Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Series vs. Stand Alone

If you read my posts each month about the releases I'm excited for you may have noticed that I tend to be excited for books that I still have to read the prequels for. I have learned over the years that I like to read a series straight through. This is because I have a tendency to forget things that happen and have a hard time remembering what a character is referring to in a sequel. Not that I don't read books as soon as they come out and then have to wait a year for the next book and then another year for the final book. I do that a lot, too. I like to read both stand alone novels and series novels the same.

But marketing them as an unpublished writer is near impossible. The advice I've heard over and over is to write a stand alone novel and try to get an agent or a publishing contract off of that first. Great advice, but I tend to think along the lines of writing a series. Not so great with the advice given to me. I need to put on the brakes and find a good stopping point. One that will leave a reader satisfied.

This past weekend I heard that same advice yet again. Only this time the way it actually dug itself into my brain enough that I was able to realize problems within some of my current manuscripts.

I've been trying to get an agent or publisher for both Barely There and Midnight Raynne. Barely There is definitely a stand alone, but does have the potential for a series if it actually makes it in this tough world of publishing. Midnight Raynne, on the other hand, is not a stand alone and was never intended to be one. Huge problem on my part. I should have reassessed it a long time ago and worked it into a stand alone, instead of writing a crappy first draft of the sequel that will probably never see the light of day to begin with anyhow. But, somehow this time the advice really stuck with me. Within hours I had a completely new ending for both Midnight Raynne and the untitled manuscript I have been revising this month. The untitled one was also created with hopes it would be a series.

I was on a roll Saturday reworking what needed to be done in order to alter the endings. As a result I have a new found take on both manuscripts. I feel they are stronger as a result of the rewrites to take place. While I wrote out my plans for the new endings Saturday I still have to actually write them. For Midnight Raynne I need to rewrite the entire ending, which will alter the final two chapters and probably add on a couple more. For the untitled one I was already planning a rewrite on the ending, but now it's just going to be a little different. Not much of a change in my current plans for editing that one.

I feel like some of the stress of wondering if I have the right ending for the first book in a series has been lifted. They're no longer series, they're no longer stressful. Now they have a set ending, just as Barely There does. I now see why I didn't stress over the ending of that one as much as the other two. And honestly turning them into stand alone manuscripts has not completely killed the possibility of turning them into series if I'm lucky enough to get a publisher who wants to do that. 

What are your thoughts on working stand alone or series books?

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