Site Meter Vamps and Scamps: Nothing Lasts Forever, Right?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Nothing Lasts Forever, Right?

I have an ongoing series. It's called The Hunters. It is erotic romance, it's paranormal, it's a lot of fun to write. The first book, The Hunters: Tori and Declan came out almost two years ago from Ellora's Cave in ebook. Since then, six books have been released in ebook format. There's two print books out now, each containing two of the ebooks. The fifth story, The Hunters Ben & Shadoe will be out in print any day now.

I recently signed a two book contract with Berkley. This is going to be a spin off series from my Hunters books. The first book there is called Hunting the Hunter and it's scheduled for release in 10/06. Long way off...for now, though, the other Hunters books are still available through Ellora's Cave.

The Hunters seem to be pretty popular with the EC readers. Every week I get lots of emails
When will Mike get a story?
Are they going to be more Hunters?
Is Leandra going to have a story? Is she going to have a story with Mal?
Is Mal going to get is his own story?
I hope you keep on writing the Hunters forever....

Okay, yes, I love getting these emails. That means I did something right. I wrote a series good enough that readers like it. But uh...I can't write it forever.

Which brings up today's topic... SERIES!

I don't think any author should write a series forever. I mean, won't they get bored? Right now, I have roughly two more books planned in this series. Leandra and Mike~MIKE... Not Mal. Mal wasn't ever going to be paired with Leandra. He had his own mate from book 2. He didn't know it then, but I did.

And I also knew in book 4 who Leandra was going to fall in love with. What can I say, I like making them suffer. And nobody would make her suffer quite like the man she tried to kill. ;o)
So Leandra & Mike. Then Mal & Kelsey. I haven't started either of them. Right now, my brain is a little tired from the Hunters' books. It needs a break. I plan on writing Leandra's story first and then Mal's. After that, unless somebody just jumps out at me, that part of the Hunters world may draw to an end. I do have the spin off series with Berkley that I'm working on. The first book is done. The second book is contracted and in the works. I have sketchy ideas for two or three more books if they are interested.

I will tell you, I'm pretty excited about the Berkley Hunters. The world is do indepth, there's a lot of suspense...and I'm also scared to death. What if it falls flat...what if it sucks...but that's just part of it. I did something different~for me~with that book. I just have to hope it works.

I love vampires. I love werewolves. I love anything paranormal, out of the ordinary, but if you keep writing in that world for too long~doesn't that make make it become just a little more ordinary? That's why I don't think series, in general, can last forever.

Here's my reasoning...

  • They can get boring for the reader.
I'm a reader too. I can't tell you how many series I fell in love with and for the first five or six books, I jumped on them the minute they came out. Books seven, eight and nine...eagerly awaited, but I no longer mauled the manager if she didn't have them sitting on the shelf for me. Book, I could wait a week or two. By eleven, twelve and thirteen, well, I was reading them at the library and waiting for paperback, or not even buying them anymore unless it was in the trusty old used bookstore. There are a couple authors who are exceptions to this rule. But in general, for me, after the first few books... well, I will still enjoy them, but I just don't devour them the way I used to. Series can get old. They can get stale. I don't want to see that happen with any of my books. Although I'm sure some people will think it has happened, or that it will happen. It's all a matter of opinion.

  • They can get boring for the author.
YES...this is entirely possible. It's not an issue now, but I get bored writing in just straight romance, which is why I write all over the spectrum. I don't just write contemporary. When, I write paranormal, I don't just write vampires. I don't just write werewolves. I don't always make the guy the vampire. Or the werewolf. That does tend to be the norm. I've also killed off my main characters. Now I've brought them back ~G~in a new world, in a new body, sometimes with a striking red dragon as a sidekick, but I get bored doing the same thing. So it's safe to assume I'll eventually get bored writing in the same series.
  • You start seeing too many similar things on the market.
Right now, the market is full of paranormal books. That's fine. But I like trying new things. Sooner or later, I'm going to wrap things up just I can try to veer off in a different direction. A few weeks ago, my agent looked at a proposal that she said was different from anything she had seen before. Paranormal, yes... more in the realm of dark fantasy, but definitely paranormal. I like being different.

The thing is though, if you start seeing too many books on the market, sooner or later, won't the readers get bored with it? There needs to be a variety.

