Dickens did it prolifically.
King did it and brought it back.
Atwood and Alderman are doing it right now.
Zombie authors do it, too, mostly on the web.
What is it? Serial fiction, that's what.
Serial fiction has a long, long history.The "Tales of the Arabian Nights" are a kind of serial fiction because Scheherezade added a new story every night, to keep the king from killing her. It worked, too.
Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist, Pickwick Papers, David Copperfield, and most of his other novels were released in monthly serial installments in popular magazines of his time. Dickens' brand of serial fiction is classic and legen ("wait for it") dary. Pun on "wait for it" intended.
I'm a fan of Stephen King's The Green Mile. It was originally released in 1996 in six monthly installments. I like it a LOT better than his Dark Tower series. That series could maybe be considered serial, but...a serial novel usually takes shape in smaller chunks, building to a single volume.
All these authors have done it...and now, zombie authors are doing it, too.
Margaret Atwood and Naomi Alderman
Over on Wattpad, two very distinguished authors are creating a serial zombie novel together. Serial fiction is a large part of why Wattpad works. The serial is called The Happy Zombie Sunrise Home. Margaret Atwood and Naomi Alderman are a mentor/protege team who write alternate chapters of the narrative.
Travis Adkins has his serial version of Twilight of the Dead on his website. Click the red "Read For Free!" link.
AJ Brown has a serial called Dredging up Memories posted at Tales of the Zombie War. There's more about AJ Brown on Days with the Undead
David Wellington has his novel Plague Zone available in chapters at his website. It's also available complete on Kindle.