Fan Mail Wednesday #122 (Bystander Sequel)

Bryan writes:

Can you please make a second book for "Bystander"? I loved the book and wanted
to see more about eric and mary, griffin etc. It would probably sell. Thanks for
considering. 
I replied:
Bryan,
-
Thanks for your note. It’s funny, I get asked that question a lot. I recently learned that in 2011, there were more movie sequels than at any point in history. It’s just expected that if you liked a movie, they’d soon churn out another with the number “2” after it. It’s natural for young people today to expect a sequel.
-
It was different for my generation when sequels were the rare exception (I’m fifty, btw, but I feel forty-seven). The idealist in me tends to view sequels as these very cynical, marketing-based decisions. A crass bunch of fat cats sit around a big table, crunch the numbers, and proclaim, “Hey, we made a ton of money on this first movie. Let’s make another!” Same thing with books.
-
It simply doesn’t strike me as a pure artistic effort. Most of the time, anyway.
-
When I wrote Bystander, I buried myself in research about bullying. I came away convinced that I could write 100 different books on the topic, all from different perspectives. The ground was so fertile, there was so much to explore. But at the same time, I felt satisfied with my work. Bystander didn’t feel unfinished, and I didn’t have anything else that I was aching to say about these particular characters.
-
Moreover, today I also feel strongly that — wait — did you say, “It would probably sell“?
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Ca-Ching!
-
Let me call my agent.
-
JP
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P.S. Seriously, though I never intended to write a sequel, I take your request to heart. When I think about it, there are two characters I could imagine exploring in more detail. Mary, since she was only a minor character in the book, and her experiences with cyberbullying seem particularly relevant today; and Griffin, because even I am curious about what happens to him. It might be fun to write a book that centers on the bully. The bad guy who might have some unexpected depths of his own. Hmmm.

4 comments

  1. Doret says:

    Growing up since I didn’t read sci fi or fantasy, my books were all pretty much stand alones.

    Now sequels are very common especially with MG and YA fiction.

    When did this age of expected sequels begin?

  2. Jimmy says:

    Doret, I’ll answer this question in PART 2 of this post!

  3. Jordan Hall says:

    Who are all the characters in the book bystander? And could you please telll me the first and last name…

  4. Tata says:

    OMG I love the book bystander!!!!!! Plz make a sequel!

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