Enjoy Writing Short Stories? Write Serial Fiction

Enjoy Writing Short Stories? Write Serial Fiction

Should you write serial fiction? I get lots of questions about serials, so let’s cover the basics.

You may be wondering just what “serials” are. In a nutshell, they’re entertainment: ongoing stories, which are released serially.

Serials: storytelling in many forms

Serials were hugely popular with readers and viewers up to the 1950s, when television arrived.

They were published as books by authors like Charles Dickens. Many other authors published their serials in magazines. Once a serial was complete, it was published again in book form, in one, or several volumes.

Movies were released as serials in theaters, again up to the 1950s. From the 1950s onward, serials flourished as episodic TV series.

Today, serials are as popular as they ever were, with companies like Netflix releasing their shows as serials.

You may be thinking that that’s wonderful… but can YOU write a serial and publish it?

Serial fiction: fun for plotters and pantsers

My writing students are sometimes reluctant to attempt a serial. Pantsers are concerned that they “can’t plot”, and plotters worry about the success or failure of their serial.

Pantsers who “can’t plot”…

You might be surprised at your own abilities, because if you can write a short story, you can write a series of ongoing short stories. Then, hey presto: you just wrote a serial.

We discussed a “natural outlining” process which will help.

Serial fiction: how long should your serial be?

In Plan, Write, And Publish Serial Fiction In Four Weeks I give you a process for writing serial fiction.

Your serial can be any length you choose. Your serial might consist of: ten chapters/ episodes at 10,000 words each, making a total of 100,000 words. That said, there’s no need to write at this length. You can write five episodes of 6,000 words or whatever suits your story.

Another common question I receive about serials is: what if your serial doesn’t sell enough copies to make it viable?

Oh no: what to do if your serial fiction slumps

Some books sell. Others should sell, and don’t. Sometimes these books can suddenly take off months later. Some are just useless. It happens.

Here’s what to do if your serial slumps:

  • Decide whether or not to complete it. You can end your serial at any time. Wrap it up, in any way you can;
  • If you enjoy writing the serial, keep going, and finish it;
  • Bundle the serial into a single volume. It may sell as a standalone;
  • Expand your serial into one or more novels.

You always have options.

One of my writing students was planning a serial. She had a LOT of plot. I suggested that she write a short serial of just five episodes, then carry the plot forward into a trilogy of short novels.

This process worked well. She released the serial when she had the first novel in the trilogy ready for preorder. Then she published the next two novels quickly. This trilogy is still her top seller.

Should you write serial fiction?

If you like writing short stories and publishing quickly, give serial fiction a try. Serials are a lot of fun, and readers enjoy them.

Plan, Write, And Publish Serial Fiction In Four Weeks

Plan, Write, And Publish Serial Fiction In Four Weeks

eBook: $5.99

Why write serial fiction?

Everyone's busy today. A serial is by its nature, faster to write, and publish, than a novel.

It's a quicker read too, and many readers appreciate this. While a reader may hesitate before committing hours to a novel, he can read an episode of your serial in minutes.

If you’re a new author, a serial serves to introduce you to readers. A reader may not be willing to commit to a novel by a new author, but be willing to read an episode of a serial.

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Map It: For Writing Success — Fiction And Nonfiction Outlines Made Easy

Map It: For Writing Success — Fiction And Nonfiction Outlines Made Easy

eBook: $5.99

I developed the tactics and strategies in this book to help myself. My students have found them essential to producing both fiction and nonfiction almost effortlessly.

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Self-Publishing Success: 3 Vital Tips For 2019

Self-Publishing Success: 3 Vital Tips For 2019

A week into the new year, I chatted with a self-publishing author who’d decided to go back to freelance writing.

“My book sales tanked over the holidays,” she said. “I’ve tried everything, and I quit.”

I asked her what self-publishing success might look like to her. She responded with a grin: “That’s easy. Success would be if I sell ten thousand copies of every book I write… every year.”

She waited for a moment, then went on, “and without spending a fortune on advertising too!”

