Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Sandra Parshall asks:

In these difficult times, is it best to stick with a series or a type of mystery you've had reasonable (but not spectacular) success with or take a gamble on "breaking out" by going in a fresh direction?  

Has all the bad news out of publishing made us overly cautious?


Sheila Connolly said...

It depends?

If you've got a publisher who likes you but thinks your series has run out of steam, they'll have their own ideas.

If you want to reinvent yourself and pitch your new book to publishers, the answer might be different.

And have you already written that new gamble book, and how do you feel about it? Are you writing it just to create something different, or do you feel it truly reflects your voice and style?

Rosemary Harris said...

Whoa..I was hoping for some more advice here. I am just finishing book four in my series and I'm curious to know what my publisher is thinking. I know a lot rides on book three which has yet to be released so maybe I'll come back and answer again in six months!

Sandra Parshall said...

I can say from personal experience that a lot depends on your agent. If you want to break into a certain subgenre, be darned sure you have an agent who knows that market inside and out.

And from observation I would say that most readers need at least three books to become fully committed to a series and its characters -- and to the person who writes them. I admire writers who know when to quit -- who know they have nothing left to say about a set of characters. But jumping from one thing to another too early in your writing career can prevent readers from forming a strong perception of you as a writer. If you want to go darker, it might be a good idea to drift in that direction in the last couple of books of a lighter series -- not enough to alienate series fans, but enough to let them know you're capable of writing a different type of book.

But who am I to give career advice? Never mind! LOL

Deborah Sharp said...

Maybe I'm overly cautious ... but I would take the modest success of a series over the who-knows-what-will-happen step of breaking out with something totally new. Then again, I'm only on Book 3, coming out this summer. Check back when I've written Book 8, and am itching to kill off ''Mama.'' (not my real one, the fictional character.)