Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Why I've started writing serials

I've had a lot of people ask about this recently. The simplest answer is, it was a business decision that I felt I needed to make. I didn't realize until I made this choice how many people didn't like (or downright hate) serials. As a reader, I've never had a problem with them. Sure, you get a cliffhanger for a little while, but it's not permanent. I only have an issue with cliffhangers when a book leaves off like that for good, or if it does continue, you have to wait for a year. That's ridiculous!

But, for those wondering, here is a more detailed answer about why I've started writing serials. And for those who don't know the difference (because at first I didn't either) here's what a serial and a series is.

A serial is a story with multiple chapters. You need to read them in a certain order to get the full picture.

A series is a group of stories with something (or lots of somethings) in common. For example, reoccurring characters that share a different chapter in their lives each time.

My Lilith Mercury, Werewolf Hunter series fits the second definition.

In the past I've done strictly novel-length works and a few short stories. With the exception of the Lilith books, all were stand alone books. Am I ever going to stop writing novel-length books? Of course not. But I don't have any planned in the near future.

The market is changing, and it's changing fast. This is my career. I don't have a day job, or any other job that pays my bills. This is it. I write for a living. Therefore, I have to stay up to date on current trends.

Does that mean I jump on every bandwagon? No. I'm not a big fan of bandwagons in general. LOL However, when a trend becomes so widespread, I can't help but take notice.

Lots of people are not only writing serials, but lots of readers are buying them.

I've heard the argument that writers break stories up just so they can make more money. While I can't speak for everyone, I CAN say that is NOT my reasoning.

Writers are putting out stories left, right, and sideways, and if you want to keep your name out there, you have to publish works at a comparable pace. That's just the way it is.

Can I write enough 50-80,000 word novels to put out a book EVERY MONTH in order to compete with that kind of release schedule? Not just no, but HELL no.

(I get that average figure from a lot of sources. It all depends on where you publish and who you learned from, blah, blah, blah. This is just an example.)

I love my job, but there are other things that I need to do. Not to mention other things that I would like to do, like actually see my friends and family.

If I write a 50,000 word novel, and divide it into say 4 installments released one month apart, that gives me 4 months worth of new releases. This helps to keep my name and my brand in front of readers. Plus those who follow along as the story is released will get the whole book at a slight discount if they buy it in 99 cent segments.

By the end of this year, I will have had 7 releases ranging from 30,000-85,000 words each. I am exhausted.

If I write 3 novel-length (50-80,000 words) books for next year and release them in 4 segments each, that means that I have a solid 12 months of releases.

No matter how much advertising you do (and that can be a money pit) you can't get better exposure than a steady stream of new releases.

I'm still writing the kinds of stories that I love and that my readers have come to expect. I'm simply changing the way that they are released. If I don't, I might disappear entirely and as I've said before, this is how I make my living.

My decision to start writing serials isn't to spite anyone, copy anyone, or disappoint readers. I would never want to do any of those. I'm just trying to survive in a changing market so that I can continue to do what I love for a living.

Right now, I'm working on a new serial that I plan to release sometime in 2016. I'm almost finished with the first installment. Oh, and I already have my cover art. Here is the cover for book one.