Lately, more authors have been writing serials – books with the same characters that don’t have an ending in the first book, or the second or the third. In fact, it might take seven books or more before the serial ends. I belong to a writers’ group that has been discussing this, and someone asked about the lengths and what was expected and what we should charge for each book in the serial.
I’m writing a serial now, so although I already had an idea of the approximate lengths of my books, I paid attention to the posts. As it turned out, every time someone said how long she thought one should be – and how much it should cost – someone else would reply that it didn’t have to be that way. One of the authors said she didn’t even write a hook at the end of each book. She just wrote an entire book and split it into three.
That’s not what I’m planning to do – each of mine will end with a hook. But it works for her, so good for her!
One of the authors on the group, who is also traditionally published, said that what she loves most about self-publishing is that there are no rules. Before self-publishing, if you tried to sell a serial romance with a continuous arc of one couple, it couldn’t be done. And now you can do it if you want. You can do anything. And if it’s good, readers will buy it.
My serial will have a mystery element as well as the romance, but I understand what she means. I think in New Adult books, especially, there are serials with continuing relationships. I haven’t read a straight romance serial, but I have read straight romances in series, with new main characters in each book, and I do like hearing about couples from previous books. It makes the books seem more real, and I enjoy seeing what they’re doing now.
I think if I had bought a first book in a serial romance involving one couple, and I didn’t know before I read it that there was not going to be a resolve, I would not be happy. If I knew and still chose to read it, then I would be okay with it. What about you? And do you think a hook is necessary? And do you think serials work better if they have a mystery or a scifi element? What are your thoughts?