3 benefits of serialisation
Publishing novels (or other works) in instalments is not a new idea – serialisation is how Charles Dickens and many other authors did it – but the internet gives us many new ways to do it. And if you’re good at it, you can even earn money from doing so. Let’s look at three myths about serialising online as well as three big advantages to doing so.
3 myths of serialisation
- “I’ll lose my copyright” – No, you won’t. There’s not a single major platform out there that assumes copyright of authors’ works. No one would use it if they did! They all clearly state under Terms of Service that the copyright remains with the author.
- “Someone will steal my work” – Someone can steal your work even if it has been traditionally published by a Big Publisher, and they will. There are pirated eBooks all over the internet, just like songs, movies and games. That doesn’t mean the pirates can monetise it, or even necessarily get away with it. Digital technology makes it very easy to prove who wrote it first, and most online platforms will eventually – and sometimes rapidly – ban thieves.
- “I won’t be able to publish it as a book” – Yes, you will. Depending on what serialisation site and what options you choose, you may have to delay publication. You may even still manage to have it traditionally published if it proves popular enough.
3 Benefits of serialisation
- Feedback – You actually put your work out there and get feedback, even if it’s not complete. Seeing what people respond to in your writing helps you hone future chapters, or rethink your ending or character outcomes. Sometimes readers unexpectedly fall in love with quite a minor character, or dislike an aspect of one of your protagonists. If your hero has been called an “asshole” by half a dozen online commenters, he may need a bit of personality surgery.
- Promotion – Through serialisation your work potentially gets in front of millions of eyes, even including those of agents and publishers. Most serialisation sites offer a lot of marketing tips and tools. Yes, you’ll still have to market it – the readers won’t just “be there” – and connect well with major social media sites to encourage sharing.
- Motivation – Slowly but surely you’ll start building a readership. People who have liked your work will follow you and beg you to update. Knowing that you have people already engaged with your writing and wanting more can be a powerful motivator. For example, it may help you get into the routine of writing at least a chapter per week.
If you are interested in serialising, we keep an updated list of serialisation sites here.