Serials on Kindle?

So this was brought to my attention after yesterday’s post about self publishing in a comment by mlfables who said, 

I think the third option may be serial novels (the latest book selling technique from Amazon).

Serial novels (where readers pay upfront for the first three chapters and then recieve the subsequent chapters over time) may suit me better than having to write three whole novels then going all out on promotion (which is the most effective way to promote self-published ebooks).

My initial response was huh? Serial novels… on Kindle. And then my curiosity got the best of me and I soon found myself trolling all sorts of pages for the low down on this new form of digital publishing. Of course, as we all know, serial novels aren’t a new thing, but the idea of these being added to something like Kindle is. And the whole idea made me start to think about… well, a lot of things actually. 

 

My second response to serial novels on Kindle wasn’t a thought so much as an emotion. Specifically that of confusion and annoyance.

Now I’d never had much cause to give this type of publishing style a thought before, but I’ve realized something. To me, from both the perspective of a reader and as a writer, serials novels just tick me off. 

 

As a reader my immediate response is No. Capital N o. I am a fast reader and I like to devour my books. I don’t want to sit around waiting for the next installment. When friends recommend book series, my first question is, “Is it completed, or in progress?”. If I’m going to have to wait a really long time, I would rather wait until all if not most of the books are completed and on the shelves of my nearest book store. Why would anyone want to wait for a book to be completed, chapter by chapter? That just kills the experience. I’ll forget things, it will grow dull in my mind, I’ll move on to other works. If I can’t read it in entirety all at once, why read it all?

Looking at this topic as a writer, I’m equally baffled. Perhaps it’s because I don’t have a lot of information about this process, and please feel free to correct me in the comments if I’m wrong or missing some piece of information, but I just don’t see how this is a good thing at all. 

If the piece is not complete, and truly is being written while it’s being published, there are a number of concerns that I have. Namely, consistency. My personal favorite kind of books are filled with layer after layer of nuances and details which are carefully drawn out through the whole piece. Symbols and sub plots abound, and make these books worth reading again and again because each time through offers some new experience or detail to notice. How can someone possibly create and manipulate a rich environment and stimulating characters when each chapter that’s published, limits the authors ability to revise and insert these elements?

More over some books can take years to craft and complete, and some never see a final product. Do you as a reader want to wait months or years for something to play out, or run the risk of it never being completed at all?

Now I know that the really big “plus” for serial novels, is that it give the readers a chance to have some input on the process of story telling and while this may be a draw for some, I find the whole idea appalling. 

The words be careful what you wish for come to mind. If your readers really only care about so and so hooking up with whoever, or Captain whoever catching the bad guy, then by all means, cut out the thirty chapters in the middle and just cut to the final chapters. But they’re not going to be any more satisfied than you will be with the resulting product. 

The idea that someone’s comments could or should have an influence on my stories is outrageous. It’s my story. I’ll write it how I damn well please and if people like it great, if they hate it fine. As long as I’m happy with it, then that’s all I care about. I’m not writing for people I’ve never met, half way across the world, I’m writing for me and while sometimes those two things over lap, I see no reason why someone else should have an influence on how my story is told. 

After the fact, when the story has gone through it’s own edits and has grown into something I’m proud of, then I’ll take the comments and suggestions from others. But when the story is fresh and immature and still expanding, it’s too fragile and precious to let the masses latch onto. 

While I appreciate feedback on my work, I don’t need or want someone messing with my creative process, and though knowing who likes who and who hates this character or what have you is interesting, it won’t make me change my work. I refuse to let others tell me how they think things should go in my own world because if something is happening, or if someone says something, it is because I meant it too. It has a reason for existing and ugh… 

 

I didn’t realize when I started this post how angry I’d get by the end of it. But clearly I’ve met my mark, said more than I needed to I’m sure and if you lasted this long dear readers, I apologize. In any case. 

 

I now need a fourth option for publishing cause clearly I’ve got enough angst to fill up the first three. 

 

As always if you have an comments or care to rant back with me please leave your thoughts below. In regards to this particular topic, if you would like to offer up some explanations as to why this does or doesn’t work for you as a reader or an author, please let me know. I’m interested to see what others think about this topic and how they view the process and their readers. 

 

Traditional publishing, self publishing. Can I have a third option?

Once upon a time, traditional publishing wasn’t traditional. It was the only way to go. But no longer.

Self publishing has been getting a lot of press time on blogs across the web as well as in connection to the rise of ereaders like the Kindle or the Nook. And while I own a Kindle, and I’ve spent quite a bit of time reading ebooks on it as well as my iphone and tablet, I’m not really feeling this new pressure to see everything digital.

As I gaze along the road of my future plans, I see many books being brought forth into the daylight and hopefully into loving hands. But I’d like those hands to be gripping paper backs, not ereaders.

This consumer likes the ease with which she can carry all the books she loves around with her, however that’s about where her love stops. 

I love to have a real book in my hands. I love the weight of it, and the smell and even though ebooks are cheaper, almost everything I’ve bought digitally, I will buy again in hard copy, just so I can have them at my finger tips. Literally. 

Thinking about publishing is something which I dread. I, like many writer’s I would imagine, would love to make a career out of writing however, so publishing in some form is sort of unavoidable. 

Now for years, I’ve thought I’d only ever go toward traditional publishing, but some of the more recent articles about self publishing have made me question that decision. In fact, the more I think about the whole process, the more leery I am of both options. 

 For me personally, the pros of self publishing are 

– No waiting. ( On agents, publishing houses, seasons, editors, whatever) I’m a particularly impatient person so this, one really means a lot.

-The ability to reinvent yourself and write in a variety of genres. It seems I’m only just beginning to discover that not falling into a niche could be a problem. But I write all over the place. Horror, urban fantasy, dysotopian sci-fi, Children’s fiction, YA fiction, Adult fiction. I like to explore it all, and I’m going to write what I want, how I want to. 

Cons

-Marketing. This is a naive thing to say, although since I’m aware of it, I suppose it could be worse but, I don’t want to market my work. I don’t want to have to make a twitter account, or another facebook or  whatever, just so that people can thumbs up my photo. I want to write. I just want to write, and whether anyone discovers what I’m writing, is something I’m not concerned with. With a career in mind, I should be concerned, but honestly, I just don’t give a damn about marketing.

-Do people really buy unknown authors ebooks? Now I can only speak for myself but I don’t. There are already an outrageous number of books on my to read list that I don’t have the time or the need to go searching for obscure new gems. With that in mind, I don’t really like my chances of someone finding my books online. 

-Snobbish tendencies. I can’t take self publishing seriously. I know it’s this whole revolution and it let’s authors beat the system or whatever, but I just can’t get over my negative perceptions of self publishing. All I can think of are fan fiction sites when I imagine self publishing and I’m immediately covered in goose bumps from poor spelling, ill conceived plots, and lack of ability. And this coming from someone who loves fanfiction. Despite what I know about it, neon flashing signs inside my mind blare ‘cop out’ whenever I even consider going the easy way out.

Unfortunately the pros of self publishing are the cons of traditional publishin and visa versa. 

So this is my plea to you, fellow bloggers and hopeful authors out there. Where’s our third option? 

I would like to choose door number three and not look back. 

Sigh. 

I’m just glad that I’m not at the point where I have to make this choice for real, because it just makes my head dizzy. 

Do you have preference for one kind of publishing or the other? Why do you feel the way you do? 

Please leave a comment and let me know.