Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Series vs. Stand-Alone Rant

What I'm Reading: The Warrior Heir - Cinda Williams Chima
What I'm Listening to: RingDingDong - SHINee Don't ask me why I like it. I just do.

Series are very risky to write and market. Publishers are often hesitant to sign book contracts for them for multiple reasons, the biggest obviously being that they won't sell. This is a great article on the subject, which gets into the positives and negatives of both: Series vs. Stand-Alone - Jeni Mawter

This is one of the biggest things I'm worried about with my story, which is basically one big book chopped into three parts. Book one ends with a cliffhanger. Book two and three start off exactly where the previous ones end. In order for someone to be satisfied with the story, they would have to read all three. Book one doesn't really have a strong conclusion. Yes, there are a few things resolved, but not the main issue. It's very risky doing this, I know, but it's how I started writing it when I was fourteen, and I don't quite know how to fix it.

However, I like novels that do this. Cliffhangers are awesome because they leave me super excited to read the next book. All of my favorite books are part of a series. In my opinion, trilogies are perfect. They're not too short, not too long. You get to really know the characters in trilogies and the overarching plot is usually the same. Some of my favorites are:

The Bartimaeus Trilogy - Jonathan Stroud
The Farsala Trilogy - Hilari Bell
The Oran Trilogy - Midori Snyder
The Night Angel Trilogy - Brent Weeks

Stand-alones are nice when you're already reading a series and don't want to start another. But usually, if it's a really good book, I always want щ(ಠ益ಠщ) MOAR!

There is one thing I find annoying about series though. Authors take too long to write and publishers take too long to publish! I don't like having to wait a year to read the next book. Oftentimes I will wait until the series is published from beginning to end before I even begin reading them. Also, I have a bad memory, so I always end up forgetting what happens in the previous book. For example, I just got the last book in the Artemis Fowl series. Before I read it, I have to reread all the others, just so I can have the full experience without trying to hurt my brain remembering what happened before.

Basically, I've had people like the ending of my book, and I've had people dislike it. One person said it was fitting, another said that they were anxious to read the next book, and yet another said they felt teased and tricked. I guess it all just comes down to taste and how much commitment you want to put into reading a story.

Do you have a preference when it comes to stand-alones and series? Which would you rather read/write?

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