I admit it. I’m in a bit of a serial writing mood lately. I love my Tobine Chronicles (by Adera Orfanelli) because it’s like television episodes delivered to your e-reader every few weeks. I’ve also heard from readers who don’t like serials. So I wanted to take a few moments today and discuss what is a serial and what is a series.
A serial contains interconnected stories. One episode cannot be read without the next one. Imagine walking into the middle of a television show, maybe the tenth episode for the year. You’ll find that you can follow somewhat, but there’s most likely an over-reaching arc that you won’t be able to understand without more context. Serials are like this.
A series contains more than one book set in the same world, often with the same characters, or the ones from other books show up as secondary characters. The books can be read in order or some series are structured to be read as standalone novels. The biggest difference is that with a series, each book is released all at once. You’re not waiting for the next installment in the book to arrive.
Both have their place in a writer’s tool kit, and I encourage authors to experiment with both. Look for ways to use both in your publishing and marketing efforts. Because both serials and series have their place, and both can bring you new readers.