The following write-up could not have actually been made without the assist of author Gabriel Wolf. We room grateful for his understanding on the subject of publication serials and different kind of series.

You are watching: What does it mean to publish a book serially

Series of publications or publication serials: What is the difference?

Categorization of multiple episode tv programs is relatively common: everyone knows that the BBC miniseries the Pride and Prejudice, the sitcom Friends, and Stranger things are every substantially different formats, and also viewers begin them with various expectations. The exact same is true for publications as well. However, there room still many human being who don’t understand the difference in between a collection of books and a publication serial.

As an author, you need to be mindful of even if it is you are writing a book series or serial, and have to follow (or break) genre expectations.

In a series the books, each publication can be read individually. They space usually built roughly a particular character who doesn’t age or set in the exact same world, and also you can obtain away with analysis them in any kind of order you great (eg. Discworld by terry Pratchett). No mysteries or questions go unanswered between two books.

Book serials, top top the other hand, have an overarching story line. There"s signficant character development: choose in bother Potter. Often, they come in episodes or parts shorter 보다 a novel: 80-100 pages long instalments. Illustration (whether novel-sized or chapter sized) are individually published in ebook format and also get their very own cover. Once a story arc has actually been finished, the author groups the parts together and publishes it as a novel (often dubbed a ‘season’). The publication receives a title, a brand-new ISBN, and usually likewise appears in print form.

Book serials: a brief history

1800s: The victor Era

During the 19th century, cheap printing and also distribution make magazines the most famous format for wide distribution that literature. Newspapers and magazines to be affordable for civilization who wouldn’t have the ability to pay because that a complete book. Last but not least, monthly or magazine magazines noted steady revenue for authors. Most famous instances of serialized fiction native this period is Charles Dickens.

During the victor era, serials were popular anywhere Europe, but also in the unified States. Follow to the Scribner’s Monthly, only the ideal writers to be able to secure a point out in a magazine; second and 3rd rate writers had to will to publishing a novel.

The serialized layout has reformed not only the method publishing works, but also the species of novels writer were creating (such great books!). Cliffhangers came to be popular, and the speed of the novel has adjusted to save up interest in the course of a whole year. Authors and publishers were likewise receptive of the audience’s reaction and transforming the direction that the story if they necessary to.


Bitesize fiction – well-known apps and also platforms

Although bite dimension fiction will unlikely to go to the length (or shortness) of oriental cell phone novels, Europe and also the joined States also had the need for a genre the is perfect for reading on the subway or while standing in the line.

This type of fiction is popularized through apps prefer Radish (charging reader micro-payments) or Wattpad. Amazon’s Kindle short Reads is a secure player in the game, back Amazon automatically selects stories in this category based upon the variety of words.

You can uncover a an excellent selection that apps and serialized fiction publications on the Den of geek website.

Publishing illustration as separate books

One the leading instances of serialized fiction is the post-apocalyptic thriller Yesterday’s Gone by Sean Platt. In 2011, complying with the success the the TV present Lost, he began publishing a publication serial in i beg your pardon the episodes made the reader longing for the next book. He available the first episode (the pilot) for free to hook human being in, then offered the remainder of the season at short prices together ebooks. When six episodes to be out, he rounded them up as a ‘Series’ and also offered it together print. You deserve to listen to (and read) an interview with him ~ above The an imaginative Penn.

It wasn’t only him who was inspired by TV series: other popular authors encompass Hugh Howey v Wool. He began the series in 2011 v a quick story published on KDP, which to be then followed by four sequel novellas and published as a novel top top completion. The complete series is made of three novels, all first published in a serialized form. Omnibus editions additionally available. You deserve to read much more about Wool top top Wired.

Popular authors include A. R. Way (of the Deadlocked series), and also our guest author, Gabriel Wolf. Serialized fiction in this kind is most popular in English speak countries, however is gaining traction all over Europe.


The author’s allude of view

We have actually asked writer Gabriel Wolf about the advantages and disadvantages of creating serial fiction, and some tips and also tricks for creating serials.


First the all, the thinks that publishing shorter stories has the advantage of reaching more price conscious readers. Additionally, potential “unhappy” readers might be less unhappy, as they have only payment a couple of bucks. If they didn’t prefer it, they i will not ~ buy the rest of the series.

