Romance and Me: The Horror of the Episode Novels

Filed in featured , Romance and Me , The Latin Lover Posted on April 17, 2013 @ 12:00 pm 30 comments

Hi Everyone!

You might have encountered this new trend that seems to be spreading recently, namely that a story is told in several shorter instalments. These are not “series” in the classic sense of the term, where the individual books were full-length 300 or more pages long, no in these new episode-novels the individual instalments are between 25-120 pages usually and end with (often cruel) cliffhangers to entice the reader to pick up the next instalment.

Many recent erotica stories used this form like Beth Kery’s Because You Are Mine series or Maya Cross’ brand new Alpha Group books, and even Eloisa James released her latest historical romance With This Kiss in this format.

Many readers object to this new trend because 1) the story or the different storylines don’t get resolved at the end of the individual episodes, 2) they have to suffer through a nail-biting cliffhanger until they are able to see what happens next, 3) they have to wait in best case scenarios just weeks, in worst case scenarios months or even longer between the different instalments, and 4) the price of the whole story when the different instalments are added up is higher than a single book would usually cost.

So far I have only read one episode novel, Eloisa James’ With This Kiss for review, so I was in the very privileged position of not having had to wait weeks between the release of the three stories and I could read them all in one sitting (which believe me I did because those last scenes had me clicking on the “Next” button faster than a mouse amped up on Ecstasy… ;-)). As I mentioned it to others and in my reviews, I don’t encourage anyone to start the story without all instalment being made available, otherwise it would be torture being left in story-limbo for weeks.

So I’m curious,

Have you read some of these episode novels released in instalments? Which ones?

How did you like this format?

Was it torture having to wait weeks/months before you could read what happened next or you didn’t really mind?

Are you for or against this new publishing format?

Would you ever try it or would you wait until all the parts are released before starting reading the series?

About Stella


Stella is a proud bookaholic and a self-taught multilinguist in training. Besides reading, her other great passions are travelling and baking. When she is not globetrotting she lives in sunny Budapest, where she loves to spend her free time preparing (and feasting on) delicious cookies or devouring equally yummy books. Her favourite genres are urban fantasy and romance and she couldn't live without her daily dose of sunshine. Besides being the Latin Lover on BLI Stella also blogs about books and a bookish life on Ex Libris.

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30 Comments

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  • Ora April 17, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    Yesterday I read Damaged by H.M. Ward. I enjoyed reading the book, however I was not happy how it ended, I didn’t realize that it I would have to wait for Damaged 2 to come out in the summer to find out how it ends. I defintely would have waited if I had realized it. I really don’t like the idea of waiting to read the entire story. I would prefer reading a longer book than having it chopped up into shorter books. I really hope this is a trend that will die soon.

    • Stella April 17, 2013 at 4:56 pm

      I agree Ora, It would only be fair when it comes to episode novels to put it on the cover or the backblurb that it is just the first instalment, so that readers don’t get the shock and disappointment when on the last page they see “To be Continued…” It would be good to know what you go into when starting the book (that’s why I usually flipped to the last page in paperbacks to read the last couple of lines ;-))

  • miki April 17, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    there is one by ilona andrews that intrest me but i prefer to wait untill all is up ( and thanks god it’s a free one)

    at teh moment i read the serial but Susannah Sandlin Storm Force and i admit some cliffhanger are really hard but we only have to wait 1 week to get the new installment and also it’s not expensive 1,99 dollars and you get all that has already be released and you get without more charge the new one as soon as it out
    that i can accept becaise it’s not expensive and cheap ( so i can get the print when it’s released)

    But if i had to paid for each installment and having to wait between the ” episode” that’s a no for me i prefer to read the whole story in one time

    so far i prefer the print format

    • miki April 17, 2013 at 12:53 pm

      arf i wanted to say because it’s not long to wait And cheap ( ^^ not expensive too but it means the same as cheap^^)

    • Stella April 17, 2013 at 4:57 pm

      Oh I didn’t know about that serial story by Susannah Sandlin, but at least this approach sounds quite reader friendly, I’ll check it out 🙂

      • miki April 18, 2013 at 7:38 am

        oh yes that’s readers friendly since you can get teh serial now, pay only 1,99 and then wait to start reading after all the episode have been released. if you take teh kindle format later the price will go up ( but the book will be also released in print audio etc )

  • Jane April 17, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    I haven’t tried these installment series yet mostly because I don’t like be left hanging. I would most likely wait for all the installments to be released before starting the series.

    • Stella April 17, 2013 at 4:58 pm

      Well that’s what I usually do with “normal” series as well. I like to read the books back to back, so I tend to wait until many books are released before I start a series.

  • blodeuedd April 17, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    Would I buy them? NO! I hte cliffies, I hate waiting, and I hate spending too much money

    • Stella April 17, 2013 at 4:58 pm

      Well I can certainly understand that 😉

  • Diane April 17, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    NO I do not like these cliffhanger stories that last forever; I like a book that will have a satisfactory ending, not a guess you’ll find out next time? No I won’t buy these books!

    • Stella April 18, 2013 at 4:03 am

      You are not alone with that Diane… and what I can imagine is frustrating for readers is not knowing when starting the book that it will be continued in a later book.

