Friday, November 26, 2010

Planning a Series Can Be Dangerous

"...I am planning this book to be a part of a 3-5 book series..."

It is almost a certainty that 1 out of 5 submissions that cross my desk have a statement such as this. Writers want desperately to have a series of books that are all interconnected with one another. They have heard, as have I, many professionals talk about the selling power of a series. While this is true, planning a series is not as easy as you may think.

In many cases, I end up rejecting stories that are a part of a series simply because the writes have spent so mucgh time making sure the pieces are in place for the later books that the first book becomes nothing more than the opening chapters to the other books. In simple terms, book 1 is an information dump.

The other thing we often see is a first book that has inserted too many characters. While the number of characters is not a major problem, the issue comes from secondary characters that are too invasive. The writer again is working too hard to make them likeable because "they have their own story they want to tell." Again, too much information in the beginning.

Now, let's return to the selling power of a series. Why does a series work so well? The first book is so amazing the readers want to see a lot more. The readers beg for more. All of the information dumping a writer does simply ruins our desire to read more.

My simple solution? Don't plan on a series. Think of ways it could expand, but don't plan on it.

Have a great weekend. Don't shop too much today. If you do go shopping, don't forget to go out and buy a book. No used books, buy these new. Support your local author.


1 comment:

  1. It's so interesting that you say this because often times it feels like all authors are writing these days are series! But from a writer's perspective, I think the impulse to write a series comes more from a love of the characters and story - and an unwillingness to let them end - than from the idea that they will sell better.