While serializing a novel digitally, and selling them as an ongoing periodical subscription, may be a fairly recent development, serialized novels have been around for a very long time.
The most famous of these are the novels by a Mr. Charles Dickens, who I’m certain you’ve heard of. Dickens first published his classic The Old Curiosity Shop as a weekly publication, in April, 1840. It was not until all ‘episodes’ were complete, that he published them as a complete novel.
A serial novel today is much the same as a weekly TV episode of your favourite series. A new section of the novel comes out each week, fortnight, or month, and you have the option of subscribing to the series, like a magazine subscription, ensuring you never miss the latest instalment.
As a writer, this appeals to me, for I can write the novel in progressive stages, and allow you, the reader, to enjoy the novel in progress, as it is written; without having to wait 10 months or longer for me to finish the entire book, and go through the long publishing process. Additionally, this allows my readers to provide feedback about the novel, which may indeed influence my own writing of the story. Almost as though you get to write the story with me.
A serial novel, is much the same as watching your favourite TV series unfold, with a new episode each week, telling you the continuing story. You wouldn’t normally sit down and watch an entire season in one sitting – rather you enjoy the continuing story as each episode comes out.
A serial novel is something you can subscribe to, like a magazine, giving you a new episode of the story every month.
For my own serial novels, I’ve set up a system online, where you can subscribe to Mackenzie Tanaya and the Faerie Key, and you will automatically receive a new episode every month, until the story is complete. When you subscribe, you will receive the first 3 episodes for free (that’s the first 3 months). After this, if you wish to continue reading, you will be charged a small fee of $1.50 per month, which helps me cover the cost of the subscription system. If you no longer want to keep reading, simply unsubscribe.
If you’d like to understand more about serializing a novel, you might like to check out Mackenzie Tanaya and the Faerie Key, and perhaps that will give you inspiration for your own.