Discussion: Series or Standalone?

Series are popular for authors and publishers, every genre book that’s released lately seems to be part of a series.  But what do readers prefer?


For me, it depends on the type of book.  When it comes to adult fantasy, the longer the series the better.  I’m currently working my way through Wheel of Time – and have been for the past 6 years, 14 books and a prequel! – and am loving every step in the world.  You get such great detail on character’s clothing, food, cultures, and the diverse world’s cities when the author doesn’t need to reign it in for a standalone book.  A Song of Ice and Fire, the series that the TV show Game of Thrones is based on, is also a great long series.  You may notice something that these two series have in common – they take an absolute age to write.  The wait between books for authors like Robert Jordan and George R. R. Martin is legendary.  Even writers like Brandon Sanderson, who puts out books at an alarming rate, can only produce a book in his Stormlight Archives series every 2-3 years.  I like my fantasy books chunky and lengthy, and for me it’s worth the wait.  But that’s not the case for every reader.

When it comes to YA, science fiction, or almost any other genre, I really do prefer the standalone.  I like a self-contained, well-written book.  If it must be a series, I much prefer a duology or a trilogy at most.  Why?  I’m not really sure.  I’m reading The Expanse, which currently sits at six books with at least three more coming.  It’s a great sci-fi series, but for some reason I’m not loving that it’s so long.  The mind of a reader is a strange thing.

I will not be okay when I finish these.  Photo courtesy of Cultural Heritage Books

So, dear reader.  What do you prefer?  Do you like immersing yourself in a long series, or do you prefer a standalone novel?  Do you like trilogies or sprawling, 10+ book epics? Are you one of the faithful who is willing to wait years between books in order to get your hands on the next part of the story?  Let me know!

12 thoughts on “Discussion: Series or Standalone?

  1. I love a series but I hate waiting for sequels for years! But I do think any book should work on it’s own and you shouldn’t have to read anything else to really understand it it should just enhance your experience. Although maybe that’s just my excuse for the way I keep reading series out of order!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m with you. I would not trade my HP series, but I am glad that it’s just 7 books. At some point it will get dragged out and uninteresting. I hate when authors milk the whole thing to the last bits. I want them to stop when the reader craves more, but the author doesn’t get tempted and ends. And I think that’s why I re-read HP a lot. While Hunger Games could have been a standalone imo. The first book was awesome, second and third weren’t for me. Anyway, I usually prefer standalone 🙂 this was a long comment

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Like you said, it depends on the type of book. Adult fantasies are always better when there’s multiple books. But not too many because then it gets too intimidating to start. I like a mix of both. But it seems that there are quite a few that are dragged on too long and would have been better as a stand alone or duology

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I fall in the middle. I like a series, but the Wheel of Time is TOO long. I’m audio booking the final as I type and a big part of me can’t wait to put this chapter (HA!) of my life away.

    Trilogies are nice, though I often wonder if a story is being stretched or cut just to fit into this 3-book format that all the publishers seem to want. I like seeing things like the Six of Crows duology, or The Demon Cycle that are breaking that mold (though I do worry the Demon Cycle could end up being “too long”)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wheel of Time was definitely intimidating at first, particularly when you hear so much about the dreaded 7-10 slump, but I’m really enjoying it. Having spoiler-free breakdowns and walk through has really helped because there’s just SO much there.

      You might be onto something there. I feel like the trilogy is the most desirable format right now, and I wouldn’t be surprised if authors were being asked to stretch their stories into three books.


  5. I’m standalone. I’ve been burned by lackluster series and don’t have the patience for them. But, I do like duologies. Do they count?

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s