No Rules

Broken-Protocols-1-3-R0.2-200x300Lately, 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!

jingleOne 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?

This entry was posted in Edie's Posts. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to No Rules

  1. Too cool that you’re working on a serial, Edie. One serial I can think of that I’ve read is Jennifer Lyon’s Plus One Chronicles. I didn’t know it was a serial going in – probably because I wasn’t paying attention – and it was a bit of a bummer when I got to the end of The Proposition without everything being resolved, but then again, it did make me really anxious to buy the next book and the next, so I could find out what happened. I guess it did it’s job, and of course, Jen’s writing is amazing, so that helped carry it through.

    I don’t know if I could read a serial that didn’t have some kind of hook between installments, though. It’s almost a necessity. Like in the old Flash Gordon radio series (I’m not that old, my dad had them on cassette) where there was always some kind of cliffhanger or something to get the listeners to ‘tune in next time’.
    B.E. Sanderson`s last blog was …Thank you, thank you.

    • Edie Ramer says:

      B.E., lol about Flash Gordon’s radio series.

      I plan on publishing at least book 1 and 2 at the same time. Perhaps even book 3. They’re shorter than my usual books, so I thought it would be better to wait and this way the reader can buy them right away instead of waiting and possibly forgetting what happened.

  2. Mary Hughes says:

    Looking forward to your new series, Edie! Personally, I don’t like cliffhanger endings. I don’t mind everything not being wrapped up at the end of a story, though. But I do see books with hooks having high sales, so I’d guess even people who don’t like them are pulled along by them!

    • Edie Ramer says:

      Mary, I’ve read all of the Harry Potter books and loved them. And I can think of other series that do great. I think that one reason series do so well is that people talk about them, building up the momentum. They’re eager to find out what happens next.

      So maybe I shouldn’t publish all three right away. Hmmm. Something to think about.

  3. I don’t mind a serial when it comes to TV shows, but I don’t like them when it comes to books. Maybe because I don’t like cliffhanger endings all that much. Plus, I’m greedy. I want the whole book/story at one time. LOL.

    Good luck with your project!
    Jennifer Estep`s last blog was …Black Widow, Elemental Assassin #12, up for pre-order …

    • Edie Ramer says:

      Jennifer, I was thinking that your Mythos Academy stories were kind of a serial in that the story was never finished until the last one. I loved that series!


  4. Misty Evans says:

    Hi Edie!

    Does your serial have dogs or cats in it? 😀

    I do like a serial here or there unless they leave me on a huge cliffhanger. There’s a YA series I’ve been reading and after the last book was so morbid and ended with nothing resolved, I decided that’s it. I’m done. I’m not wasting time on that series any longer.

    It’s one thing to leave a few threads dangling as long as there’s some conclusions and the characters are at least somewhat safe and happy for now. But that’s my opinion. I know plenty of people, especially the younger crowd, who love shocking cliffhangers.

    • Edie Ramer says:

      Misty, too funny about the dog and cat. And the answer is yes! lol They’re not that important to the story, though that could change as the book continues. My subconscious might be working on it now as I type.

      I agree that YA seems to like that more than non-YA. Since my serial isn’t YA, perhaps that’s my subconscious reason for wanting the have the books out all at once. This way they won’t have to wait for the follow-up books.

      Interesting about the ‘safe and happy for now.’ I’ll keep that in mind. Thanks!

  5. I guess I’m of both schools of thought. I like a complete story from beginning to end. But at the same time, I like having just a snippet that will leave me wondering how that “secondary story” will play out. Yes, the hero and the heroine have recovered the diamond and got it back to its rightful owner. But what happened with the security guard in the museum that caused him to not shoot the robber when he had a chance? Is he in on the robbery? Did he get cold feet? Did he do it to divert attention? Stuff like that, if it makes any sense.

    • Edie Ramer says:

      Marcia, I think that’s why the Hunger Games and Harry Potter books are a success. They have something major happen and they won this time – but we know with the next book something more serious and horrible will happen in the next book. So it’s a victory, but not a complete victory. It can be transferred to romance, but I think it’s harder. More like real life. lol

  6. Dale Mayer says:

    Hi Edie,

    Figured I could slip a quick visit in before bed and lo and behold – there is my cover! Thanks for that. I do like the serial concept – then I’ve written several.

    I think you could do very well with a serial. I have both with hooks and without. Do what feels right for you!

    Good luck!
    Dale Mayer`s last blog was …Broken Protocols 3.5 – A Christmas story!

    • Edie Ramer says:

      Dale, I think you trained your readers with your YA paranormal suspense to look forward to the serials, and they don’t mind them. They know the payoff will be there, even in a love story. 🙂

      Thanks for the good luck!

Comments are closed.