Serious About Series, a guest post from Zanna Mackenzie

ZannaM scale

Our guest today is the wonderful Zanna Mackenzie who has been a good friend to the blog since we started out over a year ago and is one of the contributors to our charity anthology. Zanna’s current release ‘If You Only Knew’ is available from Crooked Cat here. In her guest post, Zanna has stopped by to tell us all about a new found love of her own…


Series – Don’t you just love them?

I’m not talking TV series here (though I love many of those too!) – no, I’m talking about novels which come in series.

Other than Sophie Kinsella’s widely loved Shopaholic series and Kate Johnson’s wonderful Sophie Green Mysteries I hadn’t had much experience of book series until a few months ago, when I finally purchased a basic Kindle.

I wasn’t sure if I would take to the ereader or the concept of ebooks but so many great new releases seemed to be ebook only?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? versions that I thought I’d reached the point of having to give an ereader a try. At the time I was convinced I’d just use it for those ‘want to read a book but it’s only available as an ebook’ times and still get my usual paperback fix for everything else.

But two unexpected things happened….

First, I took to my Kindle straight away and it became my ‘must have’ accessory, always by my side.

Secondly, I discovered a whole new and exciting world of books and found my reading habits changed completely. Pre ereader I was a huge chicklit fan. After I discovered ebooks I found myself also drawn to reading a few new genres I’d only briefly dipped a toe into before. The genres…? Romantic suspense and cozy mystery romance.

I became a big fan of books where there was a crime or mystery to solve alongside a burgeoning romance between the male and female lead characters. I discovered books with characters who were female amateur sleuths, and books with spies, FBI and CIA agents. I tried lots of new authors; enjoyed books set in exciting adventurous locations such as Alaska and Canada and fell in love with a whole new and very different reading experience.

dreamstimefree_84378What delighted me even more was that many of these books were part of a series! If I like the writing style of an author then I’m keen to explore more books they have written. With a series where I’ve taken to the characters and their adventures continue in the next book, well, it’s a definite I’ll want to read them! Reading the next book in a series is like the chance to catch up with old friends, it’s wonderful. No worries about whether you’ll like the book or take to the characters or having to spend time getting up to speed with who is who, lives where or does what. You can immerse yourself straight away in the book and start enjoying it.

Many people in the publishing industry believe that writing a series of books is the way to go these days, whether each story is a novella or a full length novel. Though, as it’s thought the ‘ideal’ is to create your series by publishing a story every 3-4 months that would mean you’d need to be a very fast writer to put that number of full length novels out each year rather than novellas!

What do you think? Have you written a series? Are you thinking of doing so? What series have you read and loved?

Zanna Mackenzie is a former member of the Romantic Novelist’s Association’s New Writers Scheme (NWS). She has three traditionally published books available in paperback and ebook versions. Find out more about Zanna on her blog: www.zannamackenzie.blogspot.co.uk

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13 thoughts on “Serious About Series, a guest post from Zanna Mackenzie

    • Hi Jay – thanks, glad you enjoyed the post. The only problem with exploring fab new genres is that your TBR list on your Kindle grows even longer but, having said that, I reckon you can never have too many books waiting to be read! Hope you find some books you enjoy among the romantic suspense novels. Zanna X

  1. Ooh, I’m a big chick lit fan too, but I haven’t tried suspense or cosy crime yet, but I will be adding some to my reading pile as you have sold me on the exotic locations and the blend of romance and mystery! Meg xox

  2. Hi Zanna,
    I must admit I don’t usually go for books in a series but maybe I’ll give it a try. I read a brilliant romantic suspense novel a while ago that scared the life out of me…Nora Roberts’ ‘High Noon’…do not read when you’re alone in the house!
    Helen R 🙂

    • Hi Helen Yes, know what you mean! I’ve read a few Nora Roberts books but mostly I’ve seen the film versions of them and I have watched and enjoyed High Noon, Northern Lights, Angels Fall and Tribute. Zanna X

  3. interesting post, Zanna. I’ve not read many series but have always loved Elizabeth Jane Howard’s books known as the Cazalet Chronicles and it’s right what you say about coming back to old friends. Shall have to try more.

  4. Hi Zanna, welcome back to the blog! I was very excited to read your post because I do write series. I originally had an idea for a stand-alone book but the heroine’s best friends had stories to tell too and, before I knew it, I had a trilogy. However, I love the setting so much that I have a fourth book swimming round in my head and ideas for others too!

    Reading your views on Kindle made me smile because I could have written that. I was exactly the same; a reluctant convert who now loves it and has it with me constantly. I’ve tried writers I’d never have tried before although I haven’t tended to dip out of genre. Maybe that’s my next adventure and cosy mystery sounds fabulous.

    You talk about loving series but would you consider writing one too?

    Jessica xx

  5. Hi Zanna, thanks for an interesting post. Series seem suddenly to have become very popular. My new editor at MIRA was hugely enthusiastic about what she called my ‘saga’ – a trilogy tracing a single heroine’s fortunes over a period of ten years – because, she said, it would give the sales team a real boost. Let’s hope she was right! Coincidentally, the trilogy is romantic suspense, a new direction for me. I love the genre. Loved Nora Roberts’ Angel Falls, and have been rereading all of Mary Stewart’s books these last few months – she was the doyenne of romantic suspense.

  6. Hi Zanna, I was the same with my kindle, I didn’t want one at first. I succumbed because there are so many lovely books only available in e-format and now I wouldn’t be without the kindle! I think of it as an ipod for books and take it everywhere, comforted with the notion that should the car break down, I can sit and read until I’m rescued and never be bored.
    I’ve never tried reading a series, but I am writing one. Its not romance though but about the troubled children I used to work with as a social worker. I thought I’d publish them when I’ve written 3 and I’m up to one and a half yet, so nearly there.

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