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I'm considering writing my latest story in the style of a TV series. The plan is to write 13 episodes of 10-12,000 each. Episodes will be published weekly on Kindle over a three month period. If season one garners even mild interest, I will write season 2 in the off-season and repeat the procedure. At the end of each season the complete season would be published in a dead tree version.

Is publishing my story like this likely to be successful?

marked as duplicate by motosubatsu, Chenmunka, weakdna, JP Chapleau, Rand al'Thor Oct 15 at 16:30

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  • Keep in mind that for a good part even visual media and TV are moving away from the serialized model to provide on-demand. – Weckar E. Oct 8 at 20:28
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    I disagree with principle of unsanctioned editing. It associates the writer's name with something they didn't actually write. It also facilitates the reduction of complex questions. In this instance the second part of the question "Would anybody be interested?" Removal of this question negates the purpose of the plot summary. I also recall the OP containing some reference to originally being designed as a collaboration. I find the practice of editing things that you don't get to be beyond ridiculous. – Surtsey Oct 9 at 9:42
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    @Surtsey You can always roll back the edits if you disagree with them. If you do, I'd recommend rewording the second part of the question to make it clearer whether you're asking "Would anyone be interested in this new publishing method?", or "Would anyone be interested in reading the specific story I'm describing?". Though if it's the latter, that's opinion-based, as I noted in my answer, and is probably better off being left out. – F1Krazy Oct 9 at 9:56
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    @Surtsey Also, it is off-topic here to ask for a critique of your plot or writing. You need to make it clear you aren't doing that. Just click on the edit button beneath your question. – Amadeus Oct 9 at 23:08
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    @Surtsey You might like to review the help centre on editing it outlines our model. I approved the edit by Weckar E. because "Would anyone be interested in my story?" is off-topic and opinion based. The first part of your question was answerable so I tried to focus on that. I apologise for the typo in the title. Please edit your question further to suite what you want to ask. But note that your original version may be closed as opinion based. – linksassin Oct 10 at 0:04
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The publishing model you're suggesting isn't actually all that new.

Serialised novels - novels published in newspapers or magazines, one chapter at a time - were very common back in the 19th century, starting with Charles Dickens' publication of The Pickwick Papers in 19 monthly instalments between 1836-37. Novels published this way include Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories, The Three Musketeers, The Count of Monte Cristo, Uncle Tom's Cabin, and Anna Karenina.

With the rise of TV and radio, print media largely moved away from serialising novels, but it still happens occasionally; Rolling Stone magazine serialised a draft version of The Bonfire of the Vanities between 1984-85, and Stephen King experimented with publishing his unfinished novel The Plant as a serialised e-book all the way back in 2000. Now, in 2019, there's an iOS/Android app called Serialbox that works exactly as you describe: stories are divided into "episodes" like a TV show would be, with new episodes released weekly.

Serialbox seems to mostly cater for sci-fi and fantasy, and I don't know whether you'd be able to publish your specific story through them. But their very existence tells me that the answer is: yes, there is still a market for serialised literature. Whether these serialised works are "successful", and whether anyone would be interested in your specific work, is probably a matter of opinion.

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    +1 for the accurate synopsis of serialized publications/productions. The only "new piece" in Surtsey's idea is utilizing new tech., which is an interesting take on an old idea. – J Crosby Oct 8 at 19:21
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Is publishing my story like this likely to be successful?

I doubt it, I doubt enough Kindle readers would be interested.

If by "published" on Kindle you mean sold on Kindle, I think you have a marketing issue. Sold at what price? Who is going to buy the first installment, knowing it is not a complete story? Thirteen episodes, at 99c, is $12.87, almost twice the price of a published book by a well known author. You are competing with 99c novels, and $2.99 novels by known authors, not to mention the free Kindle offers.

You might get some takers if it was all free, but can they trust you to make the final installment free? Can they trust you to even finish the 13 episodes you promised?

And even then, if I'm willing to try an unknown author, it would be worth it to pay 99c for a whole book I can read in a week, that I know is done, instead of reading 13,000 words on a Saturday morning (less than an hour for most people) and having to remember the book for a week before I read the next installment.

I think the instant gratification demands of the modern world, along with the problematic cost structure and trust issues, will leave you with a very tiny audience.

There is a difference between a book and a television show; TV is a visual experience, with recognizable characters, and typically an easily remembered plot line in progress. A book is a literary experience that all happens in the reader's head and imagination. It isn't as easy to remember as turning on a TV show; the show writers and actors make sure you remember the characters and setting and what happened "previously". Unlike Dickens's time, in the modern world, I think there are too many other things competing for our memory for this approach to gain any traction.

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