The "Inimitable" as the great Charles Dickens was fondly referred to by his friends, family and adoring public, really gained his popularity and enormous following by publishing his works in serialized form. Over the course of his long and distinguished career, he oversaw the publication of several weekly journals that featured his own work as well as some of his famous contemporaries such as Wilkie Collins (The Woman in White) and Elizabeth Gaskell (North and South).
Well-loved stories like David Copperfield, Pickwick Papers, Great Expectations, Bleak House to name but a few, were serialized in 20 monthly instalments. The monthly plan made Dickens' work accessible to many more people who were able to afford the one shilling outlay for a copy of the monthly journal, rather than the one guinea for the full novel.
Household Words then All Year Round were the two publications featuring Dickens major works.
In some ways you could say this trend was a Victorian precursor to today's wildly popular serialized TV series like Mad Men, Suits, Breaking Bad, Homeland, only in Dickens' day, audiences waited a month for the next episode. Today we're so impatient and so into immediate gratification, we want all thirteen episodes at our fingertips - or all three seasons of thirteen episodes on Netflix. How many of you are completely addicted to one series or another? How many of you have staged Downton Abbey or Suits or House of Cards marathons?
|I just needed an excuse to put Don Draper's picture somewhere!!|
The serialized fiction trend has also become popular with ebooks. A quick check on Amazon reveals a wide range of popular serialized books - romances, thrillers, science fiction, fantasy, and just plain bizarre titles, like the popular series Unicorn Western and Fat Vampire, by Johnny B Truant and Sean Platt.
So I'm going to try an experiment. I've decided to take one of my novels, a contemporary, humorous piece entitled Searching for Robert P, a story set in present day and the crazy 1970's. I plan to serialize it on Amazon, and today I'm going to give you a sneak peek at the cover.
The first episode will probably come out in early August on Kindle. For those of you who don't have a Kindle, you can download the free Kindle reader app from Amazon and read it on your IPad or laptop or even your phone. More details to follow!! I'll make sure to keep you posted!