Additionally, posting serialized fiction has the advantage of “staying in the game” throughout the year. While even the many successful writers cannot publish more than a book or two a year, serials help authors save up the “buzz” v constantly producing and publishing new content. If human being constantly watch your name, that is an ext likely that they’ll remember you.

The third big advantage is the selection of covers. While friend could constantly create an depicted book, many adult fiction authors limit illustrations to the cover. If girlfriend have an ext books, you have the right to create an ext and an ext covers: showcase all of your characters, if friend wish.

Writing serials

Although serials are often published together a complete novel at the end, as an author you have to be conscious of the different reading style as result of periodical publication. Together a couple of months have the right to pass in between two episodes, you have to make certain that her readers can conveniently pick increase the story whereby they left off without rereading your book. If that takes much more than a couple of pages for your leader to feeling ‘back top top track’, you must reconsider your creating choices. You can also include a couple of pages to describe what taken place previously and assist orient the reader. (These pages have the right to later be removed.)

Additionally, you shouldn’t forget the your episodes need to be identical to components in the book. For example, your “pilot” should introduce the world and also the characters, the 2nd chapter introduce the main conflicts etc. Nothing forget to make certain that all your chapters room filled with something exciting and also raise brand-new questions: her readers must stay hooked till the finish of the publication / serial.

You have the right to only do this, if you already have your main story arch (main events, and also most likely the ending) planned before starting your novel. The is it s okay to readjust some points as friend go, however you have to make certain that you are going somewhere.

Entering serial metadata

When entering metadata (when uploading your publication to a store or come, you have to make certain that possible readers know that your books are component of a serial and also cannot be read as a independent novel. You additionally have to display the reading order the your publications in one appropriate and obvious manner.

Title, subtitle, and collection fields

Ebook stores room well prepared for series. The following fields are present at any type of book upload surface: Title, Subtitle, collection Name, Volume (numeric). (To learn exactly how correctly gotten in metadata watch in significant stores, examine this article.) The suitable usage of collection and volume ar does no only assist readers recognize the books, yet most stores likewise group publications together based on collection name, and also automatically sell the next episode to the reader. Forget binge watching: binge analysis is here, and also the only thing you have to do is get in your metadata properly.

As this is a field, multiple alternatives are possible. Some authors usage the title areas to perform the episode title and also the series field to display the name of series. (Data gotten in in the series field is offered for find by most stores, as with the location field.) for example:

Title: Episode title


Series: Serial name

Volume: Book number

Once your publication is complete, that will be the an initial epidose of your “series arch”.


It is really common to screen the reading order in the description. To make sure that all of your readers recognize where to start (and nobody ends up disappointed), that is argued to add a line similar to this to the description:

This is publication X the ‘Serial name’. This publication is ideal read as part of the series, and also not as a independent novel.

Book covers

Having an ext books equates to – an ext book covers! Yay! Although much more covers way more work, that is worth it. Publication covers room a great way come showcase the subtleties of your genre, to introduce multiple characters or scenes. Make sure that all covers in the very same serial look at similar: her readers should know the moment they look at it that it is the following episode. Use well designed intuitive cues to guide them. Just examine out the books below: it is apparent (even in thumbnail size) that they belong together.

Don’t forget to display the collection name and the volume number top top the cover together well.


Pricing serials

Keep the very first book – your pilot – permafree (permanently free). This functions for most people under most circumstances. If civilization are hooked up, castle are an ext likely to pay because that the following book. Episodes are supposed to be priced low: for example, you deserve to keep them all on 0.99 or 1.99 (depending on length). If friend are offering an incomplete novel for the price of a full one, don’t be surprised if you acquire some unhappy customers.

See more: How Did Richard Marx And Cynthia Rhodes Meet, Loading 3Rd Party Ad Content

Once a publication is complete, you deserve to price that from 2.99 up. That is typical to keep the price the the first book low and constantly progressive the prices. For example, 2.99 on your first book, 3.99 because that the following etc. It is likewise common exercise to save the first book in a collection permanently free, when you have actually at the very least three publications in the series.

We hope the you’ve enjoyed this short article on creating serials. Space you composing serialized novels? We would love come hear indigenous you!