Hiya, folks. It’s me pondering again. Oh-oh!
I’m wondering how many series writers ask themselves: When do I end a series? Ending a series also affects readers who are fans of the books. As a reader and author, I, too, have saddened to see a series end.
Writers, have you ended a series? How did you come to the decision?
Readers, what do you think when a much-loved series is over?
Forgive me for making this about me, me, me. Haha. I might have mentioned this before, but early last year, I asked a few of my dedicated readers if my original subtitle Seasoned with Destiny:
BILL’S FINAL GIFT sounded like the final book in the Double Dutch Ranch Series: Love at First Sight.
My oldest son first pointed this out to me when he asked if this was the final book. Bless his heart. He’s great with critiquing my titles. Indeed, the readers I asked agreed it sounded like the last book in the series. Therefore, I changed the subtitle to “A Gift of Love” because lo-and-behold, I didn’t want it to sound like the last book in the series. I asked my cover designer to change the subtitle, and even she thought the first one sounded like the series would end.
Since then, and after days of contemplating whether I wanted to write more books in this series, I asked myself if book five should end it after all. The series can stop where it is without another book. But after two new and unexpected characters popped up in the story, and a surprise declaration from another, I mentally made a plan for a sixth and seventh book. Maybe eight.
Should we step back from making major decisions at certain times in our lives? Wouldn’t illness be one of those times? Living in a pandemic when so many “normal” things change in our lives, also has an impact on decision making. Shouldn’t this be another time to take a step back and weigh all the options? This is what I’m trying to do. To me, these are rhetorical questions because I know the answer is yes.
Way before the end of writing book one, I planned on a long series. I’d be sad to see this one end. An author who I admire has advised others to wrap it up if sales dry up. Sales almost had, but to be fair, I blame myself. One needs to put books in front of readers, and I neglected to do this for many months–nearly a year. Therefore, I can’t base a decision on low sales until I put my heart and brain back into my job and promote myself and my stories.
When I promote, sales go up across the board and across all of my series books. My new book did push sales to all of my books. Needless to say, this encouraged me.
Another thing driving me to say farewell to the Carlson family is: I feel like I’m called to write something new.
Do you know this feeling, writers?
This new idea rolled out of my head like a red carpet at an awards show. A little part of me thinks I can extend the spin off series with the new books that popped into my head. I’m sure this harebrained idea is me (or my muse) trying to hang on to the series??? You see, the spin off series takes us off the ranch and introduces us to friends and acquaintances who live and love in and around Canyon Junction. 😉
I tell myself “The books can fit into the series.” Just in case, I wrote a short scene in Seasoned with Destiny: A Gift of Love for the second unexpected character who would begin with this “new” idea.
I can make it happen if I want it to. I’m a writer!
After all, I transformed an old draft for Finding Kimber into a western to fit into the spin off series. A new western setting changed everything especially my hero Zachary (Zach) Bryson, who is now a cowboy. He’s a mighty fine cowboy, too, though a stubborn–the way I like them–alpha. He was not named Zachary in the draft. The major parts of the story that I kept was Kimber’s name and her needing witness protection. Read her tempestuous beginning HERE.
The Truth Is:
It’s 2021, and I’m feeling a bit better than last year and thinking clearer now. The thing is, I have a new series to build in the Two-Five Ranch Outlaws. I’m behind in this series. Instead of writing the draft for book two, I should be writing book three, but in 2020 life got in the way… The same as it did for all of us. At this point, I don’t want to begin another new series. Shame on my muse for nudging me at the wrong time. Hmm. I’m leaning toward writing the next Double Dutch Ranch story and to go from there. Maybe the new series idea is for another life.
So much to write. So little time. All I can say is “Stay Tuned.”
Time goes, you say? Ah no!
Alas, Time stays, we go.
~Henry Austin Dobson
I’ve been writing and revising this post since last year. What does that say about decision making? So, if you continued this far, I thank you kindly for reading. 💖 Enjoy the rest of your day.
Readers? Authors? Any thoughts on the ending of a series?