A warm welcome to Sandra Haven, a Developmental Editor for commercially and self-published authors. Have you thought of writing yourself? The first three readers to comment AND say he or she is interested in writing will receive a free PDF copy of Sandra’s book “How to Publish a Book, Novel, or Series.”
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How You Can Become A Key Player In A Series
By Sandra Haven
Who doesn’t like reading more books about the same great characters? Or in the same marvelous setting? I sure like to read them! It is like looking forward to a tasty second and third course in a yummy meal. We all have a favorite series author or two. You also find new writers, like some who participate in this blog, who will perk your interest.
Yet a series can let me down as well. As an editor who works with many series writers, I know a series can be tricky to write. And I know that authors are eager to please readers.
Authors are like cooks: they want to serve readers with satisfying results. Although the book they have already published and is in your hands, they are eager to know if it was satisfying. And your answer will help them refine the flavor of their next course—the next book in their series.
Here are things for readers to think about to help those authors to provide you with great stories:
Was the current book satisfying? Why or why not?
Every book in a series needs a thread of interest, something unresolved, to pull readers into the next book. However, if there is no sense of reward, no place of safety where the character can rest at “The End,” nothing is accomplished and readers can feel let down. How well did the current book satisfy you?
Did you read a later book in a series and feel lost?
Catching readers up on the backlog of previous book characters and issues can be challenging—but, maybe you happened to pick up Book 2 or 12 in a series. You should be able to plunge right in and enjoy that particular story without wondering who is who. For instance, Susan Furlong’s Georgia Peach Mysteryseries offers the same characters and setting but with different mysteries (and a few peachy recipes!) in each book, each a complete story in itself.
Did you love something (a character or situation) but the author kind of skipped over it?
Did you wish there was more about Joe, that great minor character mentioned in chapter 6? Or did the main character’s problems with this or that seem glossed over? Whatever perks YOUR interest is what the writer wants to hear about. Which brings me to …
How to Help Your Favorite Writers
Tell the Authors!
Authors are nearly all online. Usually they have their own website or blog or FaceBook or other social media pages. Believe me, they are truly eager to connect with readers. They often tweak the next book based on what their readers say!
Want to see more about something, say Joe in chapter 6? Or hear how Stephanie dealt with her health issue? Or maybe you loved the mystery but found it a little too simple or too complex? Let them know if you found an ending not as satisfying as you’d hoped for or if you got lost at some point. Find their contact information online and write to them.
Most authors would appreciate a note from you; however, many receive so many emails that although they read and consider all of them, they are unable to answer them. Many authors offer newsletters to deal with most of the questions that come up. You may discover what the author is planning next and get some insights on the stories. Sometimes there are other subscriber benefits as well, like special discounts.
I heard J. A. Jance speak quite some time ago about her mystery stories involving police officer J.P. Beaumont. The owner of a Seattle restaurant she had used in previous books asked if Jance’s restaurant owner in the book could have an affair with this cop. In the next book, the cop did enjoy a date with the owner!
You may not be able to spoon with one of your favorite characters, even within the pages of the book, but you certainly can dish out useful recommendations to the author. Then, the next time they bake up a batch of words to serve you, you just might find each morsel has the flavor you preferred in that satisfying read.
Sandra would love to hear from you. www.Haven4Writers.com