Should you? Could you? Will you? How? What am I talking about? Writing a series. Seriously, keep up!
I have seen several instances where an author has submitted a book and, upon reading it, I've sent an acceptance letter asking if it will be the start of a series. Many authors have responded with surprise and jubilation. It seems that most authors don't write a book with the thought of starting a series. This, in turn, surprises me.
Of course, I'm one to talk. When I wrote Sail My Oceans I had no intention on there being any further books. It didn't occur to me that people would actually want more of Lucy Verr and the sexy double-trouble team of Devon and Julius. I will forever be grateful to my editor for suggesting that I change the ending of the original manuscript so that a future book would be possible. Thanks to that, Anchor My Stars is now in the works.
But should you write a series? How many books is too much? There seems to be an issue where writers get caught up in how well their books sell, so they keep writing more and more of that series. They write until there is no plot left. They write until the series is so miserable of a read, it's akin to scraping nails on chalkboard.
I have no idea what other people believe, or what the right answer is, but here's my theory. For any series I do, I intend to never write more than ten books total of that series. Yep, ten books. That's it. Anymore than that just feels like I'm writing for the sake of sales, and not for the sake of writing the story. Oh, I might write the occasional spin-off here and there (I do foresee writing the origin of how the dragons and humans came to be at war in the first place in a series I'm writing called Dragons and Damsels.) I'm uncertain how far the Emerald Solis books will go considering I will be writing about several people on several planets, so I don't consider that so much a series. But when it comes to an actual series, I'm capping it at ten. If I don't, I do beg that someone dig this post up and rub my nose in it while thumping my hindquarters with a firm hand and berating me.
Now, how do you propose a series to a publisher? That's quite the question and I think it truly depends on the publisher. For me, I sent in the first book for my R&R series titled To Honor with a statement in my query letter explaining that if the publisher liked the idea, I would be happy to write an entire series of like-themed books. The publisher approved, and now I have a series to write. Sail My Oceans obviously wasn't subbed as a series, so when I send the next book in, I'll have to simply mention it is the sequel and ask the cover artist to place something indicated it is an Emerald Solis book on the cover.
The best thing to do is research the publisher, ask an author. Heck, if you've read books from a certain author who does a series with a publisher you like, send them an e-mail praising their work and asking their advice. We authors, we have big egos that constantly need feeding. It'll get you far.
Regardless what approach you take, sit back and look at your books. Ask yourself some questions. Is my book a good basis for a series? Am I just writing about sex, or am I writing about people? Is there an ongoing conflict or theme that allow my books to connect as a series should? Where do I see the conflict or theme ending at and how many books will it take?
Another idea is to map out your series. I have ten novels for the Dragons and Damsels series just waiting to be written. The character names, the main conflict, and where it takes place is already all written down and waiting to just be filled out until it blooms into a novel. But then again, I had to find an excuse to use one of my many journals before my husband became suspicious of my collection being just for show. ~ D. F. Krieger