This week’s challenge: writer or characters?

This is slightly off-topic from my free reading challenge (once more: “I read some books” makes for a less than fascinating post), but my blog this week was prompted by a question on twitter about whether readers prefer standalone novels or series.

It’s one of the “rules” of independent publishing that series sell vastly better than standalone books because it’s now an established “fact” that readers prefer series of books that they can revisit time and again, like going back to a favourite holiday resort.

So, I started looking at my own reading preferences – and came to the conclusion that it depends – although series have become so ubiquitous in YA that it’s a little hard to tell.

New out - click for preview and to buy!
New out – click for preview and to buy!

I’ve just finished Gill-Marie Stewart’s No More Lies, which is the conclusion to her George and Finn trilogy of books. That’s a terrifically fun series – romance and cosy crime for teens. But I know perfectly well that whatever Gill-Marie does next I’ll go with her – whether it’s in the George and Finn universe or something completely different.

Good, but...
Good, but…

On the other hand, I fell utterly in love with Marissa Meyer’s Cinder and went on to consume Scarlet and Cress in the Lunar Chronicles series in short order. And yet, Fairest and Winter are sitting on my bookshelves, watching me (I’m sure) with resentment every time I pick something else out or settle down with my Kindle. Perhaps it was the gap of time waiting for Winter that made my attention wane; maybe it’s because the book is about a mile thick and there are too many books out there for me to want to read one that’s the size of three. I don’t really know the cause, but my passion for that series has definitely faded.

rain-stormI can’t actually find very many standalone YA books in my shelves, which is remarkable. I followed Kim Curran from trilogy Shift, Control, Delete to standalone Glaze (and they’re all fabulous), and I read Virginia Bergin’s The Rain and The Storm duology and wait impatiently for her next. I can’t find an author whose books I’ve liked that I’ve deliberately not followed into another world or genre.

Overall I think I care more for the author and the writing than for the world, but it really does depend. If I like a book and there’s another by that author I’ll take a look. If I like it I’ll read it, if I don’t I won’t. I don’t think that marks any change in my reading habits to what I’ve always done.

Over to you, dear reader – do you prefer series or would you rather settle down with a standalone book?

2 thoughts on “This week’s challenge: writer or characters?

  1. Controversially – I prefer standalone books. If the series is long, I tend not to bother because it’s too much of a commitment (which sounds REALLY weird now that I’ve said it). I am totally fine with books which are loosely connected though. Linked standalones, if you like. I really dislike books which end on a cliff hanger so that you have to read the next book to find out how it ends. That’s just cheating.


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