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The Short Story Serial Returns

My grandfather grew up in a time where watching a movie was a luxury, talkies were a fad, kids went outside to play and reading was his window to the world and entertainment. Recently he told me a story about delivering and selling Collier’s Weekly as a boy. The magazine sold for 5 cents and he got 2 cents of every sale. A lot of money for the time, but he would have delivered them for free just to read the articles, columns and short story serials.

The serial my grandfather enjoyed were ongoing tales of the mysterious Fu Manchu. I could see the twinkling memory of the anticipation he had as a young man, waiting for that weekly installment in the back of Collier’s Weekly.

For decades up through the golden age of television, readers young and old entertained themselves with short story serials like Fu Manchu from both variety and genre based magazines. Eventually, technology and television won out. The need for written entertainment dwindled, variety magazines dropping stories and genre based ones just vanishing all together.

The short story serial became a lost market.

Until recently, I wouldn’t have believed it could be revived. And the very thing that killed the short story serial is now breathing new life into the dead relic — Technology.

Less than two years ago most technologist saw the e-book as a burgeoning technology that would take at least a decade to take hold of the market. At least.

Reality — Amazon sells more e-books than print. Both seasoned and first time writers are finding new readers and selling thousand of books, and writers are starting to revive the short story anthology and serial market place. Readers are reading.

Me particularly, I’m reading THE DEAD MAN SERIES created by Lee Goldberg and William Rabkin, and I just finished DRUNK ON THE MOON by Paul D. Brazill.

THE DEAD MAN series started this last Spring, releasing a new book roughly once a month. The initial book FACE OF EVIL debuted at 99 cents. A price point I couldn’t turn down and one that got me hooked on the series.

In a nutshell, THE DEAD MAN series is about Matthew Cahill, a man who comes back from the dead to discover he has returned with the ability to sense evil in a very physical way — sight, smell and taste. Matt is now on a quest to discover the source and why he was chosen to face evil.

Each installment is written by a different author and comes in roughly somewhere around/under 20,000 words. Nice edible bites of evil and mystery.

Subsequent issues sell for $2.99, but what a deal that is as the first 4 books I’ve read have been a roller coaster of fun.

DRUNK ON THE MOON is another series to keep an eye on. The initial story, release under the same title and written by series creator Paul D. Brazill, introduces former cop turned PI, Roman Dalton, as he comes to claw-biting grips with his new reality as a were-wolf.

I purchased the first installment of DRUNK ON THE MOON for a whopping 99 cents and less than an hour latter I was gnashing for more. And like THE DEAD MAN series, Paul has put together a team of authors bring us more of the were-wolf PI, Roman Dalton

Now these two series lean towards my taste, but it’s my hope that other short story serials are testing the e-book market and finding success. E-books are a fantastic outlet all genre of short story serials and the readers out there to consume.