14 June 2011

I want/need more stand-alone books


Lately every new and exciting book I discover seems to be part of a series. Don't get me wrong, I like reading a series, I love meeting characters again and again and to get the chance to follow their life. For example I'm a huge fan of the In Death series by J.D. Robb. Even after 30 plus books I'm still super excited for every new book. And I know that some stories need to be told in a series because one book is just not enough.

But I also enjoy reading books that stand-alone (singles) and that contain stories that are finished when I read the last sentence. Stories that are finished in one book have a refreshing finality and simplicity that I crave from time to time. Not every story needs to be told over several books, some stories are best told in one  book. And let's be honest, keeping track of all the series you started can be a bit frustrating. When reading becomes more about thinking what happened in the last book (s) of the series or what will happen in the next one, then some of the joy and entertainment get's lost.

To enjoy and appreciate the great qualities that make series so special, the continuity, the complexity, the ongoing story line, I need to mix books that belong to a series with singles. But lately that's getting harder and harder because everyone seems to write and publish series. Another thing I love about stand-alone books is that I don't have to wonder where in the series the book I just discovered stands, I can just buy and read it without needing to read other books to understand the story.

For me it's time to praise singles and the authors who write them. One of the highlights of my reading year is for example the single by Nora Roberts that's published every spring or summer ( the single in 2011 was Chasing Fire). You get one book and when you finish the last sentence of it, the story is told and you can be happy and satisfied without wondering how the story will go on and how long you will have to wait for it. I also like that Stephanie Perkins' books are loosley tied together but that they still stand-alone. The same can be said for the books by Kerry Reichs. Other  authors who write stand-alone books that I read and enjoyed in 2011 are Hazel Osmond, Rosemary Clement-Moore and Sarra Manning (will add more later).

My sis hates starting a series as long as not all books in it are published, I'm not that extreme but I can understand her more and more. When a book in a series ends with a huge cliffhanger I tend to go crazy with thinking about the possibilities of what could happen in the next book. And going crazy can be a bit exhausting so I don't want to do it too often ;)
It's kind of sad that when I read about a new book that sounds exciting and then read the words "part of a series" my excitement declines rapidly. I want to be excited about reading  a new series but to do that I need more stand-alone books. Especially in the YA section series seems to be the trend right now and it's starting to annoy me.

Publishers and authors should keep in mind that there are readers who are tired of starting a new series. Readers like me who love reading a good series but also love stand-alone books and want more of them. 

What do you think about the series trend? Are there too many series for your taste or can't you get enough of them? Which stand-alone books you read in 2011 can you recommend (all genres)?

24 comments:

  1. I do like series but I do sometimes miss a standalone they are quite hard to find nowdays. This year I read two books of John Green, Finding Alaska and Will Grayson, Will Grayson both young adult and absolute loved these. And James Patterson has a few standalones each year (thriller) I read Postcard Killers and liked that one.

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  2. I love series and would seek them out if the market was skewed the other way, but sometimes I do fill like reading a story that will wrap itself up nicely within a few hundred pages.

    Btw...I found a tool that is a huge help in tracking series that I thought might help you out! You input the series and the books you've read in each series and it tells you what to read next and alerts you when another book in that series comes out.

    It's http://www.fictfact.com/.

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  3. I agree with you ^^ Lately most new realeases are trilogies and sometimes is nice reading a single book :)

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  4. I agree that it seems like every book is part of a series. Especially the freebies given away at the ebookstores!
    Fortunately I enjoy series but... Anymore the only ones I read are nora's & I still haven't read her latest.... Ugh!

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  5. Wow Sabrina, you sure have made a point. I really cannot even remember if I have read a new single book lately. I did read some golden oldies, by Jude Deveraux that I thoroughly love (and always will). But new books, stand alones? I did by the books by J.K. Beck, and though they are a series, they still seem unrelated if you read the blurb.

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  6. I can absolutely agree with you on this! When I'm browsing for new interesting books, I always stumble over that same information: part X of the X-series. And it's annoying me, too. A series can be good and entertaining, if it contains the right characters. But today with so many series on the market, it has become rather a pain to see that you have to read three more books just to know the actual ending of the story. :-/

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  7. This is a great post~! You are so right. There really aren't very many stand alone books. In the YA market I can only think of a few and those are contemporary YA. Authors like Jennifer Donnelly, Jennifer Echols and, of course, when Rachel Cohn and David Levithan team up. I agree. We need more stand alones!

    ~Trish Just a YA Girl

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  8. I find myself thinking the exact same thing lately...And not only because of the reasons you stated.I miss stand alone books for one more reason.With all those series getting constantly published,and let's face it,many of them around the same subject or set in similar universes,I find myself forgetting many details and having to reread the previous books in the series in order to remember them.
    I need myself more stand alone books!

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  9. I miss standalone too!

