There are places that make me happy. Where the birds twitter, the sun shines, and I feel the crying of my credit card from inside my bag. Yes, the bookstore.
Perusing the shelves - and later my own bookcases - I came across something which I hadn't really paid much attention...most of my books are part of a series.
Here are a few of my reads:
Harry Potter (a very nice box set of all 7 books, thanks Mum and Dad).
His Dark Materials (another nice box set from my little brother).
The Mortal Instruments (all three).
Vampire Academy (5 books so far since I just got Spirit Bound).
The Hunger Games, Catching Fire (Mockingjay to go).
Shiver (soon to add Linger and Forever).
The Hollow (soon to add The Haunted, and the third book after that).
Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn.
Inkheart, Inkspell, Inkdeath.
The Sookie Stackhouse books.
Wicked Lovely, Fragile Eternity, Ink Exchange, Radiant Shadows.
I have stand alone books but these are looking few and far between on a bookcase heaving with series. And it is the same in the bookstore.
But if the first book leaves readers hungry for more, then onwards to book two.
Some series, may begin with the best intentions of only one book. But as the story unfolds, the characters revealed, darker layers and wider narratives open up making it impossible to tell the full saga in 300/400 pages. And a sequel or series is born.
Some books are plotted with the intentions of being a series, like The Immortals by Alyson Noel.
It doesn't seem to bother readers if there are two, three, or even perhaps seven books in a series. If we enjoy it, we get involved and have to read on.
And sometimes we don't. There are plenty of people who couldn't finish Twilight, or any of the other books I've mentioned.
I love all books. But why is it that we are told to query our books as stand alone when it seems like every book out there has a larger story arc to tell?
I've read lots of articles that advise to pitch one book? Then they add if we want to put on the query that it is a stand alone with series potential, then we can do that too.
But this doesn't seem to put agents or publishers off signing authors for books with series potential. So I say write the story you want to write. Stand alone, sequel, trilogy or series. Because it only takes one agent to fall in love with your book. And then one publisher. And if it is the right idea, the right story that hooks readers, makes them thirsty for more, your series could be up there with the others.
And my credit card will cry even more. :)