Patreon Offers Serialization For Indie Writers

See full issue for 2017 11-06

Self-publishing has gotten more popular seemingly by the year. This is true probably for two reasons. One is that there are more and more opportunities to self-publish, and indie authors are becoming more accustomed to the idea. The other is that there are some examples of explosively successful writers who got started all on their own. We know, for instance, that the Fifty Shades Of Grey novels started out as Twilight fan fiction online. We also know that Andy Weir first posted The Martian online before he started to get lucrative book and film offers; he’s now on the cusp of his second major novel, which already has a movie deal.

It’s no wonder that so many of us who like to write are starting to consider the self-publishing route. Of course the Andy Weirs of the world are still one in a million (at least), but you never know what’s going to happen when you publish, and if you self-publish you’re at least guaranteeing yourself a chance at success. That said, however, there’s another form of self-publication that might also be interesting to budding indie authors: serialization.

Just a few years ago, the Washington Post actually ran an article titled “Bring back the serialized novel,” making reference to some old works by classic writers. The article argued that the novel is in ways designed to be consumed in a serial format – which is to say, delivered in brief installments, one after the other. And though this is a format that hasn’t been popular in a little over a century, you can find examples that have had similar success to modern self-published works, even extending to today.

One such example that’s particularly timely right now is The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells. Now a famous work of horror with science fiction elements, it was originally published in a serialized form in Pearson’s Weekly in the late-19th century. Even now, over 100 years later, it’s still a popular enough work to move into new formats. The online company NetEnt has developed a video game based on the story, taking its cues from the 1933 movie adaptation. It features an aesthetic and a few plot elements reminiscent of the original story, and built into a slot machine format. Even more significantly, Universal is gearing up for another film based on the original story, starring Johnny Depp and set to be released in the coming years!

That’s just one of many examples we could pick out from history, but it’s a good example of how even a serialized novella – which might at first seem like little more than a series of magazine articles – can become an iconic work of fiction. It should only be further encouragement for independent authors seeking exposure and success to give this concept a chance.

It can be done entirely independently, if you have a platform of some kind – perhaps a successful website, or a column on a larger online publication. But Patreon, a platform meant for creative types that appears to be gaining steam of late, is almost designed as a perfect tool for creative types who wish to release work gradually (and generate income doing it). Working with the slogan “Creators, come get paid,” which has to be a pretty popular draw, it is founded on the ancient idea of patronage for the arts.

Patreon works with artists, musicians, podcasters, and other creative people. But where writers are concerned, it is designed much like a supportive structure for serialization. Authors can organize things their own way, but the basic idea is to make content available in pieces, exclusive to “patrons” paying through the site. It’s almost like being your own independent magazine, unveiling little pieces of your story, novella, or novel on a schedule as determined by you and you alone.

Of course, as with any other form of self-publication, there are no guarantees. Not everyone will make money on Patreon, and even those who do won’t necessarily make enough to sustain their creative efforts. But if you’re interested in reaching a larger audience as an independent writer, it’s one more idea you might think about looking into.

This article was written by a third party. Underground Book Reviews does not endorse any products or product links found in this website article.


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