A while ago, the following question was asked by Margaret StashEmpress as part of a longer comment:
Am I the only one that’s getting a bit tired of seeing so many new series (instead of continuations of favorite old series?) I think at this point a new series has to have a REALLY unique “hook” that grabs me before I’m interested enough to try it (the upcoming Kensington Palace Chef series is one whose premise “grabs” me).
It feels like this has been a more regular occurrence lately than it was in years gone by, so I’ve had some time to think about it more frequently, and thought I’d ask what everyone thinks.
Sometimes there just isn’t any alternative to starting a new series, and that’s understandable. For example, when an author is discontinued by their publisher, they don’t generally have the option to continue writing the same series under a different publisher or as a self-published author as the publisher has significant rights to the series. So they don’t get a choice on whether they want to start over again as it were – if they want to continue writing, they need to come up with a new series.
However, there are other times when it seems like an author just wants to start something new. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing – if classic authors just stuck with the one series they began with, we wouldn’t have many of the classic sleuths they came up with in their later writings! There’s also the issue that some series just get old with time – that sometimes there are only so many stories that can be told about a given cast before books begin to feel very “same-ey”. The unfortunate side effect is that series that we already love can feel side-tracked, ignored in favor of the new favorites.
So, what do you prefer? New series and fresh starts? Or the continuation of tried and true favorites?
I prefer the old series-by then, they feel like family but as you said, sometimes an author has no choice and we certainly understand that.
Well we have to as they do as well. But I prefer that an old series continue.
Sarah Graves’ home repair is homicide series is one of my favorites. Then she launched into the Lizzie Snow series, also a favorite, and Graves brings solid quality to the table, and she keeps her name on both. That is all very appealing to me.
Some series I really hate to see go. Maybe the author feels she has gone as far as she can or wants. Disappointing to be sure. But I also appreciate the new stuff coming in.
There are new series but Berkley dropped many authors and their series are no longer being written. Unfortunately some of these were very good.
I prefer “old series” by authors who have the ability to keep their characters growing, learning and evolving. What has been so frustrating for me during this recent “shake-out” in the cozy market, is the fact that I have grown emotionally attached to certain authors and their protagonists. To have that relationship abruptly severed is painful. As a result, I have grown reluctant to begin a new series for fear that the rug will be yanked from under my feet once again.
I am one that prefers a shorter series of no more than 6 books….I am always looking for newer, shorter series…Some series that have 12+ books, just tend to overwhelm me…plus, I feel these long series have got to be ultimately fresh and interesting…not ” old hat “.. I have gotten stung so many times with never ending series…You most typically get a book that is filled with boring details and old news…However…I have always loved Sue Grafton…I even went to a book signing and she is so much fun…I must admit…I do love her ABC series…
Anyway, there are so many wonderful series…I look forward to hearing what series have always been superb, all the way thru each book…
I like the new series but get really excited when I see a new book from an old series. You feel as though you know these characters and want to see how their lives change and grow. I get very excited when I come across an author I have not read and learn there are four, five or six books in that series and can read them back to back.
I enjoy following characters that I’ve become familiar with. Old friends I suppose you would say. Change is something I enjoy on many facets of life, but having old friends to continue following is comfortable.
While I get frustrated and disappointed when a series I enjoy is cut short before it’s time, especially through no fault of the author, I also agree that some series run past their time and lose their appeal. Still, I usually stick with the series for 2 or 3 “bad” books before I drop it. I also like giving new series/authors a chance because there may be a prince or two among the frogs (grin).
I know when one of my favorite authors starts a new series my immediate thought is sigh….how long before I get a new title in my favorite series. But then I think…..maybe it’s like us if we see the same people every day all day – we sometimes need a break from the routine and need to try something new.
Mary Ann says
I like both, I love finding new and wonderful series. But – the plots and characters in the old series are like friends I’ve come to know and I miss them when they’re gone. Guess I want the best of both worlds, or should I say the best of all my cozy worlds.
Linda MH says
Well said! I agree with you–100%. I’m always sad when I hear that one of my favorite series is going to end–I just wish the authors were given a chance to write one more book to “wrap things up”. On the other hand, there is something really exciting about finding a new series and reading that first book and loving it!
That’s a great question. I love the old series, just because they are like friends and cozy to curl up with. Yet, I love the new as well. I agree though, it really has to catch my eye to be good. There can only be so many bakers and such.
But remember something, if five writers took the same premise, they would all be different, just because of the writer’s voice and outlook. There might be some familiar tropes, but their take on the story would be unique.
Margaret StashEmpress says
This can be true BUT I’ve usually found that if one author writes a successful series and then another 4 begin series using the same premise, possibly one of those MIGHT be good, but invariably at least 3 of them turn out to be a total waste of ink (or electrons if e-books LOL). Because if they ARE good writers, they will come up with their own new scenario instead of piggybacking onto another author’s success. In one case I’m thinking of, the two series are so similar that they actually couldn’t both exist in the real world at the same time (that old “two objects can’t exist in the same space at the same time” thing…..)
