Hello everyone. Sorry this is late. It’s been very busy here, and I’m still trying to tackle my studies while marketing my book. Just a quick word on that: Autumn Leaves is doing very well. What I hear from readers so far (no reviews yet), is that the book is very compelling, it has them hooked, and is a very good read. I’m excited over that. Tonight, however, I do not wish to carry on over my latest work, but address an issue that has plagued me for some time now: why do writers and readers engage in a book that’s part of a series?
I’m certain all of you have read a book that’s had siblings stretching into the double digits. Harry Potter had seven volumes; the Twilight saga had several; the Wheel of Time had 13! I confess here that I am not a real fan of books that stretch on for multiple volumes. If I ever wrote something that did stretch on beyond a single book, I would draw the line at three, and no more. The question remains: Why do writers unnecessarily lengthen their works, and why do readers choose to read them?
The ‘why’s’ are much different for writes and readers. First off, for readers, the length of the book (the total story) is compelling and one can easily lose themselves in the entirety of the tale. If the story is really good, it’s very easy to let your mind travel along with the characters. It’s even better knowing the story is not finished, and that another book will carry you still further into the new world you have just begun to explore.
Second, in a similar vein, if you love the characters, it’s very easy to follow them on continuous adventures. One book is simply not enough time to spend with Frodo and Sam, or D’Artagnan, the boy who lived. They become living beings to you, and friends. Saying goodbye is difficult, so it’s easier to delay that parting until a further date.
Finally, I feel there is a sense of triumph when one completes a 13 book collection. You can proudly display the titles on your bookshelf and remember fondly the span of your life you committed to that novel. I often look fondly at my collection of Musketeers books.
Now, for writers, it’s different. Please note, here I take a bit of a cynical turn with this first point. I feel that for writers, writing a book in multiple volumes is a marketing ploy not always necessary. (Remember, I am referring here to a continuation of the same general story-line, not separate adventures of the same characters). Writers feel they can ‘hook’ the audience with their book and seemingly coerce them into reading the successive volumes, especially if left with a cliff-hanger. There is nothing inherently wrong with that, but I believe in that case, the purpose of the book is mere monetary gain, and not art. Writing should be about life and art, not rudimentary profit. Cheap ploys for readership are not welcomed by this author, and should be shunned by all writers who truly view their work as something more.
There is also for writers an established audience who is awaiting the second chronicle of their favorite character. It is no doubt advantageous to have that readership established, so a writer does not necessarily have to begin anew with each book. My first work dealt with domestic abuse, but my second will deal with something entirely different. In a sense, I’ll have to start fresh with my readers, as one book will appeal to one person, and another to someone different.
Finally, and probably what disgusts me the most, is that the notion of writing 47 volumes on one adventure is the vogue thing to do right now. Popularity dictates that everyone extend a story far beyond its logical limits. It’s the ‘cool’ and ‘hip’ practice right now, so on the shelves one sees only “Sexy Vampire: a sexy vampire story 17” or “Crazy zombie junk: a crazy zombie junk story, 11.” No! Enough. Please, stop! If you can’t tell it in three novels, please stop. Frodo and Sam: three novels. Musketeers: three novels. Just because one person found success with the idea doesn’t mean all writers need to follow it.
Alright, this was a rather lengthy rant tonight. My apologizes, but this sort of junk annoys me. That being said, many books are part of a series today. If you enjoy them and find amusement in reading them, then by all means surrender your mind to the novels and escape for a little while. Have fun with the book.
As for you writers: don’t! Just don’t.
As always, thanks for reading.