stories that are on par with TV shows like Lost and Fringe (my two favorites, by the way).

I can sense that a new shift in indie writing is about to occur...
Lee Moan said…
Ah, a fellow Lost/Fringe fan! Excellent! Fringe is just about the best thing on tv at the moment (imho). I like the sound of that article you mentioned. Yes, I think indie writers should offer something the big names/publishers don't (or can't), and good, accessible serial fiction is just one of those things. My first 'sequel' novel, The Vanished Race, is just about to be published, a mystery series set in an alternate 1920s. And later this year I'm hoping to publish the first novel in a four-part sequence which I'm sooo excited about. That's not to mentioned my stand-alone novel Lazarus Island. It's all happening here!

Ah yes, SK and his expanded universe! I actually read his Dark Tower books quite late, around 2004-5, and read them one after another over a period of six months, and I was amazed to discover all the connections to his other works. It just made me love his work even more!

I'll be keeping an eye out for what you do next, David. Best of luck with all your writing endeavours!

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