Sometimes readers just need to get away from a series and welcome a good stand-alone novel. However, there is nothing more frustrating than getting to the end of what you thought was a really great standalone novel to realize that it is the END OF BOOK ONE. How disappointing!
Stand-alones are a single book. Series follow the same story and characters throughout and can include anything from 2 to 50 instalments. Series are often some form of fantasy, sci-fi, dystopian or supernatural. Trilogies, a series of 3 books, are becoming common.
Most contemporary, realistic and literary novels are standalone. And, best of all is when you reach the end of a standalone where the ending is perfect and tidy, making your heart swell with pleasure. Plus, there is no need to wait for Book #2.
If writing stand-alones is what you choose be prepared to work even harder – publishers concentrate on specific genres which means you might need a different publisher for each novel AND marketing each book takes more work. One book sells the most. Now suppose you write a trilogy and if you are able to keep 75% of your audience for Book Two and another 75% of that audience for Book Three then you have guaranteed sales. Series also boost backlist sales. There was a time when it was actually easier to sell a trilogy than a stand-alone but today it’s probably even odds.
Some writers produce both: series and stand-alones. To remove the question: my books are an eclectic collection of primarily stand-alones.
Which begs the question: do readers want Series or Stand-alones?
- it depends on the book.
- there is something to be said about leaving your readers wanting more, more, more – if its a long winter.
From a marketing perspective, a bad series will not sell better than a few good standalones. Write what you’re inspired to write and write it well.
“Linda has published fifteen books. She blogs about the publishing world, posts useful tips on the challenges a writer faces, including marketing and promoting your work, how to build your online platform, how to get reviews and how to self-publish.”