Is the sequel a phenomenon that works for crime fiction but not for other genres? So asks Suroopa Mukherjee at the Macmillan New Writers' blog. "Do readers look for continuity? I am ill at ease with the idea of a brand name. Is this a marketing strategy? But what if the author is inspired to write differently?….How do we plan out our next book? Do we write with the Imprint in mind? How do authors deal with a contrary creative impulse? Which is the common meeting ground for marketing and creative strategies? Do readers look for brand names? Are these creative constraints faced by all published authors?"
Well, that's rather a lot of questions, not just one, but they all relate to the issue of the "second novel", and whether it is advisable (not least, in order to actually be published) to continue a theme begun in a successful first book, or to go for something different?
Suroopa writes that crime fiction is well suited to the second novel as sequel because of a "central investigating character". Her novel, not crime, is Across the Mystic Shore. Her post was inspired by M. F. W. Curran's news (on his blog Muskets and Monsters) that Pan Macmillan are not going to publish his third novel, The Black Hours, because "it couldn’t be marketed as an “MFW Curran” book. It’s quite different to The Secret War, perhaps too different." The Black Hours is described by him as a "Victorian thriller", which might interest readers of this blog – in which case I recommend a visit to Muskets and Monsters to discover more – its a very engaging blog.