Stand-Alones vs. Series Novels

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The mystery imp wants to know whether it is better to write a stand-alone mystery novel or launch your armada of bright concepts toward a mystery series. There are pros and cons to both approaches. The author of stand-alone novels has complete freedom to change his or her cast and subject matter between sequential novels, but each writing venture requires a new development of basic characters and settings. The author of a series ┬áhas the simple task of telling a story within a familiar background environment, but it must be compatible with the existing cast and settings. Tweaking the cast with spin-off characters helps here. If you can generate a fan base for your books, a series is helpful because your readers will want to progress from a single book into reading the whole series and anticipating future volumes. The series author should take on the responsibility of having each novel “work” as an independent effort so that readers will flock to the latest offering rather than feel that it only makes sense if they already have familiarity with the earlier volumes.

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