Author Topic: If you're starting a new series, what will you do differently this time around?  (Read 100249 times)  

Offline 69959

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I'm working on two new series, both in different genres.

The suspense series is a trilogy and I'm going to have all three finished before publishing. I'm going to do my best to publish them no more than a month apart. Readers are going to want to know the ending and I want them to have it as fast as possible without publishing them all at once. I'm planning on Select for the first book and then release all three wide after the 90 days are over.

The next series is contemporary romance. What's different about this series is that each book stands completely alone. Someone could read one and be perfectly happy. The other books will follow side characters. I'm considering ElHawk's suggestion of rotating the titles through Select since each is a standalone that will point readers to the rest of the series. We'll see how Select is doing when the time comes.

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    Offline C. Gockel

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    It's nice to see there are a few other people out there who don't publish every other month.

    I'm beginning a trilogy next year. In I Bring the Fire I think I tackled too many things: there is the idea that there is truth in all myths, even the modern ones--Loki turns blue--but not for the reason presented in Marvel. There is also the idea of the nature of Chaos being as neutral as the nature of Order (and another big idea I'm releasing in the last installment). It's also third person present tense. And the fantasy has a big dose of sci-fi generously mixed in.

    Next series there is only one big idea, and I'm presenting the big idea as a love story in three parts. That's it. It will be third person past tense (I'm almost certain--although I have noticed lately that readers are caring less and less.) It will be sci-fi.

    I'm also planning on launching all three installments closer together. I know sci-fi is a smaller market so I don't want to get discouraged if it doesn't sell. I'm going to try and write the whole trilogy in six months. Then I have an idea for another novel based in the I Bring the Fire universe that I plan to write, just to relax.


    I write books about Change, Chaos, and Loki
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    Offline Silly Writer

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    I'm working on two new series, both in different genres.

    The suspense series is a trilogy and I'm going to have all three finished before publishing. I'm going to do my best to publish them no more than a month apart. Readers are going to want to know the ending and I want them to have it as fast as possible without publishing them all at once. I'm planning on Select for the first book and then release all three wide after the 90 days are over.

    The next series is contemporary romance. What's different about this series is that each book stands completely alone. Someone could read one and be perfectly happy. The other books will follow side characters. I'm considering ElHawk's suggestion of rotating the titles through Select since each is a standalone that will point readers to the rest of the series. We'll see how Select is doing when the time comes.

    Stacy,
    In changing genres, will you be changing your author name? I'm struggling with this as I've seen the pros and cons of both sides... In my new series, it's the same characters, but different genre. Very different. I'm not sure if I'll get pinged by my current readers who might expect the same genre. Obviously the covers wii depict different genre, and I'll make it clear in blurb, categories, etc. but still hesitant to use the same name (Facebook, website, etc...)

    Not trying to derail thread, but this is related to 'new series.' So bottom line: if new series is different genre, should you use different version of your name?
    « Last Edit: September 24, 2014, 10:27:45 am by LastToFinish »

    Offline Carradee

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    I have one book that I very much want to write, for which I want to do a duet: 1 from female perspective, 1 from male. I'd like them both written so I could release them a month apart. Covers are mocked up, and between them and the titles...this is my WiP that's closest to being a mainstream title, and I think it's the most likely one to take off.

    I have two series of shorter works where I want 3--4 written before I start releasing. One of them is in the second book. I have cover designs prepared for both.

    I have a planned trilogy of 7-part serials where I intend to have at least a full serial written before I start releasing. I ideally want to have all 3 drafted, though. I have covers mocked up.

    I'm currently wrapping up the drafting of book 4 in my epic fantasy series, which should end with 6 books. Book 6 might end up a 2-parter, though. I have a short story to write to wrap up a space opera plotline, and a novelette to wrap up a YA sci-fi dystopia plotline--plus at least one more book in my urban fantasy series, but I foresee that one continuing for years. And I have a dark fantasy penname of fairy tale slaughterings that needs more novellas.

    I'm attempting a schedule right now of releasing something every 2 weeks, which means I'll also be writing several further short stories. I have plans/ideas/etc. aplenty for them. I figure it'll help kick me into writing more regularly. We'll see if it works.
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    Joliedupre

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    Stacy,
    In changing genres, will you be changing your author name? I'm struggling with this as I've seen the pros and cons of both sides... In my new series, it's the same characters, but different genre. Very different. I'm not sure if I'll get pinged by my current readers who might expect the same genre. Obviously the covers wii depict different genre, and I'll make it clear in blurb, categories, etc. but still hesitant to use the same name (Facebook, website, etc...)

