by Anna Bell
What do you do when you’re midway through a book series, but you don’t have the time to finish it? Do you abandon the series unfinished, or do you release it when you can – believing that it’s better late than never? Well folks, that’s my current dilemma.
When I originally wrote Millie and the American Wedding, it was a stand-alone book, or at least that’s what I thought. I’d written an epilogue and thought that was the end. Only, it’s always been a book that has had a life of its own. I released it as an eBook on Amazon, and it ended up doing really well. To date it has sold over 40,000 copies and had over a million reads on Wattpad. Readers kept emailing telling me that they couldn’t believe the ending and saying that it was begging for a sequel. The more people that mentioned it, the more I started to wonder what would happen next.
Only in my head, once I started thinking what happened next, I couldn’t help thinking that readers needed to know what had happened in the very beginning. I wrote the prequel – Millie and the American University – to show where the main characters had met and fallen in love originally. It was only then that I felt ready to write the sequel, Millie and the American Proposal, to reunite my main characters, five years on from the wedding. But it still didn’t feel like the end. I felt Millie deserved her own wedding – a British one.
In what I thought was a savvy business move, I put an advert in the back of Millie and the American Proposal, when it was released, heralding the arrival of the final instalment of Millie’s adventures at the end of 2014. I’ve had tweets and emails from readers asking when it’s due out and I’ve had to hold my hands up and confess that I haven’t written it. Luckily they’ve all been really understanding, but it does leave me wondering whether I’ll have missed the boat by the time I get round to writing it.
Realistically, it’s going to be this time next year at the earliest that I’d be able to release it, and I wonder if it’s going to be too late. Will I have lost the interest of the readers? Would I be able to reach that audience again? It costs about £500 to prepare a book for self-publishing (not including my time to write it), and I don’t know whether it would be a waste of time and money. Would it be better for me to write a completely new book?
I hate the idea of an unfinished series, and part of me thinks that I should condense the last part of Millie’s adventures as a short story or novella and release it free on Wattpad. That way I could end the series, but put my energy into new projects.
So readers, what do you think I should do?