Question: Do You Think Author/Series Burnout Is Permanent?

Posted June 5, 2014 by Carmel in Question / 105 Comments


For me, author and series burnout are two different things; once I stop feeling a certain story arc, chances are that I’m never going back. There are just too many other good books out there to waste time trying to get blood out of a stone. It usually takes quite a bit for me to completely give-up on a series (I’m an eternal optimist that way), but if the last few installments have been a real struggle to get though, I consider that as having tried before throwing in the towel. When you start to see your favourite characters get caught-up in a downward spiral, it becomes almost too painful to watch, and I’d rather get while the getting is goodβ€”if you know what I meanβ€”give up before the protagonists hit the point of no return and ruin your previously high opinion of them.

Authors on the other hand are a completely different kettle of fish; they often switch genres, voices, worlds, POVs, etc so just because I’m no longer feeling one of their series doesn’t mean that I won’t enjoy their newest project. Plus, I’m not a big fan of writing off an author completely, it just seems too final to me. However, if it’s their actual ‘style’ that I have a problem with, then yes, chances are that they’ll end up on my blacklist. It’s nothing against the author themselves, but sometimes our sense of humour clashes, and when that’s the case there’s just no saving it. Ashlyn Chase is a good example of this; I’ve started two of her series (FLIRTING WITH FANGS TRILOGY and STRANGE NEIGHBORS) only to quit them after the first book. I’m sure plenty of people enjoy her writing style, but it’s not for me.

I haven’t given up on very many series because I’m a little OCD in that area and must always finish what I start (no one can accuse me of being a quitter!). The main one that comes to mind, and I’m sure that I’m not alone in this is ANITA BLAKE, VAMPIRE HUNTER. BULLET has been sitting on my shelves for god knows how long, and there it’s going to stay.

Do You Think Author/Series Burnout Is Permanent?

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Owner, designer and main blogger behind Rabid Reads. Avid book reader, snowboard bunny, video gamer and Supernatural fan. I love all things paranormal, werewolves especially. Oh, and I’m Canadian, eh!

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105 responses to “Question: Do You Think Author/Series Burnout Is Permanent?

  1. My reading moods change and evolve over time (like my switch from paranormal to historical romance), so I think that, should I ever circle back to paranormal again, I might find myself picking up authors or series I’ve given up on. But I likely won’t know until I get there.

  2. It takes a lot for me to burnout on a series or author that I’ve liked in the past. I’ve learned to avoid certain types of writing from authors—some authors can write anything, and I think it’s great, but others . . . they should stick to their main genre. Like you, most of the authors I refuse to read, are authors that I’ve never liked, and that’s the result of my own preferences.

  3. I only ever get author burnout for reasons other than their writing (I have tried authors that don’t work for me but I wouldn’t consider that burnout). I do get series burnout: Black Dagger Brotherhood, The Scarpetta Series, Stephanie Plum. Sometimes the tone of the series changes or I get burnt out on the characters whatever it is the series just quits working for me. Sometimes I will try it again after a bit but so far none of my series burnouts have pulled me back in.

  4. I get it it more than I used to. Long series without end or even a recognizable overall plot are harder and harder to follow as each book continues to tell me nothing (Kitty and the Midnight Hour, I am looking at you). On the other hand, an author switching series sometimes is the fresh start I need to try them again.

  5. Yeah, I stopped reading Anita Blake’s story once it seemed like all she was doing was having sex. Where was the action? Where is the actual story? *sigh* I have a hard time giving up series once I’m involved but I’ve done it with several (though I do keep trying, going back again and again just in case) including the Black Dagger Brotherhood.

  6. Anita Blake was exactly what I thought of when I read this! Honestly even Hamilton’s Merry Gentry series got that way for me. I almost feel like her writing has regressed, and that’s usually when I give up on an author or series. When I feel like they’ve lost what makes them special.

    • Another blogger expressed similar thoughts about Hamilton’s Merry Gentry on my BookLikes page. Good to know, because I’ve been considering giving it a go.

  7. For me it is. When I’m done with a series, I’m done with it (which actually happens most often after I read the first book-very rarely do I finish series). Same with an author. Very rarely will I keep trying their books, if I don’t like the first one I’ve read from them. One exception that does come to mind though, is Maggie Stiefvater. Her book, The Scorpio Races, is one of my all time favorites. I haven’t liked anything else she’s written though. But, I’ll keep reading her new releases (singles/first in series), because I think down the road I’ll end up really liking something else of hers πŸ™‚

  8. I completely agree Carmel! If the past couple books of a series haven’t worked for me, I walk away from it with no intention of going back unless I read a review saying the next book is AMAZING and makes up for the previous ones. An author though I will always try again. Like you said – they write in different voices and different genres and if they’ve written something I’ve loved at one point, I’ll always give something else of theirs a try!

