It’s difficult enough for an unpublished author to get one manuscript published, so trying to sell a trilogy is only weakening your chances. Once an author is established they can (almost) do as they please, but until then a writer must play by the rules. And this means that writing stand alone manuscript is the best option for you.
However, the publishing industry has many rules and it does become confusing. A publisher doesn’t want to risk lots of money on an unknown, so keeping the word count within the limits and writing a stand alone story goes in your favour. On the other hand, the publisher wants to know that the unknown is not a “one hit wonder” so they want to see evidence that you’ve got a sequel in the works. If the first book is a huge success, they want to follow that up with a (hopefully) successful sequel.
It’s all about money.
Yet this isn’t the reason for the post. I saw something today, that astonished me. Going Postal by Terry Pratchett is book 29 in the series. Book 29! Robert Jordan has been put down over his extremely long series – what’s he up to, book 10 or 11? So why haven’t I heard the same complaints about Terry Pratchett’s series?
Hmmm, even that isn’t the question I really want to ask, so I’d better get to the point.
How many books do you think is enough in a series? Do you really want to return to the same world time after time to read another story, or would you really prefer a new world and new characters?
Personally, I feel three or four books is enough. After that, I start getting sick and tired of the same old, same old, and I want something new and fresh. What about you?