All right. So, as you all know, Sins & Needles has a cliffhanger — a lot of books do, especially in a series. If you can’t handle cliffhangers, we’ll I don’t blame you. But sometimes they are a necessary evil.
Let’s take a look at The Outlander Series…maybe KMM’s Fever Series? Lord of the Rings? Almost every dramatic TV show?
I’m not sure why, lately, there has been such an uproar over cliffhangers. They aren’t a new concept at all. They’ve existed in books for a long, long time. And they aren’t always there to piss readers off or ensure them to buy the next book. I know people think it’s always a strategic marketing strategy and, yes in some ways it is. But sometimes — and this is the case with me — it is just where the book ends.
I went to school for screenwriting and I write my books in a three-act structure, which basically means I have one climax and I stick to it (no multiple orgasms for me!). I also think of the end of the book first and I work toward it. Sometimes, that means a cliffhanger. But I swear on the Bible, I do NOT write cliffhangers for the sake of writing a cliffhanger. It’s just the way it goes sometimes.
Sure, maybe there are some books lately that have a cliffhanger and the author gives no indication that it’s a series. Maybe there’s a cliffhanger in the form of a book that just kind of .…ends. Like, mid-sentence…like the end of The Sopranos. Or maybe it’s a cliffhanger that feels really out of place. I don’t know why there’s the current anti-cliffhanger backlash, but it has me perplexed. Why now?
Look, when I go into to read a series, I am prepared for one of those books to have a cliffhanger. Just like when you go into watching a new TV show, you’ll probably get a few as well.
The good thing — with indie publishers such as myself — you don’t have to wait long for your next book. LOOK AT TRADITIONALLY PUBLISHED BOOK! Look at Divergent or City of Bones or whatever “real book” and see how long they make you wait.A YEAR. A FUCKING YEAR! Self-published authors are working their ass off to bring the reader that next book as quickly as they can.
Which brings me to the next point…some people say “why write a series then? It’s such a money-grubbing scheme” — well, I really don’t like having something like writing (which is an art and a passion, contrary to what some people might say) reduced to nothing more than a money-making vessel.
YES we need to make money. God, yes we do. Who doesn’t? In the heat of my novels, I’m working ten hour days…I barely eat or bathe and I don’t leave the house. I make sacrifices in the form of loved ones, family and friends. I have no social life. I need to be compensated for that sacrifice…
So why do we do series? So we can have a break…if it takes me a month of becoming an anti-social, mentally-deranged hermit to pump out one book, there’s no way I could do it for three months straight and survive. I couldn’t. Imagine sitting at a desk for ten hours a day, coaxing your brain to work overtime in a whole different world. It is exhausting, to say the least.
By writing a series you get to spread out your workload. You also get to spend more time with your characters. I don’t WANT to write one fucking long as fuck book and then be done with it. I want to spend more time with Camden and Ellie and you know what, I think most readers do too. I mean, Dex and Perry have been in people’s hearts for nearly two years now as the series keeps going…I LOVE THAT!!! I’d be so sad if it was over in one go.
And that brings me to the next point: some books are better suited for a series. There are many different stories to tell, events, challenges and tests. Not all stories and characters work the same way. Yeah maybe there are a few contemporary romance stand-alones that shouldn’t have become series. Maybe authors shouldn’t mess up a book’s HEA just to sell more copies…but maybe it’s not about sales too. Maybe they miss the characters.
And finally, when it does come down to making money — if you spend a LONG amount of time writing a book that should be split into three, and then you finally release it…it might not make you any money. It might not do well. Then there’s six months of your life gone. If you split up the book the way they should have been, at least you always have another chance to get it right. You have a chance to hook more readers and you have a chance to grow as a writer. I am not the same writer with Darkhouse and Perry and Dex as I am with Into the Hollow and Perry and Dex. They have changed — I have changed too. We’ve changed together. It’s pretty damn near poetic.
I mean, wouldn’t you rather spend $3 every 4–6 months or so then $9 once? OR if you’re looking at traditionally published books, $10 for each Mac and Barrons adventure or $50+ for one giant one. It’s almost like layaway plan.
So the next time someone points out that writers are just in it for the money, that they write cliffhangers to piss people off and series so that they sell more books…you send them my way *cracks knuckles*