Waiting on that Series to Complete? Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Wait


I’m going to shoot straight from the hip on this. One of my pet peeves to hear from readers is the dreaded “I’m going to wait until the series is completed before I buy any of the books.” It’s like nails on a chalkboard to me. Dagger: meet heart.

Before I get into the (really good) reasons why you shouldn’t wait for a series to complete before diving right in, I’m going to ask as few questions.

If you are a Harry Potter fan, did you wait until the series ended to start buying the books? Did you wait until all the movies came out before you went to watch them?

If you are a Twilight fan, did you wait until the series ended to start buying the books? Did you wait until all the movies came out before you went to watch them?

If you are Game of Thrones fan, have you not watched a single episode, waiting instead until all the seasons are complete before watching them? How about The Walking Dead?

And if you are a Laurell K. Hamilton fan, have you not read a single one of the Anita Blake series, instead opting until the series is finally complete before you start on it? (Here’s a hint, that’s her cash cow and she has no intentions of ending that series so long as it’s selling)

Anyway, you get the idea. Chances are, if you got hooked into any of these fandoms, or the thousands of others out there on both the book, comic book, graphic novels, and TV series front, you aren’t waiting – you are counting down the days until the next book/comic/episode/movie drops. It’s why I, and so many other authors, hate to hear a reader say they are “waiting” for a series to complete before they decide to buy.

If you are one of them, here are some pretty compelling reasons *not* to wait.

1.       Interest and sales versus a lack thereof: as I mentioned above, if you are into the Anita Blake series, you probably already know that series is still going strong. The reason why is because there is still a lot of interest in the books, characters, and story lines. To put it simply, it’s still making money. So long as a series is making money, or readers still show interest, then an author will continue to write more and more books in the series. And for those series like Anita Blake and The Vampire Chronicles, this means the author has no intentions of ending the series, which translates into readers seriously missing out if they opt to “wait it out” to see what is going to happen with a series.

2.       On the flip side of this is the “lack of interest.” There are only so many books an author can push out a year, and that number drastically decreases for those like me who are juggling a regular full-time Evil Day Job along with writing. For this reason, we have to be especially particular about what we spend that limited amount of time on. If readers take the “wait to see” attitude on our series, we view as that as a lack of interest. Lack of interest = lack of sales = we won’t continue to spend our time writing in a series that isn’t producing any royalties. This means we may completely scrap a series and not write another book in that world, opting instead of spend our time writing on a series or stand alone novels that may interest our readers more.

The best way to encourage an author is to buy their books, series complete or not. Taking a “wait to see what happens” with any series could very well spell death to that series. How many really awesome TV series have been cancelled because the ratings weren’t good enough for the studio to warrant investing the time and money it takes to film more episodes? It’s the same principle with authors, especially us indie authors. If you “wait to buy” until we finally finish writing all the books in a series, you may discover a series that gets scrapped because there wasn’t enough interest in it.

And for those wondering, please don’t “wait until the series ends” when it comes to the Before the Sun Rises books. I have no intentions of ending that series unless it stops selling. I could literally write another twenty books just with the characters and story lines I already have notes for. Who knows what I may come up with between now and Book #20!

Yes, It’s Fiction – *But*



With the recent release of the movie 50 Shades Darker has come another shit-storm of discussions and accusations regarding the literary validity of the book and those who have enjoyed perusing the trilogy’s pages. While I certainly enjoy reading and joining in the debates, over the past few days I have seen a disdain for a social community at large that I find far more concerning than whether or not the books have any literary merit.


Many people in the BDSM community, both readers and authors alike, have been pointing out the glaring inaccuracies of the BDSM aspect of the storyline. What they are met with more often than not is the sentiment of “It’s just fiction, so it doesn’t have to be accurate.” While I agree with this to an extent, I think society as a whole is missing the bigger picture.


Why is everyone so quick to dismiss the BDSM community’s outrage at the inaccuracies in the book? Why are their feelings, and in turn their entire community and lifestyle, being swept under the rug as if they didn’t matter simply because the trilogy is “fiction?” Do their feelings and concerns not matter?


Let’s break it down. Had this story centered around any other social community or group – say a religious sector or the LGBT community – and contained so many inaccuracies, these communities would be in an absolute outrage over it. What’s more, society as a whole would confirm that these people have every right to be outraged. Why had the author not bothered to research that religion and/or community before having that work published? Why were these groups’ feelings, lifestyle, and community not taken into consideration before publishing something so inaccurate?


If that trilogy had been centered around some horrible tragedy, such as the Holocaust, and contained so many inaccuracies, society as a whole would be outraged, and people would confirm they have every right to be outraged. How dare the author not do any research before broaching such a delicate and emotionally charged event in history before publishing?


The simple fact of the matter is, people who read historical romance get incredibly upset if the backdrop to the story contains so much misinformation that it distracts from the story. The same goes for literature centered around real-world communities and groups or events. And for all intents and purposes, EL James shined a spotlight onto a very secretive group which never once asked to have society as a whole peek into their world and then basically insult them by telling them their community doesn’t count because EL James writes about fictitious characters. It’s absolutely absurd for people to think this, much less use the “it’s fiction” excuse when the members of this community try to educate the readers of this book as to just how inaccurate the BDSM portion of the books actually is. As an author, it is our duty to ensure our stories, despite being fiction, accurately represent the world in which they are set.


