Of the many articles I have read about querying an agent, many of them stress the fact that the novel you pitch should be able to stand on its own as a single novel. Reason being, is that your novel shouldn’t depend on any sequel for its strength. It should have an ending all its own, as opposed to an ending that feels more like a pause-point because the true ending is in the sequel. In fact, it is even recommended to mention in a query letter that “your novel can stand on its own, but you have outlines drafted for the sequels.” Additionally across my smorgasbord of blog-readings, I have found that while waiting to hear a response from a query, that is the best time to begin composing your next manuscript.
As I developed the story arc for my novel, it became apparent to me that the world and unique pantheon I had created supported a much larger over-arcing story line. As with almost any movie or book ending, I realized that the ending to THE SOUL SMITH should have some ambiguity to support future planned sequels. It’s just good business. GAME OF THRONES didn’t even attempt an ending, it was the true definition of a pause-point between novels.
So without ruining the ending of THE SOUL SMITH for anyone that plans on reading it, I left a few pearls that would make any reader beg for more. However, is that the level of closure a reader will want if I am never to write the sequel?
No. After finishing a self-contained novel, a reader will want a full, complete story that instills a sense of accomplishment, of closure, of fulfillment. All of which would be addressed in an Epilogue. So, should I add an Epilogue? Even though I keep it in my back pocket, my answer is no. I will do everything possible to ensure that my “Epilogue” will be the seven books I plan to write after THE SOUL SMITH to complete The Blacksmiths series.