Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Starting a Series in the Middle

We Cozy Chicks are series writers. That means we have 2,3, stories out there that involve the same characters (well, except the ones we killed off). Most readers tell me they like to start at the beginning of a series, but I'd like to reply with a strong no, no, no. Just jump right in. Here's why:

Let's use Kate as an example. Book 8 came out last week. Evil in Carnations, one of her Flower Shop Mysteries. Some of our blog readers haven't read Kate's series yet. While Kate would love, love, love you to read her back list, every single one, her publisher is watching numbers for book eight. They want this particular book to sell well right out of the gate. So does Kate. If you buy book 8, you'll be giving her career a huge boost. Plus you'll love it and still go back to the first ones. Everyone is happy.

Another reason why you should jump right in, this time not using Kate as an example. Some authors writing a new series don't have their characters fully developed when they start out. The characters come alive as the series progresses. Reviewers know this. That's why they usually give an author a second chance if the first book in a series fails to inspire them to write a great review.

I'm pretty good with characters. Gertie Johnson in my Yooper series came out of my imagination strong and sassy. But I was a total rookie when it came to plotting. It wasn't until book three that reviewers started sitting up and noticing my plot elements. I'm convinced that if you read book three, you'll want to read 1 and 2. Am I as sure you'd read the entire series if you started with book 1? ummm. Not quite as certain, although I'd like to think yes.

So please give a newly discovered author a chance. Pick up her latest release. You'll make her day.