Idumea: The Worlds of Jeff Wheeler

The Hulu Effect

Filed under: Jeff's Blog — December 20, 2013 @ 11:29 am

binge-watching

I’d like to give my wife credit for creating the title of this blog posting. We’ve been talking about a trend that we’re seeing and maybe you are too. Recent news reports call it “binge-watching” (http://finance.yahoo.com/news/were-country-binge-watchers-feel-164000788.html) but it applies to reading books too. This is when you gulp down an entire series of Downton Abbey in a week. I’ve also seen many reviews from readers who have gobbled the entire Muirwood Trilogy in two days (which I believe is still the record). I’ve seen many comments and e-mails from readers who have stayed up all night to finish Scourge. I love it! So is this a new trend or has it been happening for a long time? I don’t think I know the answer, but it raises some curious questions.

 

For example, would you rather wait to start reading a series until all the books are published? Or are you okay waiting a year in between novels, depending on the publisher’s schedule? For very popular series, like Harry Potter, I did not want to wait until everything was done and looked forward with anticipation for the next book to come out and usually made time to read it soon after publication. I don’t do that with many books though and usually wait until I hear about a new book or series before giving it a try. I started on the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan and finally got fed up trying to keep up and eventually abandoned the series (which finally concluded after the author died!).  When my publisher was getting ready to launch FIREBLOOD earlier this year, they deliberately left off the “Whispers from Mirrowen” tagline on the cover because they knew some readers won’t even try a book that’s part of a brand-new series. Is this because of the Hulu Effect? Or is it the GRRM effect?

 

Back when I made the decision to self-publish the Muirwood Trilogy, I chose to make them available all at once. I didn’t want to arbitrarily make my readers suffer in anticipation when they could have and read the entire series and get free shipping by ordering all of them from Amazon. With Mirrowen, it’s a different situation because I’m still writing the books, so there is a delay in when you get them. By the time you finish DRYAD-BORN in February, I’ll still be hard at work on the final book. I’m hurrying, believe me.

 

Which leads me to a question I have for you about the Hulu Effect. If you had a choice, would you rather wait a little longer and get an entire trilogy at the same time, or would you rather get them one at a time and suffer the delay?

binge-reading

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Choose your answer on the survey below and leave your comments for me. I’d love to hear your thoughts. To access the survey, first click on a number below of how you liked this blog posting. Then it will take you to the survey – only two questions, so it’s short.

 

Happy Holidays!

 

Jeff


15 Comments

  1. Shannon:

    I am a fan of reading a series of books all at one time. It is painful to get emotionally invested in characters and then wait for the next book in the series to release. I am a big fan of the “book binge” myself and usually find myself binge reading between school semesters. By the way, I loved that you released Muirwood as a trilogy. Thank you!

  2. Jaime:

    I find that I prefer to wait as each book comes out than reading the whole series at once. Yes, I can get impatient waiting, but I love the anticipation and revisiting the previous books before the next one comes out, which I almost always do. I will also re-read a book before I go to the movie adaptation. It prolongs my mini vacation to whichever world that particular story takes me. Isn’t that a big part of the joy of reading? :)

  3. Matt:

    Hi Jeff.

    I have avoided reading your books, other than the Muirwood Trilogy, because I’m waiting for new trilogies to be complete before I start. I made the mistake of reading game of Game of Thrones. Now who knows if or when that monstrosity will ever end. I find that at this point I don’t really care.

    I am glad to hear that you seem to be on a good schedule to finish up a trilogy, I can barely wait to read it.

    Matt

  4. Emily:

    It’s a pleasant torture to find a series that I truly love and have to wait for. Anticipation is half the fun! It’s even more tortuous fun when those books turn into movies, because I not only anticipate the books coming out but I anticipate the movies coming out as well.

  5. holly:

    That’s difficult. It’s nice not having to wait, but there is something magical about eagerly anticipating the release of a book and the excitement felt when you finally hold it in your hands

  6. Kathy Wilson:

    Depends on the book. I waited on the Wheel of Time for 3 thinking it was a trilogy. I too abandoned the series, besides it got too convoluted I lost interest and sympathy with the characters. Same with The Game of Thrones. With that, I waited soooo long that I’ve forgotten what’s happened and who everyone is and I’m not sure I can face starting over. Harry Potter, I didn’t have a clue when I got the 1st one from SFBC years ago, but gobbled up each volume as it appeared. I often impatiently wait for the next volume in a series but still don’t get to it (because I tend to buy and read in bulk) til it is a year old anyway.

