Continuing the Main Characters in Multiple Books

Since there are a lot of readers here, I thought I’d post about this newest craze, or at least it seems that way to me.

I’m pretty sure the 50 Shades of Grey books started this trend, but it is one that I’m beginning to dislike.  Taking the hero and heroine on a journey that takes 3 books or more.

Lately, I’ve been picking up the first book because the premise sounds interesting and I begin reading only to find out the main characters story is going to last over two more books.  And it’s caused me to not buy the next book or the author again.  I’m sure I’m missing out on some good reads, but I want to know up front that I’ll need to read three books to get the whole story.

I like a complete story and if you’re going to continue with the same characters without resolving the conflict in the book with a HEA/HFN (Happily Ever After or Happy for Now) ending then I’ll probably never read the next book.

This isn’t to say, I don’t read books with the same characters.  I’ve read the Cat and Bones books (and loved them) and a few others.  But the books can be read as standalone books.  I don’t have to read the next book to find out if the conflict is resolved from the first book.

So to all the readers, do you like having the main characters and their conflict spread over several books?  Or do you want it all tied up as best as possible in one book?

I’d really like to hear what you have to say.


About marietuhart

I'm an erotic romance writer currently published with The Wild Rose Press under the Scarlet Rose line.
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36 Responses to Continuing the Main Characters in Multiple Books

  1. Clare O'Beara says:

    I prefer a character arc and conflict to be resolved in one book. The arc can continue and new conflicts occur in the next book. We do like reading a series about people or places and so it is natural to keep writing about these as well. However a book that ends with a cliffhanger or has no real resolution just puts the reader off that author in many cases.

  2. Sabine says:

    I agree completely. I just read an anthology a while ago and a lot of the stories were new adult and they were deliberately written to be continued in at least two other books and the first story ended on a cliffhanger and no resolution for that part – I hated it. I felt like a guinea pig reading and I won’t buy these kinds of books. At least also tell me up front so that I can make an informed decision about whether or not to pick up the book and start reading. I don’t mind series/stories about characters that continue over one or more books – at least they have a HEA or some kind of resolution to them and you learn more about the characters as they go and each story is new and separate from the previous one. Ah, FOS has a lot to answer for – the tonal/greyscale covers with a tie/pearls and the trend of a story that goes over three books!

  3. Elena Moreno says:


    I guess I should say I have an addictive personality and find myself going crazy when I have to put down a book and return to life. I actually run the rest of the day on the mood the book left me in. (That can be a real problem)

    So I love the idea of story’s that I can read in parts. But only as you have stated. If it gives me closure on that particular couple, problem, issue or situation. Now, story’s that leave you literally unresolved with everything until the next book. I never buy the next one.

    I’ve read several series where each book belongs to a certain couple, be it friends or family and their story gets a happily for now. Yet they all have a common theme that gets resolved as each book progresses. Those I love and don’t mind paying for each as they are written or released.

    But that’s just me 🙂

  4. suzlyne says:

    I agree completely. If I know in advance that the conflict is going to take 3-4 books to get it completed I will probably pass on it. I have waited until all the books were out before buying but that was only from authors that I truely like. It’s annoying when you buy a book only to find out after you start it that it’s the first of 3 and there’s a cliff hanger at the end of each but the last. When that has happened I generally don’t look at that author again because you never know if the story is complete in one to multiple books. Give me a complete story in one book. I do like when the characters have more than one book but each is it’s own individual story. Those are like revisiting old friends.

    • marietuhart says:

      Hi Suzlyne, I have several series of books I love because yes, I too love revisiting old friends (main characters) but they’ve had their story and now it’s time for someone else to have the stage.

  5. Susan says:

    I also HATE cliffhangers. I won’t buy a book if I know it doesn’t end. I’ll forget what I read a few months earlier if I don’t get them all at once. It seems to me to be a “ploy” to get people to buy more books. (You know, buy one at $2.99 and then have two more at $2.99, now you’ve spent $9.00 on a story!) So yes, I want an author to FINISH a story rather than “trick” us readers into having to buy more and more and more to finish it.

    • marietuhart says:

      Hi Susan, I will agree with you I feel I’ve been tricked with several authors into them wanting me to buy the next book.

  6. Eileen says:

    interesting topic. I have waited for all the books to be out before I start the first book of the series. If I’m still interested then I read it. I was hoping to do that with Sylvia Day’s Crossfire series when I first heard it was a trilogy. I read 1-3 and then I found out she was adding 2 more books. ARGH! I’m interested enough to want to finish it but it makes me hesitate on other stories now.

    • marietuhart says:

      Hi Eileen, I’ve heard about the backlash again Sylvia Day’s Crossfire series. I’ve waited until all the books have come out too, when I know it’s going to be a set of books like that, but authors don’t always make that apparent.

  7. d fuller says:

    I wish the multiple book trend had never started. I hate waiting for follow-up books because I forget what I have read and I thinks it’s a ploy to get readers to pay what are sometimes outrageous prices for each book.

    • marietuhart says:

      HI D Fuller, I understand where you’re coming from. Sometimes the prices are outrageous it depends on how it is published (self-published or from a publisher). Publishers have a tendency to be higher so I can’t blame the author for that, but self-published they set their own prices.

