Wednesday 17 May 2017

It's a Great Time to be a Reader!

Photo courtesy of Paul
How often do we read the line “It’s a great time to be an author,” with all the various publishing options, affordable tools and study choices available to us?
An obvious flowon to the above statement is that readers are winners too. And we are. I can’t believe the deluge of reading opportunities I get everyday. It’s very easy to be distracted by incredible choices available to us at the touch of a few buttons. Hands up who regularly ponders the thought of how great it would be if reading were a paid occupation?
Variety of story lengths
The ebook revolution has enabled reading to be delivered in a variety of story lengths. Certainly the shorter form stories existed prior to the ebook but weren’t easily accessible or as prevalent. Now a reader can discover a new author or series from a favourite author by reading a novella or short story for a minimal cost.
Many of this group has participated in a compilation of stories and once again it’s a fun way to discover new authors and/or read multiple authors who are exploring a similar, eg, an Aussie Christmas
An Episodic Series
This is one of my favourite forms of stories. It harks back to the days (long before our time) stories were published in newspapers, one chapter at a time each week.
It also borrows from the TV series: the weekly episode that may have a continuous storyline or a new one each episode. My wife is a great TV series watcher but only enjoys those that feature a new story each episode. However, I have friends who much prefer the continuous storyline style.
I’ve just finished Episode 20 of the Harbingers series. 4 authors take one character and take it in turns to publish an episode in the POV of their particular character. A unique story set in a new location with the gang of four trying to get to the bottom of a riddle that has dire global implications.
Simply delicious!
Featuring the writing talents of Bill Myers, Angie Hunt, Frank Peretti1 and Alton Gansky the series has brought me great enjoyment over the past two years. Each month I eagerly waited for the next episode to land. It became so popular Bethany House elected to publish them in four-book cycles.
Any spec fiction reader should try the series.
Reading Challenges
I love seeing the variety of stories people are reading via Reading Challenges. Once again, such things existed prior to the internet but their prevalence and ability for a diverse global group of people to participate has added to the fun. Not to mention voyeurs like me who get envious at every classic novel that gets read in one of them. How does one read a 900 page novel these days when there's so much to read?
One day I'll have a go at one of these challenges. I hope.
What’s a new story form or device (not technological) that you’ve discovered in recent years that has added to your reading enjoyment?
Notes: 1. Peretti left part way through to be replaced by Jeff Gerke who introduced a fifth character.

Besides being an avid reader, Ian Acheson is an author and strategy consultant based in Sydney. Ian's first novel of speculative fiction, Angelguard, is available in the US, UK, Canada and Australia. Angelguard was recognised with the 2014 Selah Award for Speculative Fiction.You can find more about Angelguard at Ian's website, on his author Facebook page and Twitter


  1. Ahem, Ian ... I am old enough to remember those serialised stories that were featured in women's magazines such as the English Women's Weekly my mother (and grandmother) used to devour each month! But to answer your question, perhaps it's not quite a new form, but I have enjoyed those more recent novels that move around in time, skipping from one generation to the next and back and forth eg some of Kate Morton's novels. Can't check them on my shelf right now to give actual titles, as my books are all packed up, ready for our move next week!

    1. Oops ... sorry, Jo-Anne. I didn't mean to offend. I was referring to Dickens day and thank you that now that must be how I reference it in future.

      The multiple generations is a fun concept. I read a couple 2 years ago that were classified as 'time travel' as a modern day character went back to Biblical times.

      All the very best with your move next week. It's a big event, isn't it.

    2. I've enjoyed Kate Morton's The Forgotten Garden and the Lake House. And also Rosanne Hawke's Zena Dare - which is also a parallel narrative set in South Australia and Cornwall. It is an intriguing form :)

  2. Ian, well said. The Harbinger series sounds like an interesting concept. I've always enjoyed reading series books and I love how authors are trying different things in the way they create their series eg. Arcadia Valley contemporary romance series that launched earlier this year.

    1. Thanks, Narelle. I had a quick look on Amazon for the Arcadia Valley series and I see what you mean. Harbingers are novella length so very easy to digest in 1-2 sittings.

      I suspect we're going to see a lot more interesting forms in future, some will work, others not.

  3. Great post Ian. I can remember a number of years ago wondering what to read next. Now I'm completely spoiled for choice and almost wish I could read three or four books at the same time. I've enjoyed discovering the Popsugar Reading challenge - had a ball doing it last year, so signed up again this year. It's a great way to expand one's reading. The other thing has being involved in a couple of book clubs over the last few years. And of course, having lots of writing friends & attending e-launches & doing reviews, ensures I always have plenty of great reading material.

    1. Jeanette, I always chuckle when someone says something like they just don't know what to read next. Usually it's from the mouth of someone who reads only a handful of books a year. And for such people the hugeness of the available options must be mind-boggling.

      I've noted some of the books you've been reading in your Challenge ... always intrigue me with their variety.


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