Disclaimer: The following realization is not scientifically accurate. It is simply the meanderings of a procrastinating writer.
Since advertising is the bread and butter of aspiring authors, I spent the last two weeks learning the trade. Part of the process, I’ve been told, includes redirecting focus towards serialize my books rather than actively promoting the book I have. To this, I admit I gave a great deal of consideration (and respect), and possibly, insufficient credence as I have yet to try the process myself. However, I can’t help wondering if serialization will really benefit my books, or the books in my genre.
Take for example my only published novel:
It’s thriller/suspense/horror. It has sold a couple hundred copies to date, and I’m grateful it got off the ground at all. The sales were mostly due to social media advertisement, though I’ve also looked into specific market behavior. The following are my findings:
- The dominating authors in my genres are Stephen King, Dean Koontz and John Grisham.
- King’s first bestseller was Carrie, a stand alone novel about a girl with psychic powers.
- Koontz’s was Whispers (or Demon Seed, if we’re counting crossover genres), another stand alone suspense thriller.
- Grisham’s first was A Time to Kill, another stand alone novel.
In short, there doesn’t seem to be a predominance of serialization among the bestselling thriller authors; it doesn’t seem necessary for the genre.
That being said, I looked into other genres, and fully acknowledge that serialization is very important for some of these, specifically sci-fi, fantasy, and detective mysteries.
- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes series wouldn’t be very interesting without the short stories that came after A Study in Scarlet.
- George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series wouldn’t be half as epic without its multiple volumes and ever-rotating cast.
- J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series would have left billions upset if it simply stopped after one book.
- Heck, fantasy novelists have made such a habit of serialization that almost all of their books have been named “[NOUN] of [NOUN]” or “The [ADJECTIVE] [NOUN]”
Perhaps this phenomenon is the result of readership focus. While sci-fi and fantasy fans are very character focused, thriller/suspense/horror readers tend to be event focused. The respective audiences are looking for different derivatives; one wants to know everything from the family lineage of the protagonist to the names of their future children, while the other wants only an escape or answer. As such, perhaps the better thing to do in this situation is to serialize the world, rather than the characters of The Almshouse. I plan to do more research on the subject.
In the meantime, I have started a new novel called Nuts.
It tells the story of Lucy, a girl stuck in a mental asylum and surrounded by patients who claim to have magical powers. Whether they are magical or simply deluded, the patients die off one by one, and Lucy must figure out if the source is magical or something more down to earth.