Exercising Optimism: Writing a Series


So it's no secret that book series are more the norm than the exception these days.  This is especially true in genres like YA, romance, paranormal/urban fantasy, and mysteries.  The appeal is obvious--get readers hooked so they continue buying the books.  It's also a nice thing for an author because you start a new book with things already in your toolbox--characters you know, a world you've built, etc.  (Although, my guess is that when you hit uber success and are on book 15 of a series, coming up with new things within those parameters gets much more challenging.)


Now, I'm a sucker for series.  I love going into a new book with some insider information from a previous book.  And there's nothing I enjoy more than when an author makes me love a secondary character in a book, then gives me a book with that character as the hero/heroine.  I also like series that are a continuation of the main story with the same heroine like the Vampire Academy series and the Sookie Stackhouse books.

So, does that mean when we (the unpublished) are writing that we should write with a series in mind?  Is that smart or overly optimistic?

Every book I've written has been written with series potential.  I'm not sure I did this consciously at first, but I get so into my characters that halfway through most books, I start half falling for one of my secondary characters and thinking about what their story would be like.  And this seems to have come across in the book according to my beta readers.  Two of the secondary characters I'd want to write stories for stood out for them as well, which makes me happy.

However, here's the big question...now that I'm querying this book, do I go forth and start writing the second in the series or do I move on to something completely different until I'm sure this first one has some interest?  Obviously, in romance, connected books have to be able to stand alone, so it's not like writing a sequel per se but it's still an intimidating leap of optimism (and although I'm optimistic by nature, I'm also cautious.)

Then there's the argument  of once you do get a deal, the publisher may want to sign you for a multi-book contract and having other things ready to go is a good thing in that case.  So, I don't know the answer and am throwing the question out to you guys.

What do you think?  Have you written a series or sequel?  Do you write your stories with future books in mind?  What's your favorite series to read?


**Today's Theme Song**
"Mr. Brightside" - The Killers
(player in sidebar, take a listen)