A piece of advice often given to writers is to make sure your book can work as a standalone story, even if you have sequels planned. And when a writer queries an agent, or a submission to a publisher, there’s an importance placed on stating the story has ‘series potential.’
While this advice is predominantly from a marketing/sales point of view (there’s no guarantee a publisher will give a multi-book deal, and if the book doesn’t sell well enough there may not be a sequel), I wonder about how readers feel about the topic.
In my Open Heart series, it’s quite obvious there’s more to the story, that there’s more in store for the characters. I wouldn’t classify the ending in DIVIDED (Book 1) as a cliffhanger ending personally, but it may be viewed that way by some. The main thread of the story is answered, with new revelations at the climax offering the series potential.
Other authors take a different tact. ACROSS THE UNIVERSE is one of my favourite YA stories, and it was originally intended to be a standalone novel. Beth Revis worked with her editor and her agent to move it into a series. Then Gayle Forman had IF I STAY that works completely as a standalone, followed by WHERE SHE WENT, set well after the events of the first novel. Other authors have companion novels where the stories are set in the same world, but with different characters. Then other authors focus on books that are truly stand alone.
With so many different way to approach novels from an authors perspective, how do you feel about this from a readers perspective. Do you like cliffhanger endings, or do you want your stories wrapped up at the end of the book? AND do you prefer to read a series or a stand alone novel?
Sharon is a Young Adult and New Adult author from sunny Queensland. Her OCD has resulted in her making far too many bookmarks and pieces of jewellery (her husband is very surprised that the postman has reported her for the number of small packages arriving at the house). She’s a Pitch Wars mentor, and is available to run Pitch Wars Roadshow workshops at events. Her OPEN HEART series is out now with City Owl Press.