  9. It takes a lot for me to say adios to a series and I don’t think I’ve ever given up on an author completely but if/when I ever do say my final goodbye it will definitely be a permanent farewell, so long, au revoir, see you later alligator, I won’t be back to visit again. With authors I am more flexible. I will try again with a different genre and even give them a couple of chances in the same genre. —I tried really hard to fit as many words for farewell as I could in that comment. Catch you later. Peace out! πŸ™‚

  10. I have to agree with you and sadly have been experiencing this as well. I will probably never finish Charlaine Harris’ series or a few others just because after I stopped “feeling” it, it is so hard to go back and force read something.

  11. I normally will continue to read a certain author, but series burnout is very real. There are some I just have no desire to continue. This is really a new thing for me too – I used to stick with a series and hope that it got better… most didn’t, now I agree- too many books to be dealing with a bad series.

  12. Faye M.  

    I think a series burnout is permanent. I remember following Sweet Valley for so many years, and then one day, I was so bored reading one of them that I realized, “Oh, crap. I may have outgrown this shit already.” Since then, I haven’t read a single Sweet Valley book since πŸ™ Same goes for the Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine. Okay, the books I am mentioning here may be really young compared to here, but the books I read now are usually trilogies so I finish them. Haha. I don’t have any author burnout though… I may get tired of one or two works by then, but if I find out they’re branching out to another genre or market, I’ll definitely check it out for myself!

    Faye at The Social Potato Reviews

    • I’ve noticed that you’d been reviewing a lot of trilogies lately, so good for you for not having this problem anymore. LOL You make a good point, it’s also possible to outgrow a series.

  13. I burned out reading the Sookie Stackhouse books. The last one I read I didn’t like the way Eric’s character was going and I barely remember the plot. I might go back to it someday just to finish the series. Book series can go on too long sometimes.

  14. I think it depends, but I’m more leaning towards not permanent. I can definitely get series and author burnout – but it’s different for me, since it only happens when I’m reading their stuff back and back. Thinking back to when I marathoned Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files a couple years ago to catch up with the series, and that was such a mistake. I got so sick of it after 8 or 9 books! I still love the books, but now that I’m caught up, reading one new book a year seems to be the right pace for me. So these days I try to spread out a series if I’m doing something like that again πŸ™‚

  15. makes you wonder if the author gets burnt out on the series and that is one reason why we do too. The passion is lost and the writing becomes automatic. Charlaine Harris admitted she was tired of the Sookie books while writing them. But sometimes authors have contracts and have to write the books even though the story is over.
    I have to throw my hat in with everyone else about the Blake series. LOVED the first 5 the it got ridiculous for me.

  16. I have trouble letting go of a series, even one where I’ve been disappointed in the last two or three books.. I take it off my pre-order list, though, because I know I’m not going to run to read it, so that also means that I don’t have to buy it as soon as it comes out.
    Authors, as you say, can change series, write a stand-alone, or a completely different world, so I wouldn’t stop reading all of an author’s books even if I became totally fed-up with one series.
    I also agree with Mogsy above; not all series can be binge-read, but those that can are totally made of awesome.
    Great question this week, Carmel!

  17. I don’t think author/series burnout is permanent and think both don’t necessarily go hand in hand. Some authors write in various genres so I can prefer one series over the other, doesn’t mean I’m turned off by the author’s writing, maybe I just don’t connect with a particular series, if that makes sense.

    For instance, I love J.R. Ward’s BDB series and thought I’d feel the same about her Fallen Angels series and that was not the case, I took a break from reading those but continue to read her new BDB books. I can love the author’s writing style but get tired of the story line or characters in a series but it doesn’t mean I won’t pick up and read something else the author has written. I don’t think I’ve sworn off a particular author, it would take a lot of bad writing and frustration for me to do that!

  18. +JMJ+

    How about Sweet Valley High? Does that count? LOL!

    Seriously, I was disappointed when the stories started to get really crazy, with vampires, werewolves, and even a serial killer! For me, however, it’s less about burnout than about a series “jumping the shark.” To use a related juvenile series as another example, I completely lost interest in The Unicorn Club after the characters split up into two clubs.

