Author Topic: If you're starting a new series, what will you do differently this time around?  (Read 100246 times)  

Joliedupre

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2. have each release include e-book, paperback, and audible book editions published concurrently


I'm not sure if I'll ever accomplish this, but releasing the e-book, paperback, and audible together is an excellent strategy. 

I'm talking about 2016 and on. For 2015, I plan four new releases in my current series. In 2016, I'll start a new series with two releases and perhaps one more in the current one.

While being home now is really great, I'm working upwards of 16 hours a day and get a bit snippy with the wife and daughter. They understand, though. I do want to slow down and start taking weekends off and all summer, so we can enjoy our lives together.

Yep, I understand, Wayne. :)   My kids are in college.  So my hubby and I are empty nesters most of the time.  However, I make sure I carve out enough time for the hubby.  It's definitely a balancing act.  :)

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    Offline Wayne Stinnett

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    I resorted to making a spreadsheet with all the important/semi-important characters on it.  There are columns for eye color, hair color, age (especially important when you have immortal characters), height, body type, and an other column for unique characteristics.  While working on my books I always have it open.  Another spreadsheet I have lists the characters in alphabetical order so that I can be sure not to overuse first letters of the alphabet or have names that look too similar.  It also has males and females highlighted in different colors as well as a note on which book the person entered the series, if they're still alive or which book they died, and who they are in relation to my main character.  Both spreadsheets are extremely useful when you have a large cast of characters and I'm careful to keep them updated.  Plus they keep things short and simple so I don't have to dig through pages of notes.

    Why hadn't I thought of this? I've been using a .doc with character descriptions and full resumes for each book. I make up the character outline and resume as soon as I introduce a new character. Much of their information is never used, but it's there for the future.

    Doing it on a spreadsheet is a great idea!

    Being able to sort it by height, weight, hair color, name.....

    Starting a new spreadsheet....
    My Bestselling, 18-volume Jesse McDermitt Series and the spinoff,  5-volume Charity Styles Series, also bestsellers, are available in ebook, audiobook, and paperback, wherever books are sold. In my motivational non-fiction, Blue Collar to No Collar, I provide tips, advice, and strategies for new authors, also available in the same formats. Don't forget to visit the Ship's Store for Jesse McDermitt swag.
    Wayne Stinnett | Website | Facebook | Amazon Author Page | Twitter | Talk Write Podcast | Ship's Store

    Joliedupre

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    I resorted to making a spreadsheet with all the important/semi-important characters on it.  There are columns for eye color, hair color, age (especially important when you have immortal characters), height, body type, and an other column for unique characteristics.  While working on my books I always have it open.  Another spreadsheet I have lists the characters in alphabetical order so that I can be sure not to overuse first letters of the alphabet or have names that look too similar.  It also has males and females highlighted in different colors as well as a note on which book the person entered the series, if they're still alive or which book they died, and who they are in relation to my main character.  Both spreadsheets are extremely useful when you have a large cast of characters and I'm careful to keep them updated.  Plus they keep things short and simple so I don't have to dig through pages of notes.

    Yep, I think this would work great on an Excel spreadsheet.  Thanks for the tip, Susan.   :)

    Offline Brian Olsen

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    I've got one more book left in my series of four, and then I'm switching genres. My current series is hard to define, genre-wise - it's a contemporary urban science-fiction thriller, but it's also got some soap-y elements and a lot of humor. In addition, the sci-fi elements aren't really apparent until a ways into the first book, so it seems like you're getting a more straight-forward action thriller. It's made it very hard to market, and choosing the categories on the vendor sites has been a battle.

    Next up - urban fantasy. One POV character, instead of four. A bit shorter, so I can put out more than two books a year. "Simplify" is my strategy. I love my current series, and so do the few readers who manage to find it, but the business side of things has been frustrating. I've learned a lot, though, and I'm looking forward to applying what I've learned with my next series. (Which I'm incredibly excited to write, by the way - I'm not being completely mercenary in this decision.)

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    Offline Lydniz

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    I get round the need for a character spreadsheet by not describing any of my characters. ;D

    Offline Wayne Stinnett

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    Yep, I understand, Wayne. :)   My kids are in college.  So my hubby and I are empty nesters most of the time.  However, I make sure I carve out enough time for the hubby.  It's definitely a balancing act.  :)

    We almost made it. Our oldest kids were 20, 16, and 15 when our youngest was born. The first three (now 33, 29, and 27) live hundreds of miles away and the youngest just turned 13. The nest won't be empty until I'm in my sixties.
    My Bestselling, 18-volume Jesse McDermitt Series and the spinoff,  5-volume Charity Styles Series, also bestsellers, are available in ebook, audiobook, and paperback, wherever books are sold. In my motivational non-fiction, Blue Collar to No Collar, I provide tips, advice, and strategies for new authors, also available in the same formats. Don't forget to visit the Ship's Store for Jesse McDermitt swag.
    Wayne Stinnett | Website | Facebook | Amazon Author Page | Twitter | Talk Write Podcast | Ship's Store

    Offline ShaneJeffery

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    Only write 3 books.

