I know I'm hopelessly outvoted on this, but I'd like to see the departure of "series fiction" and the return of the long novel, the epic, if you will.
I say this both from the standpoint of a reader and a writer. I struggle with why I can't find good historical fiction to read. I struggle with where my writing fits in, and how I'd define it. I struggle because I use terms like "epic" or "panoramic" to define the kinds of stories I like, yet those very terms are ambiguous and mean different things to different people. Just like the saying "one man's trash is another man's treasure," so too, "one man's epic is another man's small potatoes." Some people also use the term "saga" which, for whatever reason, I tend to shy away from.
All I know is that I like to read (and write) stories that are BIG in scope. Stories that really bring into play the history of the period, the prevailing thoughts of the society, the backdrop of a larger struggle. This kind of historical fiction, at least for me, has been extremely hard to find in CBA.
In fact, I've only read 2 books this year that approached that type of story. But they were written as books 1 and 2 of a series. But books in a series, in my opinion, aren't as powerful or effective as one long sweeping novel. For one thing, when people write books in a series, each novel feels "undone" somehow. You get to the end and think "what kind of an ending is that?" I can tell you exactly what kind of ending it was---strictly a marketing ploy for the publisher to reel in buyers for that next book in the series. Not one satisfactory to the story.
When books are written in a series, the "BIG" feel is leached away from it and instead gains more of a soap opera feel, ie. "stay tuned till next week for the next installment of As The World Turns."
And, by the time the next book in the series comes out, you have totally lost the rhythm, if not the actual content of the story of the previous book. Much of the work the author put into the buildup is lost in the passage of time. I know that by the time I bought the second book in the series this year, the power that the first book packed had faded with time and it was much harder for me to pick up and continue on with book two. I think I would have had a different reaction had the book been one long, sweeping novel. We writers are taught the importance of building tension in our novels. But series fiction loses tension because---well, because it's series fiction.
I mean, can you imagine if Gone With The Wind had been published as a series of books? BLECH!! The magic would have been eradicated. Ditto for Lonesome Dove.
And there is absolutely no good reason for books to be chopped up into separate titles, other than the rule of the Almighty Dollar in publishing.
As a reader, it makes it near impossible to find good historicals to read. As a writer it makes it hard to find my niche.
But I'm going to keep searching for my niche as a writer. And as a reader I'm going to keep scanning the historical fiction bookshelves. Maybe somewhere, somehow, a good long epic will emerge that will knock my socks off and give me hope that the epic isn't dead.