Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Riding the Series Train

When I first started writing, I only wrote stand-alone novels. I didn’t have anything against the series concept, I just didn’t write them. My novels had a beginning, middle and end that usually didn’t lend itself to another book. The conflict was resolved. What was the point of writing another novel for the same characters when I could move on to the next story with new characters?

A few years ago, when I started sharing my work online, I found that readers wanted more than one story. They connected with the characters and wanted to read more about them. As a result, I wrote a trilogy with a spin off and then a four book series. When one book in the series ended, readers seemed to eagerly anticipate the next.

Most writers are readers as well. It’s our love of reading that makes us want to write and can make us better writers. As a reader, I can relate to fans wanting more of their favorite characters. I too have a number of series in my library that I love to read. Each time a new book in the series comes out, I have to make sure I go back and read the others leading up to it so I’m really ready for that new book. And when the series is over, I often go back and read and relive the entire series again.

Taking into account my own love of books, especially when they come in a series, and my own readers wanting more, it made sense for me to start writing my own series beyond the ones I shared with the online group. When I started writing a spin off story of my young adult novel, Like You Mean It, I never intended to give the male lead a four book series. It was going to be a stand-alone novel, but once I started writing it, I realized there was too much to put into one book. Have you ever heard that phrase, trying to fit ten pounds of stuff in a five pound bag? That’s what I was trying to do with my spinoff novel. What started as one novel actually became four novels in a series.

And do you know what happened when the series ended and it was time to start a new book? Yep, you guessed it. The next book became a series. Now that I’ve started I can’t seem to stop and do you know what else? It’s not a bad thing. In fact, writing a series is what I call a win-win. The writer has fun writing for the characters they love and the readers get more of those characters they love just as much.

There are some people who would say that writing a series is just another way for writers to get more money out of their readers. The readers got hooked on the first book and will continue to buy the books until the series is exhausted. Each new purchase is more money for the writer. That’s true and it might be money motivating some writers, but I’d venture a guess that’s true for fewer writers than you think.

For me, there’s nothing more humbling and nothing that brings me greater joy than readers liking my characters and stories so much that they want more. I’m not one of those writers who finish a story, or even a series, and never want to hear about those characters again. To this day, I still think about those Locke twins and how much more I could do with their family.

I’m not saying every writer should make every book into a series. Some books are meant to be a stand-alone. That’s okay too, but fair warning if you read my books. Now that I’ve booked a ticket on the series train, you can expect a lot more of them from me!

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