    I think it’s easier for a series driven by a single protagonist to jump the shark in that way, and that’s probably why I’ve tended to avoid them. But years ago, when I was a huge Romance reader, I loved series in which every sibling in a family or every member of a group of friends got a book of his own. And no matter how disappointing the books in the middle would get, I’d keep reading until the end!

  19. I think it really depends. I mean some series I abandon, but the author’s amazing. Sometimes I don’t like a genre – like contemporary and romance – but that doesn’t mean I’m going to avoid Julie Kagawa or Rick Riordan like a drug.

    I usually give second chances though. Sometimes with another series, sometimes the same one. It all depends. I’ve only done that ONCE though…

  20. I listen to almost every romance genre there is, so if I get tired (which I do) I pick a different category and sometimes an non romance audiobook. I stay pretty happy that way πŸ™‚ When It comes to a series I think even the authors get tired of written them, and I can tell by them trying to find new directions.

  21. It depends, I have on occasion felt that a series would have been better had it stopped 3 books ago. Once I get to the third book in a series I am pretty committed to it. I do know for myself, I cannot rush a series and need to spread the books out. If I read them too close together I find I burn out on them. Now for authors there are some who I adore one series and loath their standalone.. So I will stick with what works for me.

  22. This is a great question. I find that I get frustrated when nothing new is happening. I loved what Alan Bradley did with the most recent Flavia deLuce book. Just when you thought that things were going to get repetitive, he turned everything on its head!

  23. nereyda1003  

    Most of the time it’s permanent for me. I’m so over the Mortal Instruments series I can’t imagine going back to read books 5 and 6.

  24. Alise (Readers in Wonderland)

    Great question! I don’t like writing off authors either, in fact I rarely pay attention to wrote the book anyway (terrible, I know) unless they leave a really good or really bad impression on me. I don’t think I’ve blacklisted any authors for their writing thus far, I’m always willing to give them another chance. As for series, I get burnt out on them pretty easily now for some reason. Especially if there is a huge amount of time between installments.

  25. I can’t think of too many series I have given up on once I am invested, but I read so many first books and then never continue.

  26. One of my favorite aspects of being a book blogger is the excitement of discovering so many new authors. With so many in series, I’m finding that if book one is meh to me then I most likely won’t continue it. But, if it’s a series that I’ve enjoyed and has maybe a book later down the line that wasn’t a favorite of mine, I’d most likely continue it. I like to switch it up by reading different age groups and genres so I don’t get burn-out. Great post, Carmel πŸ™‚

  27. Excellent question Carmel. Sometimes I think it can be a little of both. If an author has left me disappointed…I feel like the trust has been broken and I can’t take another chance. And I will take a chance if only a trusted book friend tells me to read despite the challenges I’ve had in the past.

  28. I think I live in this place of eternal optimism where I finish what I start – so even a series that I’ve burned out on I just let take a break and I’ll someday get back to it. Though honestly, with all I have to read, if I’m burnt out on a series, I probably won’t get back to it, just because I’ll run out of time. There’s only one series that I’ve called it completely quits on – The Nightlife Series – after the second book I knew that there was no way I could enjoy future books. But I haven’t crossed him off my list – I just won’t read anything else he writes in that genre, most likely. I never cross an author of my list either – but if I’ve had a couple bad experiences, I’m probably not going to get to them again. There’s just too many books for me to get back around to them!

  29. Honestly, when it comes to series, they really aren’t my thing. Well, not in every case. I love series (such as Ten Tiny Breathes by K.A. Tucker, which is probably my favorite series ever!) that contain companion novels, versus the same characters. I just get bored with the same characters book after book. So series that over 3 books I rarely read more than the first book, if that. If the series is only 3 books, I MAY try to get through the whole series. But really, I’m just easily bored with the same characters. I’m a slow reader and I also have very little reading time, so I only average 2-3 books a week… and if it’s the same characters again that I just read a few weeks or months prior, I tend to choose something else entirely.

    Sorry, I digress. Back to your question – I think my answer is yes. And not on purpose. But if I’m not enjoying the series, or didn’t entirely love one of the books, I probably will not continue on any further. Not that I’ll write that author off completely, but I do usually write off the series.

