Serial Killer: How The Binging Culture Affects Serial Fiction And Its Authors

The blogging world seems to agree on one thing: Pay the writer.

And we should. Without fiction and its authors, what sort of “culture” would exist?

There are plenty who won’t pay the writer, but even those who pay the writer can cause problems.

I’m talking about the practice of waiting for a book series to be completed, before buying it.

The Netflix Binge-Watching Culture has begun to bleed into the book world, and authors and publishers are already feeling the effects of this change.

Would we be able to read the Harry Potter Series today if everyone had waited until J.K. Rowling had finished writing “Deathly Hallows” to buy the series?

No.

If “The Philosopher’s/Sorcerer’s Stone” had not sold as well as it did, Rowling’s publisher likely would have dropped her, and the rest of the series might have ended up in the endless lower reaches of Amazon KDP, waiting an eternity to be discovered.

Of late, a few people have even had the nerve to suggest that, in this binge-reading climate, that publishers should not acquire trilogies and the like, until the author has finished writing the entire series. I guess these people would have wanted Joanne to stay on the dole for years and years more than she had to. 😈

In these days of shrinking advances, almost all authors have to work a day job, which consumes a large amount of time that could otherwise be spent writing. The general readership, by and large, seems to be blissfully unaware of this situation, and expects authors to crank out a 100,000 word masterpiece of a sequel in a few weeks.

Holding off on buying the first volume of a series “until the author is finished”, therefore insures the author has to continue to work their day job, slowing down the writing of the sequels, and may even doom the series outright if the publisher sees this as simply “bad sales”. Publishers are becoming more risk-averse by the minute, and they want results. The Big Five New York publishers were once known for developing properties they believed in, and giving them time to grow. Nowadays, you’re lucky if any publisher will ‘invest’ in further series development if the first volume doesn’t take off immediately.

All this notwithstanding, there are some compelling arguments for authors not to shop a series around until they’ve completed writing it. Prospective publishers will know in advance 😉 exactly how the series ends, and they don’t have to ‘worry’ about the author going off on some unforeseen wild tangent. Which makes me wonder if The Twilight Saga would have ever been picked up if they had been able to read the completed “Breaking Dawn” manuscript, replete with its gory birth scene, Jacob’s questionable imprinting, et cetera. Even if publishers reject the author’s completed series, the author can upload the whole series at once to Amazon KDP and (if nothing else) satisfy the “binge-reader” contingent.

We live in an impatient, instant-gratification culture, where authors and publishers will have to adjust their perspectives to stay relevant. We do need to educate the reader body that creating a series under these constraints in never easy, and on how readers’ early sales support keeps the books flowing. Publishers also need to keep in mind how the “binge-reader” culture affects early volume sales of serial fiction.

We may be heading for “don’t quit your day job until after you’ve finished your series” territory, nonetheless….

Five-Star Review from TV/Film Producer Joel Eisenberg

Jack Wendell’s Vampire Syndrome” (mass market paperback) just received a five-star review from Hollywood TV/Film producer Joel Eisenberg. 😀


After Reading “Jack Wendell’s Vampire Syndrome,” I Felt As Though I Had Never Read a Vampire Novel Before.
By Joel Eisenberg, Author of The Chronicles of Ara on October 17, 2015

Really, how many variations of the vampire theme can there possibly be? Surely, this genre is well-worn; what can possibly be done to rejuvenate it?

Welcome, “Jack Wendell’s Vampire Syndrome.” I promise, you have never read a vampire book like this one.

Let’s begin this way: Jack Wendell, a Special Olympics champion with Down Syndrome, is turned into a vampire (hence the Vampire Syndrome in the title). That enough? Then how’s this: Jack strives for acceptance within his new community and is immediately ordered to be killed. Read Daven’s synopsis on this site. It’s all there. He’s not joking about “space alien Pure vampires” either.

Somehow, Daven Anderson makes it all work. The story is metaphoric for sure, but man is this work compelling. There’s a good deal of tongue in cheek here but not once did I feel the author or his story pandered. This is a compelling work.

