I’m Kate, one of the summer interns for Beaufort Books. I shall follow in the tradition of Beau-themed names and from now on will sign my posts as The Red Beaulloon.
I’ve noticed that lately authors haven’t been content with just finishing a series. Usually a series is over once the final book has been published, but today authors have been revisiting the worlds that they’ve created in the form of spin-offs. These spin-offs tend to come in the form of novellas, with the novella telling the story from a new point of view, or exploring aspects of the story previously left up to the reader’s imagination.
It’s wonderful to you hear that your favorite story is going to be expanded upon. Its announcement can be enough to reignite a dying fan base, but are these expansions necessary? Or rather, why are they so popular now? This trend is relatively new (from what I can tell) and seems to be what distinguishes a popular franchise from the rest.
Obviously part of the appeal of writing a new book is the publicity and the money new sales can bring in. Why end a series when you can sell more books?
But what about those authors that have no need to advertise, and have more money than they know what to do with? Of course I’m talking about JK Rowling, who recently published a short story revisiting the Harry Potter universe in the form of an article written by Rita Skeeter. The Harry Potter fandom is one of the biggest in the world, and this story has reawakened the frenzy that ended with its last movie. Part of this is because there is a chance that something more is on its way. This assumption comes from an interpretation of Rita Skeeter plugging her own book in the article (coming out at the end of July) as Rowling hinting at a new Harry Potter book. The timing of all this is perfect. The new amusement park is opening up and I’m sure that this excitement is going to help with sales. But should a new book be necessary to keep the excitement over a series going?
It seems as though it’s no longer enough for authors to tour and promote their own book, they have to be willing to continue the series for as long as they can, and in as many different forms as possible. But what if an author doesn’t want to explore the world anymore? What if they tied up everything neatly in a bow and don’t want to potentially ruin what they worked so hard on to finish and perfect? The only solution seems to lie in what genre the author is writing. Specifically, don’t write Young Adult novels. This phenomenon seems to be localized solely to books for young adults, which shows that the expansion of the original series is not necessarily because the story needs it, but because this specific age group demands it. Young adults refuse to let their favorite series end, either by imagining what else might have happened on their own or begging the author for more until they acquiesce. I’m not sure this is a good thing.
While a fan demands for more from the story, the author might not have anything substantial to give. But with increasing pressure from a fan base an author, and their publisher, will most likely want to satisfy the masses. That doesn’t mean that the resulting book will be any good. Whenever an author releases an addition on a series there is always the chance that it will flop, and therefore lessen the original. The story has been tainted by the expansions, and the only way to counteract this is to ignore that the additions ever happened.
This is a trend that started in movies, and is now starting to take over Young Adult books. It’s a trend focused on selling more of a product, which is in no way a bad thing as that is how people make a living. Readers have to understand that if they demand more of a story, what they get has no guarantee as being as good as the original.
So while many readers celebrate whenever an author comes out with some extension to an already finished series, I always worry that it will detract from something that I once loved so much. Why don’t we just see if the author has more they want to tell before demanding it so whole-heartedly?
The Red Beaullon