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Universal Appeal in fiction by Constance Gillam


I think every author has the dream of creating a book that captures the imagination, has universal appeal and sells millions of copies. (Gone With the Wind, Da Vinci Code, The Name of the Rose, Bridges of Madison County and many more)

I’d like to publish a series this year, one that has both a unique angle and also universal appeal. It is possible to do both?

I know of series that appeal in one genre or another: Game of Thrones, Harry Potter and the Hunger Games in fantasy, Fever in paranormal, the Prey books and Jack Reacher in crime fiction and the Outlander series in historical (or time travel) fiction. Those are just the series I’m intimately familiar with.

Are there series that appeal across genres?

What are some of the series that you like? Why do they appeal to you?


Constance Gillam is the author of The 5th Realm:


Find Constance Gillam:

Twitter: @conniegillam


 UPDATE: I’m giving away a $15 Amazon gift card to a lucky visitor who leaves a comment. 


Walt Mussell - January 28, 2014 - 12:10 am

One of my favorite series is the John Rain thrilles by Barry Eisler. As far as unique angles go, how hard is it to create an identifiable hero from an assassin for hire.

Marilyn Baron - January 28, 2014 - 12:23 am

I like any of the Nora
Roberts series. Love Outlander series too.

Sia Huff - January 28, 2014 - 8:51 am

I love Cherry Adair’s, Cutter Cay series… Suz Brockman’s, Navy Seals series. And Harry Potter.
I think what makes a series have universal appeal are relatable and memorable characters.

Pam Asberry - January 28, 2014 - 9:22 am

I haven’t read much series. But I would love to read yours!

Connie Gillam - January 28, 2014 - 10:03 am

Good morning!

This will be a new endeavor for me. There are very few series that hold my interest. So I want to write one that will have my readers anxiously waiting on the next book.

A tall order. We’ll see how it progresses.

BTW, I’m giving away a $15 Amazon gift card to a lucky visitor who leaves a comment.

Carole St-Laurent - January 28, 2014 - 10:07 am

I think the appeal in more in the theme than the genre. Think Hunger Games for example. When you get right down to it, it’s absolutely horrible to send children to fight for their lives. But fighting for justice, fighting against oppression, is universal, so the series work. So well.

Brenda Maxfield - January 28, 2014 - 10:19 am

I do like series! It’s the characters that draw me in. I’m partial to contemporary, but if the characters are amazing, I find myself crossing genres. One time, I even found myself reading a paranormal dinosaur series. That was a total shocker!!!

Sonya - January 28, 2014 - 10:38 am

I like the series by Tahereh Mafi. The first one was Shatter Me and was a really great unique idea.

Cynthia Woolf - January 28, 2014 - 10:52 am

I like the Mallory series of books by Johanna Lindsey. They appeal to me because I love the time period, Regency, and the characters are so well written. I love to see what’s happened to the elder generation and what’s going to happen to the new generation.

Good luck with your new series.

Connie Gillam - January 28, 2014 - 11:50 am

Sonya, I’ve never heard of that series. I’ll have to check it out.

Thanks for recommending it.

Tamara LeBlanc - January 28, 2014 - 12:04 pm

Hi Connie!
I LOVE series. I read Linda Lael Miller’s Vampire series back in the nineties (wish she still wrote that stuff) It follows a family of vampires and their love interests and though blood drinking undead humans aren’t real, I felt it had universal appeal because of the family dynamic.

LOVE OUTLANDER! Can’t wait to see the series on Starz!!
Have a great day!

Anonymous - January 28, 2014 - 1:27 pm

Good snowy afternoon, Connie and all! I love any series by Nora Roberts. Like Tamara, I loved the Linda Lael Miller’s vampires, but then I love all her series. Of course I loved the kid fantasy series, still do!

You can do this! I have faith in you!

Mary Marvella - January 28, 2014 - 1:27 pm

Good snowy afternoon, Connie and all! I love any series by Nora Roberts. Like Tamara, I loved the Linda Lael Miller’s vampires, but then I love all her series. Of course I loved the kid fantasy series, still do!

You can do this! I have faith in you!

Denise - January 28, 2014 - 3:01 pm

There are so many series that I love. They all appeal to me for very different reasons such as the Outlander series, Hush Hush Series, Lori Fosters men of honor series, Bella Andre’s Sullivan series.

Constance Gillam - January 28, 2014 - 3:03 pm


I loved the first book of the Hunger Games. I haven’t read the second or the third. And yes the universal fight against oppression drew me.

Constance Gillam - January 28, 2014 - 3:04 pm


A dinosaur series! LOL. It must have been good.

Constance Gillam - January 28, 2014 - 3:06 pm


Johanna Lindsey was one of the first authors I read when I started reading romance. I love her. But I haven’t read the Mallory series.

Constance Gillam - January 28, 2014 - 3:07 pm


Yes, it figures you’d read Vampires. LOL. Love you.

Constance Gillam - January 28, 2014 - 3:07 pm

Thanks, Anonymous! I need all the luck I can get.

Constance Gillam - January 28, 2014 - 3:08 pm

Oh, Mary??

You are anonymous? Thanks, Mama hen.

Susan Carlisle - January 28, 2014 - 3:37 pm

thanks Connie for reminding me of some of my favorites.
Little House on the Praise and James Harriotts books which include All Things Great and Small, and the MCKenna are a few of the series that I have enjoyed. I even own the complete set of a number of them.

Linda Andrews - January 28, 2014 - 5:08 pm

I love the Dresden FIles, but I think it is more a reoccurring theme that draws me in.

Carol Burnside - January 28, 2014 - 7:17 pm

I’ve enjoyed many series over the years. My fav right now is the In Death (JD Robb) series. But the Little House, Hardy Boys (and the like) books held me spellbound. There was something about the good vs. bad in those books that kept you rooting for the good guy to win/survive/prosper. The In Death series is no exception. Both Roarke and Eve have been touched by unimaginable evil, yet they’re both working for the side of right and standing for those who’ve been wronged.

In the end, don’t we all want to believe that being a better person will contribute to our popularity/finding love and ultimately our salvation?

Debbie Kaufman - January 28, 2014 - 8:07 pm

Hey Connie,
I’ve always been a Jack Reacher fan. But I also love Charlie in Darynda Jones Grave series. Very different genres, but both have strong interesting characters. For me, it’s the character, the world, and a plot that doesn’t wimp out and take the easy way.

Sandy Elzie - February 3, 2014 - 3:57 pm

Hi Connie,
I love series. Look at Star Wars…. or the Bourne series of books.

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