Major news stories around serialization

Amazon goes serial:

Margaret Atwood goes serial:

I wasn't totally caught off guard by Margaret Atwood's move because she has been a strong and vocal participant in the Wattpad community.

But been noticing a lot of "for profit entities" showing up lately on twitter-land trying to solicit wtories from would-be serial authors.

There must be some secret memo floating around though because Amazon is now in the game too.

(ETA: Amazon is soliciting! )

The more you look, the more you find too. One of my mother's favorite authors is Alexander McCall Smith, and her favorite stories of his are the Courduroy Mansions stories -- which, unbeknownst to us, he's been writing as a serial for the online version of a UK paper. He's been doing it for years.

I am excited about the Amazon news -- although I expect they'll not throw it open to just any writer, because they need to have some guarantee that you'll finish. Still, those of us with a track record with serials could have an advantage there.


It looks like Amazon's gatekeeper is Plympton ( as they started a Kickstarter. (That's how I backtracked to the Amazon links.)

And yeah - I realize that the UK has being doing serial fic for years (as I read Bridget Jones), but the market for this obviously more directed at U.S. readers. I've read a few blogs by those guys who were doing the serial model on their own already through Amazon, but this seems like a direct attempt by Amazon to create and manage content.

It's interesting, but it's not quite a proper serial.

When Dickens serialized his works he was paid on an ongoing basis. Basically what Amazon is doing is letting people buy the book up front. It's kind of cool that it allows the author to get money for the book before it's finished--it's actually a fascinating idea, and I might want to try that out--but if you were actually *serializing* something in the traditional sense, that wouldn't work. Think Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon, etc. -- these are ongoing stories with no real end in sight.

Still, I might give it a shot.

Also, their requirements for chapter length are pretty astonishing. 10K! That would put paid to one of my books in 7 to 12 segments. :)

Yeah, that would actually kind of work for Curveball, since each issue is around 8-10k, but that's essentially 3 or 4 chapters of The Points Between.

And another thing! :)

They don't mention how frequently they expect updates. At 10k a pop I wouldn't be able to manage more than one update a month, and that would be... optimistic.

Hmmmm... I could manage 10k a week, probably, but I wouldn't be able to make promises about quality. I tend to have typos and such that I fix shortly after it goes 'live'. I'd need a dedicated proofreader. And a willing audience.

I think it's starting to come out that some of these "serials" are really finished novels being serialized. This is not the model that I think most of us are using in webfic.

This is a much more critical look at the Amazon decision and the comments, as usual, are all over the place:

I think after looking at Amazon's foray - I've concluded that some of teh work doesn't fit my understanding of the 1800 serial whatsoever. :/

So... here's an update y'all might find useful. I emailed Amazon on their submission guidelines page with a number of specific questions:

- what kind of serials are we talking here? Is amazon looking only for serialized novels, and if not how do they handle open-ended serials?

- must the serials be published only through this (like KDP Select) or can they be published elsewhere?

- how frequently will the serial be updated, and will it be updated in 10,000 word chunks, or are you just looking for a buffer of material (i.e., they might want 10,000 words so they can publish 2,000 words a month over five months)

Unfortunately, all I got back was an auto-generated reply that included exactly the same submission guidelines they posted on their website. It looks like to get more information they'll require you to actually go through the submissions process.

I'm sort of tempted to send in what I have for The Points Between so far, just to see what they say. But I don't want to take it off my site...