I have mixed feelings about series. It depends on which perspective I’m looking from.
As a writer if the first book in a series is really good then the author has a built-in audience waiting for the second book. And that’s great. The sale of the second book is guaranteed.
What about from the publisher’s view? They love series for the same reason. A built-in audience. Sometimes it seems that a series goes on for too long and then I feel as if the publisher was just trying to get as much money out of it as possible. I don’t blame them except when the quality of the writing is compromised for money.
As a reader, how long do I stay with a series? What if the second book isn’t very good? Do you give the third book a try? Or what if there is a series that is really good for the first three or four but kind of loses steam after that? I feel a sense of loyalty to the author to keep going. Plus, after a few books I’m emotionally invested in the characters and the outcome of the story line. So I keep reading. Sometimes that can be a letdown if the story loses steam in the end.
Then there are the amazing series that are good all along. Like the Outlander Series
by Diana Gabaldon. My only complaint with that series is that it takes so long for her to write the books. But they have been worth the wait so far!The Harry Potter Series was consistent all along and I found it amazing how J.K. Rowling pulled all of the details and story lines together at the end.
The reason I thought of this post is because I’m almost done with Cold Days, the latest in the Dresden Files series written by Jim Butcher. This is the fourteenth book in the series (plus Side Jobs, which is a collection of short stories based on the series) and it keeps getting better with each book. On top of that, he has a fantastic fantasy series called Codex Alera. I would love to know how he writes so much, keeps it all straight and consistently good.
As a reader, I’m delighted. As a writer, I’m amazed.
How do you feel about book series?