    Not trying to derail thread, but this is related to 'new series.' So bottom line: if new series is different genre, should you use different version of your name?

    You're not derailing the thread, at all.  This is all excellent discussion for series authors.  :)

    My first series is a zombie/new adult (young adult according to some readers) series.  My next one will be a sic-fi/romance series.

    I'll always keep my author name, because my stories contain monsters, whether they be zombies, vampires, aliens, or whatever.  They all fit under the category of "monsters."

    Now if I were to write a romance that didn't contain any paranormal/non-human creatures, that would be different.

    Offline 69959

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    Stacy,
    In changing genres, will you be changing your author name? I'm struggling with this as I've seen the pros and cons of both sides... In my new series, it's the same characters, but different genre. Very different. I'm not sure if I'll get pinged by my current readers who might expect the same genre. Obviously the covers wii depict different genre, and I'll make it clear in blurb, categories, etc. but still hesitant to use the same name (Facebook, website, etc...)

    Not trying to derail thread, but this is related to 'new series.' So bottom line: if new series is different genre, should you use different version of your name?

    I went back and forth on this for quite some time! Eventually, I decided to stick with my name. This is why:

    My current books are YA Paranormal Romantic Suspense. My two new series contain elements of both Suspense and Romance. The romance will have suspense and the suspense has a little romance. They're both clean as far as language and sex, so I wouldn't worry about my YA readers crossing over to the other stuff.

    Another reason I decided to keep my name is because I don't have time to keep up with another set of social media accounts, a new email list, and whatnot. One thing I might do is separate my mailing list into groups so that those interested only in my paranormal books can sign up to only receive those updates. I'm not sure how I'll do that, but I'm sure I can figure it out.

    Offline Tasman

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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.   :)

    Agree 100%, especially as I am now in the process of writing a new series and working on various strategies. This discussion is mega-helpful.

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    Offline Lady Vine

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    For erotic romance novelettes/novellas:

    - Write all the books in the series before publishing, no matter how many books are planned. I've found that this keeps me focused only on the work, and not worrying about how Book 1 or 2 or whatever is performing. Also, if I lose interest, I can stop whenever I want without the commitment
    - Stick to shorter word counts. 8-12K words is what I'll be aiming for
    - Raunchy sex scenes as opposed to mild ones. (Don't ask!)
    - Release weekly or every 10 days. As I plan to permafree the first in series for some of these shorts, I don't really care about the 30-day cliff on Amazon, so I'm not releasing to keep up with it
    - Brevity in my prose. Cut back on some of the introspection. It makes for a more enjoyable writing and reading experience
    - Don't bundle until the separate parts' sales are WAY down. That's an important one. If you bundle too early it will kill the sales on individual titles unnecessarily. 7 months in, one of my series is still going strong without the bundle. Perhaps when I release the new series I'll bundle the old one

    For longer non-erotica novellas:

    - Write longer (30-40K words)
    - Have at least 2 books ready to go before publishing (as above)
    - Release less frequently. Maybe every 6 weeks. (I want to work at a pace that I can sustain over a long period of time, and one that my readers will get used to. If I start off releasing too frequently and get burnout, I won't be able to slow down without it affecting my earnings.) Start as you mean to go on, I say

    For novels:

    - Write standalones that have the potential to be series. As above, I don't want to be committed to a series I fall out of love with
    - Leave 4-6 months between releases. Again, set the pace and stick to it. This way I get time to write novelettes/novellas in between
    - No permafree on novels, but will write short prequels that I'll make tempafree

    If I ever try KU on a series, it's going to be a brand new novelette series with an established pen name. I'm not pulling my older series for this experiment.     
    « Last Edit: September 24, 2014, 12:50:25 pm by Lady Vine »

    Offline CASD57

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    Quit worrying about sales-genre etc.., Write for myself, to tell the stories I want/would read, when success happens it will be my way :) and stories I like..
    And that is what I did on my second series completely different then the first.
    Changed Author name to my own..
    « Last Edit: September 24, 2014, 01:28:01 pm by CASD57 »

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    Offline Maddie_K

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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....

    This is brilliant! I use spreadsheets all day at work... so why didn't I think of that? I've been using paper 'character sheets' but it's meant flipping around in a huge binder while writing book 2 to make sure I don't get details wrong. Starting this tonight!

