Write a Successful Series

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Hello Lovelies and welcome back to the blog.

It’s all the rage. Publishers and readers alike agree. Writing novels in a series is where it’s at. Last week we talked about some of the drawbacks of writing a series from the author’s perspective. This week I want to talk more seriously about what you can do to write a series successfully.

  1. Fast Drafting

Have you heard of fast drafting? It’s a specific type of writing where you plan or write your entire series (or a section thereof; for instance, parts 1-3 of 12 parts) all at once. If you intend to write in multiple genres, you generally finish one series in one genre, then fast draft and release in a new genre only after the first is finished. 

Why does this help? Well for one, you create a readership in a particular series and genre. You gain followers of your books who will consistently follow you from book to book. Then, once you have a fanbase, you can introduce them to a new series and bring them along, while also gaining new fans in the new genre. 

This is particularly good strategy for self-published authors, but it is also useful for those who want to be traditionally published as if the first book sells, it may be very stressful to have to write the sequel books under contract and extra pressure. If you already have them in hand, you can easily hand them over to the publisher before the contract comes due and make (relatively) easy work of it.

  1. Make Your Goals Apparent from the Start

It’s important for both self-published and traditionally published authors to make it clear to everyone they are working with that you want to branch out to other books in the series or to other genres from the start. For self-published authors, you may lose fans if you’ve branded yourself too securely into one genre and then try to write in another very different genre. Fans of period romance, for instance, may not be all that into it if you decide to do a high fantasy next. Murder mystery lovers might not be all that into space operas. If you’re jumping totally to the side of the genre you started in, you might consider writing under a different pen name and building a new fan base.

In traditional publishing, your goals also matter, because some publishers only publish a specific type of book. TOR, as an example, publishes adult science fiction and fantasy novels, but they are not going to publish your children’s books. Scholastic, on the other hand, will take children’s books, but not your historical romance. Your agent might have the drive to pitch certain genres over others, and the contacts with only those genre publishers, and not this graphic novel idea you have. Make your goals known as early as possible to those you are working with.

  1. Keep Consuming Books in Your Genre

If you find that you’re in the middle of writing a series and you’re either getting burned out or feeling like you’re losing the excitement you had for it, one of the best ways to combat the frustration is to take a small break and consume books and media in the genre that you’re writing in. When you devour something you enjoy, you can gain back the excitement for your own writing that was missing. Try consuming the thing that gave you the original idea for an extra boost.

Discussion Questions

  1. Have you ever considered that even though you wanted to write in multiple genres, you may not be able to if your readers or publishers peg you as a single genre writer?
  2. Have you ever lost the excitement for a book you were writing, and how did you recover it (if you did at all)? 
  3. Have you ever tried to fast draft multiple books in a series?
  4. What are your top tips for staying on track with your writing?

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