Is There a Sweet Spot (or Time) for You to Begin a New Book Series?
Today I was talking to a publisher friend about game expansions, and he mentioned something I hadn’t thought of: When someone learns about a game for the first time, if they also hear that there are a bunch of expansion for the game, they may be too daunted to buy the core game at all due to the time and monetary commitment.
The comparison that instantly came to mind is that’s the exact reason I haven’t read the Wheel of Time series, as it spans a whopping 14 volumes (plus a few companion books). For some people, that might be part of the appeal. For me, it’s too many.
So I thought I’d look at the following questions to see how they impact my willingness to dive into a new fictional series. I’m curious to hear your answers too:
- What’s the most books in a series I’m willing to start? Usually I would say 3 at most, though there are a few series I’ve gotten into that have multiple trilogies separated by big gaps in time (like Red Rising and Age of Myth). That’s more palatable to me for some reason. There’s also the Stormlight Archive, which is two 5-book series. That’s a lot, but I’ll read pretty much anything Brandon Sanderson writes.
- Am I willing to start a new series that the author hasn’t finished? Yes. I do that all the time. I just finished Jade City even though no other books in the series have been released. And I’m currently reading the second book in the Rosewater series, even though the last book won’t be available for a while.
- Am I willing to start a new series if it’s ongoing with no end in sight? My instinct is no, yet I seem to make an exception for authors who explore the same world from different angles. The primary examples I can think of are Becky Chambers’ Wayfarers series, The Expanse, and Old Man’s War. At the same time, I’m not sure I would have started The Expanse in the first place if I had known it would eventually include 8+ books (I just noticed the 8th book is being released next week!).
What are your answers to these questions? If there are exceptions to your preferences, can you think of a reason for them?