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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay, so I'm still working on the first volume of my epic fantasy series, and I find myself wondering (in breaks from writing) whether I should go on to the next volume immediately or start one of my other ideas.

So the question for authors that write series is this: Do you write a series from start to finish without breaks, or do you switch off and on between different projects?
 

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First: do what's right for your sanity.

Second: if you're rarin' to go on the second book on that series, then by golly follow it up.  The biggest regret of my life is that I let people talk me into NOT writing follow ups.  Sure it was good for marketing in traditional publishing.  If a publisher rejects a first book, you can't very well submit the second, and so you want to hit them with a different first book. 

But readers will want the next book in a series. 

So if you're on a roll, keep writing on the same series.  Only move to something else if you need a break.

Camille
 

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I wrote my whole trilogy before moving onto anything major.  I did interrupt it with short stories, but they only took a few days and I usually did them during editing.  

A series requires a great deal of space in the mind to remember details about places, people and numerous other things.  I find that it's easier to deal with if I keep going until done.  Plus, the editing process for me is 3-4 months, so it gives me time to make sure that the books mesh properly with each other.

Being a writer can be tough.  I won't lie, they might not like it.  I get battered every once in a while, but I get positive reviews too.  The important thing is whether or not YOU like it. :)  If you do, go for it!  Whether you do a series or different stories, give it a shot. :)
 

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Ryne Billings said:
I guess it's mainly just first time jitters getting to me. I keep thinking, "What if I put it out there and no one is interested in it, let alone a sequel?"
I've seen studies that show that it's very likely that no one WILL be interested until that sequel is out there. Or even several sequels. Many readers won't commit until they are sure that the whole series will be there.

Camille
 

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I just put up my first novel in a series too.  I had the same feeling of if no one likes the first one, what will the other one do?  However, I worked hard on this book and it is selling, so I am feeling fairly confident on continuing with the sequel.  I am working on the sequel so I can keep the momentum going and it helps keep everything fresh in my mind.  I do have another book of short stories, but I work on that when I want to do something different.  Good luck on your books and have faith in yourself!  :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the input. It seems that I'm having far more ideas than normal today. I might want to write some of them down for later.

I'm starting to feel a little better. I think I'll try to finish my nine book series before I move onto anything else. I already have it planned out, anyways.
 

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I already had most of my second book written before I released the first. I put out the first on April 26th, and the second on May 1st.

They've both had a great reception, and I'm almost finished with book three.

I'm so passionate about the story, it's hard NOT to write it, honestly.
 

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Robert B. Parker wrote three series and did not write them one after another.  He would write some of his second and third series and then throw in a new Spenser (his first and longest series), so it is possible to do what works for you :)  He even threw in some westerns and then went back to the mystery series.
 

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Interesting question.  After I wrote and sold Calling Crow I got a call from my agent.  He asked me if I wanted to write a sequel or a series.  Honestly, I had never thought of it.  Of course I agreed.  I then wrote an outline for book two (Flight of the Crow) and book three (Calling Crow Nation).  They wrote up a contract giving me a year to write each one.  It was a happy time for me.  Even though I had a full time job, I had an assignment and a delivery date.  It kept me on course.  And, yes, I did take a little break after each book, maybe a month to just vegetate.  Good luck!
 

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I'll let my signature answer that question :)  Sometimes I think I'd quite like to be the kind of writer who can just write through a series from beginning to end before starting something else, but when inspiration strikes it's difficult to ignore.  Mostly I just write whatever I'm most excited about at that point in time.
 

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From my experience, many readers are impatient when they are involved with a series. They always want the next one now. I put out Peace Army just last month and I'm already getting barraged with emails asking about the third. Some folks won't even start a series until it is complete or has several volumes in place. I'm the same way. I didn't start reading The Hunger Games trilogy until the third book was two weeks away from release.

My advice, is this: if you are writing for income and have the creative will and motivation to push through the series before starting another work, you should do so.

YMMV
 

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Cheryl Bradshaw said:
Robert B. Parker wrote three series and did not write them one after another. He would write some of his second and third series and then throw in a new Spenser (his first and longest series), so it is possible to do what works for you :) He even threw in some westerns and then went back to the mystery series.
With traditional publishing, though, you are constrained somewhat by the needs of the publishers and booksellers. Publishers prefer to spread out the publication of a series to one a year, because booksellers kick the old book off the shelves to make room for the new. Also, sometimes a prolific author would write a whole series at once and it would just be published over time.

(Which isn't to say that's what Parker did. It can be good to rotate too -- but however he wrote them, his publisher would publish them according to the bookseller schedules.)

Camille
 

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I alternate between my two mystery series. It's kind of fun to come back to one of my protagonists after concentrating on the other one for many months and to say, "Oh, here you are. What have you been up to?"
 

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Cheryl Bradshaw said:
Robert B. Parker wrote three series and did not write them one after another. He would write some of his second and third series and then throw in a new Spenser (his first and longest series), so it is possible to do what works for you :) He even threw in some westerns and then went back to the mystery series.
Ok, but there needs to be a distinction made. There are series that are one long story told over several books, such as Martin's Game of Thrones series. And there are series that are standalone stories featuring one or more recurring characters, like the Harry Dresden books.

The former may be a tougher sell if the other books are not also for sale. The latter shouldn't matter as much.
 

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My series has 3 books so far and I've just started editing a different genre I wrote about 6 years ago. I've been finding it hard to get the characters formed in my head because of the series.

If I had another book in the 'series' I'd be working on that right now.  ;)
 

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Ryne Billings said:
I guess it's mainly just first time jitters getting to me. I keep thinking, "What if I put it out there and no one is interested in it, let alone a sequel?"
The more books you put into a series, the more virtual shelf space the series has, and the better sales will be on the series as a whole. There's no reason to avoid writing a sequel if that's what you want to write.

(But, similarly, little reason to rush the sequel if it's not what you want to write.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Justin Alexander said:
The more books you put into a series, the more virtual shelf space the series has, and the better sales will be on the series as a whole. There's no reason to avoid writing a sequel if that's what you want to write.

(But, similarly, little reason to rush the sequel if it's not what you want to write.)
I do want to write the series. I'm just feeling particularly inspired today, so I've had at least five ideas for different series of books in another sub-genre.

I've decided that I'll finish the first three books before I start anything else at the very least, though it might be better to finish all nine first.
 
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