  7. Laura:

    I have mixed feelings about this topic. If the book is by an author I am unfamiliar with, I am ok waiting between books. Especially until I have read enough to know I like the author. In your case I LOVED the Muirwood books, and waiting until February is killing me. :)

    I do like knowing how long a series is going to be before I read it. And I often reread books I enjoy before the next in a series comes out. I know some people don’t do that.

    So while I voted in your survey, it’s a toss up. I HATE waiting to read books I know will be good, but I usually don’t have time to read nonstop for a week until I finish a trilogy. And waiting gives me something to look forward to.

  8. Tricia McKee:

    I just got done with the Muirwood books and yes, it took probably two days. I stayed in my pajamas and gobbled them up. I prefer to have the books done, I’ve been reading the Green Rider series since it first came out and I just wait, and wait.. and wait. I do enjoy rereading books but having to reread three or four to catch up can be tricky, especially in trying to find out where I stashed them. (probably in a few different places) I loved the books and I chuckle that you work for Intel as I live in Intel land…

  9. Linda Stedman:

    I was fortunate enough to discover Muirwood right after the 3rd book was published, and it was a pleasure to be able to read the entire trilogy at once. In fact, I have read it 3 times – twice with naration and once without. You’re one of the few authors that I enjoy reading to this extent. But, I would have hated to wait for you to complete the next trilogy before I could read your work again. I thoroughly enjoyed Fireblood, and will enjoy rereading again prior to Dryad-Born coming out in February. I’m not sure readers as a whole can ever be satisfied once we find an author we really like – we will always want MORE, NOW! Please stick with the formula that makes your work so enjoyable to read, and we will then continue to enjoy it.

  10. Paul:

    I have just finished the first Muirwood book on Kindle and will be reading the next ones in short order, if not exactly binge reading. I read a lot of genre fiction at least a book a week and like to mix it up, but I will read the second two in the next week or so. I prefer to read a series of books when they are complete. When you have to wait it can mean that you lose track of who is who especially with complex world building (the GRRM effect!) and I would always prefer it when the series is complete. I will often go back and binge reread a series if a new book is due to be published, just to get ‘back into’ that world and remind myself who the characters are and what the rules of that world are. Thanks for Muirwood and I will certainly be checking out your other work. (I am with Matt (above) on aGoT, having started it I don’t know if I can be bothered to plough back through them to remind myself of the characters when the next one comes having waited years and forgotten half the story. ‘Since brevity is the soul of wit’)

  11. Jim Mitchell:

    Just finished the Muirwood series. I was Hooked after the first chapter! Read the three books in as many days.

    I tend toward wanting to read a series all at once, though I must admit, I have been (for me) extremely patient with the Odd Thomas books.

    Couldn’t imagine waiting between the Rings volumes, and am glad I didn’t have to!

    Looking forward to reading more of your work!

    Jim Mithcell
    Vancouver, WA

  12. sai duchanin:

    Like several other readers I am torn. When the story is compelling and the writer has created characters I care about, I am willing to wait. (As long as it’s not more than a year or so otherwise I tend to move on…channel surfing if you will…or ” so many books so little time.) I think its really up to the creator. The reader will always want more from regardless of how it’s served once truly engaged with storytellers vision.
    I have recently enjoyed the chapter by chapter releases. I don’t know how that works for the writer though.

    In any case I am presently in thrall to Muirwood. As a Believer,I see the layers of Faith skillfully woven throughout the tale. That works for te writer though.

  13. Steve Powers:

    I don’t know about the HULU effect, but I can assert my claim to have read the Muirwood trilogy the fastest. Downloaded the first book at 1030am on the 28th of Dec and finished book 3 at 915pm on the 29th. I’m a long time reader of any kind of escapism or fantasy scifi. I began with Louis L’Amour westerns in the 8th grade and never looked back. I devoured PS Power, everything he has written, in less than a month. Until your books, I would have said his were the most addictive and compelling since JK Rowling. I am now forced to amend that. There is a 3 way tie with You Mr. Wheeler, PS Power and Elizabeth Moon’s Paksanarion books. By the way I average 4 books a week and have since the eight grade, I start my social security checks the summer of 2014. Please continue to make me laugh and cry, thank you for sharing your incredible talent with us poor shlubs who can only bask in your brilliance.

  14. shawn:

    Definitely prefer to start a series where a good part, if not all, of the series is available when I start reading the books. However, I’m also appreciative of authors working hard to complete a series in a reasonable of timeframe.

    Shawn

  15. Alison:

    I think waiting can be excruciating, in part because if the wait is too long, I find that I have to go back and skim the previous book to remember what’s going on. Or maybe that’s because of an aging brain! But when there are so many books to read, if there are books in a series that are already available, I’ll stop to read several (or all) of them, rather than jumping over to another book/series, and I get more invested in that author’s work. So I prefer bingeing!

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