    There was huge hype around 5+ book series and plenty of people were doing well with them, but I never heard the wisdom that you should wrap things up in book 3 if Book 2 isn't selling until much later. People have put out this myth that at 3 books or 5 or 6 books is the true test for a series but I think it's 2 books. If you can't sell 2 books then you won't sell 4.

    Offline Steve Voelker

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    I'm going to write my new series straight through and release them all at the same time. I've always wanted to try it...keep you posted!
    The Self Publishing Podcast guys used to do this. They always released the boxed set at the same time, with the goal of driving readers toward the more expensive purchase.
    This might work great with KU.
    Put the individual parts in KU and leave the boxed set out. Non-KU readers can get the bargain by purchasing them all at once. KU can read the whole thing for free, one installment at a time.

    Joliedupre

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    Put the individual parts in KU and leave the boxed set out. Non-KU readers can get the bargain by purchasing them all at once. KU can read the whole thing for free, one installment at a time.

    This is an interesting idea. 

    Offline Brian Olsen

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    Put the individual parts in KU and leave the boxed set out. Non-KU readers can get the bargain by purchasing them all at once. KU can read the whole thing for free, one installment at a time.

    Would this violate the KU exclusivity?

    Brian Olsen | website | tumblr | facebook | twitter | goodreads

    Offline bobbic

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    Only write 3 books.

    There was huge hype around 5+ book series and plenty of people were doing well with them, but I never heard the wisdom that you should wrap things up in book 3 if Book 2 isn't selling until much later. People have put out this myth that at 3 books or 5 or 6 books is the true test for a series but I think it's 2 books. If you can't sell 2 books then you won't sell 4.

    I've been thinking about this a lot. Way back in the Dark Ages when I first started self-publishing (in the '80s), the wisdom was to release ONE book then wait a while (like a year) to see what happened with it before you made the decision to do another one in the series. This tracked along with what the trad publishers did, too.

    I'm starting to believe that what you say about two books is true. One issue, though, is that a series *might* get better the more books out there because of the added experience of the author.

    I'm annoyed that we can't just write a string of stand-alones and make money that way. Guess it depends on the genre--mysteries pretty much have to be series but thrillers can be stand-alones.
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    Offline Incognita

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    Would this violate the KU exclusivity?

    Not if the boxed set is also only on Amazon.

    Offline Steve Voelker

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    Would this violate the KU exclusivity?
    Nope.
    KU exclusivity says that anything you put in KU has to stay exclusive to Amazon. You couldn't release the boxed set anywhere else, obviously, but non-select Amazon in fine.

    ...release ONE book then wait a while (like a year) to see what happened with it before you made the decision to do another one in the series.

    Nowadays, that sound like a terrible way to build reader confidence. If I noticed an author had a bunch of orphaned "part one"s lying around, I doubt I'd buy anything from them unless the whole series was out.
    If you're talking about a part one that stands on its own, then you continue with a new story for those characters in book 2, that's different.
    But I wouldn't call the first one "book one" until the second one was out!
    « Last Edit: September 24, 2014, 08:35:00 am by Voelker58 »

    Offline susan_illene

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    Why hadn't I thought of this? I've been using a .doc with character descriptions and full resumes for each book. I make up the character outline and resume as soon as I introduce a new character. Much of their information is never used, but it's there for the future.

    Doing it on a spreadsheet is a great idea!

    Being able to sort it by height, weight, hair color, name.....

    Starting a new spreadsheet....

    To be fair, I didn't think of the description worksheet until I reached book 3 (though I had the other one from the start) and got tired of going back to the previous books or notes to check details.  I realized I was creating extra work for myself.  Good to hear this method can help other series writers!

    Susan Illene | Blog | Facebook

    Offline ShaneJeffery

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    I've been thinking about this a lot. Way back in the Dark Ages when I first started self-publishing (in the '80s), the wisdom was to release ONE book then wait a while (like a year) to see what happened with it before you made the decision to do another one in the series. This tracked along with what the trad publishers did, too.

    I'm starting to believe that what you say about two books is true. One issue, though, is that a series *might* get better the more books out there because of the added experience of the author.

    I'm annoyed that we can't just write a string of stand-alones and make money that way. Guess it depends on the genre--mysteries pretty much have to be series but thrillers can be stand-alones.


    The ONLY reason I say 2 books and not 1 book is because you NEED the permafree book 1 to sell book 2. Obviously if you can sell book 1 outright, you're already doing really, really well, but there is still a chance to sell book 2 with book 1 permafree. It makes a HUGE difference in visibility. You want to follow book 2 with book 3, so that should be written as if it's all going to plan. It's a clear point to end a series and only continue / resurrect if it's a huge hit.

