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Old 09-07-2012, 04:39 PM   #1
holymadness
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What to make of Kindle Serials?

This is from the submission guidelines for Kindle Serials:

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A minimum of two episodes in a Word or text document. Each episode should be a minimum of approximately 10,000 words. We’re open to considering projects with more or fewer words per episode, where it makes sense. The complete book doesn’t need to be already written.
As we were told yesterday, readers pay a one-time fee of $1.99 and get every subsequent installment for free. No word on what the author's cut is. If you write five episodes, that's 50,000 words. For $1.99.

How much is 50,000 words? From Jeff Bezos himself:



So authors who publish via the Serials service will be selling their books for $1.99.

Is this realistic? Is this desirable, for authors or for readers? Is this going to gain any traction at all? Or is it just a lure for desperate writers who will sell their work at rock-bottom prices in exchange for a chance at becoming known?
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Old 09-07-2012, 04:55 PM   #2
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I wouldn't buy one until it was completely finished, and from a writing perspective you would be better off releasing each part normally at whatever price you think you can get away with. Lots of writers are already doing that.
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Old 09-08-2012, 12:06 AM   #3
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nevermind
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Old 09-08-2012, 05:35 AM   #4
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I tried searching for serials in the Kindle Store and most of the search results are books about serial killers I guess it's not live yet.
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Old 09-08-2012, 10:30 AM   #5
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Here's the Kindle Serials page, you can play along for free with a couple of Dickens books to try it out and Amazon has 8 paid serials set up so far. Most novels were serialized back in the 19th century, I wonder how many Dickens are out there writing today who will embrace this new format. The Kindle Single format has been a hit, this might catch on.
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Old 09-08-2012, 10:46 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holymadness View Post
Is this realistic? Is this desirable, for authors or for readers? Is this going to gain any traction at all? Or is it just a lure for desperate writers who will sell their work at rock-bottom prices in exchange for a chance at becoming known?
Desirable for readers, not for authors. The buy price for the whole thing is just too low. I could see 99¢ for a 10k-word installment, but $1.99 up front for a work that could end up spanning several million words is just a little too low.
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Old 09-08-2012, 01:43 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teh603 View Post
Desirable for readers, not for authors. The buy price for the whole thing is just too low. I could see 99¢ for a 10k-word installment, but $1.99 up front for a work that could end up spanning several million words is just a little too low.
I doubt that an author that will be writing several million words would use the Kindle Serial model.
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Old 09-08-2012, 01:47 PM   #8
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I don't see a problem. Knock out 10k words, see if enough people bite for another 10k... (What's the minimum? I haven't read any more about it than this thread.) It might be a good way to find an audience without committing to a whole book.

50k is still very short for a novel, btw. Most are about twice that, nowadays.
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Old 09-08-2012, 03:45 PM   #9
6charlong
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I signed up for a copy of Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist. It was free and I wanted to check out what they are doing.

So far there has only been one installment but frankly, I like it better than trying to dig into one of those interminable 19th Century novels. Breaking it up like that just works.

I got bored with the way Dickens started--very different than a modern book, he really took his time with background--but I looked at the bottom and I'd only gone about 4% into the book so I kept on and it straightened out.

Of course, Oliver Twist was written for this format and Dickens knew how to use it to spin out his tale. The Kindle delivery system that automatically sends me the next installment each week is a good fit. It hides the rest of the book and really does leave you something to look forward to. I'm interested to see if the idea holds up for Dickens and whether modern writers can figure out how to use it.
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Old 09-08-2012, 04:11 PM   #10
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I'm not interested, because I hate serials - by the time the next installment is out, I've forgotten what happened in the first installment and may have forgotten about the book altogether.
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Old 09-08-2012, 05:21 PM   #11
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I'm not interested, because I hate serials - by the time the next installment is out, I've forgotten what happened in the first installment and may have forgotten about the book altogether.
I'm the same. Plus, if I like the story, I don't want to wait to finish it when I have the time to read now.
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Old 09-08-2012, 05:51 PM   #12
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Same old same old

I suspect the serial format won't work with my limited attention span - but it doesn't matter. As usual with Amazon's whizcrackery, it's not available in Canada. No MP3s, no movies, no Prime, no Kindle apps, whatever....
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Old 09-08-2012, 06:19 PM   #13
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I think it could be good for indie authors. I think people might be more likely to try a serial by an indie author, especially if Amazon does some quality control vetting for grammar, spelling, and formatting. It cold be a good way to market books that have been completed and develop a following.
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Old 09-08-2012, 09:30 PM   #14
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how about twitter serials? "Tomorrow, a new sentence in this exciting 5000-part series."
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Old 09-08-2012, 10:06 PM   #15
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I think it could be good for indie authors. I think people might be more likely to try a serial by an indie author, especially if Amazon does some quality control vetting for grammar, spelling, and formatting. It cold be a good way to market books that have been completed and develop a following.
As an indie author, the glaring problem is that you only get paid once for the whole series, and that you have no way to adjust that price for longer series. It also looks like its designed for stories that are complete before their submission, and doesn't have any allowances for that one pantser who just happens to be only halfway thru when he reaches the million word mark.

IMO, 99¢ per installment would be better than $1.99 regardless of length.
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