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Old 10-10-2012, 08:59 PM   #1
tomsem
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Are you trying a Kindle Serial?

The current list of titles didn't have anything that particularly interesting, so I just went with Oliver Twist, which I've never read.

Some observations:
- it can be a little non-obvious when a new installment is downloaded, depending on you organize the Home screen. I have mine in Recent sort, when a new installment shows up it will float to the top and clear the 'progress' marks (this is on KT or KPW).
- after a week or two, it can be a little difficult to pick up the story thread and remember what was going on.
- conversely, frustrating to wait for the next installment if you want to know what happens next.
- seems like the format limits the type of writing that can successfully sustain interest
- if you don't get in at the start of the serial, you have to read a whole bunch to get 'current'.
- once the serial is complete, there's no 'reset' button. Nobody gets to experience it as a serial any more.
- the discussion threads are quite dead, at least for Oliver Twist. I checked a few for the other titles, and they're pretty much the same.

I may have to purchase a 'real' serial just to get a better sense of things, but as a first impression, I don't see this generating a lot of excitement in its current form (beyond the initial announcement and pickup in blogs, etc.).

I would at a minimum set things up so that at the end of each installment, there's a link to the discussion for that installment. That would mean designing a web interface that functioned on Kindle devices, which I doubt Amazon is interested in doing right now.
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Old 10-10-2012, 09:11 PM   #2
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The thing it reminds me of is fanfiction. Some people really loved multi-installment stories, and eagerly waiting for the next chapter. It was also good for scoring lots and lots of reviews (new wave of reviews every time your new chapter went up, as opposed to just posting a complete story).

I think it could work for the right genre.
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Old 10-10-2012, 09:15 PM   #3
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I purchased "Downward Facing Death" but have not started reading it. I have so many books on my TBR list that I probaby won't read this book until well after the serial is completed. I know reader participation is encouraged and is may guide changes in the story but I don't think I want to join in.
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Old 10-10-2012, 10:47 PM   #4
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Can someone let me know what the appeal is of serialized fiction besides the author getting user feedback before writing the next installment? Or is that all there is to the appeal? It seems to me like serial fiction is basically just taking the chapters of a book and releasing them one by one instead of all at once, or is there more to it that I'm missing?
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Old 10-10-2012, 10:55 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AZImmortal View Post
Can someone let me know what the appeal is of serialized fiction besides the author getting user feedback before writing the next installment? Or is that all there is to the appeal? It seems to me like serial fiction is basically just taking the chapters of a book and releasing them one by one instead of all at once, or is there more to it that I'm missing?
Well...I guess maybe some people like written fiction the way I like television. I don't like movies very much, two hours is just a little too much for my attention span, but I will happily watch 42 minutes of a serialized television show week after week, season after season. And for really good shows (for me that would be something like Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones), the wait each week adds to the ancitipation, and really makes you savor each episode.

Just speculation, though. I don't actually read much fiction these days.
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Old 10-10-2012, 11:37 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trauma Doll View Post
Well...I guess maybe some people like written fiction the way I like television. I don't like movies very much, two hours is just a little too much for my attention span, but I will happily watch 42 minutes of a serialized television show week after week, season after season. And for really good shows (for me that would be something like Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones), the wait each week adds to the ancitipation, and really makes you savor each episode.

Just speculation, though. I don't actually read much fiction these days.
If I just heard about "The Game of Thrones" this year, I can go to Amazon Instant Video, start with Episode 1 Season 1, watch an episode each week, and as long as I don't cheat and read the synopsis on wikipedia, I can be just as enthralled (or not) as someone who watched it on the first airing. With this, there's only one first run.

I think it might work better if each person who purchases the serial gets installments spaced out just as if they'd purchased as soon as it was available. Then you could go to the corresonding installment thread and exchange thoughts, and be properly 'surprised' by the next installment.

But I guess the question is whether this enhances the reading experience, or detracts from it. Did anybody complain that The Brothers Karamazov "just wasn't as good" when it was compiled into a complete novel? Is there anything that's actually a better read when you're forced to pause for a week or two between each installment?

I applaud the experiment, but I think it needs refinement and maybe signing on an author who is already doing this on the web and who has a following.

Last edited by tomsem; 10-10-2012 at 11:40 PM.
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