These days, it seems that all we hear about are series. Series. Series. And I love a good series, I really do, I follow more than I probably should, given the time I have to read. I love revisiting a favorite world and group of people. But what about those books that stand alone? Romances that tell a story fully in one book? (And yes, I know unless we're talking about an on-going serial, each book in a series should be able to be read as a stand alone, but I'm using that term here for a non-series book.)
Some of my favorite books are single title, stand alone romances. Non-series romances. They don't contain tons of extra characters the reader can tell are there just to set them up for their own story. They focus on the current characters and tell their story. Period.
If you listen to the "experts" (and as a romance author, I do) we should be only writing series, as quickly as we can. Don't bother writing any books that can't be connected to other books in the same world/small town/group of friends/band of brothers/etc.
But to me, it's sad to think that if LaVyrle Spencer had been given that advice there would be no MORNING GLORY. We'd have nothing by Jennifer Crusie or many of the books by Susan Elizabeth Phillips and so many other great romance authors. How many wonderful romances might never be written now? Yeah, series are great but can't the romance market support those books that aren't as well?
I have written both series and non-series books. As we stand on the cusp of 2015, I'm sitting here trying to make my goals for the coming year. I have my royal romance series I will be continuing, but I need a new project. I want a new project. But are the experts right? Would I be wasting my time writing a single title romance with a plus-sized heroine coming home to heal after a bad relationship and the tattooed hero she was always a little bit afraid of back in high school - a don't-judge-a-book-by-it's-cover book that's been calling to me for a couple of years now?
Yeah, I know I could come up with friends who could have their own stories later on, but then, as the author, I have to be planning those from the beginning. I have to start thinking release schedules for future books and weaving in those secondary characters so they don't feel like they are there merely as a set-up, and I maybe I don't want to do that with this story.
But of course, I want to sell books. I want to write books the readers want to buy, and create characters the readers will fall in love with. Writing is my business and the reality of that business is that my practical side has to choose my projects with the bottom line in mind, while my creative side cries out to write the stories that call to me.
This is where I am now. Do I keep writing my current series and when I'm ready for a new project, start one of the other group-of-friends/band-of-brothers series I have planned out? Do I just suck it up and go with the current wisdom and just forget about that other book?
So what do you think? Are stand alone romances dead?
The Cottage Next Door
Her Royal Masquerade
Her Royal Bodyguard
Her Royal Rendezvous