Writing Fiction: Series Magic (and Profits)

Writing Fiction: Series Magic (and Profits)

You’re writing fiction, and you’re eager for ways to build your readership. Book marketing is essential, but it’s a struggle for many authors. Some are comfortable, others hate the idea of promoting their books. However, promotion is essential.

What if there were a way you could promote your self-published ebooks painlessly? There is, and it’s simple: write in series. (Or write a serial.)

When You Write in Series, You’re Baking-in Promotion

The “write a series” trick is often used by publishers. Rather than signing an author to a single book contract, they’ll offer the author a multi-book contract. They know that when a reader buys Book 1 of a series, if the reader enjoys it, she’s primed for further books in the series. It’s a painless way of baking in promotion.

Self-published and ebook authors can make this process work much more easily than authors who are traditionally published. Here’s why. A genre novel has a shelf-life of anywhere from a month, to three months. Then the novel is remaindered.

Of course, if you’re publishing ebooks, your ebooks sell forever, so it makes sense to write in series. Readers who buy one book, may buy another. And of course, if you wish, you can make Book 1 of the series free, once you’ve published several books in the series.

But… What if Your First Book in a Series Doesn’t Sell?

If Book 1 doesn’t sell, it can be a sign that you haven’t found the book’s readership. This is why I suggest in our Story Power program that you test your ideas by writing short fiction.

For new authors, committing to a series without any signal that the series will sell doesn’t make sense. In Story Power, we look at ways in which you can expand your short stories into serials, and into series as well.

Sell What’s Selling… or Create Your Own Market

It’s a real challenge to build a market. So ideally, when you’re starting a fiction career, it’s a good idea to aim for a popular genre, like romance, or thrillers, where a healthy market exists. That said, consider that the market for your short stories and novels is global. With hundreds of millions of readers, choosing a genre based on popularity isn’t as important as it is if you’re hoping for legacy publication.

Check your favorite genre. How many authors are publishing series? You’ll be hard-pressed to find a genre in which series aren’t popular.

Whether you’re writing your first novel, or your twentieth, consider the benefits of writing in series, especially if you dislike marketing.

Learn More About Series and Serials, and the Benefits of Short Fiction

In Story Power: Write and Sell Short Fiction — Short Stories, Serials, and Series, you’ll discover many ways in which you can make fiction pay. You’ve got a global market: build your readership, and you can build a satisfying career.

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Angela Booth is a top copywriter, multi-published author, and writing teacher. She offers many guides, courses and classes to help writers to enhance their skills on her websites. She also provides inspiration and motivation for writers on her writing blogs. Angela has been writing successfully since the late 1970s, and was online in the 1980s, long before the birth of the Web. Her business books have been widely published.