Fifty Pages of Grey?
Short Erotic E-Serials Make Some Readers Too Hot Under the Collar by Liz Maverick
The latest trend in erotic e-serials begs the question, are the episodic reads a tantalizing tease, or do they make you want to throw your e-reader against the wall?
Fifty Shades of Grey triggered more than just a new aesthetic in romance novel covers. (Hello, grayscale!) It also seems to be responsible for the new wave of erotic BDSM-laced romance e-serials being published in, er, bite-sized nibbles. According to the GoodReads tally, a nibble is just that; we’re talking fifty-five pages for the first part of Beth Kery’s Because You are Mine series and just twenty-five pages for the first part of Sara Fawkes’s Anything He Wants series.
These seem like a great page length for those in-between times in life. Sitting on a bleacher through soccer practice, waiting in line at the pharmacy, heading home on a subway…you know what I mean. Well, perfect, assuming you don’t need to worry or don’t care if someone’s looking over your shoulder at the off-the-charts hotness!
But some readers say it’s too much teasing and not enough pleasing when the story only gets as far as, say, a first-meet in the first episode, even if that first meeting somehow manages to incorporate major league sexcapades. Price complaints crop up throughout 1- and 2-star reviews.
Part of the problem may be that readers are often unaware of the length of the material when they buy it; even if it only costs .99, it can be an unpleasant surprise to find the story ending almost as soon as it has begun. Another complaint is that some of the pricing strategies feel like bait and switch. It might cost you .99 to read the first one, but if the next five, six or seven episodes cost $2.99, then by the time you’ve read the entire story, you’ve quite possibly paid more than the price of a typical full-length book. Maybe it would help if you could subscribe ahead of time to an entire block of episodes from the beginning at a discount.
That said, there are also plenty of 4 and 5 stars to balance out the low reviews. More than enough, apparently, since these serialized episodes keep climbing up the bestseller charts. And even some of the readers giving bad reviews to the first episode admit they still bought the next one. Somebody keeps coming back for more.
If you can’t stop yourself from buying the next several installments, maybe that’s a sign the e-serial concept really works…even if you have to hate yourself for loving it so much. (Sounds like the basic plot of all of those hot-dominating-billionaire stories, eh?)
I’m guessing it all comes down to what sort of reader you are, and how you feel about cliffhangers in general. A hard stop in an already short story just when things are heating up can be annoying unless you consider the cliffhanger all part of the fun.
So tell us what you think. In the case of short serialized e-lovin’, does “cliffhanger” = “wall-banger?”
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About the Author:
Bestselling author Liz Maverick has written thirteen paranormal romance, young adult and women’s fiction novels including Publishers Weekly Top Book of the Year Wired, the bestselling Crimson City series, Cosmopolitan Magazine Book Club Pick What a Girl Wants, and the young adult fantasy interactive ebook series, Arcania. Liz currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, where she can look across the water at the Manhattan skyline and dream up new stories.
Connect with Liz Maverick on her website, Facebook, and Twitter. She’d love to have you stop by and say hi!