1. Lady Amalthea
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    Lady Amalthea Member

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    Traditional The YA quadrilogy or plus-ilogy trend

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Lady Amalthea, Jul 2, 2013.

    I'm not sure if this should go here or the general writing thread, but here we go. One of the many tips I have heard for new aspiring writers who want to get published is to write a novel without a sequel. However, in the era post Twilight (and some time before that, if I'm not mistaken) most of the commercially successful novels have been series of 3 or more books. And not by veteran authors, by first-timers! I know 50SoG started as a fanfic and grew a following before being published, so I can see how it was able to get published and become successful, but what about the rest? How do these people get signed? And if a new author is planning on writing and puplishing in the YA genre, shouldn't s/he plan for a series, instead of a single novel?
     
  2. AVCortez
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    AVCortez Active Member

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    I watched the twilight movie, and from what I could gather there weren't many loose ends that lead into the sequel. Star Wars, Pirates of the Carribean were intended to be one off films but when people went ape sh@$ about it, they made a bunch more. I'd be shocked if twilight wasn't in the same boat. Write one novel with a couple of loose ends that could make for a sequel but a new writer will not be picked up by a trade-publisher unless their first book can stand on its own.

    If the movie is anything to go on, the first twilight book can stand on its own plot-wise, it did not require a sequel to be complete... I don't think, all I really remember is a limp wristed fight in a gym and sparkling vampire clinging to a pine tree.
     
  3. Lady Amalthea
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    Lady Amalthea Member

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    No, no. I'm not talking about movies, I'm talking about books. Stuff like "Sixteen Moons", "City of Bones", and other YA supernatural novels. The movies seem to be released a couple of years later, when the novel has already one or two sequels and people are certain it can become a lucrative franchise. At least that's what it looks like. My question is how come these authors get their stuff published in the first place? I haven't read any of them (just a couple of chapters, enough to know I'd hate them if I'd kept on reading), but it seems there is a growing market for series nowadays? I could be wrong...
     
  4. AnonyMouse
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    AnonyMouse Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes, there's a growing market for them, but publishing a series is riskier. If you're a first-time novelist, the publisher is already taking enough of a risk. You are a complete stranger to them and to the world at large. They have no idea how well one of your books will sell, so asking them to pony up for three or four won't sweeten the deal. Any publisher would love to have a bestselling series, as opposed to a bestselling novel, but they have to know you can walk before they trust you to run.

    The advice I hear all the time isn't that first timers shouldn't write a series. The advice is that first-timers shouldn't try to sell a series. If you feel compelled to write a series, go ahead and do so, but don't show up on your would-be publisher's doorstep with them all. The first book should stand alone. It should be self-contained, even if it does plant the seeds of a (possible) series. Sell one book. If it catches on, return with more.

    But bear in mind, it is risky for you as well. If the first book doesn't sell well, you've just wasted a year or more writing a stack of books you can't really do much with. Who's going to buy them if the first was a flop?
     
  5. AVCortez
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    AVCortez Active Member

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    You read the first line of my post then responded?



    There first book is not a part of a trilogy, after the first book sells well, they write more using the same characters. Not the other way around.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    btw, a series of four books is a 'tetralogy' since the commonly accepted numerical prefixes for sequential books is based on greek, not latin...
     
  7. Lady Amalthea
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    Lady Amalthea Member

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    Whoops, my bad! I'm not a native. :)
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    not 'native' ancient roman?

    coulda fooled me, seein' as how you've a latin sig, senhorita! ;)
     
  9. CyberFD
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    CyberFD Member

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    Let's also keep in mind that Stephanie Meyer was ready to stop at Eclipse (which I kind of wish she did) but there was so much popularity that she wrote Breaking Dawn to follow. Even if the first three were intended, the fourth definitely wasn't. Goes to show that sequels are a consequence of demand. If you have a series, you'll want to make sure that there's enough buzz from the first one to warrant demand for the second. In order to do that, before announcing any sequels, your first book needs to be able to stand alone. Does that mean everything needs to be cleaned up into a tidy bow? No. Leave some loose ends open, and some room for sequels.
     
  10. Kita
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    Kita Senior Member

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    Personally, I am writing a series. Currently the second book because the first was more of an after thought but I've always thought that whether you're a new writer or an established one each book should be able to stand alone, regardless if sequels are intended or not. Granted in following books the reader would need to know about the events of the previous book in order to understand the latest but I've always found that if a book ends in such a way that a sequel is required to give some amount of closure then I won't enjoy the ending so much.

    I suppose what I'm attempting to say is that each book in a series should be a story in its own right which helps create a larger story.
     
  11. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I'm writing a YA duology. But the first book is really different from the second rather than an ongoing story. In the first book the story revolves around a small society with social interactions that would affect families and a small community. In the second, the story involves society at large, more government and larger scale social issues but with a lot of parallels. There's a single character that ties the two stories together rather than an ongoing story about the same people.

    I think a person should write the story that wants to be told and not try to write the story that might sell.
     
  12. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    For the YA speculative fiction genres, a book having a series potential is a big plus. Its just what the audience wants nowadays, characters that they can journey with over several books. And its what publishers want. But like others have said, your first book must have a satisfying conclusion. So it's actually more risky to write a complete standalone book eg, where the main character dies.
     
  13. JCAC138
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    JCAC138 Member

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    Always aim higher. Write a book that can stand alone, but at the same time aim for a series.
     

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