Saturday, November 17, 2012

Marin Thomas: Dear Author: What's a Continuity?

A Continuity is a group of books written by different authors in which an overall theme or plot runs through the series, but each book has a unique hero and heroine with their own romantic plot and happy-ever-after. My November release, Beau: Cowboy Protector is the 5th book in the six-book Harts of the Rodeo—Born to Ride series by Harlequin American Romance.  I'm also thrilled to share that the book is a RT Book Reviews 2012 Reviewers' Choice Nominee.  

Here's the publisher's blurb for the series--can you guess what theme or plot carries through all six books?

Harlequin American Romance is thrilled to introduce HARTS OF THE RODEO, a new six-book miniseries about a family determined to rebuild their ranch and their lives, with love, hard work, and the help of a legendary stallion...

What many readers and reviewers aren't aware of is that the authors selected to participate in continuities usually have little say in the overall concept of the series.  The editors supply the authors with a "bible" which outlines the series concept, the setting, characters—right down to their names and physical descriptions—and a bare-bones plot for each book.  It's up to the author to take that information and create a unique and compelling story.

Continuities can be a lot of fun to participate in.  You get to collaborate with authors you might only know in passing and at the end of the series you've formed lasting friendships.  You also enjoy the benefit of six authors helping to promote the series so hopefully you see a bump in your sale's numbers as well as gaining new readers from those who follow the other authors.  It's true that more often than not once a reader buys the first book in a series, they'll buy the rest and because of that your individual book remains in the public eye longer.  The publisher is also more likely to put more effort into promoting the series.  Harts of the Rodeo Book Trailer  

On the downside…the collaboration-with-authors part takes a lot of time—mostly at the beginning when authors are brainstorming their stories and characters.  By the end of the more-than-six-month period of writing and promotion, you'll have exchanged hundreds of e-mails.  Another downside to continuities is that you can't choose the name for your hero or heroine and depending on which of the six books you write, you might find yourself limited in some areas: If you have the first book, then you must introduce all the characters, the setting and close the book with a hook that compels the reader to buy the next story in the series.  If you have the final book in the continuity, then it's your responsibility to tie up the plot, show the reader what's happened with the previous characters in the series—recap the marriages, babies etc—and you must do all this in addition to writing your hero and heroine's romance.

Harts of the Rodeo—Born to Ride is my second continuity with Harlequin American Romance and I've enjoyed every minute of the experience!  If you're interested in reading about the Hart family, stop by HarlequinJunkie, where you'll find character interviews, author blogs and giveaways.  Links to all the books in the series can be found on my website.

So tell me…do you like continuities?  Why or why not?  Leave a comment for a chance to win an autographed copy of Beau: Cowboy Protector.  

Marin Thomas grew up in Janesville, Wisconsin. She left the Midwest to attend college in Tucson, Arizona where she earned a B.A. in Radio-TV and played basketball for the Lady Wildcats. Following graduation she married her college sweetheart in a five-minute ceremony at the historical Little Chapel of the West in Las Vegas, Nevada. Over the years she and her family have lived in seven different states but have now come full circle and returned to Arizona where the rugged desert and breathtaking sunsets provide plenty of inspiration for Marin's cowboy books. 

***Marin's winner is Erin! Please email with your mailing details!***


Debby said...

I enjoy continuities. You get to read a story that continues and you gt to enjoy a variety of writing styles.
debby236 at gmail dot com

Lory Lee said...

I honestly haven't read one, but I'm excited to start doing the habit.

Laney4 said...

I like continuities because I like a story to go on and on ... but I don't like staying up all night to get to the end. By having separate stories, I can still read my "book a day" and not lose any sleep over it, yet I can enjoy the depth of the storylines that much longer when I pick up the next (and the next, and the next) book. The bonus is that there are six (in this case) different stories to enjoy. One can never have too many heroes to enjoy ;)

Stefanie said...

I haven't read any continuities yet, this is the first time I've heard about them!!
But they sound interesting to get to know different authors and their writing style.

Marin Thomas said...

Hi ladies--thanks for stopping by the blog today! It sounds like everyone wouldn't mind reading a continuity. I hope you'll give the Harts of the Rodeo--Born to Ride coninuity a try. I promise you you'll fall in love with the heroes in this series--Have a wonderful saturday, everyone!

Cathy Shouse said...

I like continuities. It's fun to go back and visit a setting a few of the characters from the previous book(s). As a writer, I think it would be challenging to make a continuity work and would take much more effort. Since writing can be a solitary pursuit, making new writer friends would be an advantage, and the chance for more sales is always good.

erin said...

Thanks for the great post and congrats on the new release! I don't mind continuity :)

Pat Cochran said...

Hi, Marin,

I very much like continuities, they give me
more time with the various characters and a
chance to know just what happens to them.

Pat C.

Mary Preston said...

I actually don't think I have read any continuities. I like the idea. It's sounds 'tricky' for the writers.

Eli Yanti said...

I don't mind with the continuty

Love the cover boy especially love cowboy story :)

Di said...

Yes - and it's amazing how often I'm not very conscious of the change in author since the stories & style seem seamless. They must be well planned.

Marin Thomas said...

Hi Ladies--thanks for stopping by the blog and leaving a comment! Continuities are hard work but the payoff in the end I believe is a great experience for readers who love following the ups and downs in the lives of several characters. If you get the chance to read the Harts of the Rodeo series I hope you enjoy it!