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Home » What If We Release Books Episodically? – Elle Griffin (Transcript)

What If We Release Books Episodically? – Elle Griffin (Transcript)

Here is the full transcript of author Elle Griffin’s talk titled “What If We Release Books Episodically?” at TEDxSaltLakeCity 2024 conference.

Listen to the audio version here:


The Future of Books

Thank you. What if you could follow your favorite book the way you follow your favorite show? What if you could get a new chapter every week, comment on those chapters in real time, communicate directly with the author and other readers, and even influence where the story might go? This is the future of books.

It’s an exciting one for readers who follow and interact with their favorite stories live. It’s also exciting for authors who publish their first stories, their first drafts for their biggest fans while being paid by a monthly subscription instead of by a book sale. That’s what I did.

Publishing My First Novel

After I completed my first novel, I decided to publish it for my newsletter subscribers. I sent the first four chapters out for free, then invited readers to become paid subscribers to read the rest. Every Friday, I sent new chapters to my subscribers via email.

Every Monday, I sent essays documenting my process and what I was learning about serial publishing along the way. When I started publishing my book in 2021, I had 1,700 newsletter subscribers. By the time I finished it a year later, I had 6,000 subscribers and had earned close to $20,000.

I even printed 25 collector’s edition copies for readers who subscribed at my premium tier. I chose serial publishing because the alternatives weren’t great. The problem with the publishing industry is, well, have you read more than five books this year?

The Decline of Reading

But have you watched more than five episodes of a television series? Almost a third of Americans don’t read at all. The rest read only 15 minutes a day.

Meanwhile, the average American spends two and a half hours scrolling social media every day and the same amount of time watching video content. That’s 15 minutes spent reading five hours on other media. Americans just don’t buy a lot of books, much less read them.

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