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Continued: Serial novels reveal how we're willing to wait for a good story

  • Article by: KIM ODE , Star Tribune
  • Last update: June 7, 2013 - 3:16 PM

Digital readers often have the option of downloading all the installments in a single “book” that they can read without interruption. That’s also a plus for readers who fear they may miss some chapters. The Star Tribune will offer such an option for “Giving Up the Ghost.”

Serials are becoming more popular with virtual publishing houses such as Web Fiction Guide, Novelr, Eat Your Cereal, Denver Cereal and others, publishing authors who may not even need an agent to make their pitch.

Amazon’s Kindle Serials features writers who post a new installment every two weeks. Currently, its most popular serial is “Gooseberry Bluff Community College of Magic: The Thirteenth Rib” by David J. Schwartz, a St. Paul author.

It’s Schwartz’s first foray into the serial form after a more conventional book was published in 2008. “I think I was worried about it more than I ended up needing to be,” he said. “It’s intense, sort of, but it’s really fun, actually.”

The biggest difference? “Because this is coming out as I write it, there’s no going back to change things,” he said. Amazon also encourages authors to interact with readers in online forums, with the idea that readers’ preferences for a particular character or plot line might figure into the developing story line. So far, he said, “that hasn’t really come up.”

Financially, he said, the serial seems comparable to conventional publishing, with a mass market paperback to be published after the last installment runs. He plans to write another and is confident that a patient audience is out there.

“With how serialized TV has become in recent years, and comic books that come out every month, there’s definitely a readership for whom this isn’t a big stretch.”


Kim Ode • 612-673-7185

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  • "Giving Up the Ghost"

  • Charles Dickens made serial novels popular with “The Pickwick Papers.”

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