Bird Face Wendy

Things relevant to reading, writing, publishing or marketing teen fiction.

To Sequel or Not to Sequel

on January 19, 2015

Sbookshelf  I admire readers who are so dedicated to an author or a set of characters that they read every single book of a series, usually in order. My admiration for the author who creates such devoted readers knows no bounds.

Wendelin Van Draanen is one of my favorite authors of a series for tweens and teens. I’ll most likely complete her Sammy Keyes mysteries (18 books, I believe) because I thoroughly enjoyed the three I’ve read so far, though not in any order. In 2014, Ms. Van Draanen released her last book of the series, Sammy Keyes and the Kiss Goodbye. So maybe I’ll catch up before I die.

Perhaps you’re a fan of Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone “alphabet” mystery series: A is for Alibi through W is for Wasted (23, with only X, Y, and Z left to go, I believe). I’ve read a couple of them and would like to read others.

Before you think all I read is mystery, I’ve gotten into some Amish romance lately (only in books), reading a couple of novels from a couple of series by different authors. I enjoyed them very much, but to read a long series of Amish romance? I don’t know.

Some of Sarah Dessen’s YA books captured my interest for a while: Keeping the Moon (my favorite), What Happened to Goodbye (that one I didn’t like so much), and a few others. Some of Ms. Dessen’s novels seem like a series when they have the same setting and perhaps one familiar character—and yet sometimes not.

As I complete the sequel to Bird Face, I wonder about a number of things:

  1. Whether it will find a publishing home—or agent representation and then a home.
  2. Because the publisher of the original Bird Face will discontinue the company’s book publishing arm soon, whether a new publisher will be willing to republish that book and accept the sequel.
  3. Whether most agents and publishers even want a series.
  4. Whether readers of my first book will care if there’s a sequel.
  5. Whether the sequel should be written so that it can be read independently without any knowledge of the first book or be read out of order.

Whether  you enjoy reading a series or not, what are your thoughts about sequels and series? If you have a favorite series, have you read it in order? Have you skipped one or two books in the series, and did it make any difference to you?




11 responses to “To Sequel or Not to Sequel

  1. Beth Steury says:

    When I really connect with the characters, I’m thrilled to learn a sequel exists OR is in the works. But I get frustrated when I have to wait very long for the next book. I want more RIGHT NOW! 😉

    I’m glad you’re writing a sequel to Bird Face. More Wendy–yay!


  2. gracespotts says:

    I read series, and I try to read them in order because I don’t know going in if they’re stand alone, or if I’m missing something if I go out of order. Grace Potts


  3. gracespotts says:

    I read series, and I try to read them in order because I don’t know going in if they’re stand alone, or if I’m missing something if I go out of order. Grace Potts

    From: Grace Potts [] Sent: Monday, January 19, 2015 8:08 PM To: ‘Bird Face Wendy’ Subject: RE: [New post] To Sequel or Not to Sequel

    I read series, and I try to read them in order because I don’t know going in if they’re stand alone, or if I’m missing something if I go out of order. Grace Potts


  4. I love a series when the books are all independent and complete. They are my favorite because you get to reconnect to favorite characters (whether they are the star of the tale or just randomly connected.) But a series based on cliff-hangers and a never-ending-story wear on my patience. Especially lately as that seems to be a trend.

    As for order, I generally prefer to read them in order but it depends on the series and how connected they are. And if I even know they are a series.


    • Examples of series I like that could be read out of order:
      The O’Malley series, The Glenbrooke series, Trixie Belden (when I was a kiddo)

      Series that I definitely read in order:
      Ann of Green Gables, The Mandie series (again, as a kiddo), Harry Potter, Wondrous Strange

      Current series with cliff-hangers:
      I liked The Infernal Devices, whereas The Mortal Devices series made me mad when she finished the trilogy and then decided to extend it another three books. But they’re building up to be a giant interconnected saga. (But then my worry becomes, what if something happens and it’s never completed?!)


    • Thanks for commenting, Sparks. I don’t care for a cliff-hanger either. And I often read a book not knowing it’s part of a series until much later.


  5. Sara Ella says:

    I’m a huge series reader, Cynthia! I love stand-alones too, but most of my faves come in multiples. I’m writing the sequel to my first novel now. I’m really loving having the chance to explore the characters more deeply 🙂


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