Agent Nathan Bransford warns about the self-publisher's frequent pitfalls in his blog, including susceptibility to "Acute Sequelitis," an inability to let one's first, self-published novel and its characters go, although that novel may never be picked up by a mainstream publishing house, and its sequel certainly won't. I mention this because I already have the disease and just wanted to let you all know, in case you wanted to send flowers. In my defense, I did try to branch out and write a middle-grade novel, the partial submission of which Bransford himself kindly requested and then just as kindly rejected.
In any case, it got me to thinking about sequels of all sorts. It isn't only authors who fall in love with characters and would love to keep hearing about their (mis)adventures till every last one of them is dead. I keep telling myself I've read enough #1 LADIES' DETECTIVE AGENCY, and then I keep seeing a new one on the library rack and checking it out. Like a fool, I also tried Donald McCaig's RHETT BUTLER'S PEOPLE, despite Alexandra Ripley's SCARLETT almost doing me in, years ago. (McCaig's book actually isn't bad until it intersects with the original...) Then of course there are all the children's series I devoured: BETSY-TACY, Montgomery's ANNE and EMILY books, good old NANCY DREW, LITTLE HOUSE, HARRY POTTER, L'Engle's A WRINKLE IN TIME and its successors.
Maybe adult sequels are less satisfying, especially when written by a different author. After snapping up every Dorothy Sayers mystery I could find, Jill Paton Walsh's additions proved impossible to get through. It wasn't that her plots were bad--it was just she wasn't Sayers, and her Lord Peter and Harriet moved and spoke like reanimated corpses. Better to have one's own characters.
Can you think of adult sequels you enjoyed? Ones that aren't movies? I'm coming up blank. This may be the sign that I should dump the six draft chapters of my sequel and go back to revamping that middle-grade novel. Or that other, highly marketable idea I've been kicking around: JANE AUSTEN'S WEEKEND AT THE SHACK WITH VAMPIRES.