I’m currently reading the Imp series by Debra Dunbar. It’s cute, funny, enjoyable, and interesting, and I care enough about the characters to keep going. There are currently 11 books, and I’m on book 9. If you have Kindle Unlimited, you can read them all for free; if not, you can buy them.
However, if you go to Dunbar’s website, you’ll find the Imp Reading Order page, which contains a whole host of other stories that take place either in Dunbar’s other serieses of books or are stand-alone purchase-able products.
The same thing happened with the Dresden Files, and JD Robb’s In Death series. There are short-stories that appear in other collections that, if you want the full experience, you will have to purchase separately.
And that annoys me in two ways. First of all, if you’re going to write stories that affect your characters so much that they are mentioned in your main line of books, you need to provide easy-to-use links to these stories in the books themselves. A bit of foreword or afterword would not come amiss. And secondly, you’re making it difficult for readers to know everything that’s going on.
In the most recent couple of Imp books I’ve read (7 and 8), several mentions are made to the character of Nyalla dealing with a ghoul or troll problem. I forget which, and the reason I forget is because this didn’t happen in the main line of books. To be fair, all of the books with the exception of one take place solely from the main character’s POV, so it would be very difficult for anyone else to go off and do a side quest and have the author show it to us, but it’s still annoying. What character development am I missing? Were there jokes that I would have LOL’d at? I don’t know. And I may never know.
Of course, I also do this with my own books and stories — characters from Detective Daddy appear in Baker’s Dozen; characters from Baker’s Dozen appear in my upcoming no-longer-a-sorority-girl novella, along with characters from Weekend Plans; characters from Weekend Plans appear in my ballbusting stories… so I guess I’m a hypocrite in this way.
But that doesn’t make it right, and it doesn’t make it any less annoying.