Day before yesterday, I downloaded a bunch of books. They were of different genres. Some were from traditional publishers. Others were small press or indie published. My goal was to simply sit back for an evening or three and read. I haven’t done that in a very long time and looked forward to it.
Of course, as with battle plans not surviving the first encounter with the enemy, those plans went up in flames, at least metaphorically speaking. The first book, which sounded so good from the blurb and seemed well written from the sample, soon fell flat. There wasn’t a trope the author didn’t like and embrace to the point where I wanted to bang my head against the wall. Fortunately, it was one I’d gotten as part of Kindle Unlimited. It was returned.
On to the next book. This was a traditionally published book. It was a free promo which is good. Otherwise, I’d be asking for my money back. It was so derivative that I found myself looking to see if I already owned it. I didn’t, but it was basically a “change the names and locations and write the same book” sort of thing.
Then came the third book. I almost hadn’t downloaded it. But, I was quickly going through the books and decided to give it a try. The blurb and sample were promising if not groundbreaking. Still, I wanted a new read and was willing to give it a try.
Until–and admit it, you knew there had to be an “until”–I read the author’s intro to the book. This was first in a series. My eyes narrowed and I reached for my phone. Warning bells were going off. I quickly opened my browser and navigated to the author’s Amazon page. There was the book I’d ordered. The book I was about to read. Publication date two years ago. Indie published. So far, so good. Right?
There were no other titles.
Not a single one.
Definitely not a follow-up to the book I was about to read.
The reader in me, frustrated because there was no indication the author had another book in him (much less the sequel) wanted to wall my Oasis. I didn’t, mainly because I can’t afford another one right now.
The writer in me drew up short and swallowed hard. I understood on one level why there hadn’t been another book in the series. There was no guarantee the author had made any money on this first book. He might have had medical problems or family conflicts that have prevented him from writing more. But, because of the fact there was no follow-up, I was now hesitating reading the book. What if he hadn’t ended the current plot? What if it ended in a cliffhanger?
Then I started thinking about my own work. I have one series (well, a series within a series) that has been left hanging much too long. The reason is I can’t figure out how to move that particular interior series forward, especially since the overall series has been moving forward without it. The only saving grace is the characters from that one novella show up in other books in the main series, so they haven’t been orphaned or forgotten.
Yes, I want to finish the story arc, and I plan to. I just haven’t been satisfied with my previous attempts to do so.
Then there are my other series. I need to put out new titles more quickly than I have been. My experience last night taught me that readers and their expectations are changing. We know we don’t have to wait a year, or more likely two, between books in a series. We aren’t willing to wait that long except for a very few favorite authors. instead, we want a quicker turn around. After all, there are so many authors out there we have access to now that Amazon and the other platforms have opened their stores to indies and small presses, why wait?
So how do we deal with these new expectations from our readers?
And isn’t that the million dollar question?
Some authors do it by writing at least three books in a series before releasing the first one. Others do it by writing shorter works and getting on a set schedule where they release either monthly, every two or every three months. Some do it by writing and publishing in installments, sort of like the old movie serials. Still others do it by dropping the lower performing series/books they’d written and focusing on just one, possibly two, series.
And, yes, series are where a lot of authors are going now. Readers like them. As a writer, they really are easier to write in some ways because you already know the characters and you don’t have to recreate the world in every book.
But where does that leave me?
To begin with, it gave me a huge kick in the pants, one I needed. Between the mental and physical exhaustion I’ve been suffering the last couple of months with Mom’s injury and subsequent surgery, I’ve gotten little writing done since May. I have some very rough drafts (more like notes) for a couple of novellas/novels but nothing close to where they should be. Others, books that should already be out, have been hanging in limbo.
Yesterday morning, however, it was as if the dam burst. Before noon, I’d written more than 10,000 words. Yes, my hands hurt and my brain was numb. But, and this is what’s important, I finished the draft for Nocturnal Revelations. Everything that seemed to hang me up before suddenly became clear. I saved out the draft, backed it up off my working machine and then printed it out. I’ll look it over in the old-fashioned way and then send it out to my alpha readers. Fingers crossed they think it was worth the wait.