  • There are other stories the author may want to write.
Lots of them. I know I have other ideas brewing. I have two books left in the Mythe world, possibly more. I still want to write more books in fantasy worlds. I have a two book suspense series that I want to pitch to Berkley that I haven't even started. and I can't until I finish Finding the Hunter. And if the editor is interested the proposal my agent sent her, then there's another book I have to finish before I can start these two.

But nope... sorry. The Hunters won't last forever. That's the bad news.
The good news...
The Hunters as you know them aren't lasting forever. I'll write more in that world, but the books will be different. The focus will be different. My writing style is changing-people who read Hunting the Hunter will see that.

I hope people like the changes. I'm really proud of this newest Hunter book. Nothing stays the same, right?


LuAnn McLane said...

Nothing lasts forever in this business is an understatement. Everything is always changing, evolving.... popular characters deserve a series but I can see how as a writer you need to move on.

Writing is just sooo time consuming. There aren't enough hours in a day to get the stories out there and then the pub date seems so far off but that's the nature of the beast.

Angela James said...

I think there are some series that seem to be able to go indefinitly (J.D. Robb, for instance) and then there are authors like Robert Jordan who just need to wrap that shit up already! And as an author grows, changes, and goes through life, their characters and story may start to divert from its original path (LKH anyone?) and need to be brought to an end and a new series started! Just my two cents in a small nutshell ;)

meljean brook said...

My two cents equals Angie's :)

As an author, I like being able to play in one universe for as long as I'm interested/it's fresh.

As a reader, it's the same.

I do get stuck, though -- not as an author yet (although I could see how it might happen) but definitely as a reader. Where I'll be hooked on a series, and eventually it just doesn't have that special "thing" to it any longer, but I'll keep buying the books. Partly because I'm hoping to recapture whatever it was that drew me in initially, but partly because I'm a wimp that way.

Stacy ~ said...

As a reader, there's no doubt a series can be a wonderful thing, but it just can't go on forever. Just like authors, we look for something different so we don't get bored or burned out on a current trend. I have my favorites but I'm constantly looking for new authors, and sometimes I move away from the same old, same old to find someone who's going in a different direction.

I think authors should write different types of stories if that's what they want to do, whether it's historicals, romantic suspense, paranormal, or erotica - whatever floats your boat - and not lock into one genre or theme indefinitely. Change is good :)

Jaynie R said...

Yeah, I think it depends on the series a lot.

J D Robb - I'm still reading that - can't imagine an ending yet.

I think 10 is usually a good benchmark.

I'm so glad you're writing Mal and Kasey's story - I was one of the few people who actually picked up that they were supposed to be together and I can't wait for their story.

Shiloh Walker said...

You caught that huh, Jaynie?

A lot people kept thinking it was going to be Leandra and Mal.

snowflake said...

I agree that some series get old as they go on. I'll read anything that's good, series or non-series, so keep writing whatever sparks your creativity. But don't expect me to stop harping about the Mythe books. *g*

Debbie E said...

Well that certainly sheds some light on each perspective. I think it totally is a compliment for the author when readers ask about the next book or who it's going to feature. They are interested in whatever you bring to life in the form of that story, be it a series or not. I have to confess that when I like a series I fall under the "relentless" category but it is because I love the feelings that come alive when reading that story.
I have stopped reading some authors because it seems all they do is change the name and it's too repetitive.
It's just hard to let go of a Series full of people that brought you so much emotions. They usually end up being bought first in ebook format and then in print and then on the "keeper shelf" and that feels like it's there when I want it again....
That's comforting and satisfies your mind and your heart.

I understand more today about this subject than yesterday!

Demented M said...

Great post. I'm of two minds like Angie. Some series should never end, others needed to die several books ago.

It depends, I think on how big the premise is and how good the author is at refreshing the premise. Janet Evanovich comes to mind--she's got Stephanie Plum quitting her job as a bond agent which I think after 11 books was a good move. Time to do something different.

Laurel K. Hamilton imo is an example of an author who changed her series premise too much. She gained new readers as she made the Anita Blake series more erotic, but lost old readers as well.

Oh and I've linked to you!


Shiloh Walker said...

The Stephanie Plum series is a wonderful one!

JD Robb could probably write a hundred IN DEATH books and I doubt I'd ever get tired of reading them.

And my personal fave is the Stardoc books by SL Viehl. I'll never get tired of them~that could be cuz I'm half in love with Duncan, but I'm also fascinated by the world the author the author created.

but there's just too many series that about half way thru... the world just sort of fell...flat.