Tag Archives: write a series

Writing Goals: 3 Tips For Self-Publishing In Series

Writing Goals: 3 Tips For Self-Publishing In Series

We’re powering through March; the first quarter of 2019 is almost done. For many of us, it means that the writing goals we set in January have vanished in the rear-view mirror.

It’s time to revisit them. Have you been reviewing your goals regularly?

Review your writing goals weekly, it’s essential

For many years, I was hopeless at meeting goals. I’d set a goal, and forget all about it. Then I complained that “goal setting doesn’t work.”

Finally I realized that I had to review my goals regularly. If I didn’t, I’d forget them, because life and work would get in the way.

Reviewing your goals is essential. These days, I review my writing goals every week.

I’m sure you’re wondering: what do goals have to do with SERIES writing?

In a nutshell: you need to set goals when you write in series. Otherwise, you’ll forget about your series because you’re chasing the latest bright shiny idea you had.

(Apropos of series writing, Planning And Writing A Hot-Selling Series has just been released; check it out.)

Series sell, in both fiction and nonfiction, but it takes persistence to write in series

It’s worth focusing on series for one simple reason: you have more chances to sell books and build a readership. When I coach authors and look at their publishing catalogues, I see a lot of standalone books.

There’s nothing wrong with writing standalone fiction and nonfiction, but writing in series is better.

You do need to set goals however, so here are some tips.

1. Set series goals: how many series will you start this year?

Series sell. Ask any author who writes fiction or nonfiction in series about his experiences. He’ll tell you that his only regret is that he hasn’t written more series books.

Authors are collaborating to write series these days, because they know that a rising tide lifts all boats: a successful series helps you to sell all your books.

Set a writing goal for the number of series you’ll start this year.

2. Keep series’ books short: aim for a book you can write in less than a month

When I suggest to my students that they write in series, they sometimes complain about the effort ONE book takes, let alone several.

Two words: write short.

3. Consider collaborating with other authors on series’ promotions

With five million books on the Kindle Store, it’s a challenge to gain and maintain visibility. More authors are collaborating in various ways.

A collaboration helps everyone. So consider limited collaborations with other authors. You might promote each others’ series in the back matter of your books, or send out mailings to your mailing lists.

Planning And Writing A Hot-Selling Series: Selling Writer Strategies, Book 7

Planning And Writing A Hot-Selling Series: Selling Writer Strategies, Book 7

eBook: $4.99

When you write in series, you're giving yourself more chances to sell with every novel you write.

More info →
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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.

More info →
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Resources to build your writing career

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

How To Plan And Write A Series of Novels: 5 Tips

How To Plan And Write A Series of Novels: 5 Tips

You want to write a series of novels. Perhaps you’re writing a novel, and the thought occurs to you: “Hey! I could make this a series…” Alternatively, you decide you want to write a series, from scratch.

Your genre doesn’t matter. All series of novels are similar, in that they feature strong characters, who appeal to readers, because they are strong. Consider: Winston Graham’s Poldark series, Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple, and even Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series.

So your first step is to choose your character. You may already have a character you’ve created, or you can create a character who appeals to you, and with whom you can stand to live with over the course of a series. Remember: strong. No whiners. No characters who are TSTL (too stupid to live.)

Your character will contain elements of YOU, as James Bond contains elements of Ian Fleming:

“Though Bond suffered his share of seemingly autobiographical health issues—in Thunderball the spy begins to acknowledge that his heavy drinking may be a problem, and by On Her Majesty’s Secret Service he’s definitively in the throes of alcoholism—he always comes out on top.”

Your character is you, in some form, that’s inevitable. But remember that your character is NOT you. So don’t get squeamish. Put your character through hell — and have him come out on top — and readers will love it.

1. Choose your poison: family saga, on-going quest, or…?

Think about how you’ll tie your series together. If you’re writing romance, you could create a family of three brothers, and tell one brother’s story in each book.

I’m a fan of Phil Rickman’s Merrily Watkins’ series, and the Dalziel and Pascoe books, written by the late and wonderful Reginald Hill. These series are examples of on-going quests.

2. Create a problem that’s solved over the course of the series (optional)

This is optional. However, it’s helpful, because readers read your next book to see what happens next.

