Amazon’s New Serials Program Creates Buzz Among Indie Authors and at the Collective Inkwell

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Amazon Announces New Serials Program: Gives Hope and Creates a Buzz Around the Indie Circuit.

Monsters, One of the Many Serialized Fiction Titles by Platt and Wright

"Amazon did it right,” Platt says. “With Kindle, they brought eBooks to a place where anyone can play the game. Now they’ve evolved the serial model as well, and they’re doing it better than anyone else."

In episode #21 of the “Self Publishing Podcast,” hosts Johnny B. Truant, Sean Platt, and David Wright announce a new format from Amazon that will change the way many people produce and read books: the Kindle Serials program, as reported by the Amazon press release.

The concept of serials is much like a television show. Instead of delivering the entire story at once, individual episodes are released one at a time, often ending with a cliffhanger that leaves the audience anxiously awaiting the next installment.

For Sean Platt and David Wright, the serialized fiction format is nothing new. Among other projects, they’re co-authors of the fiction series “Yesterday’s Gone,” which began in mid-2011. It has since attracted an impressive audience and evolved into three complete seasons using the serial model.

But despite the success of “Yesterday’s Gone,” the model Platt and Wright built has presented challenges. Says Wright, “It’s inefficient for readers. In a six-episode season, you’re downloading six different books, and if you have a Kindle or similar device, it fills up quickly and can get confusing when you’re looking for episodes.”

Wright says it’s also been problematic for Platt and himself as authors. “We don’t want to sell a 15-20,000-word episode for $2.99. We’d rather sell it for 99 cents. But at that price we only make a 35% royalty with Amazon, so it’s not an efficient way for us to make money. Instead, we make our money on the full seasons.” And that means they and their readers have to wait until the entire season is written before it can be purchased.

But Amazon Kindle Serials combines the appeal of an episodic format with a convenient technology similar to a podcast subscription. Says Wright, “you buy it once and it automatically downloads whenever the author writes an update. It’s far easier to have one book that gets updated automatically.”

There’s one catch: the Kindle Serials program is currently invitation-only. But Platt believes that once the pilot period is over and the program catches on, it will be a huge opportunity for self-publishers.

“Amazon did it right,” Platt says. “With Kindle, they brought eBooks to a place where anyone can play the game. Now they’ve evolved the serial model as well, and they’re doing it better than anyone else.”

Platt encourages other authors to explore this format. “If you like the idea,” he says, “write serials. Consumers ‘get’ this new model because it’s the way they’ve been watching TV for years. Now Amazon has ratified the idea, and it’s only going to get bigger.”

Check out Yesterday's Gone on for free on Amazon today.

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