Series, sequels and anthologies – oh my




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Since it’s my blog and I can write what I want (yes I sound five), I’m going to write about a slight pet-peeve I have regarding series. You see, I love series, sequels, prequels, glimpses back, glimpses ahead and any combination an author will give me to look at a favored couple. I, of course, as a greedy reader want the author to write long, meaty, fabulous, continued happy ending looks at the couples. But hey, I’ll take what I can get and pay happily for it.

But the issue I’m running into in this world of e-books is that often these “glimpses” are spread out and hidden in a mass of anthologies, short stories, novels, novellas, different publishers and finally, free web fiction. What time line exists? How are they to be read, how do I find them all? Do they matter to the progression of the relationship or is it merely a short story with hot sex? And really, why are you throwing these characters around so much, do they have that much to say?

I tend to be a literal person. As a scientist, I am sure everyone is shocked and awed by this, but what it means is that I want to read my series in order from first to last. I want to start with the first book, not necessarily the first published, but the first one that details how the couple met, etc. Then I want to follow in line to the present or end. I don’t mind if I have to buy an anthology for one story, I’ll do it and have, repeatedly. Now, if I have to buy eight anthologies for eight different short stories consisting mostly of different settings for hot sex, I might start to get annoyed, but overall, I’m happy to do it within reason.

So why do authors make it so hard to follow their characters? I can’t count the number of author websites that do not give a nice listing of how their series or related books are to be read. Or whether you need to read it to follow the characters or it’s just a popular masturbation outlet. This compliant is not limited to electronically published books, but there tend to be significantly more anthologies online than for most of the print authors I buy. So I get bogged down in finding this random story in an anthology that I had no idea where in the timeline it fits into a series.

Perhaps it’s a small thing and one that only someone such as me would get all worked up about. Judging by the lack of detail in giving such timelines on author websites, I can only surmise, they’re not too worried about it and it’s not a concern. Maybe it’s linked to the clear lack of proofreading I’ve found in certain publishers’ works; though that is an entirely different post to make. Seriously – spell check is your friend. Everyone has little quirks that turn them off and it seems something so minor as to explain how to read your books.

And I want to, I really do! So my little quirk will continue to be mine and I’m truly sorry for the authors that I do not bother to figure out the progression and instead, simply give up. In the expansive world of books where there are too many to read in my lifetime, I can easily move on rather than spend the time to figure it out. Because I have spent the time btw, and if I am cross checking publication dates with a written list of titles, I know it’s too hard to figure out.

To give kudos to a great website/author with an exhaustive list of titles and how they connect and the timeline, check out J.M. Snyder’s superhero series staring Matt and Vic. If there was any twisting, confusing series guaranteed to find me lost, it was this. Yet her simple, easy to navigate and informative timeline was like finding an oasis in the desert. Thank you. Thank you to the bottom of my literal little heart. This alone was enough for me to order the books, because I knew how to read them without the stress that I was missing something.

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