This month, we are very pleased to have as our special guest Bea Moyes from Ether Books. Bea is the Content and Social Media Director at Ether Books. She is here to tell us about the resurgence of the serial as a literary form and how Ether Books serves serial readers and writers. We welcome discussion on this post and Bea will be checking in to answer any questions our readers may have.
A Serial Renaissance by Bea Moyes of Ether Books
In the last decade the ‘serialisation’ has had a complete and much overdue renaissance. The digital age has bred a new generation of writers who are not limited by traditional publishing schedules but are eager to find new avenues to reach their audience by publishing online: on their blogs, WEB sites and now direct to mobile phone! It has encouraged experimentation, and direct interaction between the writer and their readers, but more significantly it has nurtured the short form ‘episodic’ writing which can carry the depth of a novel but in short segments. We increasingly have a democratisation of fiction which values quality of content over traditional limitations on genre, style and length.
I say this with complete admiration and significant bias. As a director at Ether Books, I actively promote the disruption which the digital age has brought to traditional publishing and the opportunities which it has created for writers of the serial form. Ether Books is an innovator of mobile publishing, providing short fiction, articles and poetry directly to readers on their mobile. We curate the best short content, providing writers not only with access to a global readership through our mobile app, but also allowing them to keep the exclusive rights to their work. We believe that digital publishing is at the head of a revolution, putting the control of content back in the hands of the writers.
We have published a number of serialisations, and we are actively looking to publish more because of our rapidly growing audience for quality serialisations. The serial is PERFECT for mobile because readers can download the next episode of the serial every week and have what we call a ‘byte sized read’ on-the-go. Most of our published serialisations are written beforehand and submitted to us as a whole, but the possibilities are endless. In the future we can easily publish the first episode of a serial and allow the writer to adapt the story according to the feedback their readers give back.
We are aware that this new technology, and the immediacy with which digital publishing can reach its audience, will have a significant effect on the way writers write. Unlike traditional publishing, writers can adapt their work AFTER publication and alter their style with direct feedback from their readers. I would very much like to hear from you about what this means, if anything, for you! Does this fill you with fear and dread, or does the freedom which this affords the writer encourage you to view your work differently, as a continuously evolving process? I will be reading any comments you might post below and answering any questions and/or answers you might have!
In my opinion, quite ironically, the digital age has almost brought us full circle to the glory days of the serial in the 19th Century. You’ll have to forgive me; I am a history graduate so I am often liable to compare modern circumstances to the past. However, it is true that in the 19th Century, celebrated authors like Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins popularised the serial form, publishing in monthly instalments in national newspapers and magazines. Many of the great works of fiction which we cherish as novels were originally written in parts, read in episodes and adapted according to the audience responses. Their contemporary popularity has been described as akin to modern soap operas, and it is this popularity which I believe is being revived through the internet, through new digital publishing methods and the support of readers who are eager to find quality short nuggets of fiction with great characters, plot and writing which they can return to, again and again.
If any of you are interested in submitting to Ether Books you can visit our website www.etherbooks.com. We accept submissions from ALL genres and you once you have signed up as an Ether member, you can submit work through our online Submission Form.