Q&A: Stand-Alone Novel vs. Series

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For a first novel to be published, is it better to have a stand-alone novel or one part of a series, since I read somewhere that publishers won’t know if you’ll complete the series or not on time since you’re new, so it’s better to do a first stand-alone novel?

Can you answer this question? Please post your advice below.

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Amel is an experienced freelance writer, editor, and Arabic to English translator. She started the Muslim Writers Club as a means of sharing useful information about the art (and business) of writing.
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  1. As-salamu Alaykum,

    I’m not sure if there is a “correct” answer to this question (and I invite people with more experience to reply), but I think that a novel can be both a “stand-alone” and part of a series.

    What I mean is that if someone randomly picks up Volume 52 of the Nancy Drew series (for example), then they will be able to enjoy it on its own without having read Volumes 1-51. In my opinion, this is something desirable.

    So, perhaps you can think about writing your novel in a manner that lends itself to the possibility for serialization (or at least a sequel), but without leaving too many loose ends that might frustrate a reader if no subsequent novels are written.

    I recently read a self-published “novel” that was more like a chapter from a larger work. The plot was not resolved within this chapter/novel and would have required one to purchase each volume separately in order to move ahead in the story. I guess some readers find this method of reading enticing, but I found it more suitable for a magazine or website, and I can see why a publisher might not want to take the risk of publishing an unfinished work.

    Having said that, I would probably tell my publisher (or agent) about my intentions to do a series and have my plan outlined for them to examine. I’d also try to work quickly to have drafts available in case they showed interest.

    Hope you write back to let us know what you decided and how it turned out!

    Amel – MWC Admin
    Muslim Writers Club recently posted…Q&A: Publisher for Character Building CourseMy Profile

  2. Salam again,

    I recently came across this tweet from Camel Press:

    We’d love to see submissions from the Open Call for #MuslimWriters! Always seeking heroes/heroines from diverse culture.

    You can read about the “Open Call” referenced above on this page.

    On the Camel Press submissions page, the following is stated:

    What we’re looking for: Strong voices in genre fiction: mystery/suspense, cozy mystery, mystery thrillers, romantic suspense, and romance (contemporary and historical). We also consider general fiction, historical fiction, fantasy, Westerns, and sci fi, particularly if you have a strong promotional plan. Your story must have likable characters and a happy or at least hopeful ending. Series proposals are welcome. We prefer the word count to be between 70,000 and 100,000, but books between 50,000 and 70,000 words will still be considered.

    So, here is at least one publisher that is eager to see serials – and has interest in seeing Muslim characters!

    Also note that Camel Press accepts both agented and non-agented submissions.

    Amel – MWC Admin
    Muslim Writers Club recently posted…Want to Earn Passive Income as a Writer? Join Me on my New Money-Making Adventure!My Profile

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