A Disconnect Between Readers And Authors

Have you noticed I’ve been trying to write more regularly here? 😉

Today I want to talk about something I hope will prompt some reader responses. I hang out on a couple author forums (notably Kboards) just to see what other people are trying because I’m curious what has and hasn’t worked for them.

Write A Series

I hear this advice given all the time. I’ve HEARD this advice given since I was a kid. If you want to make some money, write a series. It’s not new advice.

In 2014 Write A Serial

THIS seems to be the new tweak to the above adage. If you want to make money, write a SERIAL, and it seems like everyone is doing it!

Okay, but you’re thinking to yourself, technically serials aren’t a new thing–they’re a pretty old thing. Serials are how ACD, Dickens, Poe and a bunch of other authors were published back in their day. True–but I think we can make a distinction between the sort of serials that Poe was publishing and the sort i’m talking about now. Namely, that Poe’s serials were part of a larger work–e.g. a newspaper–and today’s serials are stand alone ebooks.

The Caveat

So, I see people advising other writers to write a serial–readers love them! they say–but this advice always comes with the caveat that these same serials always attract low-star reviews. Specifically low-star reviews from readers complaining about the length of the work.

This brings me to the DISCONNECT I’m seeing between readers and authors. Authors say serials are great, readers love them, they make them lots of money, etc. But then you have a huge chunk of readers unhappy because of the length of the serial and the fact that it is NOT a full story (obvs, it’s part of a larger body of work, it’s a piece, hence serial).

What’s the break even point here? Do readers actually love serials or are they just buying them because that’s how authors keep breaking up otherwise great stories and thereby deluding authors into thinking the serials are doing great because hey, their sales numbers are still good, even though the whole format is leaving the reader cold?

Cliffhangers

And on a related note, going back to my first point which is GO WRITE A SERIES, this bit of advice is usually coupled with: be sure and use a cliffhanger so that your readers have something to look forward to in the next book. With this, however, I see some unhappiness cropping up over cliffhangers. Are they good? Are they bad? Are they something readers suffer through because they enjoy the story?

What are your thoughts? Do you like serials? Do you hate them? Do you think serials belong as independent ebook entities or does the format really work best as a larger body of work?

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