Charles Dickens built his amazing career as a writer releasing his novels in serial forms. According to the Boz Project:

Every one of Charles Dickens’s novels was published serially–that is, the novels appeared not all at once, but in parts or installments, over a space of time.  Publishing his novels in serial form expanded Dickens’s readership, as more people could afford to buy fiction on the installment plan; publishers, too, liked the idea, as it allowed them to increase sales and to offer advertisements in the serial parts.  And Dickens enjoyed the intimacy with his audience that serialization provided.

More recently, Hugh Howey released his SF bestseller, Wool, as a serial, falling into this way of publishing more or less by accident. The story goes that he released a short story by the same name in July of 2011 and it became the most popular thing he’d ever written. So popular that readers wanted to know the rest of the story, so by January 2012, Howey had self-published five serial stories about that underground silo and collected all five into an ebook, the Wool Omnibus.
So, I’m seriously considering releasing my next SF thriller, Babble, in a similar manner — one gripping, can’t-put-it-down installment at a time. Granted, how a book is released is certainly no BabbleCoverguarantee of worldwide fame and fortune. If it were everyone would be doing it. Still, it makes sense to me for the following reason:
1. I can finish the revision and polishing process of the rough draft in installments as well. Release the first one, then move on to polishing the second segment even as I hopefully get some constructive feedback from readers of the first installment.
2. The idea of getting constructive feedback from those reading the earlier installments is quite attractive. I like the idea of becoming more intimate with my reading audience, just like Dickens did.
3. It will challenge me to write the very best story of which I’m capable and hopefully develop my writing skills each step and installment along the way.
But I have a few questions that I’d really like feedback on:
A. Would you be more inclined to give a book by an author you weren’t familiar with a chance if it was offered in this serial format?
B. If you were in my shoes how would you ‘get the word out’ about this serial (besides writing about it here on my blog)?
C. How important do you feel it would be for each installment to have its own unique cover or could one cover image serve the same purpose (with the copy clearly delineating which installment it is)?
D. Would it make any sense to offer the installments as a CreateSpace physical book? And,
E. How many pages would you expect an installment to be so if it sold for 99 cents it would still feel like a good deal?
Inquiry minds want to know. Please leave your feedback below under the comment section. And if you’d like to learn more about Babble, check out this page.