Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Guest Blogger Madelyn Ford - To Series or Not To Series

I received a disturbing email the other day from an author friend. The third in her series was being rejected from a pub that shall not be named. And one of the reasons cited; series do not sell well. In fact many pubs won’t touch them period.
Now as a series writer, this caused me a moment’s panic. Then it got me to thinking. Is that really true? New York publishing houses are teaming with serial work. In fact, all of my favorite authors write at least one series, if not multiple. So if not New York, than is this just an e-pub thing? Because looking at some of the bigger e-publishing houses, I am seeing examples of this falsehood all over the place.
Now I am a sucker for a series. If an author can hook me in that first book, if she can really make me care for one of her secondary characters, I’ll likely be in it for the long haul. I’ll even forgive a less than stellar second or third book (because, hey, all of us have those kind of days), if the overall series arc remains steady. So if I’ve been grabbed by the story, I’ll be looking for that second book.
So I’ve got to ask, am I the only one looking for more after I’ve finished a good story? Is it just me hunting all over the internet for that next book or for information on whom the next one will be about? Am I alone?
I’d love to know what you think.

As a shy child, Madelyn Ford learned at a very early age that one could be and do many different deeds, all it took was opening the pages of a book. From there, it was a natural progression into writing. A fan of all things paranormal and a lover of romance, it is hardly surprising to family and friends that she has combined these two great loves.
Madelyn lives in the Midwest with her fixer-of-all-laptop-problems husband, three energetic and excessively talkative kids (send duct tape please), two of the laziest dogs who still somehow manage to chew up everything, and a swarm of invading ladybugs.


Kinsey Holley said...

Oooh - that's absolutely chilling...do you think the pub meant sequential series - as in, the books must be read in order to be understood? That still doesn't make sense tho - look at Sookie Stackhouse, or Harry Dresden, or Kim Harrison's Witch books, or Kitty, or...yeah, it doesn't make sense to me.

my 2nd book doesn't come out till February (!!!) but it's set in the same world as my first, and my editor wants me to come up with a series title so that readers will know all the books are related. So, maybe it's just this particular publisher whose series haven't done well.

Meg Benjamin said...

Boy, as another series writer, I sure hope this doesn't become a trend! And yeah, hasn't anybody noticed how many series Nora Roberts has done quite successfully? Thanks for blogging with us, Madelyn.

Natasha A. said...

This doesn't make sense to me!! Some of the most popular ebooks are series, not to mention print! I love series because you get to see the h/h after their HEA!

Plus I LOVE series where it's the same h/h throughout the whole thing - think the In Death series, Roarke and Eve.

Yeah, I don't get this.

Debra St. John said...

I love series stories. It's so fun to find characters I love and continue to read about them.

That is scary to find out a book in a series might not sell. I've written (and sold) the first two books of a trilogy. I'm hoping to write and sell the third at some point. I guess I'll need to keep my fingers crossed. Yikes.

Madelyn Ford said...

Let me first say thanks to the ladies for having me here. Meg, thanks for the invite.

To add to this, just last night, I was reading this very discussion on a writer's group. Some of the consensus was a series peaks by book three.
Since my plans with series at Loose Id is eight books, this could pose a problem.
Glad to know I wasn't the only one disturbed by this. I too hope it's just this e-pub.

PG Forte said...

I don't think it's a matter of series per se not selling well, I think it's more a matter of some readers not wanting to jump into a series when they've missed the first two or three (or sometimes just one) books.

As a reader, that's never been something that really bothered me, but I know it does bother a lot of people. And I know a lot of authors have seen that reflected in their sales.

For every reader who unwittingly picks up a book mid-series, falls in love and goes back and buys the backlist, there's another reader who won't even take a chance on a new book that's not the first in a series.

That being said, I remain a huge series fan--both reading and writing. IN fact, I still find it hard to write a book without turning it into a series.

Erin Nicholas said...

I LOVE series! Though I can see a REALLY long series having trouble staying fresh. I think that's the key--similar but not the same story over and over.
But yeah, when I find an author I love and discover there's a series-- I'm over the moon!

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