Self-publishing has changed over the past few years. Although it’s very easy to publish, it’s hard to get traction.

Self-Publishing success: set YOUR goals

Our conversation gave me food for thought, primarily about the publishing environment, and about setting writing goals.

Bottom line with the self-publishing business in 2019: you’ve got a worldwide audience. If other authors can launch books which make five figures in their first month, you can do it too. It might not happen fast, and it might take a lot of work, but you’ll never know what you can do until you TRY.

Task: set some goals which will help you to self-publishing success — and develop routines: see below.

Let’s look at some tips which may help.

1. DDT: Do, Don’t Think — routines have power

Many years ago, when I was raising three sons, running a business, and writing too, I created a little acronym: DDT. It meant: Do, Don’t Think.

Of course you need to think in the planning phase of a project, but when it’s time to execute, that time has passed. Now, you need to get it DONE.

You get things done via routines. Consider everyday tasks. You do them routinely. You don’t have to think about doing them, and you don’t procrastinate: you do.

After you’ve set your self-publishing goals for 2019, create daily tasks which will help you to achieve them.

2. Self-publishing is cumulative: use what you have (you always have more than you think)

I looked at the “I QUIT!” author’s publishing catalogue, and found areas where she could make more money with what she already had, and with minimal effort.

If you’ve been publishing for a year or more, look at your own catalogue.

Could you:

  • Expand on books you’ve published? That is, could you create an “advanced” version of a beginner’s book, if you’re publishing nonfiction? If you’re writing fiction, consider writing sequels and prequels of what you already have.
  • Add additional formats? Such as, print versions, audio versions, PDF/ MOBI/ EPUB  versions which you can sell on your website? If you’re selling well in a specific country, consider commissioning a translation.
  • Bundle books? Authors resist bundling, fearing that they’re cannibalizing sales, and this can happen in some cases. Experiment. If a bundle harms sales, remove it.

Every book you write is an asset. Use what you have — do more with every book.

3. Diversify: you might need to dig many holes before you strike gold

I come from a long line of farm folk. Farmers know that when sales are great, they’ll tumble sooner, rather than later. So they diversify. They plant different crops. They improve their herds. They never, ever expect things to stay great, because they don’t.

Diversification is essential for authors.

You can diversify in any way you like. I suggested copywriting, to my author friend, and not merely because we’ve released a new version of our copywriting class.

How you diversify is up to you. Plant something different — it may become your best crop. Just remember, what goes up, doesn’t stay up.

Self-publishing and quitting… don’t

If you’ve invested time, effort and money in your self-publishing venture, persist. Take a break, sure. But remember that you have assets, and that you can always do more with them.

Create goals, and a routine. And most importantly, diversify.

Happy writing. 🙂

Social Media For Writers: Increase Your Sales In 15 Minutes A Day

Social Media For Writers: Increase Your Sales In 15 Minutes A Day

eBook: $5.99
Author:
Genre: Marketing

You want to sell more of your writing. Chances are that you've tried social media, with minimal results. You believe that "social media doesn't work."

That's not so. It works, but you need to know how the huge social media networks, and the various advertising networks, operate to use them to your advantage.

Discover how.

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124 Powerful Fiction Writing Tips: Win Readers And Fans, And Increase Your Sales Today

124 Powerful Fiction Writing Tips: Win Readers And Fans, And Increase Your Sales Today

eBook: $5.99

You want to write fiction. Perhaps you're a self-publishing author — or perhaps you're a ghostwriter, and want to offer fiction writing services to clients.

Whatever your needs and dreams, this book, 124 Powerful Fiction Writing Tips: Win Readers And Fans, And Increase Your Sales Today, will help.

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Resources to build your writing career

Check out Angela’s Writing Classes and Angela’s books for writers.

Writing To Sell: 3 Tips To Help You To Be Original

Writing To Sell: 3 Tips To Help You To Be Original

You’re an author and you’re writing to sell as many copies of your books as possible. However, you want to be as “original” as you can. That’s wonderful, because today, you can publish whatever you choose.

