Novels: What is your preference?

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I am seeking opinions from readers about my next novel(s). When my editor was reviewing my first novel, she requested me to give a little more info on one of the supporting male characters. I told her that I held back on him releasing his story, because I was toying with the idea of having him star in my next novel. Her response, “Oh. I would love to read a book about him.”

I had changed my mind about using him in my next novel until I read her comment, deciding not to create a series. But, now I am torn.

A lot of my favorite authors write books that star the supporting characters in other novels. For instance, Marliss Melton has a “Taskforce Series,” “Navy SEAL Team Series,” and so forth. I love how each book is a stand-alone novel, but the male or female supports from the first few books, star in the next novel(s).

With great books, you fall in love with the characters, and you miss them when the book is over. But not all books require sequels or trilogies, etc. With the idea of a series, you get glimpses of your favorite couples as they pop up (often) in the other novels (within the series). I always get excited when I get an update on a couple from a previous book—yes, I know—I develop attachments to the characters (but fellow readers get this).

OKAY. So, my questions are: How many of you like when an author creates a series? How many of you love sequels, etc?

I could have easily made my book into a sequel, but I felt that I would really only have a hundred pages of quality story in the next book, without dragging it out (and creating unnecessary problems for my characters). But, I did create several other strong characters in my novel, who could easily become the stars in future novels.

I wish I had a gut feeling about what I wanted to do, but I am swimming in a pool of indecision right now, and I don’t feel like I am coming up for air anytime soon. HELP! What do you like to read? Or, what would you do if you were me?

Thank you for your support!

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14 thoughts on “Novels: What is your preference?

  1. I’m indifferent about it. If you have well developed supporting character’s then it’s nice to get a chance to discover their lives. But I also think if you have enough to write about new people, I’d rather they be completely separate. I’ve read series where I don’t even think about the main characters in the previous book at all. So, I guess to me it doesn’t matter. It’s all about the story in itself 🙂

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  2. I loved my characters from my first novel so much I could not let them go. I placed them in a new setting 11 years later. And a minor character in the second novel was so fun she had to be in the third novel, along with my two favorite leads. The point is that if you love your characters let them continue. Don’t; worry about readers. No writer can please them all. You must write first for yourself. If your characters come alive through your passion, everything will work.

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  3. I think that it all depends on how you feel about your own writing. If you are afraid that you can’t write outside of your current characters, then you need to force yourself to. If you are confident in your abilities to expand beyond your borders, then write one or two more with characters you are familiar with and then move on. I guess my point is that you should make sure that you can continue to grow, and if you can’t, then force yourself to.

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  4. I have a lot of series on my bookshelves where the same characters are followed through several books. Your post has made me consider whether I read those series because I wanted to follow the characters or just because I liked the author – i.e. if I’d have been so keen to read other books by those authors if they’d been not sequels but completely standalone novels. I think, in most cases, it’s the latter: if I really enjoy a book by an author then I will (within reason) read whatever they write next.
    Having said that, a series of related novels (with common characters) might well give you more in terms of sales. I don’t actually read romance/romantic suspense novels myself, but from what I’ve seen on forums and when browsing Amazon, the more successful (in terms of sales) authors in those genres tend to write series.
    Something else to bear in mind is that you could always, if you so wish, have your next novel unrelated to the first (with the freedom of new characters and settings and an opportunity to expand your writing) but then write a sequel to the first novel at a later date. With self-publishing that choice is yours to make.

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  5. I’m actually the same way. I intend for a book to have one part but I get so attached to the characters and always end up having a favorite. I always enjoy a sequel that tells you how everyone is doing and what has happened to them since the last book. It’s always refreshing and it gives the reader a little bit more closure. So I feel that sequels can sometimes be necessary as long as you find a way to satisfy the readers curiosities about the previous book and get them invested in what will probably be the final book. It’s also good to know exactly when you need to end it because you don’t want to drag it on for too long.

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