    Main thing is though, if your book 2 isn't selling when book 1 is free, you can forget about book 4 and beyond. Time for a new series.

    Offline Charmaine

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    Would this violate the KU exclusivity?
    Not as long as the box set is ONLY on Amazon.
    Many authors do it this way.
    You get the full royalty on the box set and readers without access to KU borrows, save money by buying them together at a lower price.

    P.S. LOL  People already answered......but I already typed this so....  ::)

    Offline Cherise

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    Would this violate the KU exclusivity?

    It would violate KU/Select exclusivity only if you posted the omnibus on other sites.

    Offline Elizabeth Barone

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    I'm releasing the 6th and final novelette in one of my series at the end of this month, and then will be working on a spinoff of novel-length books to be released sometime next year. I've been tossing around ideas.

    I think I'm going to write the entire series straight through (right now, I'm thinking 5). I know the audience from the other series will cross over to this one, so I'm okay with keeping them waiting. When I release the 1st book, I'm going to make it permafree right off the bat and strike a deal: when it hits X reviews, I'll drop book 2. Then I'll strike the same deal, rinse, and repeat.
    . . .

    Offline bobbic

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    Main thing is though, if your book 2 isn't selling when book 1 is free, you can forget about book 4 and beyond. Time for a new series.

    Yeah, you're right. I'm just being stubborn about the whole series novel thing. Something that being on these Boards has taught me that I need to GET OVER. LOL. Actually, I do have a series, but most of them are short stories, so that doesn't count.


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    Joliedupre

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    Kboards is capable of producing excellent discussions, and this is one of them.  Thank you to everyone who has contributed so far.  I look forward to reading more of your opinions in this thread.   :)

    Offline Wayne Stinnett

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    The ONLY reason I say 2 books and not 1 book is because you NEED the permafree book 1 to sell book 2. Obviously if you can sell book 1 outright, you're already doing really, really well, but there is still a chance to sell book 2 with book 1 permafree. It makes a HUGE difference in visibility. You want to follow book 2 with book 3, so that should be written as if it's all going to plan. It's a clear point to end a series and only continue / resurrect if it's a huge hit.

    Main thing is though, if your book 2 isn't selling when book 1 is free, you can forget about book 4 and beyond. Time for a new series.

    Book 1 is my best seller since the day after it was published as a prequel to the first ones. The first 38 days, it outsold any of the others by a two to one margin.
    My Bestselling, 18-volume Jesse McDermitt Series and the spinoff,  5-volume Charity Styles Series, also bestsellers, are available in ebook, audiobook, and paperback, wherever books are sold. In my motivational non-fiction, Blue Collar to No Collar, I provide tips, advice, and strategies for new authors, also available in the same formats. Don't forget to visit the Ship's Store for Jesse McDermitt swag.
    Wayne Stinnett | Website | Facebook | Amazon Author Page | Twitter | Talk Write Podcast | Ship's Store

    Offline jeffaaronmiller

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    The last volume of my Young Adult series just got published. Although I am proud of having finished it, and I think it turned out really well, I also learned some things from the whole process. Specifically, the pacing of the series is inconsistent. The first book, Mary of the Aether, is a somewhat laid-back character-driven story that takes its time getting to know the small town setting. Books two and three are kind of relentless with danger and growing threat and barely pause to breathe. The fourth and final volume manages a healthy equilibrium, alternating between moments of intensity and quiet character moments, and I wish that tone had been struck throughout the series.

    I am 70,000 words into the first volume of a brand new series, and I am applying everything that I learned about tone and consistency. I think the new series will benefit greatly from it.

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    Offline ShaneJeffery

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    Book 1 is my best seller since the day after it was published as a prequel to the first ones. The first 38 days, it outsold any of the others by a two to one margin.

    Yep. You wrote a prequel to a series that was already selling and the prequel sold really well.

    That's not disputing anything I've said.

    Offline Tim McGregor

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    This place never fails to amaze me at the generosity of advice and wisdom that's shared. You guys are awesome.

    The most important difference between the new series and the old? Plan ahead, dummy!

    Me being the dummy here. I had no plan for a series after releasing my first novel. I was happy just to have finished a novel at all! After that, I went in ass-backwards. This time I've got a game plan but I gotta admit, outlining the main arc for four books is tough!

    On the strategy side, book one (permafree) and book two will be released the same day. A lame attempt to catch some algorithmic fire on the 'Zon. Fingers crossed.

    Cheers

    Tim McGregor

    Offline LJ

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    The Self Publishing Podcast guys used to do this. They always released the boxed set at the same time, with the goal of driving readers toward the more expensive purchase.
    This might work great with KU.
    Put the individual parts in KU and leave the boxed set out. Non-KU readers can get the bargain by purchasing them all at once. KU can read the whole thing for free, one installment at a time.

    I woke up thinking I was going to do this very same thing this morning...funny!

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