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Writing a Series Versus a Standalone Book March 5, 2012

Posted by shannonmuir in analysis, characters, ebooks, fiction, indie, indie publishing, Kindle, new release, novels, plot, self-publishing, Smashwords, Willowbrook Novels, Willowbrook Saga, world building, Writing.
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So far this year I’ve released two ebooks. One, EVERYTHING CHANGES, is the first book of a family saga called THE WILLOWBROOK SAGA available exclusively at Amazon at the time of this writing. The other, THE PHOENIX RISES, follows a middle age woman who finds her romance life turned upside down with the backdrop of the public library as the setting, and is a standalone story available on Amazon and Smashwords.

That got me thinking about the two experiences and what did I enjoy and find challenging about each one.

With doing the first in a series, it’s fun knowing you’re going to see these characters again and that everything’s not just confined to the outcome of a single adventure. However, there is also still very much the reality that the individual novel needs a strong beginning, middle, and end that makes the reader feel going on the adventure has been worth it. While frequently seen in television, which I also have background in, for some reason I’m less of a cliffhanger fan in prose. I have been known to write my endings implying there is more to come if need be, but in my opinion readers paid to go on at complete journey and for a series I just need to find that mini-arc within the bigger picture.

When it comes to doing a standalone book that’s isn’t part of a series, my focus is on the fact that these characters – unless an unexpected sequel idea presents itself at some future point, but I don’t go in with the expectation – won’t ever be seen again. Everything about them and the world they are in needs to be conveyed in that single volume. In a lot of ways, there’s more pressure involved with a standalone book because other than radically correcting and republishing the ebook (even more complications enter with a print book, but none of the titles being discussed today are) there’s no easy way to make corrections to the larger world or develop certain aspects of it further. What is in the single volume is what readers get, unlike the series which allows incredible play for world building which I enjoy very much.

Series or single volume, the bottom line for me involves bringing to life characters I enjoy writing about that I hope others will also be entertained by as they read. Really loving what I do is what makes it worth it to me.

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