We work hard on our books’ content. We should also consider what form they take.
1. You will write what you feel compelled to create. However, to gain more readers, consider whether you could be passionate about your story in the form of a series or serial. I’ve written two installments of the Hit Man Series. That encourages readers to move from one book to another and become invested in the fate of Jesus Diaz, my loveable and luckless Cuban assassin. Events in later books are built on a rich history, so readers can jump in anywhere, but for those who become fans, there are more jokes and rewards.
2. I’ll write more adventures in that series, but this summer is all about This Plague of Days. It’s a serial, written with the same pace, hooks and twists as a television show. The key is to have patience, write and make the whole season available before you publish weekly episodes.
For instance, Season One has five episodes and in the fall I’ll release Season Two and another five episodes. Serialization allows me to give readers inexpensive samples. They can choose to get the whole story at once at a discount (at only $3.99) rather than waiting a week for the next 99-cent episode.
A serial isn’t just a novel broken up into pieces. Readers enjoy serials because they possess a pace that pulls readers along, insisting they turn the page. Teases and big payoffs are key.
The format for This Plague of Days allowed me to explore a horror story in unconventional ways. Instead of repetitive action, the story has a larger sweep and is at times contemplative. The hero is on the autistic spectrum and the story occurs across continents. I can play with the tension more without losing the reader. I love structuring the story this way and readers are responding well to the format. (There was more doubt last year, but since Amazon created Kindle Serials, more readers are on board.)
Serials present a great publicity advantage to the writer, too. I don’t have one launch date per book. I have five. That allows me to continue to talk unselfconsciously about This Plague of Days all summer. Each episode brings a fresh turn and twist to the story so I have new things to talk about and fresh book descriptions to split test.
5. If you’re reading this in the United States, start making your books into audiobooks. ACX doesn’t deal with non-US citizens yet so this is a great advantage while it lasts. I’m looking forward to ACX accepting non-US citizens (or I’d consider a smart start-up filling that gap in the market.) As a podcaster, I frequently do readings of my books. However, ACX brings the recording and production to a higher, professional level for audiobook lovers.
Robert Chazz Chute writes horror, crime, and suspense. He frequently writes about publishing at ChazzWrites.com. Chazz has two podcasts: All That Chazz and Cool People Podcast. Learn more about his horror serial at ThisPlagueOfDays.com. His author page is AllThatChazz.com. He lives in Other London, Canada.
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