From Victorian fiction in newspaper installments to modern-day fan fiction online, serials have adapted to every technological advance in publishing. This year, Amazon developed their own platform to support serialized works: Kindle Serials. “For our next invention, we reached back into the past for inspiration,” says Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. From Amazon.com: “Kindle Serials are stories published in episodes. When you buy a Kindle Serial, you will receive all existing episodes on your Kindle immediately, followed by future episodes as they are published. Enjoy reading as the author creates the story, and discuss episodes with other readers in the Kindle forums.” The reader pays a flat rate and receives all past and future episodes.
At Vook, many of our authors have published digital series, which are far easier and cheaper to release as eBooks versus print books. The reasoning behind a series can likewise apply to Kindle Serials for all genres:
Fiction: One of the earliest forms of serialized work, fiction continues to thrive in series and serialized forms. Ever hear of the Harry Potter series? How about Fifty Shades of Grey, which started as serialized online fan fiction? YA author Kate Milford recently published The Kairos Mechanism, which is connected to her Arcana Project series by characters but can also stand alone (as can the other books in the series). Warren Adler similarly wrote the Fionna Fitzgerald series revolving around a homicide detective.
History: History books spanning large epochs but easily marked by specific periods are easy to break up into a series or serialized episodes. For a series, readers who want the full history from the outset might buy all of the eBooks, and those only interested in a specific period can pick and choose (History Channel’s America: The Story of Us series is an excellent example). A history book on Kindle Serials would appeal to history buffs committed to a subject but wanting their eBooks in manageable chunks.
Health & self-help: Many health and lifestyle books are great on their own, but some require building upon previous work, especially those dealing with major lifestyle overhauls. The four-month program in the four-part Move.Eat.Be series does exactly this: month one establishes a foundation, and months two, three, and four build off of this foundation to make it a sustainable change. Serials similarly help ensure continued growth and sustainable change.
Sports & fitness: As any professional athlete would advise, you can never stop improving your technique. Turning sports and fitness how-to books into a series or serialized episodes is a great way to isolate phases of a program. For example, Swing the Handle, an instructional golfing series, starts with the fundamentals and goes into more specific details with each additional book (e.g. setting up the golf swing ). Best-selling Everyday Pilates does the same: book one teaches the fundamentals while the remaining books focus on isolated body parts.
Cooking: A big advantage that eCookbooks have over print cookbooks is the ability to cheaply break them up into series so readers can pick and choose based on their immediate needs. Confronted with a large volume of recipes, people might be tempted to go elsewhere, especially with the heap of free resources on websites like Epicurious and Foodnetwork.com. A series of eCookbooks can be more appealing to people seeking a specific class of recipes from an authority on the topic. The Simple Art of Cooking does exactly this by breaking up an out-of-print cookbook into ten “bite-sized” eBooks priced at $1.99 each.
Vook has several successful business authors who have written one-off eBooks on specific topics. But some authors have amazing business-related content on varied subjects. Allbusiness.com, for example, has an arsenal of reports, blogs, videos, and articles on its website. They repurposed this content into a series of eBooks that range from hiring independent contractors to incorporation.
So how to do you know what’s right for you—publishing a one-off eBook, creating a series, or releasing serialized eBooks? Study your content and know your audience; put yourself in their shoes to figure out what they'll want to buy.Disqus