I’m at a point where I’m wondering if I need to stop labeling my books A Bone Secrets Novel. My publisher loves series titles and even though my books are all stand alones with different main characters, I wonder if I’m hurting future sales by having a series title. At my request, my books are not labeled with numbers. I believe when a reader sees a book labeled #4, they pass it by because they automatically think, “I haven’t read the first three and will be lost if I buy this book.”
But when readers see my series name, A Bone Secrets Novel, do they think they need to read the earlier books first? What ties my books together is the variety of forensics professions that I highlight in each book. And my main character had a secondary role in a previous book. Now I just wrote a book that has no forensics; it’s FBI centered, but the main character has been a big secondary character in three previous books. Should it have the same series name?
By using a new series title, would I open my books up for new readers? I’m toying with the idea of a similar series title, like A ____ Secrets Novel.
Sue Grafton’s Alphabet series, JD Robb’s In Death series, and JR Ward’s Black Dagger series are all going great guns. Proof that a series works. BUT I think these are more the exception than the rule; there are plenty of series that have fizzled.
A benefit of writing a series is that if a reader gets one out of order and loves it, they often go back and buy the rest of the books. But wouldn’t they consider buying your backlist anyway?
When do you give up on a series? What is your favorite series that you grab as soon as you see it without reading the back cover?