In days gone by, when getting published meant getting a publishing contract via an agent and an acquisitions editor, originality didn’t sell.

Publishers wanted “the same, but different.” If you insisted on originality, you were (everyone shuddered) a literary author, and everyone knew that literary authors cost everyone money, rather than making money.

An author asked me “how to be original” and I though it was a wonderful question. The short answer of course is: be yourself.

Writing to sell? Be yourself

Being yourself is more challenging than it appears.

Even Ray Bradbury (one of the world’s most original authors) had problems with it.

From Bradbury’s Zen in the Art of Writing (a book that’s well worth reading):

It was only when I began to discover the treats and tricks that came with word association that I began to find some true way through the minefields of imitation. I finally figured out that if you are going to step on a live mine, make it your own. Be blown up, as it were, by your own delights and despairs.

Bradbury discovered how to be himself — an original — in his writing via word association.

So, let’s look at three tips you may find useful when you’re striving to be yourself, an original.

1. Try word association to discover what matters to YOU

According to the Collins Dictionary, word association is:

… an early method of psychoanalysis in which the patient thinks of the first word that comes into consciousness on hearing a given word. In this way it was claimed that aspects of the unconscious could be revealed before defence mechanisms intervene.

Word association works. So does listing things, without thinking about it too much. Whenever I get stuck in a manuscript, I make lists.

From Top 70 Writing Tips: Write More, Improve Your Writing, And Make More Money:

Whatever kind of writing you’re doing, listing will make it better and easier.

What kind of lists? Start by making a list of all the things you could list.

Pick one item from the list, and make a new list of what you could list about that.

Writing a report? Write a list of everything you need to mention in the report. Then write a list of what you should NOT mention.

Try it yourself. When you get stuck, make a list of words. Ray Bradbury made lists of nouns; I like to use adjectives as well.

2. Keep a journal: describe people, activities, places and your dreams

According to research, you can only keep around seven things in your mind at any one time — even though you can recall everything that ever happened to you. It’s all locked away in your subconscious mind.

Keeping a journal is a great way to rummage around in the attics of your subconscious mind to find stuff that you can use in your writing. Original stuff, because no one has, or ever will have, your experiences.

You can use a journal in many ways. For example:

  • Describe a problem you’re having in an area of your life. There’s no need to strive for solutions. Those solutions will develop, simply because you described the problem.
  • Take a moment to jot down a few sentences to describe people and places wherever you are — whether you’re in your office, in a store, or in your local park. Most of us have stopped seeing what’s right in front of us. Try sketching what you see, that helps to improve your observation skills too.
  • Write a sentence or two about any dreams you remember when you wake up in the morning.

3. Believe in yourself: write the truth, as you know it, and write fast

From Dr. Frank Luntz’s Words That Work:

… good communication requires conviction and authenticity; being a walking dictionary is optional.

Whether you’re a new author, or are a pro, write the truth as you know it, or perceive it to be. Trust yourself. Your authenticity makes you an original.

Write fast too. Stop thinking so much — do your thinking while you’re writing. Bradbury (from Zen in the Art of Writing again):

The faster you blurt, the more swiftly you write, the more honest you are. In hesitation is thought. In delay comes the effort for a style…

When you’re writing to sell, being original takes courage

As we’ve said, being yourself is challenging.

It’s exhilarating too. Have fun. 🙂

The Journaling Habit: Achieve Your Goals And Change Your Life In Just Ten Minutes A Day

The Journaling Habit: Achieve Your Goals And Change Your Life In Just Ten Minutes A Day

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Do you love your life?

If you don't ADORE your life, you can change it — more easily than you can imagine.

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Yes, You’re Creative: How To Unlock Your Imagination And Build The Writing Career Of Your Dreams

Yes, You’re Creative: How To Unlock Your Imagination And Build The Writing Career Of Your Dreams

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In this book we'll aim to increase your creativity to unlock your imagination and build the writing career of your dreams.

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Resources to build your writing career

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