A big welcome to Sandy James who is here to talk about an Open Book Series vs a Closed Book Series and celebrating the release of the last book in her Alliance of the Amazon’s series; The Volatile Amazon (published on September 30, 2013 by Carina Press). Want to win a copy? Enter via the widget below.
Open Series vs Closed Series
I’m very proud that the conclusion to my Alliance of the Amazons series—The Volatile Amazon—debuts on Monday, September 30 from Carina Press. On the heels of that joy comes a twinge of sorrow. This is the end of the series—a definitive conclusion that will not allow me to bring back my beloved Amazons to live new adventures.
So which is better—an open or a closed series? Do you prefer a series that concludes and leaves the characters to their happily ever afters and fades into the sunset? Or are you the type of reader/writer who falls in love with the premise and the world-building and demands more, more, more?
There are both benefits and drawbacks to each approach. I honestly believe neither tack is clearly superior to the other.
In an open series, the writer can always return to the world she’s created. She can count on the diehard fans to stick around with each new protagonist and doesn’t have to expend a copious amount of words introducing her world yet again. Sure, she has to do enough world-building to allow new readers to embrace the foundation. But once the author is a few books into the series, the explanations are usually minimalist. Most readers are savvy enough to glean the information they need to understand what’s happening, or they can easily find their way back to earlier books—which are often discounted when new series books are released—and will read them from the beginning.
However, readers easily bore. If an author isn’t careful, she might find new tales becoming formulaic and risk losing her fans. There’s the long-running quip about how a prolific writer has heroines “A, B, C,” and heroes “A, B, C,” and plots “A, B, C,” and simply mixes and matches. Once the stories become stale, the books are not going to attract new readers or keep the old ones.
A closed series has its own benefits. There is a distinct and often emotionally satisfying ending to a story that has ramped up the stakes and anticipation with each new book. A great example is the Harry Potter series. Each story had its own beginning, middle, and end, but a common story element—in this case, the villain—was left unresolved. That resolution only comes in the final book of the series.
But what about the readers who have fallen in love with those characters? Does an author betray her fans by not allowing them to revisit those personalities? Wouldn’t Potter fans like to read about Harry and Ginny’s first date, watch their courtship, and “be there” to enjoy their wedding or the birth of their first child?
Ultimately the choice is left to the author, and it hinges on a few important things. Does she have fresh ideas for those characters? Does she have a fan base built on that world and those characters? If so, an open series might work well.
Or does she build the climax, raising the odds in each book? Is there an ultimate enemy who needs to get what’s coming to her? Have you elevated the stakes so high it’s impossible to top them? Then go for a closed series.
Either way, remember the cardinal rule—write the best book you can, telling a fun and emotionally satisfying story. When you do that, in the end everyone wins.
Sandy lives in a quiet suburb of Indianapolis with her husband of thirty years and is a high school social studies teacher. She and her husband own a small stable of harness racehorses and enjoy spending time at the two Indiana racetracks.
She is published through Forever Yours, Carina Press, and BookStrand, as well as self-published. She has been an Amazon Bestseller and has won numerous awards, including two HOLT Medallions.
Look for a new contemporary romance series–Ladies Who Lunch–from Grand Central Forever Yours beginning in February 2014! The first book–The Bottom Line–and the second–Signed, Sealed, Delivered–are now available for pre-order!
Winner’s choice of any of the Alliance of the Amazon (ebook) books
The Volatile Amazon by Sandy James
Available on September 30, 2013 by Carina Press
Sarita Neeraj has never felt like a real Amazon. Compared to the obvious strengths of her sisters, her Water powers seem small as her stature. She’s determined to prove herself—unfortunately, all that gets her is captured by an enemy.
Ian serves a twisted goddess, preferring this to an empty afterlife. He’s taken Sarita hostage to coax the other Amazons from their safe haven. But in his ancient Scottish castle, the passion and love Ian finds for Sarita resurrect his honor, until he chafes at the dark will of his mistress.
Sarita has finally found happiness—but before she can enjoy it, she’s “rescued” by her furious sisters. To save Ian from destruction at the hands of the Amazons, Sarita must risk wielding magick that could change her very nature. Only then can she prove the Water Amazon is the strongest of the four—and save them all from destruction.
Meet Earth, Fire, and Air in The Reluctant Amazon, The Impetuous Amazon, and The Brazen Amazon.
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