Binge Packaging

I’ve lost all patience. I’m like a six-year-old waiting in line at Disney World. I want what I want and I want it now. The good thing is, I’m not alone. In fact I’m part of a new social trend called binging or as the television industry likes to call it marathoning (because that sounds so much healthier). No matter what you call it, it’s becoming the norm in television viewing and starting to spread into other forms of entertainment as well. 

If you are part of the 61% of Netflix viewers who have watched multiple episodes of a series back to back, then you are already part of this trend. Whether it’s streamed entertainment from Netflix, Hulu, Amazon or any other source, viewers are loving the idea of not waiting a week to find out what happens next. I admit, I love it too. I’ll get a recommendation from a friend for an older series and be able to watch two or three episodes at at time back to back when it’s convenient for me.

Netflix has been watching us watching them and they’ve figured out what we want. “Our viewing data shows that the majority of streamers would actually prefer to have a whole season of a show available to watch at their own pace,” said Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer of Netflix.  “Netflix has pioneered audience choice in programming and has helped free consumers from the limitations of linear television. Our own original series are created for multi-episodic viewing, lining up the content with new norms of viewer control for the first time.” (Source)  Netflix is one of the first, but surely not the last in the entertainment industry to jump on this new trend and cater to the consumer’s desires.

As an author, a provider of entertainment, I am ready to jump on this trend myself. I’m in the final planning stages of a new series that will consist of eight novella-length books. I spent a few frustrating hours this past week planning out my writing, editing and marketing schedule for each book. Once I release the first one, I want to keep them coming to keep my audience hooked on the story and the characters. My master plan of releasing one every other month quickly fell apart when I laid that plan over my family and paid-work calendars. But frustration is the mother of invention (or something like that). I remembered the popularity of binge consumption and revised my plans. 

Now I will be writing all eight novellas and releasing them simultaneously. It will take me the better part of 2015 to do the writing, but it will save time in the end. By concentrating solely on writing I will be able to focus my energy and not scatter myself multitasking; marketing one book while editing another and marketing a third. This format works for me. And the end product will hopefully be even more appealing to readers. They will have the option to purchase the books individually or all of them at once for a discounted price. I’ll call it the binge packing promotion. Additionally, I will be able to order all of my covers at once and editing, possibly garnering a discount for myself and I can use my marketing budget (both monetary and energy) for one huge campaign as opposed to eight smaller ones.

So writer and readers, I’d love your take on this new trend. Does binge packaging appeal to you as a reader? Do you like the idea of not having to wait for the next book in a series or do you like the anticipation? Writers, is the long break it would take to create a binge packaged series too long between books? Do you worry about being out of sight and out of mind with your readers for too long? Comment below and let’s talk binging.

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