Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Single or Multiple Books?

This blog post got me thinking. Fantasy authors almost always publish in series. Trilogies are the big thing.

But, I admit, I’m a single-book writer. I always wonder, “If I were to write a sequel to this, how would I do it?”, but I never think in multiple books. Perhaps that’s why, lately, I only want to read single books, too. (Just another thing that over-narrows my selection of novels to enjoy during work.*)

So, judging on this agent’s blog post, will my affinity for stand-alones hurt me in the publishing world? Guess I’ll have to wait until her post on them to find out . . .

Excerpt of the day:

What lies within your heart
little boy?
Captured light without a name;
the bearing of your family’s shame.

The Raimos, chapter 16

* After giving up on The Name of the Wind, I’ve started Servant of a Dark God by John Brown. It’s . . . different. But I’m still reading it, so that says something. I really want to read Mr. Monster, by Dan Wells, but due to lack of funds I have to borrow it from a friend who lives in Provo and I’ve yet to venture down there . . .


  1. Perhaps something publishers may like to hear is "series potential" for a good standalone novel. =P
    As for me, I think that if I did a ton of world-building for a story, I'd be okay with having more than one book set in the same world... I don't imagine ever doing something like Harry Potter though, with all these books following the same character for so long. I get tired of writing about the same people after a while. However, anything's possible when contracts are involved! ;]

  2. Cholisose is right: Brandon has said frequently that putting "Stand-alone novel with sequel potential" is the magic word for agents/editors on query letters.

    I think with regard to multiple book sets is just if you think of a story that's just too long. Trilogies are a lot like the three-act parts in and of themselves: first book introduces, second book adds to the conflict, third book resolves. In the individual books sub-plots, etc. can cause the three act format (to make the books readable), but the overarching conflict seems to work that way for trilogies.

    I actually usually work in trilogies; I only recently decided that I should try writing more stand-alone, since it's easier to break through with standalone with sequel potential then a bonafide, "for certain" trilogy.

    Maybe you could try planning a story that would be super-long, then se if you could break it up into pieces? That might be a good exercise. I dunno. I guess technically you shouldn't worry about it too much until something gets sold anyway. ;)

  3. I really like what Sharon Creech does: she writes standalone books, but each one has at least one character from her previous book. Hence, the main character's best friend from WALK TWO MOONS was the main character of ABSOLUTELY NORMAL CHAOS, etc. I think that's what I'm going to end up doing, because I definitely believe in selling multiple books in a contract if I can.