I was chatting with my agent recently and asked about a new proposal. She said “Give me 50 pages of the first story, a complete synopsis, and an overview of the series.”
What? A series? But…but…but…this is just a book. A single title. It stands alone. It’s the story of one guy and one girl, not the entire village. And so what did I do? Well, I did what any smart writer in today’s market would do, I made it into a series.
There was a time when series meant Harlequin and single titles were stand alone. Oh, you might have characters from one book walk onto the pages of the next, but sometimes they were only mentioned. And sometimes a secondary character would take off in a book and demand his story to be told next. But they weren’t in a series.
Not any more.
In the case of my current submission, the book was never intended to be a series. I’ll admit that I set it up with two more characters who I can write stories about. But I haven’t planned these stories.I’m not terribly worried that I can’t turn this into a series. I can cattle prod almost any character into talking. (Shirley has her ways ;)). But it was never my intention to take this story further. And it seems that I’m not the only one who has noticed this change. I found this blog earlier and thought it fitting.
I, like Frankie, am a plotter. Sometimes I write 40 to 50 pages of notes for an 80K word book. But plotting helps me, especially when I start out knowing a book is destined to be a series.
But where did this burst of series come from? The incredible success of Harry Potter, Twilight and the newest sensation, The Hunger Games? There have been series for a long time. Just look at Tolkien. I can only imagine that the demand for books in a series comes from the readers. So tell me…what do you love about a series? And how to you feel about books that stand alone?