There’s a danger with this. What if you don’t make enough sales, and decide to kill the series? You’ll have irate readers wanting the solution to the problem, and you’re in no way inclined to write it… 🙂 Although this is a concern for writers, it needn’t be. Consider that if you get lots of feedback to write more in the series, you can deal with that challenge when and if it arises. (If the series isn’t selling, it’s unlikely to arise.)

3. Write BIG: do your very best with each book

Take nothing for granted. Your first book in the series needs to be the absolute best you can do. Don’t skimp on editing, or anything else. That said, don’t become paralyzed in some insane desire for perfection. Do the best you can do, and watch your moods.

If you’re bored, everything you write will be boring. Snap out of it. Play music. Go out for a long drive. Writing a series takes lots of energy. Keep your own energy levels up.

4. Keep track: Fred has blue eyes, or are they brown?

Keep a spreadsheet which includes character and location information, as well as major incidents in each book. It’s easy to forget these things. Readers won’t forget them however, so neither must you. 🙂

5. Schedule it: get it written

Planning a series is a lot more fun that writing it, at least sometimes. Start writing as soon as you feel you have handle on what you want to do, and write every day, even if it’s only 100 words.

Tips for writing series:

  • Use Scrivener. I’m not pushing this writing app onto you. I recommend it because makes your life easier. You can keep your entire series in ONE project in Scrivener, and move from one book to another. When you get bored writing something in book 1, work on book 2.
  • Use the tags and collections features in Scrivener. They’ll help you to see everything you’ve written which mentions a character, or an incident, or location,  together. It’s amazing what you’ll pick up this way.
  • Write every day. Play “what if” every day, so you keep surprising yourself.
  • Remember where you are. Create maps of rooms, houses, locations… and speaking of locations…
  • Be somewhere. Orient your reader. If you confuse, you lose (readers.)

Writing a series of novels can be huge fun. Get excited about what you’re creating, and stay excited. If you can manage to do that, you’ll excite readers, and will make sales.

Updated: December 17, 2018

Step By Step To Fiction Which Sells: Plotting And Scene Magic

Step By Step To Fiction Which Sells: Plotting And Scene Magic

eBook: $5.99

Your readers want to enter your novel's world. They want to experience your book -- they want to live your book with your main characters.

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Plot Hot-Selling Fiction The Easy Way

Plot Hot-Selling Fiction The Easy Way

$5.99
Author:
Series: Selling Writer Strategies, Book 3
Genre: Writing

How To Write Novels And Short Stories Readers Love: You're about to discover the easiest, fastest, and most fun plotting method ever. You can use it for all your fiction, whether you're writing short stories, novellas or novels. Take control of your fiction now, and publish more, more easily.

More info →
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Resources to build your writing career

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

Kindle Fiction: Write a Series to Establish Your Author Brand

Kindle Book Series
Amanda Hocking writes several series

One snowflake doesn’t make a blizzard, and one book won’t establish you as an author. A book is just a book. Hundreds of thousands are published each year.

As Jonathan Gunson points out in this article, How To Attract Readers By Creating A ‘Lighthouse’ Author Brand | Bestseller Labs, series are addictive:

1.  Create an overarching theme-tagline to wrap around your books

If you write individual one-off novels, you’ll have discovered a downside.  Without the addictive power of a series, it can be prove difficult in the early stages of your career to persuade readers to buy another of your books – even though your author name may be prominently displayed.”

I’m a writer, but I’m a reader first. Not only do I read, if I’m not writing or exercising, or socializing, I’m reading. Thanks to the Kindle app on my iPad, most days I manage to get through at least one book. If I like a book, chances are that I’ll glom on to everything you’ve written — as long as it’s on Amazon. 🙂

Readers who glom — read everything an author writes, and look for more — may not be typical readers. However, we tend to be vocal. I’ll talk about the books I like; I may even mention what I’m reading on my numerous blogs.

Readers won’t remember you for one book. For us to remember you for a book, the book would need to be a huge bestseller, so that you’re getting publicity all over the place.

With just one book, you haven’t established a brand.

Way back in 1997, marketing guru wrote an article, A Brand Called You. Read the article.

As Peters says:

Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.

It’s that simple — and that hard. And that inescapable.

Bestselling authors are a brand. The easiest way for you to follow in their footsteps in to write in series.

If you’re not sure how to think about, and develop, your own brand, my branding guide may help.