Series vs. Standalone: The Best Parts of Both 

Picture books are beloved by young readers, offering them a gateway to the magical world of storytelling. When it comes to creating them, authors and publishers often face the dilemma of whether to launch standalone books or turn their story into a series. Both choices have their benefits, and in this blog post, we'll explore the pros of standalones and series, along with some non-negotiable principles to ensure success no matter what you choose.

Series vs. Standalone

Pros of Standalones

Kids Can Read It Again and Again

Standalone picture books provide a complete story in a single package. This means that young readers can revisit the same story as many times as they want, creating a deep connection with the characters and the plot. The comfort of returning to a familiar story can be a source of great joy for children, making this one of the most significant factors in the series vs. standalone debate.

You Can Focus All Your Efforts on One Book

Creating a standalone picture book allows authors to pour all their creativity, energy, and resources into a single, compelling story. This intense focus often yields a polished and memorable work that can leave a lasting impact on readers. When it comes to series vs. standalone books, this puts standalones in a great position.

You Can Answer All Questions in One Go

Standalones give authors the opportunity to provide a complete and satisfying resolution to the story's questions and conflicts within a single book. Young readers can experience the gratification of a neatly tied-up narrative, making it an ideal choice for stories with a clear beginning, middle, and end. When comparing series vs. standalone picture books, it’s important to note that the end of a series should answer all questions, but it’s not quite as fast as wrapping everything up nicely in a single book.

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Pros of a Series

You Can Grow a Dedicated Fanbase

One of the most significant advantages of series vs. standalone picture books is the potential to cultivate a dedicated fanbase. When readers fall in love with a particular character or world, they eagerly anticipate the next installment, fostering a sense of excitement and loyalty that can endure for years.

You Can Cover Lots of Different Topics

A series vs. standalone allows authors to explore a wide range of themes and topics while maintaining a consistent setting or cast of characters. This versatility enables authors to address different aspects of a child's life, from friendship and family to adventure and learning, ensuring that there's something for everyone in the series.

You Can Put "Series" on Your Resume

Having a successful picture book series under your belt can be a valuable addition to an author's portfolio. It showcases your ability to sustain interest, develop characters over time, and create a world that readers want to return to repeatedly, which can open doors to new opportunities in the publishing world. Series vs. standalone books are unique in this ability.

Non-Negotiables

Every Book Must Stand on Its Own Two Feet

Regardless of what you choose in the series vs. standalone debate, each book must be able to stand independently. Every story should have its unique charm, appeal, and satisfying narrative, ensuring that new readers can jump in at any point and enjoy the book without feeling lost. 

You Need to Give Each Book Its Rightful Time (Including Marketing)

Series vs. standalone aside, this remains the same — each book deserves its moment in the spotlight. Adequate time and effort should be dedicated to not only creating but also marketing each book effectively. This ensures that each story gets the attention it deserves and reaches its intended audience.

In the world of picture books, the choice between creating a series vs. standalone book ultimately depends on the story you want to tell and your goals as an author. Standalones offer the joy of self-contained narratives, while series provide the opportunity to build a loyal following and explore diverse themes. Whichever path you choose, remember the non-negotiable principles of ensuring each book's independence and giving them the time and attention they deserve. In the end, the most important thing is to inspire young readers and ignite their love for the magical world of storytelling.

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