Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Multipart Story Frustrations

I love reading series. There's something comforting about closing a book and knowing that there's a continuation of the characters' lives. I especially love picking up a book and already being invested in the characters before even turning the first page.

There are so many great YA series; Significance by Shelly Crane, The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I could go on for an amazing long time, those just happen to be three of my favs. The key with each series is that they stand alone, although not in a traditional sense of a stand alone novel. What I mean is that each book in the series is a complete book. They consist of a beginning, middle, and end. There is a problem and resolution, even if there is a bit of a cliffhanger at the end.

So what's my point? Well, it has to do with the huge number of indie and self-published books I've been getting from Amazon. I love going on to the Amazon best seller list and finding interesting free best sellers. It's a great way to find new authors and read books that I may not otherwise have considered. But lately I've seen a tendency for multipart stories. Meaning that the book I download and invest three hours of reading into ends before the ending.

I hate teaser novels. I hate how authors are trying to trick me into purchasing the other three novels in the series just to finish one story. It doesn't encourage me to buy the next part, it just makes me mad enough that I will never buy another of your books. If you want me to buy more of your work, then show me you know how to write a complete story, and hook me with your writing skills and character development.

As an author, I can understand this phenomena. It's an easy way to get your writing out there quickly, and a way to build up your log of published works. And I suspect it's a way to increase book sales and thus income. But I have to question if it really works. Do authors who do this really make more money by publishing incomplete works? I would suspect not.

While I can understand it, I don't like it. I truly think that it only perpetuates the bad rep indie and self-published authors already have of putting out poor quality work. And as a consumer it has made me more cautious. I now look at the estimated page count or file size and if it doesn't seem realistic for a full length novel I don't purchase it and that makes me sad. How many good short stories have I missed out on because I am suspicious of it being incomplete?

Maybe I am completely alone in feeling like this. This week I even spent a lot of time debating if this type of storytelling was something I wanted to do. Now I can't even figure out why I would consider it. I don't write to make money. That is simply a nice side effect. I write because I enjoy writing. I love knowing that I have done my absolute best work and that other people can enjoy my storytelling.

I'm not condemning authors who do this. I get it. And I'm sure somewhere out there are readers who love it. I'm just not one of them.

(Please note that I have absolutely no data to back up my assumptions. This rant is simply based on my personal opinion and experiences as an author and reader.)


  1. You're not alone, I feel the same way as with you and it's really frustrating. :(

  2. I couldn't agree more. The whole multi-part story is truly a strange way for authors to get more books and create almost a cliffhanger effect. I don't like it and don't ever buy the next part if I'm discontent with the last one.
    - Krys