We’re talking series and sequels at the DB this month and while I have done both standalones and series books, and enjoy them both, I wanted to talk about the necessity (for most of us) of having some kind of continuity with another book.
There are rare authors and books that I have read where the standalone book really satisfies my appetite. And I’m finding more (both as a reader and a watcher of readers) that the spectacular standalones are fewer and farther betweener than ever before, and that I am more attracted to books that tell a bigger story than I ever was.
So if that’s the case, there’s the sequel option, of course, where another story in the same world is told and both are basically standalones that are related. Then there’s the series option, which I compare to series on television. This is a storyline that is a big storyline with lots of small complete storylines. For me, series are more than just related characters. In that case, it’s just sequels.
But my favorite is the continuity series. The above options are generally written by one author, and can be a great boost to sales if fans are waiting for new books in the series. But let’s be real, authors just can’t write fast enough. So the continuity series can be the best option for some fans because you still get to live in the world, but there are many authors writing in the world, so you also get books more often.
A group of authors did something like this and allowed me to be part of it over at Decadent Publishing. We sat down together and created a town in Wyoming called Freewill. We filled it with a few families, we each called our genre and family, and we started writing. As we wrote, we made a story bible and maps and kept in touch with each other. We added more people to the family and they had their own families and arcs.
After this experience, I’ve decided that I want to do this again. I want to get together with another group of authors and write a continuity series. I loved the whole process, including getting to read what everyone else wrote about our town. It was a blast to see my characters show up in someone else’s books. It was a little like writing fanfic, I think. Only we made it all ourselves.
If I had a choice, I would like also to READ more continuity series. Many, many more. In fact, it’s possible that I would read them exclusively if I could. And I may write them exclusively if I could.
I am still working in the Freewill books. I’ve got the final Gaines (think, like the title, cowboys, sheriffs, and ranchers, oh my!) book almost finished and almost ready to submit. Hoping that will come out this Fall. Then, I’m hoping to do a whole new series of books within the Freewill family. I hope you’ll check out, if not mine, then maybe one of Desiree Holt’s Freewill books from Decadent. Or perhaps one of Ann Mayburn’s Freewill historicals. They are called “Western Escapes” and you can find a list of them on my blog.
My particular family is the Gaines family, an interracial family of ranchers who date back to the town’s oldest inhabitants. The first book, Misbegotten Gaines, is an easy place to start, and the first of the Gaines books. But whichever one you read, please do read them. I just love continuity series, and I hope you like them.
Have you read any continuity series? Did you enjoy it? Are you more in favor of multi-author series, or single-author series?