Jack Wendell is a character unique to modern fiction. Characters with Down Syndrome have been used frequently in media, see the television shows “Life Goes On” or “American Horror Story.” Autistic protagonists too have been used widely in literature over the past 25 years, but in lit circles fully drawn characters with Down Syndrome have been rare.

Here though is something different and I hope I express this as I mean to: Jack is ‘cool.’ Do I feel sorry for him as he runs from his death sentence? Of course. Am I curious about his budding friendship with Lilith, who will attempt to save him? Yes. But more than this, I lose track of any disabilities on the part of the main character, and root for him as I would for anyone. And then it comes back to me that I’m reading a tale about a boy – a vampire – with Down Syndrome and I’m compelled to credit the author all the more.

This is a special novel and certain to be a special series. Daven is clearly a unique author. He is also a special educator and knows this world well. Jack is a real person to me, in an extraordinary circumstance.

The conflicts inherent therein make for the best of fiction. This is one of my very favorite novels that I’ve read all year.

Kudos Mr. Anderson. A remarkable, fun work.

Joel Amazon Review - Screengrab

Luxe Premium Edition now available on Amazon

The Luxe Premium Edition mass market paperback of “Vampire Syndrome” is now available on Amazon!
Jack Wendell’s Vampire Syndrome: Book 1 in the Vampire Syndrome Saga
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VS Luxe Cover

Book Signing this Saturday at 2nd & Charles FlatIron Crossing, Broomfield, Colorado

Can a Vampire with Down Syndrome survive, and even thrive?

Find out at my book signing this Saturday, April 4th, 2015, from 1pm to 5pm, at the 2nd & Charles store in FlatIron Crossing, Broomfield, Colorado. Get your copy of Vampire Syndrome signed, and check out the great selection of books, movies, games, music and musical instruments while you’re there.

2nd and Charles Signing Flyer Apr 2015 Negative

Vampire Syndrome Book Trailer

Here’s the first book trailer for Vampire Syndrome. An old-school creepy Halloween feel!

Bitten By Books – Review of Vampire Syndrome

Bitten By Books Review of “Vampire Syndrome” by Daven Anderson

I’d like to thank Marie for her honest and thoughtful review! 😀

For anyone concerned that using a character with Down Syndrome may be exploitative, do not worry. Jack proves he is capable of filling a valuable place in the vampire community, and he draws frequent parallels to the way regular society short-changes their expectations of people with DS.

As I intended! 😀

There may also be concerns that characters pan a vampire book/movie series based with no veil whatsoever on Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series.

This may also be a selling point to many readers. 😉
I did use the in-universe “Vampire Moonlight” series as an opportunity to show how I would have written a similar paranormal romance. 17-year-old human Janet Zachary is an apprentice professional drag racer, and at one point uses her race car to rescue her vampire boyfriend. Janet would have more crossover appeal to male readers, and this setup above establishes her as a strong female, not a pushover. Instead of just criticism or satire, I use my in-universe series to suggest how (I think) that particular series could have been substantially improved. And…

…one of the strongest vampire characters loves the series and does not care what anyone says about it, so both sides are covered.

I do want to address this quote below, as this is not the first time someone has made this criticism.

(Jack) uses logic and problem solving skills I found unrealistically advanced for someone with DS.

Jack is a composite of several people that I have worked with over the past twenty years. Two of them have read my book, and they both felt I was spot-on regarding Jack. Jack’s logic and problem-solving skills are in line with those whom I have worked with, who deal with customers in a retail environment on a continual basis. I will admit that it does require a certain level of aptitude regarding logic and problem-solving skills to work in a job requiring constant interaction with the public, but this applies to people at all levels of cognition, and there are many, many people of “normal” cognition who are not at all suited to working in retail. The movie “Where Hope Grows” features a main character with Down Syndrome who works in a grocery store (and its lead actor would be a great candidate to play Jack!).

Book Signing at 2nd & Charles Aurora – January 24

Join me on Saturday, January 24, 2015, at 2nd & Charles in Aurora, Colorado.

I’ll be signing copies of the new mass market paperback of Vampire Syndrome.

2nd and Charles Signing Flier