    Great post! πŸ™‚

  30. It’s hard for me to give up on a series too but my reason is more of sentimental value than anything LOL. It’s like a race & I’ve already gone so far and a few more steps and I’ll be done. Like Sookie, I should’ve given up on that after the 7th one as well as Dark-Hunters and maybe BDB.

    Authors, true they change voices but I’ve read a few whose voices aren’t really for me. i.e. Amy Plum & Nicole Camden.

  31. I saw this post earlier in the day and didn’t have time to comment, so when I saw that you made a comment about LKH, I had to chime in. I loved the Anita Blake books up to book 5 or 6. That’s when she should have stopped. I’m getting sick of BDB books – they just don’t do it for me any longer.

    There are, however, series that do get better and better over time. I have fallen in love with Eileen Wilks’ World of the Lupi Series. I’m up to book 10 (I think) and the story is still good.

  32. There are some series that I’ve put on “indefinite” hold. If the series reaches the 8 book mark, and I don’t feel interested anymore, I probably won’t keep reading. I’ve left so many series on hold just when the last book came out. It sucks!

    I don’t tend to get tired of authors, because, like you said they sometimes change their styles and genres. The only time I actually “gave up” on an author was when I realised basically all her books where the same, except for the names and some details here and there.

  33. I’ve had to quit on some series about about 5 books, I sometimes feel with some series that the author is dragging on for longer than needed. One series that I did give up on was the vampire academy, I just couldn’t get myself to continue. Great post!!

  34. I’m a bit OCD on finishing up series, so I don’t quit reading series for the most part. One of the few that I can actually think of is the CHarris books. I’ve purchased the last few in the Sookie Stackhouse series but haven’t bothered to read them since I’m almost certain I won’t enjoy them like I used to.

  35. Naomi  

    I think I’m a little OCD like that too… Can’t help continuing a series… The House of Night series is one that has annoyed me of late… I have read 9 books, have 10 but haven’t felt like reading it. Book 11 is out now and 12 will be in October. I’m in no hurry to get them, but I know I will eventually!!

    Naomi @ Nomi’s Paranormal Palace

    • Sounds like Keri Arthur’s Dark Angels series; I should have quit it a few installments ago, but now that there’s only one book left, and I just can’t bring myself to not finish it. LOL

  36. ratmom  

    It certainly can. I have found a few series where I loved the first book and then tried reading the next couple of books and just stopped and never looked back. I got about 5 books into a series and started hating the characters and just stopped that series but kept reading another of her series and loved it. For me it’s the books that I give up on rather than the author.

  37. jenniferbielman  

    LOL, yup, The Anita Blake Series is the one that popped in my head. I just didn’t like the direction she took the series in. I don’t mind sex in my series, but it just become a porno with no plot.

    I don’t often give up on series, but I do take hiatuses from some until they catch my interest again.

  38. It takes a lot for me to give up on a series. But the main factor would be how LONG they are or become. And how repetitive. BDB and the Morganville vampires come to mind. I try to get all the books in a series at once, so I can binge read them. This doesn’t happen much anymore, so I tend to shy away from long series.

    As for author burn out, I have found that there are very few who can switch genres and have a unique voice for each. So, if I seems like an author is taking from their other books (characters) and just re naming them, sticking to the same plots and etc. I tend to stay away from their books. Make sense!? LOL

    • Long running series are tough, but they aren’t all bad. Take Jennifer Estep’s Elemental Assassin books for example, they are still going strong after 11 installments!

      • I think that Jennifer Estep’s Elemental Assassins series has improved over time. The later books are better than the earlier ones which suffered from excessive repetition.

  39. Well, maybe not completely permanent, but long term maybe? I’ll take really long breaks from a series or author, but sometimes I’d want to come back and give it another go.

  40. I am totally more willing now a days to give up on a series – usually even after just the first book because like you said there are SOO many books out there why slog through something just to see how it ends when you aren’t enjoying the journey to get there.

    As for the authors – I totally don’t give up on them completely. Take Laurell K Hamilton for instance I gave up on her Anita books but then continued to read her Merry books (though I doubt I’ll read the newest one I heard it sucks LOL). But yeah I think now I probably won’t read her anymore.

    And like Anne Rice I loved all her vampire books…well most of them, and I kept trying but now I think I’m “over” her because I read her when I was so young I don’t have that desire to go back to her. I feel that way a bout a bunch of authors I enjoyed when I was young…while some others I read when I was young I would still totally read again. I don’t know what it is that makes the difference there.

