1. TLK
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    TLK Active Member

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    How Many Books Is Too Many?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by TLK, Apr 3, 2013.

    Hi all,

    This is an issue I could be having, but mostly it's just something I was interested in gathering some thoughts on, and seeing what writers felt about it. It's certainly something I'm a bit torn on. Basically, for a series, how many books is too many? When does the story start dragging on, if, indeed, it ever does? Is it better to get things over and done with? Is it better to keep plots fairly short?

    I understand that this is a somewhat broad question and that it will largely depend on the quality of the series but, general speaking, what do you think?

    Thanks in advance! :)
     
  2. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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  3. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    The story starts to stretch when you have nothing new to add and you start adding irrelevant stuff just to fill the pages. If your story is long enough for 2 books then make it two. If it is a little more than 1 book then you need to cut some parts out, not stretch it just to make another book out of it.
     
  4. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Well, the German science fiction series Perry Rhodan, begun in 1961, now has more than 2,600 books in it (you read that right - google it!). So, I guess there's no limit.
     
  5. Keitsumah
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    Keitsumah The Dream-Walker Contributor

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    Take Eric Hunter's Warriorcats for example: a VERY long series but it switches to a new cat group every six books. so long as you keep it interesting your stories can go on forever.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    For a new writer, two is too many. Write stand-alone novels.

    First, publishers don't want a series from a new writer. Many fledgling writers don't follow through after the first novel, either daunted by the unexpected huge quantity of work that goes into each book, or just unable to generate more than one book worth of good writing. On the other hand, if the new writer succeeds with the first novel, he or she might go to a competitor who offers a greener deal, so the first publisher has taken most of the risk and gained next to no benefit.

    Publishers do want to see that a new writer won't be a one book author, but you'll impress them far more with plans for unrelated novels than with plans for a series. They don't want a one trick pony.

    Also, if you are targeting a series in your first novel, you won't put your full effort into that book. You'll be holding some things backm when you need to put everything you have into that first effort.

    Finally, veteran or novice, you have to make every book complete in itself. Balancing that need with the needs of a series arc requires more writing experience than is reasonable for a new writer. You'll have a hard enough time selling your first novel without handicapping yourself.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ditto all cog had to say... stop thinking series and concentrate on a stand-alone novel that will sell well... IF it gets published and IF it sells like hotcakes, then consider churning out sequels...

    [anyone know why 'hotcakes' were supposed to be the epitome of sales-generators? :confused:]
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Hopefully it will sell better than hotcakes, which aren't exactly making millionaires on Wall Street. :D
     
  9. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I think this bit here is golden. Me and KaTrian have written two trilogies and one tetralogy, but each of the books belonging to a series works as a stand-alone. That way we can market the firsts as stand-alones and mention the sequels only if the publisher is interested in seeing sequels.
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    golden it is!... ditto that...

    and yours is the wisest course, tt...
     
  11. Fullmetal Xeno
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    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

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    From the advice that i have been given, you should look at each book like it is it's own. Meaning, each work should stand alone and sequels can be delayed for the future. But whatever makes you determined you should go for as many as you feel. Having an open mind is the greatest success for a writer.
     

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