Originally posted on One Handed Writers.
I read an interesting discussion this week on Goodreads about serialized erotic stories.
For those of you that don’t know, serialized erotica is usually a bunch of shorts that blend together to form a full novel, however they’re released one at a time.
Many authors then price the first story cheaper (or free) in order to try to entice people to buy the rest.
Many of the comments were valid, and some pointed out that they don’t mind this scheme as long as authors are open and up front about the length, the fact that it’s a serial and how many books are planned in the serialization.
Others hated it completely and thought it was greedy. That’s the point I want to focus on.
There’s this idea of authors as being free wheeling, of being able to do whatever we want. We can work anywhere! We could travel and write on the beach if we want to! I won’t deny that it’s a strong appeal of being an author, (or any freelance worker). Many of us do try to work to get to that point of freedom.
It’s also a point that most authors will never get to.
Writing takes a lot of time and energy that many people can’t afford, especially while working a day job. Putting out serials can allow authors to make a living wage from their work in a way that putting out just a single novel cannot. It can increase visibility, and help people stumble upon their work. So that’s how it helps authors.
But I think it helps readers even more. Having a measure of success allows authors to focus more on writing, on providing great content for their readers. Earning money from their profession allows them to invest more in editing and proofreading services.
It gives people an opportunity to “try before they buy” when they get the first part for free, or a bargain rate.
Not only that, but it can help expose readers to new authors. You’re more likely to notice in a bookstore the more prolific authors around, or people writing under a brand name (like Forgotten Realms, or Harlequin). When you’re a sole author striking out on your own, you don’t have that support and exposure, so serials are a way to get noticed.
As a reader, I personally love serials. I have disposable income, and I don’t have a lot of time. Being able to pick up a serial novel, finish it in an hour, and then excitedly wait for the next part is an amazing thrill for me. It suits my income and my reading style.
It’s not for everyone, but I think it’s important to realize that your taste is subjective, and doesn’t always reflect the market. You may love huge novels, but not everyone wants to read an epic. It all comes down to personal preference.
Find what you enjoy, what works for your budget and your time, and embrace it.
Serial authors and short story writers get a lot of hate in their reviews, so if you’re someone like me that loves them, say something kind in a brief review on Goodreads or Amazon.
If you’re someone that hates serialized novels or erotic shorts, make sure you read the book descriptions closely. Most authors are very diligent about saying how long the book is, and if it’s part of a series.
There’s books out there for everyone, and assuming your taste and preferences are universal just doesn’t work, after all!