Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Caution: Making Your Sequel A Saga

We do know, in the publishing world, readers love to have a series of books to follow. We love seeing some characters we met in book 1 eventually have their own book and their own story to tell. This is a great way to really keep your readers going, especially if they know this first book is part of a series. Hopefully, your first book rocks and it makes the reader beg for more. However, there is a point and time when you have to just let something go.

I have, however, seen several authors really pushing the concept. These authors had a great series and then decided to go back and write about everything from the cousins of the neighbors of the characters in the first book. When the trend for the Jane Austin books was hot, I saw authors literally reaching deep down into the family trees just to find anyone potentially connected with Mr. Darcy to write about. The problem is that this is now going too far.

The reality is that new readers just picking up one of these books will not know all of the connections. You are only drawing on your "base" (to use a political term). Sure, you might get readers who say, "Hey this is a new book in the Hamilton Brother Series," but the allure of those brothers will not likely be there with these new random people who probably didn't make any appearance in those first books.

I really think of writing a series as knowing when to stop. Give the readers something. Get them hooked, and then give them a great conclusion and move on.

For authors, continually pushing a series beyond that first series really starts to stagnate the characters and their world. As an author, you really cannot create anything new and unique for the reader. On the outside, the stories eventually become repetitive.

So, before you start thinking this series can extend to 8-15 more books, consider again. Will you wear out your readers? Will you stagnate? More importantly, since sales drive your future, are you willing to risk this?

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