  • ki pha April 17, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    I like this post. I never thought I would ever buy a book in installments after hearing about it a couple of years ago. But then Eloisa James’ With this Kiss came out and well lets say I still didn’t buy it until the whole thing came out in paperback format.
    I didn’t even like waiting for the parts to come out even though I didn’t purchase it yet so that tells me something. But I do hear that some readers were disappointed after waiting for some time, or that the next part wasn’t as great as the first part due to the waiting and Maybe because it picked up from where it left off and the tension clearly wasn’t there anymore. I don’t know. I think I’ll just wait for all the parts to come out before purchasing.

    • Stella April 18, 2013 at 4:05 am

      What I don’t understand, that it’s the same with TV shows, if there are several weeks between 2 connected episodes the tension and the readers’ attention/interest is sure to lose some or all of its force, and to do that with a story is tantamount to literal suicide I would think, since it’s the tension and readers’ interest that makes or breaks a book…

  • Jess1 April 17, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    At least with Eloise James, the story indicated part 1 of three parts etc. Some writers have very long series where the story is broken up in portions. Instead of two/three novels, they want the reader to pay for 6 or 7 “novellas” or “novelettes”.

    I’m so glad to read your posting about it. Some publishers are having serialized stories, which is fine if the readers are aware of it. I prefer to not have cliffhangers, but will be more forgiving if the first book was novel length/ decent length and covered a good story, and which will be completed in the second novel. I rather wait for the completion of a story.

    • Stella April 18, 2013 at 4:07 am

      You put it perfectly, I have 2 main problems with this serialized novel trend:

      1) when it is not clearly stated that the book I have in my hand is just the first episode (if the reader has been warned and decides to tackle the cliffhanger despite that and not wait to have all the books near that is at least the reader’s decision),

      2) and if the individual instalments are 20-50 pages long. I would just feel cheated with having the story broken up every 2-3 chapters 🙁

  • cmcgee April 17, 2013 at 7:45 pm

    I think it shows disrespect for fans of these writers. I bought one serial and decided that I would read other writers. Who makes the decision to do the serial thing – the writer or the publisher, etc.?

    • Stella April 18, 2013 at 4:09 am

      That is a very interesting question: who decides to break up a story in instalment: the author or the publisher. Frankly, I have no idea. But I think the whole idea and reason behind this serialized novel trend is to make more money. And I don’t see how this trend could be in the readers’ favour…

      • miki April 18, 2013 at 7:36 am

        in the case of Susannah Sandlin, it was teh publisher who asked for this format and from some guest post i’ve read it seem like the publishers are pushing for more of that kind

        • Stella April 24, 2013 at 7:17 am

          That makes sense, since this format means more money…

  • Susan April 17, 2013 at 9:27 pm

    I’m the kind of person who likes to collect all of the books in a series before starting–and then I read them one after the other. So the idea of a serialized book is torture to my impatient soul.

    That said, I have been happily reading Ilona Andrews’s Innkeeper serials, so maybe I could change.

    • Stella April 18, 2013 at 4:10 am

      I’m like you Susan, I bought all 6 Shifters books by Rachel Vincent before starting to read Book #1 😀 I love to read a series back to back if I want to know what happens next I don’t want to wait until the next book is released.

  • Sandy April 18, 2013 at 9:51 am

    I’ve picked up a couple of e-books before and read them before I realized they were the first in a serial–very frustrating. I’m a fan of Beth Kery, but I haven’t read her serialized books yet. And its not so much the money to me (a little, but not a lot), but the having to wait. I will read a book in one sitting and very rarely will I be able to stop until I’m finished (good grief, I read Sherrilyn Kenyon’s ACHERON throughout the night when it first came out–it was JUST THAT GOOD). I guess I’m just impatient and have to know NOW what is going to happen–how are they going to resolve this issue, will the hero realize what a turd he’s being, will the heroine get some backbone. So for those who don’t mind the wait and like those pesky cliffhangers, these installment books should be okay for them. For me, eh, not so much.

    • Stella April 22, 2013 at 3:47 am

      I’m with you Sandy, I’m also one of those read-in-one-sitting kind of girl 😉

  • Lori Meehan April 18, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    I have, Beth Kery. They were good but I don’t think I’ll do it again. Too much money.

  • Sheree April 19, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    Back in the olden days, where a magazine would have a serial story….

    Frankly, I don’t even like it when a book ends on a cliffhanger, let alone a serial. Forget it. I have also given up on whole series because the wait time between books was too long (forgot all about the series by the time the new book was released and I rarely re-read).

    • Stella April 22, 2013 at 3:49 am

      Exactly Sheree! Besides the fact that we are impatient, why we don’t want to wait for weeks or even months befoire these different instalments is because with all the other stories going on we tend to forget some of the subtle details of the story/characters, and that is a shame.

  • aurian April 21, 2013 at 1:13 am

    If I would even buy a serial book, I would never start reading it till it is finished. It has the same reason why I almost ever read excerpts. If I like what I am reading, I want to read the whole book, and right now. Teasing yourself is a stupid thing to do.

    • Stella April 22, 2013 at 3:54 am

      Lol, I completely agree with you Aurian, I’m impatient and greedy just like you 😉

  • cmcgee May 11, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    I read a LOT. The bad thing about serials is I tend to forget what happened in the last book of a serial and tend to get messed up on whos who and whats what. Sometimes, I never complete a serial because I cant go back and reread the last one.

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