Yes, we can all agree that people loved this book because it was your typical “girl meets damaged hero and teaches him how to love” HEA love story. It’s a storyline that has been used for centuries. The problem lies when the author did not bother to do any research into a rich society that actually exists, grossly misrepresents their lifestyle and relationships, and never once acknowledge she may have been premature in such representations in her haste to get the books published. To compound the problem, because most people do not realize just how wrong the depictions in the books actually are, they do not understand why the BDSM community is so outraged about the discrepancies. And the more the community tries to educate people on why they cannot support the books, the angrier people get, once again dismissing the community’s lifestyle and standards as not being of any value or importance because “it’s just fiction.”


And this leads me to the whole point of this article. Exactly when did it become socially acceptable to dismiss an entire community of people simply because the average person doesn’t understand them? Why are their feelings and outrage over the gross misrepresentation of their community not valid? I had so hoped that society as a whole had come much further along than this.


If nothing else, many people have admitted that the trilogy was their “gateway book” which has led them to seek out books written by authors with a better understanding of the lifestyle, those who have researched the topic, who have or is currently living the lifestyle, or who just want to do their own works and their readers justice by providing them with a more believable fictional experience. Yes, it may be fiction, but that doesn’t mean research and work arent’ involved.


I only ask that readers keep in mind that the BDSM community exists. It is a society filled with loving people and relationships, and their chosen lifestyle has validity and they should be respected, even if it is within the pages of a fiction book. After all, fiction may be art imitating life, but misrepresenting the truth has far-reaching consequences when dealing with people, lifestyle choices, heritage, and society. This group of people exist in the real world, and both the people and their lifestyle have every right to be respected by everyone, even authors who write about fictitious characters.

Erotica Has Been Mainstream for Years


I’ve been boggled recently by the number of authors who hold onto this stance that EL James somehow “invented,” made “mainstream,” or “legitimized” erotica. Erotica and the porn industry is a multi-BILLION dollar a year industry and has been for decades. You can’t get much more “mainstream” and “legitimate” when you are raking in that kind of sales every year.

The simple fact of the matter is, there were thousands of erotica writers already out in social media long before EL James came onto the scene, along with millions of erotic novels. James did not “pave the way” for erotica any more than Stephen King “paved the way” for horror or that Stephanie Meyer “paved the way” for vampires. People were already talking about erotic literature with their coworkers, erotic authors advertised their work on social media, there were already thousands of active forums and social media groups and websites devoted to talking about and advertising erotica, we were already discussing it in our book clubs, and we were already talking about it with friends. Erotica was already mainstream and a legitimate literature genre long before EL James. She may have become the poster child for the genre and made more money off of it than anyone else, but the genre was already very well established and doing very well long before her books were released. It is much the same way that while George Lucas and Gene Roddenbury may have made more money off of science fiction than many other sci-fi authors, the genre was alive and well long before they decided to join the ranks of HG Wells.

Erotica has had, and still has, a huge following, hundreds of millions of readers and thousands of authors all discussing the art form. All James’ books did was drawn in the very small minority of readers who had shied away from the genre. They picked up the book and began singing its praises. People who already read and appreciated the genre bought it to see what all the fuss was about, and most promptly tossed it to the side in favor of better writers because, again, they were already heavily into the genre and had been for years (multi-BILLION dollar industry, remember?). Despite the sales numbers, more people dislike the story than those who did like it, because again, there were more people already into the genre who were used to better written literature than there were “novice” readers who had just stumbled upon the genre. James’ success is certainly uncanny, but she certainly didn’t “legitimatize” the industry.


There has been websites dedicated to erotic literature for decades now, and many of these authors have a very large following and a lot of success. Case in point – the above screen shot. This is a snippet of a list of the most read erotic stories on an adult website I used to write for. In case you can’t wrap your mind around the number of reads on that first story, it is 11,073,078. That’s over 11 MILLION reads on that story. The next one is over 8 MILLION reads. Just the first 11 stories (and that site hosts hundreds of thousands of stories and authors) on that site have more than 45 MILLION reads total. That’s pretty damn “mainstream” and “legitimate” for a genre which everyone seems to think didn’t appear until James’ got published, especially considering some of those stories came out years before 50 Shades.

Let’s also not forget Anne Rice’s Beauty Trilogy which was also a very successful BDSM publication which came out in the 80s, and also her book Exit to Eden. In addition, there are also the hundreds upon hundreds of Harlequin novels and authors which have been around for decades. These weren’t books being read in the privacy of people’s homes, they were being toted around on school campuses, to work, being talked about on social media and in book clubs. The billions and billions of people who already enjoyed the genre were already talking about it. James just got the other 20% of the population talking about it, too. While that is certainly something to be admired, it hardly makes her a “founding father” of the genre. While *you* i.e. the small number of readers who weren’t already into the genre may not have noticed what was going on in the literary world prior to 50 Shades, erotica was being written, it was being talked about it, and it was being advertised just as much as it has been since 50 Shades was released. People just didn’t notice it prior to James. It’s like saying murder and all the horrible things in the world weren’t happening before the days of social and broadcast media. Yes, it was. It’s just much more accessible now thanks to the media.

In summary, James has without a doubt become the poster child for erotica. However, there is a huge difference between being the poster child for a genre and actually being the first person who ever wrote in it. It is also a huge stretch to consider her the person who somehow broke down barriers on a genre that was already raking in over $4 BILLION dollars a year and which had several million erotic books already on Amazon’s virtual bookshelves. A poster child she may be, but erotica was already mainstream long before she came along, and it will continue to exist long after the next big craze hits.