Whilst I’ve long known that Charles Dickens released his stories in serialised format before they were published as books, I’ve been surprised recently to discover how long this practice has been going on and the extent of its use.
It turns out that Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo first appeared in serialised format between 1844 and 1846 in The Journal des Débats which was a French newspaper.
Charles Dickens was a particular influence in the development of the serialised novel. For example, The Old Curiosity Shop was published in his weekly serial Master Humphrey’s Clock, from 1840 to 1841. Likewise, Great Expectations was serialised in the weekly literary magazine All the Year Round from December 1860 to August 1861.
I was also somewhat surprised to find other, more recent, examples of a serialised release coming before a book version. For example, Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s was serialised in Esquire before appearing in book format in 1958.
And even more recently, Andy Weir’s The Martian appeared on his own blog before making it into book format.
It’s interesting, given this long history of serialised publishing, to see this format making a comeback in current times on the likes of Radish and Wattpad. How many of these authors, I wonder, will go on to enjoy the kind of success seen by the likes of Dickens, Dumas, Capote and Weir?
What’s your favourite serialised fiction, old or new?