NYTimes Bestseller Michael Stackpole argues in favor of serialized fiction?

So, Stackpole's been writing a series of blog posts about the changing nature of publishing (it seems like he's partaken of the self-pub, e-pub kool-aid since starting the series), and in today's entry he makes mention of folks being "conditioned" to accept serialized stories.

While he's not talking about web fiction per se, I thought I'd share the link for folks who were curious! http://www.michaelastackpole.com/?p=2702

I liked the serialized magazine format. Its why I espouse it on my own website. Most of my sci fi was read in back copies of asimov, astounding, fantastic, and omni (and destinies. Destinies rocked!)

No, he's not talking about web fiction per se, but yes, at the bottom of the article he does advocate electronic self-publication--particularly of serials--to get around the problems midlist authors are facing these days. So the piece is certainly relevant here.

Stackpole may be right about humans understanding stories "in terms of series and serial content." He cites television and the movies, others may cite Dickens; I would point out that even "regular" novels are broken up into episodes (chapters). Some people do find serially-published adventures exciting, but others prefer to read their episodes one after the other. Serials seem to be gaining in popularity but I personally don't see them taking over . . . at least, not yet.

By the way, this part, for me, is seriously scary:

4) Authors will be pushed to write faster, so the books can come out more quickly.

Bad news for me as a writer--I'm notoriously slow--and bad news for me as a reader, as I prefer my novels carefully-crafted and well-written. The idea that six to nine months (his figure) should be long enough to write an entire book, or that making such a demand could be considered acceptable business practice, makes me want to hide under the blankets . . . with a flashlight and an armload of classics.


I wouldn't panic too much, Shelley. Given other things he's written (and JA Konrath, as well as other self-pub/indie-pub gurus I've taken to reading lately), there's a pretty strong indication that a lot of folks who are writing well-crafted and honed novels may just go the self-pub route and ignore whatever the heck the Big Six houses are doing.

...then again, they all also seem to agree there's going to be a deluge of crap out there. But that's why you read previews, right?

Thanks, Erin; actually I don't believe everything the pundits say; as Yogi Berra famously remarked, "It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future." If any of my favorite authors have already gone to self-publishing I'm not aware of it, but of course that hardly means it won't happen at some point.

I do expect there will be more "crap out there," and I hope there will be a more efficient way of avoiding it than by reading every preview. I like reviews (and review excerpts in or on the book itself) from writers/publications I know and trust--I still want a peek at the actual prose, but seeing the familiar name is a real attention-grabber for me.