While working to market my Sci-Fi/Dystopia series Insurrection, I’ve been reaching out to book bloggers asking for a review of the first installment, Subversive. For those who don’t know, this is a short-story series that will run for five installments, like episodes in a mini-series. Each book is told from a different character perspective. Each is a complete story and interconnected with the others.
Recently, a blogger who had agreed to review Subversive returned saying he would be unable to post a review because he does not feel serial series books are fair to readers. (Full disclosure: He does state that in his review policy but I, er, missed it. *blushes*)
Curious about this view of serial series, I wanted to ask what others thought. Below is the e-mail reply he sent to me and I’m posting it here with his permission:
“Subversive is a glittering example of why I don’t (review serial series books) and I admit I should have examined this book more closely before I agreed to review it. Although it is well written, and I could see that the story line had the potential to eventually develop into something worth reading, as a lifelong reader who has been disappointed repeatedly by authors who use this approach to publishing, I cannot encourage it. Likewise, giving you a low review when the work could be made into a five-star effort is not fair to you.
For a reader, this book is a passage to nowhere except the next book. There is no end. There is only a beginning. For a reader, it’s a bit like having a sentence with a subject and no predicate. An incomplete thought to be solved by putting another nickel in the slot machine. I feel that approach to publishing is unfair to readers.”
My opinion? Although I respect this blogger’s perspective on the subject, I tend to disagree with the philosophy, not just because I’m writing a serial, but because personally, I love them. In the book serials I’ve read I find each book to be its own complete tale, even if there are cliffhangers at the end. If I love the premise and the characters, it’s great to come back to them again and again, like visiting old friends. Some examples? The Anita Blake books, The Emperor’s Edge, A Song of Ice and Fire. There are many more. To me, it’s like watching an episode in a TV series. I’m not upset that I’ll have to tune in next week to see another installment. Sometimes I’m in the mood for a movie that tells the story in one go. Other times, I like when a story is drawn out. The same is true for literature in my, uh, book. (unintentional pun)
What do you think of the serial series format? Does it feel like the author is nickle and diming you into buying another book rather than tying off the journey completely? Or do you enjoy new adventures with the same characters and universes, no matter how many installments there are?