One thing I’ve started to see in some series’, which one author shall remain nameless is very guilty of doing, is the writer spending 1/3 to 1/2 of each book recapping the events that happened before. Why? Do you feel that people need to be caught up that much? Each series novel so, ideally, be able to stand alone. I’ve written two, and started on a third, novels with Talia and her sisters and each of them are complete stand alone books. They’re tied together by references to events that happened earlier and personality responses to them, but the first books aren’t necessary to be able to enjoy the series. This is how we as writers should write books.
A friend of mine finished the last book of a trilogy from a very well known science fiction and fantasy author and she had a major complaint about the last book. “It took forever to get to the action.” So I asked her: “Did XXXX spend the first third to a half of the book recapping the things that already happened?” Her answer was “Yes.” So, in my opinion, she got ripped off from the $9.00 charged for a trade paperback. What makes things worse is this happens in another popular series that comes out in hardcover first, which means people are paying 25-27 dollars for a book and only getting half a book of new writing.
If we as writers want to start seeing our paychecks drop, then start to make the reader feel ripped off. They spend their hard earned discretionary money on our work, so we owe it to them to make sure they get their money’s worth. Besides, writing is like any other customer service based business: the reader pays our paychecks.
Keep that in mind when writing your next short story or novel.