But that doesn’t address what to do about the other series and how to get books out more quickly. I know what I’m going to do with the next two Eerie Side of the Tracks titles. They are already plotted out and they are fairly quick writes. I can probably do both of them in a month, once I sit down to do them.
What isn’t as easy or quick to write are the Honor & Duty stories or the last book in the Sword of the Gods series. The former because of the research involved and the latter because I hate ending a series. But that was never meant to be more than three books. Looking back at it now, I know I should have written all three books before releasing the first one. This is my learn from my own mistakes moment.
I don’t have the answers–yet–and there’s no guarantee when I do that they will be the right answers. But I’m going to try. Fingers crossed.
So here’s my question for you: do you tend to hesitate to buy the first book in a series from an author you aren’t familiar with, especially an indie author, if they don’t have a solid publishing history behind them? How long are you willing to wait for the next book to come out before you either forget about it or move on to the next series or author?
Here are the first books in some of my series:
Some things can never be forgotten, no matter how hard you try.
Detective Sergeant Mackenzie Santos knows that bitter lesson all too well. The day she died changed her life and her perception of the world forever.It doesn’t matter that everyone, even her doctors, believe a miracle occurred when she awoke in the hospital morgue. Mac knows better. It hadn’t been a miracle, at least not a holy one. As far as she’s concerned, that’s the day the dogs of Hell came for her.
Investigating one of the most horrendous murders in recent Dallas history, Mac also has to break in a new partner and deal with nosy reporters who follow her every move and who publish confidential details of the investigation without a qualm.
Complicating matters even more, Mac learns the truth about her family and herself, a truth that forces her to deal with the monster within, as well as those on the outside.But none of this matters as much as discovering the identity of the murderer before he can kill again.
Long before the Others made their existence known to the world, Mossy Creek was their haven. Being from the wrong side of the tracks meant you weren’t what the rest of the world considered “normal”.
Normal was all Quinn O’Donnell wanted from life. Growing up on the “wrong side of the tracks”, she had been the only normal in the family. The moment she was old enough, she left and began life as far from her Texas hometown as possible. Now she has a job she enjoys and a daughter she loves more than life itself. Their life is normal, REALLY normal, until her daughter starts calling forth fire and wind.
Quinn knows they must go back so her mother can help five-year-old Ali learn how to control her new talents. But in Mossy Creek nothing is ever simple. Quinn’s mother has gone missing. Secrets from Quinn’s past start coming back to haunt her.
And the family home is more than a little sentient.
Can Quinn keep everyone — particularly Ali — safe? And will she ever get back her illusion of normalcy?
War is coming. The peace and security of the Ardean Imperium is threatened from within and without. The members of the Order of Arelion are sworn to protect the Imperium and enforce the Codes. But the enemy operates in the shadows, corrupting where it can and killing when that fails.
Fallon Mevarel, knight of the Order of Arelion, carried information vital to prevent civil war from breaking out. Cait was nothing, or so she had been told. She was property, to be used and abused until her owner tired of her. What neither Cait nor Fallon knew was that the gods had plans for her, plans that required Fallon to delay his mission.
Plans within plans, plots put in motion long ago, all converge on Cait. She may be destined for greatness, but only if she can stay alive long enough.
First, they took away her command. Then they took away her freedom. But they couldn’t take away her duty and honor. Now they want her back.
Captain Ashlyn Shaw has survived two years in a brutal military prison. Now those who betrayed her are offering the chance for freedom. All she has to do is trust them not to betray her and her people again. If she can do that, and if she can survive the war that looms on the horizon, she can reclaim her life and get the vengeance she’s dreamed of for so long.
But only if she can forget the betrayal and do her duty.
Featured image via Pixabay.