  8. Teresa Hughes says:

    For me it depends on the story. If the story is written well then I don’t mind the story being over two or more books. One of my favorite books, The North and South series is a good example of this. For me 50 shades kept be hooked from one book to the next and I really enjoyed it!

    • marietuhart says:

      Hi Teresa, interesting reply. I think I agree with you, if the story is written well and all 3 books are available, then for me I might do it.

  9. Laura says:

    If the author is going to do the story over two or three books the price for each book should be really low. I can’t see paying the price of a full story only to get 1/3 of a story. Thank you!

  10. Donya says:

    I agree with Teresa. It depends on the story. I usually get a recommendation for a book that is a series, otherwise I would rather read a standalone. Now that being said, I do enjoy a series where they can be read as a standalone or if you have read the series from the beginning, you can catch up with your favorite characters. Case in point – JR Ward’s BDB series or Donna Grant’s Dark Kings.

    • marietuhart says:

      Hi Donya, yes JR Ward’s BDB is a great example. You can read the book as a stand alone. But you get to revisit other characters. I’ll have to check out Donna Grant’s books.

  11. Porchia says:

    I do not like this new trend of multiple books if they tell you upfront it’s not so bad I will wait for all three books to be published as a set and then buy them. I like series books where you get new characters each book and your old favorites show up to help out. Love those.
    I have found some that take 5 to 7 books to finish one story, I do not like those at all!!!

    • marietuhart says:

      Hi Porchia, if the authors tell you up front, then I would be fine with it. Most don’t. I’ve taken to reading reviews to find out if it’s a series of books where you have to read several books to get the whole story.

  12. Cindy Graham says:

    I hate this trend. I picked up one of these books and didn’t realize what it was until I got to the end. I was so frustrated that I was now expected to buy two more books to continue the story. Now I double check before buying a book to make sure and don’t bother if it is a serial. I love a series but with those they are all stand alone books with an ending. I wish this had never started.

    I’m also not a fan of books written in the first person that has become a big crazy as of late even with some of my favorite authors who have never written this way. Instead of just reading the blurb on a book to decide if I want to read it, I feel like an investigative reporter having to read excerpts, reviews, etc. to make sure I’m getting the type of book I really want to read.

  13. Knecht Personal e-mail says:

    I don’t mind a book or two of a continuing story, I do like to know how many I need to buy upfront though. I started one book not knowing & it grew into like 15 books!…It was more like a soap opera. I did continue after book 15 but I Did NOT! I do really like “series” books where there are different main characters but the supporting characters are from previous books, it really lets you connect with the characters better.

  14. Nancy Davidson says:

    am like you… I prefer to read a story and complete that story in one book. I read the first installment of Fifty Shades, started the second one and found it quite boring. Didn’t even try the third book.

    • marietuhart says:

      Hi Nancy, I did read the Fifty Shades book, the first book bored me, about half-way through the second I started to finally get engaged by the characters, read the third just to see what everyone was talking about.

  15. mathlady68 says:

    I don’t mind the extended arc if I know in advance. I try to mix up my reading between the extended arc style and the conclusion in a single book style. I do often wait until I can get books 1 and 2 at the same time because cliff hangers drive me a little nuts.

    • marietuhart says:

      Hi Mathlady, I think that’s it, its the cliff hangers especially if you don’t know the story is going over multiple books.

  16. Lea says:

    I agree with a lot of the comments above it really depends on the story and the pricing. And if the author is up front about how many books it will be. I HATE cliffhangers and if I am surprised by one I will likely not read more of the serial or anything else by that author. If on the other hand the author tells me in the blurb that it is a serial story, how many books there will be (and sticks to it, I’ve seen 3 book serials turn into 4,5,6 and so on) and how long between them (aprox.) I can then make an informed decision whether I want to commit my time and money for a story, if I want to buy it a piece at a time as they come out or wait for the story to be completed and buy them all at once (maybe in a discounted box set?) things like that. I’ve seen too many serials start looking like money grabs and it makes me wary. The first book is free, two is $0.99, three is $2.99…oh wait the story’s still not done I guess we’ll do a fourth for $3.99….just NO. I LOVE a good series (Marie Force’s Fatal series comes to mind) I love seeing my favorite characters over and over but the main story arc is resolved in the book and while there are bits that flow between the books they can be read as stand alone and you can pretty much jump in anywhere in the series and catch up without too much trouble. Those are the books that keep me satisfied and buying, surprise me with a cliffhanger, not so much.

    • marietuhart says:

      Hi Lea, it’s the knowing up front that would make the difference. And like you I love a good series, but the main story arc is resolved by the time I finish that book.

  17. I completely agree, when I buy a book I like to know up front whether it’s standalone or a series.
    I have stopped buying a book when I realise that you need to read another 2 books before anything resolved. I love series like Cat and Bone and Cassie Palmer, but I know what am buying.

  18. sasharenay says:

    I love a good series but I’m not crazy about this new trend of serials myself! I would much rather read one book with hero and heroine then the next book be about their brother/friend/cousin/sister you get the idea, and their hero/heroine. I don’t like cliffhangers and don’t like reading several books about the same main characters, it gets boring. I didn’t even make it through chapter 4 of 50 shades, it’s the only book I have ever started and not finished, and I read a lot!

    • marietuhart says:

      Hi Sasharenay, thanks for the comments. I don’t blame you for not making it through Fifty Shades, I have friends who think I was brave to read the whole thing.

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