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Get Readers Talking with a Serial Novel

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger on Nov 14, 2011 7:26:35 AM

Years ago, I bought a new book by Stephen King that was around 100 pages. It was titled The Green Mile. It was not his usual brick-thick tome. It was a thin book that I read on a short airplane ride. Now, you're probably thinking that I must not be talking about the same The Green Mile by Stephen King that you know and love. But, I am...kind of.


King originally released The Green Mile as a serial novel. For those of you who don't know, a serial novel is simply a novel that is released in parts over a fairly short period of time. King broke The Green Mile into six parts, and each book was between 90 and 120 pages.

It was an ingenious marketing strategy on Stephen King's part. Each book came out in paperback at a cost of about $3.99. He released a new book every month. For six months, the book was a topic of conversation among King fans. The anticipation that developed while readers waited for the next installment created a buzz across the fruited plain.


Stephen King didn't just publish a book or, in this case, books, he created an experience. When it was all said and done, King had sold tens of thousands of short books at $3.99. The readers enjoyed the experience so much they didn't even mind when they added up their investment and realized they had actually paid almost $24.00 for a full length paperback book. To them, it was as if they were getting a sneak peak at a book as it was being written. That wasn't the case, of course. The fully edited version of the entire The Green Mile manuscript was done months before the first serialized edition came out. But even so, to the reader it felt like they were there from the beginning.


It occurred to me that in today's print on-demand and eBook world, the serial novel is a viable publishing strategy for self-published authors. Dividing a novel into several parts and publishing those parts separately over time could be a great way for you to build a buzz and following for your book. Now, it's doubtful you have the same fan base that Stephen King does, but a serial novel, if it's compelling and well written, can give your smaller fan base something to chat about on their blogs and social networks, and it's a sustained conversation. They will talk about the book with each new installment.


The serial novel strategy is a low-risk experiment you could incorporate into your current marketing and publishing plans. Consider giving your readers more than a book; give them an experience they can share with their online connections.

-Richard Contributors/RidleyHeadshot_blog.jpg

Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.


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