Monday, March 16, 2020

Incomplete series are not that big a deal

Open book

Here's something that is a popular topic of discussion in a lot of book groups I'm in. Incomplete series. I touched on it recently is a post on another topic when I was talking about how publishing and reader's expectations are changing.

I recently saw someone commenting about starting a series at book four because the first three books were too dark and triggering for her and how she decided to skip right to the latest book in the series. Someone then commented that she's given up on the series because she waited so long for book four and then was unwilling to invest the time into the book since she heard there would be a book five and book six with no timeline for when they would be published.

See, I totally get the frustration about waiting for another book in a series to come out. Especially if it's a series you love and want to read more from it. That said, there are so many books out there and so many series out there. And authors are finding that series sell (except when they don't) so they keep publishing series.

Man typing

There are two sides to every opinion, of course. On the one hand, series sell so authors write series. On the other, if the series doesn't sell as anticipated, authors move onto other books or other series that sell. I see that happening all the time. Sadly when that happens readers who love that series are left hanging. That causes a lot of frustration and reader loyalty.

From a reader's perspective, I can understand wanting continuity and closure. There's nothing wrong at all with wanting to see what happens next or how it all ends when you are following a beloved character or series through their lives and adventures. It is a very common lament now that readers are disillusioned with authors releasing series and not completing them so they wait until the series is complete before buying or starting them which starts off a whole other vicious cycle of its own.

So yes, it's a thing. Readers are no longer trusting of authors who do not complete series or take too long to complete series. And I totally understand from the author's perspective - lack of sales, life happens, and other things might come into play to affect writing the rest of the books.

Moving house in a car

I know a friend who refuses to read a particular author and I've heard many others I've seen in passing comment the same about this author. They no longer trust her to complete her series because she seems to be continuously dropping the first, second in the series and no longer completing anything new. Maybe she is testing the market, maybe she's series-hopping to find a formula that works for her and sells. I do not know her reason but she has many, many series that are still outstanding because she keeps starting new series.

That said, I also know a series with a whopping thirteen series with outstanding books that are incomplete. Ouch! I have not read this author and I have zero interest in reading this author for other reasons beyond all the open-ended series. That's another author my friend refuses to read although, to be fair, I think her reasons go deeper than incomplete series because she's actually DNF'ed some of this author's books.

Book with camera lens

One of my favorite authors has two outstanding series. With one series, people begged and begged for the next book. Sadly, when it was released the book bombed and did not do well at all. I don't know why. It was a beautifully written book with a sweet, touching romance that gets you right in the heart. But as much as it was anticipated, it did not perform in numbers according to the hype around the book. Maybe it is because it's only book two in what was planned in a four book series which is now only going to be a three book series with a final novella or a short story available only to her reader group members. Another one of her most popular series is at its last book in a ten book series. Again, this author thinks the book won't perform well even though people are asking for the book daily. The difference with this author? She's actually slowly writing those two final books when the muse strikes her. They are slow going because (according to her) the characters are being difficult but she does show us occasional word count updates on her progress for those books so we are hanging in there knowing there's movement and we will get the books eventually.

From my perspective, I really don't care when the next book of a series comes out even if it's a highly anticipated series I'm reading. Two of my favorite authors, Nalini Singh and Thea Harrison only release a book a year for the series I'm reading of theirs. With Thea Harrison, recently, it's been even longer because of some things going on in her personal life, but she's updated her readers regularly via her newsletter. I figure I will eventually get the books when they are finally written. I'm happy to wait.

Credit card

There's a particular series that was originally released, pulled by the author because it was not doing well, and recently re-released. I've read the first two books in the series from their original publication and have waited almost two years for the next book. The end of the second book ends in a whopping cliffhanger too!! The author has indicated recently when she re-released the first two books that the final book in the series should be out soon, but who knows what “soon” means?

So yeah, I'm pretty patient when it comes to waiting for the next book in a series. Sometimes it takes so long I forget about them and move on. I may or may not come back to them when they are released depending on my memory, interest, and mood. Sometimes, I hop on immediately and read the book as soon as I can put my grabby little hands on it.

The thing is this. With more and more books being released daily - I think I saw a statistic somewhere that said as many as 7,500 are published to the Amazon Kindle daily, there is a lot to choose from. I'm not going into the whole discussion of quality vs quantity since quality is subjective depending on the reader, but from sheer numbers alone, there's a lot that's available.

Buying books

My point? Don't get too hung up about not getting or not knowing when the next book in a series comes out. There are lots of books out there. Try a new author. Check out a favorite author's backlist. I promise you, with everything that has been published so far, you'll have plenty of options for your reading pleasure. And if you're stuck, there are lots of Facebook reader groups in all sorts of genres you might be interested in reading. Go in there and ask for some recommendations. I've seen some very specific requests and believe it or not, there will be a book out there for whatever mood you might be in.

I'd love to hear what your most anticipated books are right now. Or even who some of your favorite authors are whom you will wait any length of time for a new book to drop. I wanna know. xoxo

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  1. Hi Deanna. Yes, I am still waiting the final book in Stephanie Tyler's Section 8 series. Some 4 years now. She has said she is writing it but I'm not holding my breath. Lol. I also wish Elle Kennedy had written more in her dystopian future Outlaws series. And anything by Kj Charles, Veronica Scott, and Anna Hackett
    Other than that, I usually just wait patiently. Ish

    1. I was waiting on one book since 2007. It finally came out a month ago. And Rachel Caine's Weather Warden series. I've been waiting on the next book since 2010. And of course, the Merry Gentry series by Laurell K Hamilton. I don't even remember how many years that has been.

    2. Oh I remember those weather wardens. I read the first few and then went off it. I seem to remember she had cancer which put her on hiatus. Not sure


    3. Yes she ran a kickstarter campaign for it. It's been 4 or 5 years still no book.