Most writers I know want to craft a mind-blowing series that rockets them into unforgettable. There are some good pros to series, but I’m not going to break down how to find the perfect genre to write a series in. Here are my recommendations for writing and publishing a series.
Write the series entirely.
Don’t write one, release it, write one, release it.
The largest issue with series that are done like this is that information might need to be changed in book 3 or 4 that didn’t seem like a problem in book 1. Plot issues that were glossed over in a previous book might not be avoided later. Being locked into those issues, or ignoring them because you shrug it off, could seriously affect your reader base who didn’t start the journey with you. Those who read a series in a month will catch those inconsistencies better than you, and that could push them away.
If your series starts to do well before you’ve finished it, there comes this stress to finish it so that your readers who are wanting more are satisfied. You don’t want to lose that steam that’s reflected in your royalties and in your fan mail … but if you’re trying to do stuff on someone else’s timeline, trying to please everyone, you’re going to face burnout, find that you don’t love the series as much as you did on the earlier books, and you’re going to make mistakes and write yourself into a hole.
Readers have short attention spans. Like really short. If you aren’t grabbing the reader’s attention to your newsletter lists, the probability is, those who loved book 1 or 2 or 3 might not see/remember to come back for the rest of the series.
How many shows, before the advancement of DVR, did you remember to catch religiously? How many shows have you binge-watched on Netflix and not realized there’s a second season or a fifth season without the prompt or commercial for it? Are you going to be able to be as effective as a multi-million= dollar company in capturing those who would be an awesome fan base?
For most people who make writing their career and make a living at it (not talking about traditional published writers), there’s one thing they’ve learned that works exceptionally well. Rapid release.
By having the books ready to go, and releasing them within 1-3 weeks apart, they take advantage of the binge affect, their marketing dollars go further, and their books stay at the top of the charts better than having to keep pushing book 1, 2, 3, etc. when books later in the series are released. They capitalize on something that traditional publishers don’t.
Roughly every 18 months, books have new covers applied. This could be a change in cover trends, ad platform rules and regulations, the discovery of what subgenre your works fit, or a dozen other reasons.
Many fear changing the covers because of thinking they will lose their reviews and have to fork over money for a new ISBNs. Not true for either.
This is all something I learned the hard way. I’ve had to change things in book 1 when by book 4 or 5 the “oh this is cool and different” became an unrealistic option and the overarching plot line shifted just a little to make things in the earlier books “outdated.”
I can see the read through and know that my subscriber list isn’t growing by a 10th of what is reading, and I might never catch those people again. I’ve seen what a promo can do when there’s something for them to follow through. And I’ve seen how much more effort it takes to keep the earlier books up there in exposure so that the new release is noticed by the readership.
I find myself wanting to work on anything but the next book because there’s this pressure that I have never experienced writing before.
Take the advice and do with it as you will. Try not to repeat the same mistakes that countless others before you and after you will. That’s what networking is all about. Learn what works and doesn’t work and adapt it to you and your marketing plan.