Please just write one series. It’s hard enough to wait a year for the next installment of your favorite book. If you write multiple series, it takes forever (unless you are a James Patterson).
Even James Patterson doesn’t write that many, really. Not these days. He just writes the outlines, I think, then slaps his name on it. Possibly revising the end product so it’s true to it’s ‘universe’. The co-writer does the majority of it. It’s called ‘Share-cropping’.
Mollie Hunt says
A good series should go on forever. And while we’re on the subject of change, another thing I don’t prefer is when a formerly very single protagonist gets married and/or has a baby. It becomes a whole new story, one I didn’t originally choose to read.
I had an author with, I think, 2 series I really liked. She ended one series after putting out a synopsis of the next book in one of the series, to her readers great dismay. She answered the angst ridden question of why, by letting her readers know that her publisher now wanted “Western” theme stories and so the book we were all waiting for was now on a back burner possibly forever.
I can understand when an author has had enough or feels their series has no more stories – no matter my deep reader desire for it to continue, although, I do prefer a real ending instead of just no more books. I also understand, kind of, sort of, maybe, that authors do not just “work” for their readers – they “work” for a publisher who may decide a change is needed for any number of reasons.
I guess I prefer old series, but if a new series is interesting to me, I’ll go with it. I would have to say though that I am not fond of the new direction of ranch/western stories/series. Not an area of interest for me, I prefer mysteries and paranormal mystery/romance and stories with some humor.
When a series I really enjoy stops I go on the search and usually find new authors [that I really hope are prolific LOL]. I also go to my bookshelves and reread what I have.
I am guessing there may be more like me – my reading interest changes from time to time and then can revert back to an older interest.
So I guess my preference is really old series first.
I’m a series binge reader. So the more books they have written the better! I go for authors that have at lest 6 or more books. Mary Daheim is great she has two very long running series. I have read both. But it just me and my preference, when I go to the library I have a sheet of all of the novels printed up with that particular author that I’m looking for.
Sandy Hemsher says
Two of my favorite series are gone. I feel like publishers are forcing me to read what they deem worthy, I’m too stupid to know what I should be reading. What do I know, I just spend money.
Kathleen Kendler says
I appreciate the old & new series. Some I like I & some I don’t. Just recently I gave an older series a second chance & found the latest book quite compelling. So, now I’m going back to see If I can enjoy the series and hopefully the book I started and couldn’t finish. I don’t necessarily have to read them in order. You take what you can get from my library.
I don’t know about new series. Recently I’ve concluded that old series have run their course. I will not mention names here (I count three) but the authors, or their editors, are getting sloppy. The name of a minor, though recurring character, changes. In a plot, the hero stands in one place while, next thing s/he is in another place in time to observe the direction a suspect flees. A tension between two characters disappears after a resolve and the characters and the plot are no longer interesting. The worse, a story is told by first person but in a few cases it is changed to a third. This, by the way, was in a first book in a possible series that I am not going to visit.
There are so many new series that I can’t keep them straight – especially the bakery and bookstore sleuths. I really enjoyed the Diane Mott Davidson series and haven’t been too impressed with the knock-offs. I do read two series by Elaine Viets and I think she does a terrific job keeping her characters “alive.” I’m also getting frustrated with the blurred line between romance novels and cozies. When the romance is integral, as with Margaret Maron’s Deb Knott series or Susan Wittig Albert’s China Bayles, I really enjoy the evolving romance but I’m increasingly annoyed with the frivolous romances between the handsome detective and the lead character. Maybe I’m just reading too many books in this cold weather and need to stick to my favorite authors.
Carolyn L Dean says
I have to admit that I love the old series. It feels like coming home when I read about characters and settings I already know and love 🙂
I really love it when an “old series” can continue on, but I do think that it has to be done well. Some examples (which go really far back) are Agatha Christie’s Poirot / Miss Marple or perhaps Dorothy L. Sayers’ Peter Wimsey. I think these are so successful because the books don’t revolve entirely around the main character’s personal life.
So often nowadays the books are built so much around a character’s personal life that they can’t go on for too long without going stale. Without singling out a specific series, many books follow a female lead who is struggling with a business/romance/etc. and the story revolves around that. However, you can only carry that so far before the story gets old and you have to branch out. I’ve noticed a lot of authors struggle with that and for me, that’s when the series needs to end.
Thank you for this comment, Brooke. I knew I was finding some of the newer series unsatisfactory but I couldn’t pinpoint why. You nailed it–way too much of the main character’s personal life, which gets old fast. In fact, it often seems like filler; it doesn’t advance the story.
