When I first started writing in 2005, I know it seems hard to believe, but email and digital books were just beginning to take off. It was customary for an author to format their Word document in Courier New font, double-spaced. This format most emulated a typewriter and averaged 250 words per page. When printed, the number of pages in the manuscript gave the publisher an idea of the number of pages in the finished print book. We tabbed our paragraphs and underlined anything that was going to be italicized so it was easily recognizable by the formatter. Manuscripts were printed and sent by snail mail to the publisher who hand edited them with a red pencil. (I mention this, because there may be some of you looking to re-release previously published books in this format and your manuscript would need to be stripped of all that formatting before your novel can be published digitally.)
There has never been a better time to be in publishing.
There has never been a more difficult time to be in publishing.
No, really, it’s true. The technology explosion has created an industry that is in constant flux. By the time you figure out how to ride the wave of success, it fizzles and another new wave is generated in a different direction, leaving you stranded on a surfboard in the middle of a calm sea, wondering where the heck the rest of the surfers went. That being said, there has never been a more exciting time in this industry with so many avenues to publication. From traditional publication at one of the Big Five publishers to small presses who do digital-only to self-publishing your own novels—there’s a path that fits every author’s goals.
I love reading. I know that’s like having an space physicist tell you he likes staring at the stars. Sort of … DUR. How could a writer write without being a voracious reader? But I’m seriously digressing.
I have loved reading series. I think VC Andrews “Flowers in the attic was the first series I read from start to finish. I fell in love with the children. Ached for a forbidden love between siblings that was so real and wrong and debilitating. I couldn’t get enough of these dark series to discover what life would throw at them.
About a decade ago I found Anne McCaffrey. I LOVE science fiction stories and new worlds. So it was no surprise when I stumbled into her Freedom series and read all four books in a weekend. Her world building skills are amazing and I just had to find out how these human and aliens thrust on to a new world not only survived, but thrived and fell in love. *sigh* Great series if you enjoy a little romance with your science fiction. That sit front and center on my keeper shelf.
Now I’m on the other side of the fence. I’m looking at my own stories. It’s really hard for me to spend so much time with my characters and to walk away. I find I leave the stories open ended enough to allow for another adventure. Sometimes with the same characters and sometimes with secondary characters that want their own story told. I enjoy writing series. It just seems natural to me. Which works out well in this market as it appears that’s what publishers are looking for. It’s hard to send in a submission to an agent or editor without knowing what the next book will be or where you’re going to take the story line.
It is rare to pick up a book these days without finding out it’s part of a series. I didn’t think I minded it until I realized that the last four books I purchased were part of a series. This isn’t bad. I really love the authors. But here’s the quandry, I’m finding that I’m not enjoying the second books in the series as much as the first. Boo. I’m not happy about it. Pleeeeease let me reassure you … it’s neither the author nor the story … it’s ME! I know it. I feel like I’m not allowing myself to fall into these stories. What’s wrong with me? I loved the series enough to take a chance on the next book.
Where is the disconnect? Maybe I’m reading too many books in the same genre. I don’t know. Of course I had to throw it out there and ask how you feel with this new trend of everything going to series? Are you happy to jump into the next book and find out what the characters have been up to since you’ve been away? I’m beginning to wonder if I’m in the minority here.