When a proposed series of fiction novels are in the works, what caters better to the market: A continuous series or an independent series of novels? These are the things that keep me up at night. =) I would love for agents and publishers to cast a vote (and leave a comment to share their opinion) to see if there are any negative connotations associated with this subject. Authors and readers are also more than welcome to answer the poll as they represent the market.
Without being a published author myself (yet), I can only deduce the pros and cons of each with an outside perspective, and as such, my logic could be completely wrong (hence the need for this poll and for other’s professional opinions).
Composing A Continuous Series (1-2-3)
Pro: This is the traditional form that I think the mass market is familiar with. You can follow the adventures of a single character from beginning to end
Pro: You can lock in your audience with each installment as they immediately connect with your protagonist
Pro: Having captured fans of your novel, you can begin to expect a certain amount of sales to follow
Pro: Movies and TV series favor this type of format (which in turn sells more books)
Con: Obtaining new fans requires that they “catch up” in the series before they read your newest release
Con: Most of the time, a reader knows the protagonist lives at the end because there is a sequel
Composing A Non-Sequential Series (can read in any order)
Pro: If trying to attract new fans, readers can feel comfortable purchasing & reading the newest novel without worrying about reading those released before it. I could be wrong, but I would imagine that in a long series of novels, sales of new books would trickle down over time as not all readers have read the installments before it. (Shouldn’t the first book of a series ALWAYS sell more than the last?)
Pro: This type of series allows readers to engage with a range of colorful characters, and fosters an environment for the author that promotes new creative endings (as opposed to the good guy always wins)
Pro: You can still capture fans in the same way as above, but they purchase your books because of the author’s storytelling ability as opposed to a connection with a particular character, and your connection with that fan ends with that character
Con: Movie/TV deals might be off the table if there is no single character to follow
Con: With sci-fi/fantasy genres, the author will have to continually re-introduce the world in every installment of the series
So cast your vote now! Or leave me a comment to tell me how far off base I am! =)