ionR: How Far is too Far?

Posted March 12th, 2016 by in Blog, Features, ionR / 22 comments

ionR: How Far is too far?


How Far Should an Author take a Series?

A romantic-series is as popular today as such novels were in the early 90’s if not more. From small towns, to second chance romances and even to military romances, series give us more than hero and heroine. I personally enjoy a series because of the wide variety of characters that are introduced. I rather enjoy reading how an author is able to change from one character to someone else entirely by the second or even third book. However just how far should an author be willing to take a series?
That’s a great question and one that has been lingering in the depths of my mind.
Like most of you, I have read books where a series is only three books. Then, I have read books that actually feature a series of a twenty novels or more. To be honest I am not a large fan of romance novels that go the distance as in twenty novels.

  1. One of the largest reasons for my distaste is that both the romance and the plot tends to repeat from the first, few releases. I basically feel like I am reading the same book over and over again with different characters.
  2. Secondly, by the time I reach around book eleven I am more than ready for the author to deliver some new material. Of course I think my biggest flaw with a larger series has to be the fact that realism has flown out the window. As we discuss last week I am huge believer in HEA-ending but a small town having twenty happy endings in a single row is not all that realistic to me.

If I had to pick a number of novels that I think is the right ending for an author I would select six. I’m comfortable with reading that many romances and HEA-endings in a series. Normally, the author stays true to the plot of the novels and the romance stay heated. So six is the right number for me give or take a few novels.
Still, so many authors are talented are able to maintain their readers interest in a drawn out series.
Basically I think it comes down to the reader and that is where you guys come in.


How far do you think an author should be willing to write a series? Is there a certain number of novels that works for you before you loose interest in a series? Please tell us as we would love to know! 🙂




22 Responses to “ionR: How Far is too Far?”

  1. Princess Fi

    What I hate in a long series is the situation where the author spends so much time “saying hello” to the the characters from previous books, and introducing new characters for upcoming books, I find not enough time is spent with the main characters of that particular book and I feel shortchanged.

    • Leone (@bookishromantic)

      @Princess FI I agree! I feel like sometimes authors feel obligated to update readers about characters from previous novels in a series and that can sometimes be very annoying. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, loved your comment!

  2. conniefischer

    I simply do NOT care for book series. I realize that for an author to come up with a whole new plot and characters with each book is difficult, but stand-alone books are for me. I read and review many books each year so keeping up with one series and the characters is impossible. I admit that I usually bypass books that are in a series because I don’t have the time to figure out who is who.

    • Leone (@bookishromantic)

      @Connie I can certainly can understand your frustration regarding a series. While I enjoy a series a standalone novel is such as likable and without all the extra characters! Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

      • conniefischer

        You are quite right. I apologize for my comment in that it appears that I mean ALL series. There are those where each book can be read as a stand-alone novel. Those are the one that are good. Thanks for your comment.

  3. Lisa Miller

    I have read some series that were so long that I lost interest but some where the author still has creative ideas and is adding new characters so it’s not just one character continually … I love that!
    Some book series I want wrapped up in 3-4 books (some you just want that HEA in a few books)
    Some take it too far and I think they need to listen to fans or themselves to know when it’s time to wrap it up … end when you are UP and not tumbling down hill!

  4. Cheryl Hastings

    I think 6 sounds like a great number. I actually just started book 6 of a 6 books series and I have loved every one because they are all different in trope, theme and intensity. I’ve had to stop reading series that just went on and on…and on. And even when they leave that one series…or family…they then start an equally long new series with distance relatives of that first never-ending family. It gets to be too much.

    • Leone (@bookishromantic)

      @Cheryl I very much like your point of distant relatives being added into a separate series as it makes for a very an excellent discussion. Authors are highly talented and have a large range of tropes that they can introduce readers to without the need to continue leading back to the original series. Very well thought out! 🙂

  5. Ellen C.

    I like 3-6 books in a series. When the series get longer than that, the stories tend to get repetitive and I can’t always keep track of all of the characters.

  6. Kathleen O

    Some series just should end after three or four books, but there are other that I want to go on forever and to branch off into new series. Maybe a friend or a relative goes to another city or country and some of the former characters are brought in now and then for a visit.

  7. Banana cake

    I think that 20 books needs to be the end of a series. The writing can get repetitive and the stories or a little stale. I think that a series should end before it gets to that point. I was sad when Robyn Carr’s Virgin River ended but she started a new series Thunder Point. She also had some Virgin River characters make an appearance in Thunder Point and that was fun.

  8. ELF

    Many of the fantasy and science fiction series I enjoy have been fantastic for the first 3-6 books, then peter out into repetitive themes. There are a few that are not like that, thankfully, but I am always bored and lose interest when the same path is followed. I like series that have stand-alone stories which contain glimpses of previous characters folded into the story, but sometimes it is forced and a little uncomfortable to me.

  9. Kim

    There are some Harlequin series (Bravos, Mighty Quinns, Randalls, McCabes) that have been going on for 20 years. Sadly, the first few books were really good, but now…c’mon, if you’re creative enough to think up a new situation for yet another previously unknown shirttail member of random family, then you can probably think up a whole new world and move on to something else. It’s hard to say what the ideal number is, but I usually lose interest at about book 8 or so. There are a couple exceptions to that, but usually I’m out by then.

  10. ndluebke

    Because of medical reasons I have a shorter memory span (no it’s not just because I’m getting older). Anyway, I don’t always get the books early after they come out and I can never be sure to get a “whole” series. There is more chances if it is a smaller series. It does help if they are standalone books in a series. It doesn’t matter how well it’s written, If you can’t get your hands on it.

    • Leone (@bookishromantic)

      @NDBLUE You are exactly right! The larger a series is the more difficult it can be for many readers to not only purchase the books, but also to be able to keep up what is actually happening in the novels! :))

  11. Suzie

    Usually I’d say 5-6 would be perfect ,but some series are long but still great , like JD Robb ‘s Lt. Dallas & Roark series.

  12. Amy Rickman

    I’m usually good for 5-6 books before and they need to be published at least every 6 months. If a series is already done I don’t mind glomming more than that.

  13. Terrill Harris Rosado

    I agree with your reasons for not liking series. Another reason I get frustrated with long series is if I’m late to the game and it already has 8+ books. I’m a bit neurotic about having to start a series from the beginning and it can daunting to feel like I need to read numerous book to catch up. Especially if the series is still continuing.

  14. kermitsgirl

    I find it really hard to get into a series that has a lot of books. It’s one thing if you’re there from the beginning, but when I see a great review for an interesting book, and then I find out it’s book #35 in the series, I just give up. To me, there’s no point in starting at #35, especially when I need the background info provided in the first 34 books. So, in my opinion, going too deep in a series is a way to turn off a lot of potential new readers.

    I agree with your assessment of six, possibly eight at most. That is an acceptable number of books to ask someone to read, even if they don’t find out about it until the last book in the series.

    Also, with Harlequin especially, I’ve been noticing more and more series are actually written by multiple authors. I think this helps to keep the books and plots from getting stale, while still allowing for continuity in the world. I think more authors should collaborate in this manner.

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