Tuesday, June 14, 2011

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 . . .