    If I’m not enjoying one set of books by them I would be willing to give another book a chance but it also depends on HOW BAD that book was that I dropped. Take R.L. Stine for instance I remembered his goosebump books fondly from childhood. I tried his adult Red Rain and it was so awful that I swore off ever reading another book by him again. So yes – I’m just all over the board.

    I write…way too long of comments jeeez. Don’t hit me with the newspaper to shoo me away ok?

    • I think I outgrew Anne Rice too, she was a new-ish werewolf series out that I have absolutely no desire to read. Weird! Plus, I heard that it sucks. LOL

      Bring on the long comments! That’s what discussion posts are for! πŸ˜€

  41. I agree with what you said. It is easier to give up on a series when it goes downhill but it is hard to quit an author. An author can always write a different series or a different book and you could love that even though their other story wasn’t for you.
    Great discussion!

  42. Like you, I don’t really like to break up with a series. In fact, I usually assume that I’ll go back to it “someday” (It’s just … you know … not sure when). I wouldn’t give up on an author unless I truly didn’t like their writing style, though. Like you say, one book might not resonate with you, but another might!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  43. Depends on a lot of things, really. I’ve been going through a BDB burn-out lately, for instance. I don’t think it’s permanent, eventually I wanna go back to it and find out what happens with all the characters I’ve loved over the years, but sometimes I just need a break.
    With Charlaine Harris though, once I felt disappointed with the end of the Sookie Stackhouse series, I don’t really want to get on board with a new one, and I might or might not let go of that reluctance.
    I think we mostly do our best to stick with series we’ve been reading for years, even when the enthusiasm wanes down, but if it goes into total heartbreak, there might be real and permanent breakup there too, sigh.

  44. I think you voiced my opinion pretty much. Getting burnt out on a series is different than being burnt out on an author. I’ll try another book by the author unless it’s the writing style. Even then I would probably be willing to try a different one just to see. Years ago I started the BDB series and got burnt out after 4 books but I didn’t have space between them really and I didn’t dislike them, but certain parts of the books started annoying me. I did start her other series though and enjoyed them at the time. Sometimes taking a break is really all it takes.

    • I’m not a fan of the Lessers chapters, and I’m not too fond of the BoB either; whenever I read a BDB book, I’m strongly tempted to skim those parts. Many peeps do I think.

  45. I don’t think author burnout is permanent because they can try out very different writing styles and new stories and everything, most of what I pick up depends on others’ reviews and enjoyment. So if I didn’t like one instalment by an author, chances are I may enjoy another. Sometimes I’ve given up on series because of the quirks of characters (eg. the Katherine Kitty Katt series where I just couldn’t stand Kitty after a while). Great discussion topic Carmel!

  46. Hahaha, I’m with you on series instead of authors most of the time, Carmel. Anita Blake is not actually as bad as many other series I stopped reading. I just keep very low standards for LKH I guess. πŸ™‚ However I stopped a lot of UF series recently after a couple of books being bad. Examples – Karen Chance (both her series), Faith Hunter. I’m sure there is more, I just can’t remember… With authors, there are some that I like one series but hate everything else. For example, Jean Johnson. Love her sci-fi, can’t read her paranormal fantasy. *shrugs* Great topic!

  47. Like you said, I think it depends on the author or series. It takes a lot for me to give up on an author–like I read 5 Holly Black books before I finally admitted they probably just aren’t for me, and same with Laini Taylor. I recognize the quality, I understand why people like them, they’re just not my thing. And yet I kept trying for the longest time! Hah. If I love an author, it takes even MORE for me to give him/her up. Like I loved Linda Howard for years and years, but her last few books have been horrendously bad. I bet I’ll still pick up her next one, though, even if I am braced for disappointment.

    Series are a little easier to give up, but not much. Usually what ends up happening is I’ll have it on my TBR for ages and then never actually pick up the book. I read nearly 40 “In Death” books before they started blurring together, and I read the first 10 or so Morganville Vampires before I stopped being so rabid about them.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

    • It’s hard to break the series cycle. Once you’re x-number of installments deep, it becomes damn near impossible to quit! There’s always that hope that the next one might be better…

  48. I think I have series burnout over author burnout. I am happy that they can continue a series for so long, but book #7 seems to be my stopping point for many authors from chicagoland vamps to Gini Koch.
    I enjoy when an author tries something new to write and if I like them I might try read it , but something I have noticed that if they always write books in the same world and its their money maker ie cassie clare then I won’t read any more books. I hope that it makes sense lol