I can't be the only one who's noticed. Has it hit your country? Your town? Your home? Do you recognize the symptoms?
Tell me if this sounds familiar:
You're reading a new YA book. The cover looks amazing, the flap is intriguing, the first chapter has you hooked! It's something new, or at least a new twist on something you love. The writing is great and the story has you captivated. But then something happens. About chapter 7 or 8 you start noticing that nothing is really happening. Chapters go on and on with no real rhyme or reason. Pretty soon you're wondering when this book is going to end. You're just about to give up when things get interesting again. You're almost at the finale when WHAM.....CLIFFHANGER! You scream, "What??? There's another one??"
The Series Syndrome
It seems like more and more these days, that stories, instead of being stand-alone books, are part of a series of three or more. I've been wondering what the cause of this trend is. Is this something Publishing companies want, and push for? Are authors choosing to make their books into a series. Is public demand for a series really high?
The reason I ask is two-fold.
One, in my experience, both with myself and with my friends, books in a series can be a turn-off. If I know a book is the first in a who-knows-how long series, I'm much more reluctant to want to start it. First, because it either has so many books out already that I feel left behind and the thought of catching up is overwhelming, or, it's the first in the series and I'll forget what happened by the time the second comes out. And Second, I'm afraid to start a book in a series because no matter how bad the book is, I still want to know how the story ends. And if I don't like the first book, not only did I waste my time reading it, but I will also have to keep reading a series I don't like if I want to know how the story ends. So, I just don't start it at all. I have a lot of friends that like to come over to my house and borrow books off my bookshelf. Time and time again if I recommend a book, they'll ask, "Is there more than one?" and if I say, "Yes," they ask for something different. If there's a series that I'm absolutely in LOVE with (The Hunger Games, The Mortal Instruments etc.), I feel like I have to beg and promise they will love them before they agree to start the first book.
The Second reason I ask is because of the books themselves. Please don't get me wrong, there are a lot of AMAZING series out there. But, I have read quite a lot of books releasing this year that are the first in a series, and many been filled with what seems like fluff. Just a lot of boring, mindless nothing to make a story that could have been an awesome stand-alone, into a long, drawn-out three part (or more) series. I can't tell you how many times I've gotten to the end of a book this year and thought Are you serious? There's another one? At this point, there are so many of them, that I don't even care enough about how it ends to read the next if it's not great. And what's really sad is that, in many cases, if the story had just been one or maybe two books, it would have been incredible. But instead it is just mediocre.
Of course there are a lot of books out there that have to be part of a series. There is just too much thought, action, drama, etc. to fit into one book. These books are amazing, and most of my favorite books ARE part of a series (Harry Potter, The Mortal Instruments, Paranormalcy, Beautiful Creatures etc.) But does every book need to be part of a series?
So my questions are:
Am I alone in this? How do you feel about the Series Syndrome? Do you agree/disagree?
Do you feel pressured into writing more than one book for your story? If so, why?
Do book in a series sell better or worse, as a whole (Excluding the huge best-sellers). Do you look for stories that are a series over stand-alones, or does it matter?
Leave a comment! I'd love to hear your thoughts!