1. Jeff Countryman
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    Jeff Countryman Living the dream Supporter

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    Book Titles/Series Titles.....it's a new world out there

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Jeff Countryman, Feb 9, 2016.

    I've got nothing to read at the moment. So, I've been searching aimlessly through Amazon's Kindle Ebooks. Sigh, groan, moan . . . it's not much help. All I seem to find is things like: Book 5 of the "Everlasting Series" etc. I've spent mega hours tracking down such 'series' down only to find each 'book' is only a few chapters and not a novel (and when it's a novel...the author finds it necessary to point out (with exciting exclamation marks) that it's a 'stand alone' novel).

    Why don't authors just come out and say that this is novel 1, this is novel 2, this is novel 3....and name them that way? Is it because they don't have the story worked out yet and are hoping for fans to tell them? Is it because there's a fan base that wants to know the 'history' of the characters? Is it because of money (I'll just write Act 1 and make them beg for more)? Is it because we're used to TV series and expect novels that way these days?

    There's awesome writers who produce books every month on schedule - like they have a formula. There's authors' who write novels in a series but only 10 years apart as they have to research and write. There's writers who produce novels yearly but in the same format.

    Is there any real answer? What's the motivation - money or art?

    Just curious on your thoughts.

    Most of the time, using Kindle, I feel 'tricked' by the titles and the order they're displayed in for purchase. I guess that's my beef at the moment - I scroll through 1,000 books before I discover 1 worth reading. TITLES ARE IMPORTANT!!!
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2016
  2. ddavidv
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    ddavidv Contributing Member

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    I'll admit to sharing in your rant. I'm reluctant to read book #5 in a series if I haven't read the first four no matter what the author insists about it being a stand-alone manuscript. Trouble is, I've done the exact same thing. :oops:

    I read somewhere that series books are a more surefire way to make money. Once you hook the reader with your lovable character he/she will want to continue reading more about him/her. While it is rampant in ebooks you can't dismiss it as it also works for a lot of very successful authors. Sue Grafton did a whole series based on the alphabet (and my wife reads them all). So from a marketing aspect I get it. OTOH with my limited time to read and desire for variety I personally tend to shun series books.

    In my case I wrote a novel that contained a character I just loved to work with. The ending of the first book was far better leaving her future in doubt vs happily-ever-after. That it opened the door for a sequel or a series was never my intent but once I had that opportunity I chose to embrace it. Thus, the sequel.

    I did make the pitch that each book is a stand-alone edition because of all these other authors who have you slog through a book only to leave you with a cliffhanger so you buy the next issue. I think that's playing dirty...or just for money. So I promise my readers I won't do that to them. Read my books in any order that you want and you'll get a fully developed and finished story, though admittedly the reader is better off reading them in order. I'm not numbering them, however. Most successful mainstream writers don't do it. Harry Potter isn't numbered nor are The Hunger Games books but they are most certainly a series. To me (and others may disagree) I feel numbering a series is kind of juvenile. Its like saying to the reader "You're too stupid to figure out the order by reading the description so here are some simple numbers you can use".

    Those books that are just chapters and not true novels are just cheese. I don't have respect for those writers and will call them on their crap in any review I write.
     
  3. AASmith
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    AASmith Contributing Member

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    Personally I don't see an issue with someone writing series books that seem to go on. Its hard to make money as a writer and if writing is your day job you have to let it make you money in order to survive. Not to say you should sell yourself out for the dollar but I'm sure that these writers do enjoy the series they work on. Its like a band playing an old song they wrote 20 years ago at every concert. People love it, its a hit, and they want to make their fans happy. Also some stories take a long time to tell. You also have to consider the genre, YA novels (which is mainly where you see a lot of series) at not very long books. They try to cap it at a certain point. You wont see a 800 YA novel. It would be better to divide it into 4 novels.

    As PP said, sometimes you get a great character and you don't want to see them go just yet.
     
  4. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I was tempted to turn my first novel into a series or trilogy simply because the book was so long. I even planned out a sidequel showing all the unseen events that were going on with side characters - villains, victims, name drops - leading up to the finale. I really didn't think of it as anything more than an experiment - to see if a sidequel could work and be as interesting. I never wrote anything for the sidequel but it was elaborately planned out.
    I think if I ever finish it and it stays as long I'd rather release it in a two volume set.

    I've seen a lot of this going on and especially with authors not writing the promised sequels. Which I think is pretty low considering some are advertised to teens. I remember how disappointed I was in the 80s when publishers canceled series without any notice to the readers. You'd go to pick up the next book when it usually appeared, the second Tuesday of every month, and suddenly number 39 or whatever just wouldn't be there.

    I think if you're going for money pleasing the fans of your genre would be your first priority. I'm not sure it would please anyone to pay 3 bucks to read a novella ( or thinly disguised chapter ) that ends on a cliffhanger. Rather like buying a segmented book ( and even Stephen King barely got away with that. )
    I'm not sure if it's insecure writers who don't think they've built up enough layers to justify a sequel. That the momentary problem outweighs the overall problem. Or if it is an attempted money-grab.
    Or if it's merely the influence of tv shows and their stupid season ender cliffhangers.
     
  5. Rob40
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    Rob40 Active Member

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    As a reader I've seen things move to almost a buy by chapter format. I found something interesting in concept by an unknown and then discovered it was nearly $2 for 6,000 words. Really? ygtbfkm. I know readers want series/trilogies. I know they don't want one book to be it for the characters involved. Patterson's machine uses the Private series of books to run a story from an office somewhere else instead of multiple stories ouf of the same office. Making as many stories as possible as long as they can pick a new city. (Berlin sucked) Shifty I say. But with the binge watching of shows and the enthusiasm we saw for Lost and the endless storyline addiction we now see, I can understand the desire for an endless eight+ book trillogy based on a character or environment addiction. So they give it to them. as many times as they can stand in any way that gets them back for the next one, just like addictive episode binge watching.

    I've got ideas and admittedly have tried to figure out how to keep them going into multiple stories for a trilogy but it's not by breaking up one story into multiple cliffhangers. That, I agree, sucks for the reader and serves as a cash harvest device-BUT- isn't that how they kept the kids back in the day coming back to the radio or theater for more every week?
     

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