When I first started writing, my books were all standalone. I wrote one story and moved on to the next, leaving those characters behind. It didn’t even occur to me to consider writing a series until readers started asking for more of the characters they loved so much.
Encouraged by my readers, I took what I thought would be a standalone young adult novel and created a new adult spinoff that turned into a four book series. That series spawned another four book series, which ultimately led to me writing a trilogy. All because the readers liked the characters and wanted to hear each person’s individual story.
I am currently working on two different series, which I’ve never done. I had finished the first two books in my six book, New Beginnings new adult series when I was struck with the urge to write a gay romance novel that I realized would be the first in a five book series. I hope to have the first draft of that book finished by the end of this week. Then I’ll move on to my third New Beginnings book while my first m/m romance is being edited.
The plan is to alternate my releases between each series. The next book coming out will by the first of my m/m romance series. After that, I’ll release my third book in the New Beginnings series; a new adult m/f romance entitled Coming Back Broken. Then it will be my second m/m book and so on and so forth.
I understand this will mean a lot of time in between releases for each series, but I’m hoping readers not reading both series will think it’s worth the wait. So far, I’ve never started a series that I didn’t finish. Too bad I can’t say the same for all writers, which I say as a reader and not a writer. As a writer, I’m not going to be critical of my peers. As a reader, it irks me when authors start something they don’t finish.
The reasons for abandoning a series can be everything from losing inspiration to not being able to secure a contract for the next book if the last one didn’t sell enough. Whatever the reason, it feels like nothing but a flimsy excuse to those of us who have spent the money in faithful support of our favorite authors.
And I’m not talking about taking a long time in between releases. I read a lot authors who aren’t always good for more than one or two books a year. Do I get impatient? Sure, but I’m not usually disappointed when the next book finally does come out.
My irritation stems from writers who give us a few good books that are clearly part of a series and then nothing more. I don’t know what’s worse. When a writer quits a series and seems to drop off the face of the earth, leaving fans to wonder what happened or when an author tells you they’re going to be releasing that next book soon and then it never comes.
I recently saw what I thought were two disturbing Facebook posts from authors. The first was an author announcing he was quitting because not enough people liked his work and he was sorry to those who did. The other was an author who went on an extensive rant because a reader took exception to the fact that the author’s last book in a series ended on a cliffhanger and it’s been years since then. The second author felt like she was being bullied to finish the series and thought it was pointless when so many people have said they didn’t like her, didn’t like the way she ended the last book, didn’t like the darkness of the series, etc. The author made it clear no one was going to tell her what she could and could not write and she was not going to write that last book no matter what anyone else wanted.
All I could say to both of these was ‘Wow, really?’ I guess I have a different attitude. I don’t think it should matter if you have one reader who loved that series or one million. You started something that people became invested in. Maybe it wasn’t as big or as great an investment as you wanted, but someone cared enough to buy your books. You owe it to them to finish what your started, and as long as I’m standing on this soapbox, I might as well say one more thing. Don’t start something you can’t finish.