Kindle Serials, are they the future?
October 4, 2012
If you haven ‘t heard the news, Amazon has paved the way to the future by returning to the days of old. In other words, books in serial form are back.
A couple of weeks ago, Amazon announced its new Kindle Serials category. The books in the category will appear as “episodes” that roll out every two weeks or once a month. When a reader buys one episode in the serial, she will receive the rest of the episodes at no cost when they become available.
If you visit the Kindle Serials page, you will see it presently contains eight serialized books, all priced at $1.99. If you view any of the books on its Amazon page, you will see a notice like this in the first couple of lines of the product description:
This book is a Kindle Serial. Kindle Serials are stories published in episodes, with future episodes delivered at no additional cost. This serial currently contains two episodes out of an estimated eight total episodes, and new episodes will be delivered every two weeks.
This notice lets the reader know what she is in for if she hits the buy button.
I sampled one of the books on the list, Downward-Facing Death by Neal Pollack. It consisted of a prologue and first chapter that totaled probably 3,000 words or so. The rest of the “episode” contains three more chapters. The product description says there will be six episodes altogether and that future episodes will come out one per month. If the future chapters are about the same length as those in the sample, I guess that the complete book will run around 40,000-45,000 words, or so.
Kindle Serials are like Kindle Singles in that authors must submit them to Amazon for acceptance before they will be published.
For authors who might be interested in submitting something, Amazon has posted its submission guidelines. This is the entire text of those guidelines as they exist as I write this:
We welcome submissions to Amazon Publishing’s Kindle Serials program. We’re looking for previously unpublished, well-written stories by authors interested in engaging with readers through the unique nature of serialized publishing.
How to submit
To submit to Kindle Serials, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the following:
• A brief pitch of your story including why you think it works as a serialized book, the estimated total number of episodes, and the estimated total final word count.
• A minimum of two episodes in a Word or text document. We want each episode to be a length that provides a satisfactory read. The right episode length will vary from book to book, depending on what’s right for the story. The complete book doesn’t need to be already written.
• A one-page synopsis of the complete book.
• A one-page biography.
All of these books show to be published by Thomas & Mercer or an imprint thereof. So, in other words, if an author’s submission is accepted, Amazon will sign the author to one of its publishing houses. The submission guidelines don’t provide any details about the terms of that contract.
So, Amazon is betting that readers are ready for serialized books in a big way.
What do you think? Is book serialization the coming thing? How do you like the notion of waiting a couple of weeks or a month to find out what happens next in a story?