    It seems that almost every YA book I read is part of a series, although adult books tend to be more standalone. If I love a book, of course, I'll be excited that there's another one in the series to look forward to, but sometimes I have so many series on the go, that I can't keep track!

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  10. I understand completely. Sometimes I read a book that is part of a series and think why the story wasn't told in a stand-alone or at least in 3/4 books instead of 6? I assume every single book that comes out now is part of a series until I know differently. Don't get me wrong, I love series, but sometimes it's frustrating waiting a year for a story to continue.

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  11. For me, starting a series always feels like some sort of commitment. Though I might not actively track when the next book is coming out, if I do happen to see it's out I feel slightly obligated to read it (even if I wasn't a huge fan of the books before it).

    However, there is also the other side of the coin, where a standalone book draws me in enough that when I get to the end, I am left longing for a sequel.

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  12. I like series, but I wish it would be clearer whether individual books can be read as stand-alones, or if they should be read in order. If a book is in the middle of a series and I'm interested only in it, I end up scouring the reviews to figure out if it's okay to start in the middle. Usually it's okay with PNR and straight romance, whereas UF must be read in order.

    Looking over my books for the last three months, most were series, but I can recommend the following stand-alones:
    -The Perfect Dish by Kristen Painter (this is a self-pubbed ebook that was very good)
    -Marry Me by Jo Goodman - this was a Kindle freebie awhile back and it is a part of a series, but only very loosely connected to the first book.
    -The Peach Keeper - Sarah Addison Allen. Actually I'd also strongly recommend her first book, Garden Spells, which was just wonderful.
    -Lord Ruin - Carolyn Jewel - this is out of print and the author has self-released a Kindle version for a very good price
    -Anna and The French Kiss - Stephanie Perkins - YA - adorable - it inspired me to finally go to Paris.
    -Ravished by Amanda Quick - gothic/regency
    -Dragon Blues by Edie Ramer - good self-pubbed PNR with a dragon shifter hero. She also wrote a book called Cattitude that I just loved, featuring a cat that switches places with a human - if you love cats, this is for you.

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  13. I am SOOOO with you on this! I'm starting to get really sick of every new book that I discover being a part of a series. I'm actually going the route of your sister, and just avoiding series until all of the books in it are released.

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  14. Good to know that I'm not the only one feeling that way. And thanks for the recommendations, will definitely check them out.

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  15. I used to LOVE series but it sure is hard to keep track of them all. And 1 bad installment can ruin it for me.
    I think this is a reason why I started reading more Historical romances with a 'family' theme or something like that. I love that the characters have their own book then we still keep track of they on the following books about their siblings./friends.

    I'm not a huge fan of stand alone novels because I love knowing what happens next to the characters.

    Oh and I'm not quite as your sister but I tend to wait 'till a few books are out to see 'where it's heading' ;)

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  16. THANK YOU. Put me down for this petition. Enough with the series! I counted a couple of years ago and I was in the middle of something like 40 series. Most of which I've stopped following because it's TOO much to keep track of.

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  17. There definitely needs to be a lot more stand-alones!!! I hate having to wait a whole year just to find out what happens next and then another year after THAT just to find out the end!!!

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  18. As a published author of a series, I'll tell you that it's actually much harder to get published. Publishers will often reject books simply because they are in a series, and if the first book does not sell well, publishers don't want to be roped into a series they feel they cannot sell.

    That said, often most books you read begin as stand-alones, but due to their popularity, publishers encourage authors to write another one because it's an easy sell instead of taking a new stand-alone book that may or may not do well.

    Easiest way to get more stand-alones is to buy more of them. That tells publishers what you want more than anything. :D

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  19. I like a good series now and then, but I don't make it a habit. My problem is that I discover a series after a few books have been out and start playing catchup.

    http://www.ManOfLaBook.com

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  20. I agree on the whole stand alone books. While I'm working on a series right now, my first and second books are stand alone books. I think it gives readers a chance to actually feel fulfilled at the end. I'm glad there are those who are searching for these as much as there are those searching for series. :-)

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  21. I agree. It seems like every YA book is part of series. I would love more stand alone books.

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  22. I agree with you entirely. The series that are out there are great and sometimes I love to come back to the characters again and again. However, as you pointed out everything is part of a series and it is hard to keep track with 50 different series all the time. Sometimes I just wish authors could contain the story in one book.

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  23. Oh yes, too many series! There are series I really like and love to read but I'm more a fan of stand alones. I would love it if there would be more of them! Not always a whole series and waiting for the next volume and so.
    Two stand alones I've read this year and really loved where "Nullpunkt" by Lincoln Child and "Die Ludwig Verschwörung" by Oliver Pötzsch. Also "Grimm" by Christoph Marzi and "Nachtlilien" by Siri Lindberg. I just hope that the ones by Marzi and Lindberg won't be turned into a series because it would be possible. ;)

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  24. I could need some great standalones aswell. Anna and the French Kiss was a fantastic read and I am already looking foward to Lola:)

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