Karen Cooper says
It depends on the writer and the series. I love some old series because they are like meeting an old friend. But let’s face it, sometimes writers run out of ways keeping a series fresh and interesting. One book is the same as the next book. I’ve stopped reading some long-running series simply because I’m tired of the characters and the books have become boring.
Or if the writer is aging the characters throughout the series, those characters may become too old. I’m thinking about Lawrence Block, who doesn’t write cozy mysteries. I read recently that he will probably not continue his Matthew Scudder series because that character is now in his 70s.
A new series allows the writer to explore new ideas and new characters. Starting a new series can be exciting. It’s like meeting a new friend.
Margaret StashEmpress says
First of all, let me just say how honored I am to have inspired a blog post! My head is getting nearly as swollen as my TBR list LOL!
So my take on this is — obviously if I have series I love, with characters that have become dear old friends, I prefer this series to continue. I have no problem with the sleuths aging and maturing and having lives along the way. Case in point, loved Tommy & Tuppence as much as senior citizens as when they were young & in love.
I do understand that with the publishing world being what it is, the author frequently has no control over how long their characters/series will continue to live and prosper…
That said, there are two different situations that I’m not happy with.
One is when authors have a number of series running at once, they’re continuing the old series, but at further and further intervals, adding new series, and unfortunately seems like sometimes they put most of their creative efforts into the newer series & when they do put out new titles in the old beloved series, it seems like they’re churned out by rote at best, or farmed out to writing students at worst.
The other situation is the “bandwagon syndrome” I see a lot of. There’s a series taking place in a cogwheel store that’s doing well? Ok, so 10 aspiring authors will start series of their own taking place in… you guessed it…. a cogwheel store… cuz hey, it worked for the first gal……
This just plain annoys me and makes me not want to try ANY new series at all — even though it means I might be missing out on some books that may actually be good, my feeling is that if you have a great cozy series in you, you can and should at least take the effort to make up your own scenario instead of coopting an existing one. (And calling your cogwheel store a widget cafe doesn’t count!)
Ok, that’s me, I’ve had my say.
I too come to love series’ protagonists as if they were family — or at least old friends. And the saddest way to lose such friends is when a beloved author dies (for example: Anne George, *sob*), because then there really are no more in just that author’s voice (even though daughters/sons/whoever tries, to me it’s never quite the same).
But it makes me angry when series are seemingly just cut off arbitrarily — their reviews show they are well-liked, so they are evidently selling, but for whatever reason the publisher just dumps them.
I like fun, but not dumb; I like relationships, but not to the detriment of the mystery; I like to solve ‘whodunnits’ more than guessing willshe/won’tshe; I like different locations, but not to ridiculous extents; and finally, I don’t mind paranormal as long it’s not done in a silly way (for instance, Leigh Perry “Family Skeleton” series: I admit freely I didn’t think I would like it because it sounded a bit silly — but I gave it a chance, and loved it then mourned because it was canceled).
I like series at least 6 books long, but sometimes more than 10 and the author seems to get a little stale — not always, but sometimes. And I too don’t really care for the turn to western/ranch etc. settings all that much. Nor do I care for the increasing romance infiltration, where the mystery falls to almost an afterthought.
Too many paragraphs beginning with “I” — better stop now!
I agree with the posters here. I like old series, and I like them to continue. New series are good, but… I guess I’m greedy. I want the best of both worlds. Lol!
Although, admittedly, even old series were new once.
I’m happy to read new series but I am always disappointed to see favorites end, whatever the reason.
I am rereading books from series I enjoy. I’m old enough that I can’t remember their endings anyway. Too many new series — and authors — are insipid.
Yes, Suzi, so true. I just finished reading a Tommy and Tuppence ebook and previously read several other Christie ebooks. That memory loss may at least have a little silver lining 🙂 and the stories are far more interesting than a lot of the newer books.
Actually I agree with most posts. Some very lengthy series just get too long. In fact there are a few like this that were released in 2016 that I haven’t read yet (and probably won’t). I guess it depends on the author, the series, and the ability to keep the stories creative and original, without being “same-o, same-o”. However, I’m ALWAYS excited to discover a new series that is well written, creative, and I like.
BUT, I think it’s important to mention here…….. that when the publisher ended the ‘Appleseed Creek’ series written by Amanda Flower, she wrote a final book, which she self-published so fans could read a final installment, winding up the series by tying up the loose ends. Praise and kudos to this author for caring so much about her readers!!! 🙂
So, what do you prefer? New series and fresh starts? Or the continuation of tried and true favorites?
Both have merits. A good author should be able to draw readers into a new series. It’s sad when a good series ends.
Mary Joy says
I get very sad when my old series stop. For me, they never get tired and I like visiting with my people in their comfortable environments. After all, the authors are making things up – so something new and exciting (or mysterious!) can always happen.