When Is a Serial Just a Tease?

To be continuedThe serial has had a long and distinguished career in the annals of publishing. Its heyday, arguably, was the 19th century. That’s when a host of factors – a more literate public, improved printing techniques, and better distribution – came together to create a market for popular weekly and monthly publications. Editors had to fill the paper or magazine somehow, and often turned to writers of fiction, who would then write a segment of a continuing story for each new edition. A surprising number of books that we consider classics today first appeared in installments, among them Dickens’ The Pickwick Papers, Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo, Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, and Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe.

Amazon instituted a program in 2012 that was intended to bring back the serial novel. With Kindle Serials, readers pay upfront for the whole book, and installments are delivered to the customers’ devices as they become available. (Don’t bother looking for information on submissions; they’re not taking any right now.) Continue reading “When Is a Serial Just a Tease?”

Being Merely a Reader

Conventional wisdom says that as soon as you publish one book you should write the next. The point of this advice is understandable: don’t obsess about who’s buying your work, don’t rest on your laurels, build your backlog, be professional and proliferative. To tell you the truth, though, the idea of diving into another novel right now makes me want to cry. I’m exhausted. I imagine it’s like being in a delivery room after a natural childbirth while the goo is still being sucked from the nose of your newborn and before the endorphins have kicked in, hearing your husband say, “Let’s have another one. Or two. Or ten.” People have been murdered for less.

I don’t really want to commit a capital crime, so I’ve decided to ignore conventional wisdom for a while and shut off the stories in my head to go back to something I used to love: reading. For pleasure. Switching off the computer and all of the lights and curling up to spend half the night turning the pages to find out what happens or just to be wrapped in the atmosphere of the words. Continue reading “Being Merely a Reader”