Saturday, November 18, 2017

Getting Started: Making Good Use of Serial Fiction

I hope that you folks read and enjoyed Benjamin Cheah's serialized story this past week. As I said previously, the blog is a viable successor to the old serial fiction magazine for publishing short fiction.

It's also good for another application, which I would like you new authors to consider: releasing tie-in material.

You're going to run into situations where you're working on a story, only to have to cut a plot thread that--while interesting--is not relevant to the narrative you're out to create. Now you can make use of that material to promote your story by serializing it at your blog, using its link to that narrative as the way to entice readers to buy your work.

This is a good practice for a few reasons. The first is that it gives you a solid reason to write daily; nothing you do will be wasted, at all, when you recycle cut content in this manner. The second is that you maintain a regular presence, keeping fans that already like your work engaged while giving new people something concrete to read so as to ascertain if they want what you offer. The third is that can become a salable product down the road when you can collect your serial shorts and republish them in volumes, which you can time for when your publication schedule would otherwise have an undesirable void. You can also use them for anthologies as the circumstances allow, further spreading your reach to new audiences.

So, again, don't dismiss the serial format. It's got good artistic and commercial applications, both of which are firmly in your control as the author, and you are foolish to not exploit it accordingly. (I will presently, as I'm working on a new story, so what I cut will be revised into a related serial.) Ben Cheah does a bang-up job with it, and you can bet people reading and liking these will be more likely to buy his books now that they have a sense of what his style is like- they want to keep him writing, and buying his books are the best way to make that happen.

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