Book Chatter

Series VS Stand Alone


Not the dreaded cliffhanger!


Touching on a topic that’s hot in the Urban Fiction world:

Why do authors choose to write series over a stand alone novel? I recently frequented a message board where several readers stated that they didn’t like to read “black books” because they always write series in an attempt to drag out the story for more money.

First let me start by saying as an indie author, all support from readers and fans is greatly appreciated. With that being said I’m seeing a trend of “bullying” of sorts some authors are experiencing. Feeling like they can’t let their craft “flow” for fear of reader backlash of “how” they should be putting material out.

While most authors (some more than others) tend to write to the trends and fan favorites, many will go against the grain and write from the heart. Be it a popular trend or not. They are simply telling the story as their mind sees it.

Granted, there are less experienced authors who have yet to perfect the method of storytelling, timing, character development, etc. Speaking as an author I can say we ALL are still learning and perfecting as we go. YES, even the veterans. Which brings me to my next point, why series have a solid place in the publishing world.

From an author stand point there are several reasons why a series is chosen.

1. The number one reason is it’s fan favorite. Despite the gripes about a novel going into parts 2,3,4, etc… the numbers on the back end usually tell a different story. Also, many authors will receive messages and reviews from die hard fans that don’t want a story to end or a character to go away.

Case in point, My Ratchet Secret started off as an experiment. Those who have followed me from the beginning know that I used to run a relationship blog as well as a dating site. I started out writing Nonfiction. I had no idea if anyone would even like the book, let alone it becoming my best selling series.

2. Paper costs money. Many readers like to read paper backs over ebooks. Longer stand alones or bundling complete series in one book results in higher costs. Simply put, it’s the difference between a $7.99 book vs a $24.99 book. Many readers have stated (and I find this to be true, even with myself) if they like an author, they will pay the higher price for a stand alone. However, once again, the numbers tell a different story. Many readers do not wish to chance spending a substantial amount on a new author. Only for them not to like the book. This is very understandable. Which brings me to reason three.

3. It’s a way for readers to test the waters. if it’s their first time reading an author. Aside from freebies, series allow the reader to decide if the story was good enough to move forward, vs committing to a higher priced stand alone.

4. Urban Fiction is not the only genre where series are prevalent. A quick search on Amazon will yield endless series under ROMANCE, YOUNG ADULT, SCI FI, etc…. some of which span beyond ten or more books. Not just “black books.”

5. “But I don’t like waiting for the next part.” Once again this is totally understandable, While we would love to drop the next part over night, the books are being written in real time, with real life ups, downs and mishaps. Not to mention the proofing, editing, formatting etc… all of this takes time. The only suggestion here is to wait for all the parts to drop or stick to stand alones. I get that some readers feel “duped” when left hanging with a cliffhanger. I can only speak for myself when I say I tell my readers upfront that the book is part of a series and/or a cliffhanger.

6. Why do authors skip over series and not finish others? Once again, fan favorites dictate why a certain series is completed over another, or if it’s completed at all. Think of it as your favorite TV show that got canceled. While you and a hand full of others may love it, the majority has ruled it not as popular, hence it being put on the back burner.

7. What about authors writing series instead of stand alones to make more money? No sugar coating this one. This is what we do for a living. OF COURSE we are trying to make money.

8. Last but certainly not least. “I don’t feel like I get my money’s worth. Either the books are too short or there are too many parts” Once again, series are the readers the choice to keep moving forward.

Hopefully this has cleared up some of the questions and misconceptions as to why an author will chose to write a series over a stand alone.

As always I would like to thank my readers for all the love and support.

Smooches! ~ Midnite Love

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