Serial Novels: What’s Old is New Again

Barbara Vey -- September 23rd, 2013
Coreene Callahan

Coreene Callahan

I met the cheery, congenial, Canadian Coreene Callahan (now say that 3 times…fast, you know you want to) at RWA this year.  Her infectious smile and charm drew people to her and after chatting with her over coffee, it was easy to understand why.  She loves what she does and wants to share it with the world.


While we were talking, I could almost see the wheels turning in her head as she was thinking ahead to the next thing she wanted to try.  At the time she was experimenting with putting her book out there as a serial novel.  Readers would pay one price an get installments weekly.  I signed up to see what it was like and it reminded me a lot about what it was like watching “24″ every week.  You were left with a cliffhanger and had to wait to see what happened next.  While this idea isn’t new, it was the first time I experienced it with a book and I have to say I enjoyed it.  It was fun getting that email every week to let me know a new episode was waiting for me to open like a present on Christmas morning.  I had to find out what the experience was like for Coreene.

Warrior's Revenge/

BV:  You’ve written full length novels before. What made you put Warrior’s Revenge out as a serial novel?


CC:  In all honesty, I did it for my readers. I wanted to give them another story. Something fun and fast-paced to bridge the gap between the release of Fury of Seduction and Fury of Desire (Dragonfury series, books 3 and 4), but that also tied into Knight Awakened (Circle of Seven series, book 1). I thought Warrior’s Revenge would do that, adding a fun twist to summer reading. I’m happy to say, the feedback from readers has been amazing! Now I’m so very glad I took the plunge and put the book out as a serial novel for others to enjoy.

But what’s truly amazing is that Warrior’s Revenge has been re-released as a full length novel and is now available in all formats: print and e-book. The audiobook is coming soon too. So much fun!

BV:  How does a serialized novel work?


CC:  It’s really a great concept. A serial novel is a full length book broken up into episodes. In my case, Warrior’s Revenge had a total of ten episodes, one of which was released every week. Each Tuesday a new episode was automatically downloaded to the reader’s Kindle, so no muss, no fuss. But what I really like about serial novels is the price. You get an entire book for just a $1.99. Not per episode, but TOTAL…as in, pay once, get the whole story for $1.99! I love a good deal, and this has to be one of the best.


BV:  What has been the reaction of your readers?

CC:  The reaction, overall, was fantastic. Most of my readers loved the serial novel format, enjoying the added tension of having to wait to find out what happened next each week. Others didn’t like the format as much. They wanted the rest of the story NOW!…and I didn’t blame them. Some of the cliffhangers in the book are intense! So waiting for the next installment was difficult to do.
But in the end, most everyone fell in love with Brigham and Aurora, the main characters along with their story. The book is fast-paced and action-packed, but more than anything, it’s about two people struggling to find love, acceptance, and a second chance in a place where everything can—and usually does—go wrong.

BV:  You have a special problem with Amazon because you live in Canada.

.Serial Fiction
CC:  Ah, the problem! Here it is in a nutshell…
Although, the idea of serialized novels has been around a long time (think back to the Victorian era when Charles Dickens released stories one installment at a time), the serial novel is a fairly new concept for us. We haven’t seen stories in the romance genre released like this for a while and exploring new territory necessitates a little experimentation—i.e.: testing the story medium to see whether readers will enjoy it or not. Because of this, serial novels aren’t released as widely (across international platforms) the same way full length novels are at the moment. The program is still in its infancy and only available to those who live in the United States right now.
So back to the problem…because I don’t live in the US, I couldn’t get my own book! Odd, I know, but there’s an upside too. After just ten weeks, the serial novel phase of Warrior’s Revenge ended, and now I (along with everyone else!) can read the entire book all at once.

BV:  Would you consider doing it again?

CC:  I really enjoyed releasing Warrior’s Revenge as a serial novel. The experience challenged me in interesting ways, and although the pace was frenetic, I think it made me a stronger storyteller and a better writer. Always a good thing. So yes, I would consider writing another down the line…with one caveat. I would want any future serial novels I write made available to all my readers, which means internationally. It’s important to me that everyone have access to my books, no matter where they live. That’s only fair, right? :-)


Thanks Coreene for joining me today.  The good news is that your book is available for everyone, everywhere now.  As a special surprise, Coreen has graciously offered to give away a copy of Warrior’s Revenge to one lucky reader.  Just put “Warrior’s Revenge” in the comments section and a winner will be announced tomorrow.  The winner must contact the author in one week or forfeit the prize.


Bottom Line:  “Serial novels have an unexpected effect; they hook the writer as well as the reader.” ~ Alexander McCall Smith

12 thoughts on “Serial Novels: What’s Old is New Again

  1. Ellie Miller

    Apropos Charles Dickens and serial novels, I’ve always loved the story about a huge crowd gathering at a pier in New York (waiting for da boat to bring da book!) and yelling to the folks onboard, “Does she die? Does she die?) when “Old Curiosity Shop” had left Little Nell hanging between life and death in the previous installment. LOL.

  2. Kris

    Reminds me of the serial stories my mom used to read in Red Book and other magazines when I was little. It’s a great idea and it’s fun to see it revived–and tweaked a bit.

  3. gamistress66

    I admit I’m one who waits for all the episodes to be out for the book & then read so I don’t have to wait for the cliffhanger resolution — have enough trouble with that with tv ;) glad Warrior’s Revenge worked out well for Coreene though.

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