In the late 1890s it was common for novels, prior to full volume publication, to be serialised in magazines or newspapers, with each part of the serialisation ending upon a cliff hanger to entice audiences to buy the next edition. This is a practice familiar from the first publication of Charles Dickens' novels in the nineteenth century. The War of the Worlds was first published in serial form in Pearson's Magazine in April - December 1897. Wells was paid ₤200 and Pearsons demanded to know the ending of the piece before committing to publish.
The complete volume was published by William Heinemann in 1898 and has been in print ever since.
Two unauthorised serialisations of the novel were published in the United States prior to the publication of the novel. The first was published in the New York Evening Journal between December 1897 and January 1898. The story was published as Fighters from Mars or the War of the Worlds. It changed the location of the story to a New York setting. The second version changed the story to have the Martians landing in the area near and around Boston, and was published by the Boston Post in 1898, which Wells protested against. It was called Fighters from Mars, or the War of the Worlds in and near Boston. Both pirated versions of the story were followed by Edison's Conquest of Mars by Garrett P. Serviss. Even though these versions are deemed as unauthorised serialisations of the novel, it is possible that H. G. Wells may have, without realising it, agreed to the serialisation in the New York Evening Journal.