I'm often asked to read books that are part of a serial, and even more often it is the first book in the serial.
I think serials are great - I really do. I love them. Some of my favorite books are serials. I adore John Marsden's Tomorrow series. Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series - at least the first 15 of them. After that I got a bit bored, but anyway. James Patterson's Alex Cross series and Women's Murder Club. J.D. Robb's In Death series. Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series. Series are great! You connect with the characters and you hunger for more. Right?
But here's what bugs me.
So many author's today want to jump on the series bandwagon - and that is ok - IF they do it right. But I'm finding that so many of them are not doing it right. In my humble opinion as a reader.
They are so set in their mind that you have to buy their next book that they don't make each book so it can stand on it's own. If you are going to write a series each book SHOULD be able to be picked up and read as a stand alone book. You should give a tiny little bit of back story to catch the reader up slightly, and you should give a conclusion at the end of each novel.
I recently read a novel that I wasn't particularly enjoying but kept reading because the author kept teasing you building up to what you thought would be a big reveal at the end of the book, only to feel cheated at the end because the big reveal never happened. You had to hope it would occur in the next book. I feel so cheated by that author that I won't be reading the next book. And you won't find a review of this book on my blog.
If you are going to write a serial, obviously there has to be something more to come. Right? So maybe you have don't want to give away everything in the first novel, or even the second or third. I get that. But you still have to have some kind of satisfying conclusion to each book.
I just read a FANTASTIC YA novel that is book one in a series - and you WILL see a review of that one in a few days on here. You'll know it because it is getting a 5 star rating. That author has the series formula down pat and I can't wait to read more.
But for the rest of you authors out there who are writing a series - when you write your novel(s) I sincerely hope you will keep this humble reader's opinion in mind. Don't leave us readers dangling over the edge of the precipice. Give us a landing. Some kind of landing. ANY kind of landing. Please.
Readers - what are some of your favorite book series and what is it you love about them?