When you create characters, conflicts, and a world within your novel, it can be hard to let them go after you type the end. Sequels are a great way to give yourself more time with the story world you’ve created, and maybe even deliver a satisfying next volume to readers. But does every book need a sequel? Here are some things to consider before opening up a new document.
You should write a sequel to your unpublished book if:
- The story is inherently a series—for example, a cozy mystery series featuring the same sleuth in the same setting over a few books
- The first book will be published for free, and you’re intending to use it to build an audience with further books in the series
- You feel confident about what the story will be—there’s something in it you must write about
- There is a theme or structure inherent to the series: for example, a series with a cast of narrators established in the first book, or a series where each volume is inspired by a different type of magic in a magical system, etc.
- You’ve published book one and readers are begging for it—give them what they want!
- You’re really trying to build the series into a brand and market it heavily
You should consider whether you really need a sequel if:
- You don’t know exactly what will happen in the second (or third!) books
- You’re planning to query the first book for traditional publication—agents and editors will more often than not work one book at a time (at least until they know how the first book sells) so your efforts are probably better spent on a fresh new project rather than continuing a series that may or may not sell multiple volumes
- You’re writing in a genre that doesn’t typically have sequels featuring the same characters (e.g., romance, YA contemporary)
- You don’t feel invested in marketing the series any longer
- You’re just scared of trying new characters, settings, or ideas (it’s okay, it happens!)
- A new idea is tugging at you, and writing a sequel feels like a chore
If you’re unsure, you can always set your sequel idea aside and try something new for a while. The sequel will always be there—and no one else can write your sequel for you!