Serial episodic publishing, a mainstay of publishing in Victorian literary magazines, is back in fashion due to 21st century technology*.
With 90% read on mobile phones*, young readers and writers have led the explosion in growth of readers and writers of serial episodic fiction. With over two thirds of regular readers in the 18-23 age group reading serial fiction and 41% reading it on a monthly basis.
Huge growth in demand for episodic, short publishing has been driven by Tumblr which acts as a co-creation, self-publishing platform and Wattpad, one of the biggest players in this space, which now has 40 million regular users per month worldwide (1.3 million in the UK) a massive 400% growth since 2012, when they had 8 million registered users per month.
Julian Fellowes, one of the latest authors to join the episodic publishing trend, this week launched his Belgravia episodic publishing app with Orion Publishing. Belgravia, a tale of secrets and scandal set in 1840s London, is a series of eleven episodes that will be released week by week through an innovative new app and www.julianfellowesbelgravia.com.
“This is not a new storytelling format but technology has allowed people’s creativity to explode, making it very easy for readers and publishers to discover real talent and energy there,” Jacks Thomas, Director of LBF said.
The app will be launched via www.julianfellowesbelgravia.com in April 2016, with the first episode free to download. There will be options to subscribe to the full 11-episode weekly serial for £9.99/US$13.99 (both text and audio) or you can buy individual weekly episodes for £1.49/US$1.99 which will be delivered automatically to your device the moment they air every Friday. There will be extra material, videos and other bonus features hidden within each episode. The £18.99/US$26.00 hardback will be published in June.
*According to research undertaken by the London Book Fair.