How and when to end a series
I get a lot of questions about why I end a series, or if I have a plan from the start.
The answer is: Sometimes.
Sometimes I do have a plan, like with Aisling Grimlock. I always knew how the series would end. That being said, I wasn’t quite sure how many books it would shake out to be and even after I realized when “the end” was coming, that allowed me to think outside the box and come up with the spinoff series, which will involve all the original players as they interact with a new heroine (more on that series later).
With Covenant College, I originally thought it was going to be eight books. I was going to do one book for each semester and that was it. I realized pretty quickly that it was too hard to find story for semesters and that’s when I switched over to covering one school year (like Harry Potter with a way more snark).
After I wrapped up the series, I thought that was it. Then I had ideas for the two trilogies. Even though the series was never a huge seller, I decided to do the two event series and I’m happy with how things wrapped up. I’ve gotten a few messages since asking if I plan to spin-off to Sami, but honestly, I don’t see that happening. The Covenant folks will appear in crossovers, but that’s it.
The other series are all open. That essentially means I will keep writing as long as:
1. I have stories I want to tell.
2. Fans are still enjoying the series.
3. Sales are holding steady.
While I would like to say money doesn’t play into it, that’s not true. If a series stops selling, then it will end. I try to pump up my series with advertising as much as I can, which is always helpful, but advertising is a double-edged sword. Finding effective advertising is difficult and then securing that advertising isn’t easy. That’s why authors are always so worried about reviews. We need a specific number and rating to secure advertising, and while readers might not consider three stars a negative review, advertisers do. In fact, anything less than four stars works against authors and it’s become a thing. Readers often think authors are always begging for reviews because of ego but it’s really for advertising purposes because it’s a competitive market out there.
So, how long will my current series last? Good question.
Charlie Rhodes and Moonstone Bay are new, so they’ll be around for years.
Reaction to the most recent Avery Shaw makes me believe that it’s best to start thinking about an exit strategy. So, that will probably mean three more books. I was hoping to figure out a way to keep adding to Avery Shaw for a long time (years and years), but I don’t know how feasible that is going to be. The thing with Avery is, though, she doesn’t need a “big” ending. That means I can essentially keep the series open and add books here and there without sticking to a fixed schedule. Nothing is decided yet, but I will be giving it a lot of thought going forward and readers should probably brace themselves that either the series will end or there will only be one entry a year going forward (after 2018, you will still get a second book this year).
For Wicked Witches of the Midwest, we’re looking at some changes there, too. I get a lot of grief for the fantasies (I mean … a lot) and while I enjoy them, a lot of people hate them. I will stick to the schedule and release a second fantasy this year but going forward, it’s likely there will only be one fantasy a year to go with the two mysteries.
As for my pen name, Rowan Gray is a set story and will be nine total books. There are two more books in the Maddie Graves series and then she will be in crossovers, but that’s it. Ivy and Harper are sticking around for a bit, but they won’t continue forever. I came up with the crossover concept to keep the characters alive even after a series ends, though, so those characters could carry on for a very long time. New series will be coming in whenever a series ends, though, which creates even more crossover opportunities.
In truth, I have a lot of series I want to write. You would be stunned if you saw my computer desktop. We’re talking completed covers and outlines, and a lot of excitement. Making decisions on when to end a series isn’t easy, but it’s also exciting because it means I can bring a new series into the mix. It’s exceedingly difficult to find the correct balance on this stuff, though. That’s why I basically look at sales, reviews and fan reaction when making the decisions.
So, that’s it. I will let you know when something is going to end, and I will never leave a series hanging without an ending. That’s not how I roll. I will always craft an exit for each series because I’ve been burned by series ending without notice and I hate that.
So, it’s not happening here.
Basically that’s it, though. I am always watching and considering the next move to make.
Thank you for reading.
When I was a kid, I was torn between whether or not I was going to grow up and be the Incredible Hulk or Wonder Woman. I flirted with being a Jedi Knight for awhile, but I wasn't up for the intense travel associated with the gig. In my teens, I settled on being a writer -- although I had no idea the effort that would entail.