Should you invest in writing a series?
Aspiring authors face an overabundance of advice. From what genre to write in to how fast to write there is an expert recommendation at every turn. One of the most common suggestions for success in the author business is to write in a series.
If you just started writing your first novel and you come across this advice it might seem overwhelming “I’m struggling to write one novel and they’re telling me I need to write at least 3?”
Maybe you’ve already written a series and it’s available for sale but not doing as well as you would like. You have a great new story idea, but you’re wondering if you can really invest in creating a new series only to have it not earn back what you put in.
If you’re like me, you have a few series out and they are profitable, but you want more. You have a great new idea but you’re really thinking about return on investment. Will this new series be profitable enough to make it worth the work?
Make no mistake, writing a series is an investment.
Series writers invest time, money, and energy. Regardless of how many words you can write in a week it will take months or years for the average writer to create a successful series.
On top of this major investment there are no guarantees. No one owes you a living. Even if you did everything the experts say and poured your blood, sweat and tears into your series it might not sell. This point cannot be overemphasized, no one can promise you financial success in return for your investment in writing a series.
But there are ways to improve the odds.
The three P’s of a successful series writer
A successful series writer has three key traits – planning, persistence, and passion.
A successful series writer plans – Writers tend to fall onto a spectrum between pantsing and plotting. It doesn’t matter how you write an individual book, if you want to be a successful series writer you need to start with a plan.
A plan helps you to develop a story big enough to tell over multiple books, engage with readers throughout the process and keep you on track when the going gets tough.
Some writers hear the word plan and think it’s taking the art out of the process. It’s not. Your story and each of your books are still creative works of art. You can even pants writing each novel.
A plan is a tool for setting expectations with your readers and preparing them to buy your art once it is ready for consumption
A successful series writer is persistent – Creating a series takes time. Some of the steps will be laborious. Some days you’ll wonder when you are going to see results. You cannot give up.
Be patient. If you put in the work, results will come. If you set to it every day, and follow your plan good things will happen. Writing a novel takes weeks, months, even years. Planning, writing and selling a multi-book series takes time, don’t rush it.
There will be days when you don’t want to write, days when you think your plan and writing is crap and days when you feel like a complete imposter. We all have those days. The days when you don’t want to write are the most important days to sit down and write.
Bad copy can be edited, revised, and improved while nothing can fix a lack of content.
If you don’t keep at it, your plan will be wasted, your patience will be shot and worst of all, your story will never get out into the world. Power through your doubt and keep working. It will be worth it.
A successful series writer is passionate – If you love your story, readers will see it. When readers feel the passion in your words they are more likely to stay engaged.
This series is going to be with you for the rest of your life. Family, friends, and strangers are going to ask you questions about it. Is your series something that lights your fire and makes you want to engage in discussion with others? It better be.
If you want others to love your work, you need to love it first and always.
There will be social media debates about your characters and setting. You’ll get good reviews and horribly critical reviews. The best way to keep moving forward in the face of criticism is to love what you are doing so much it drowns out the negative. Unfaltering love of your story will keep you going when anyone else would tune out and shut down.
Join me as I take an idea and build it into a successful series
Over the last 5 years I’ve completed 2 series with 6 books each. All started from a single-story idea and grew after the first novel was written. While I love the stories and the process, I made plenty of mistakes while writing and publishing over 750,000 words.
In an effort to learn from these mistakes and create a new successful series that readers will love I’ve developed a plan for growing my newest idea from a tiny seed into a multi-product series. Join me on this journey and I’ll share my process and plan with you.
Like a good story this adventure is bound to have twists and turns, ups and downs, action and suspense. I can’t promise it will be easy but I will be here with you, sharing the good with the bad.
Along the way, I want to help you plan, write, and sell a profitable series. If you’re working on a series of your own I want to hear about it. Tell me your struggles and successes, ask me questions and share your doubts.