    Madison Keller | Blog

    Offline Raquel Lyon

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    I'm going to NOT put my first book out and waste thousands of select free downloads when I've nothing else for the readers to move on to. I kick myself everyday for doing that!
     
     
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    Offline Robert Dahlen

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    Have enough cash set aside for a halfway decent marketing blitz off the bat. And have at least three books in that series as ready to go as I can at the start on purpose, not by accident as I did this time. :)
    Fantasy novelist, all-around wisecracker and penguin aficionado. Need some fantasy adventure with heroines, humor and heart, and a touch of romance? Skyblade's Gambit and Book Fair Frenzy available exclusively at Amazon! Get all the Monkey Queen e-books at Amazon and other ebook retailers! Find previews, cover art, short stories and much more at the blog or the website!
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    Offline Amanda M. Lee

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    I'm releasing one a month -- and I'm not doing shorts. A lot of people loathe shorts. I'm doing full novels and hoping to key in to the romantic suspense crowd (which is insatiable). The first two are done -- and the first three are set to pre-order one month apart. I'll have the third one done in about a week, and then I'm immediately starting the fourth one. That gets me through January on releases. Then I'm finishing up my young adult series (two books) in late October/November. I will release one before the end of the year and then am holding on to the other for the spring. I just think it will be more streamlined to write them both together. Then, in December, I'm writing two more for my new series -- which will get me through March for releases. I'm working ahead. The good news is, I have eight books and a "treat" novella outlined in the new series. I created a pen name and already have 10 pre-orders for the first book (and I haven't done a thing to promote it). I have also included the link to the pre-order for the next book in the series at the back of each book -- and included a "Coming Soon" page so readers will know that books are actually plotted out and are coming. I actually bought the first six covers in the series already so I wouldn't be able to back out or slow down. I'm committed and focused -- and I'm excited for the launch of the first book in October and watching how things go.

    Amanda M. Lee

    Offline Randall Wood

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    Compile a series bible as I go. Get at least two or three in the series finished before releasing the first, then set up preorders for the next book.

    This. Branching off of my existing series.

    I'm also planing a serial novel with KU in mind. 12 episodes at 25k words each. Comes to a nice round 300k words. I want to write all 12 and release them all at once. That plus two novels a year for my existing series(s) should keep me busy enough.

    Offline Evenstar

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    Compile a series bible as I go. Get at least two or three in the series finished before releasing the first, then set up preorders for the next book.

    What is a series bible?

    Offline I'm a Little Teapot

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    What is a series bible?

    Like someone mentioned further back, it's basically a spreadsheet or wiki of names, places, people (and their descriptions) and plot arcs as they occur in each book. It's a huge timesaver when you don't have to go wading through your backlist doublechecking details because you've already got it in one place.

    Joliedupre

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    I'm going to NOT put my first book out and waste thousands of select free downloads when I've nothing else for the readers to move on to. I kick myself everyday for doing that!

    I did that for one day with my first book before I had other books in the series.  I agree with what you're saying, but in my case it may have brought attention to book #2 once book #2 was published.  I don't know.  My sales were pretty good back then.  LOL!

    Offline Evenstar

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    If I was starting a new series....

    I would focus just on the series!

    I'm bloody awful for jumping into new books when all my fans want is the next one in the series. In fact, that is exactly what I am doing right now. I'm currently writing three different books that I feel like writing (I always have more than one on the go) and not focussing on the next one in the series, which would be a much better seller than any of the stand-alones that I'm currently working on.

    If I focussed just on one series I would be releasing on a much more profitable schedule, and not splitting myself between pen names, and making much more money. But instead, I stupidly release another in the series about once every four months and get completely distracted by other books.

    I have no business sense clearly! Plus there is no one but me to crack the whip and keep me focussed.... sigh

    Joliedupre

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    So many great points in this thread!  Thanks!  :)

    Offline CJArcher

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    Concentrate on 1 series at a time to keep the releases closer together. I'll probably put book 1 up as pre-order for a few weeks, therefore delaying its release so that it will only be a month until book 2 is out. That's the plan anyway  ;)
     
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    Joliedupre

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    Concentrate on 1 series at a time to keep the releases closer together. I'll probably put book 1 up as pre-order for a few weeks, therefore delaying its release so that it will only be a month until book 2 is out. That's the plan anyway  ;)

    I'm still on the fence about preorder.  Does it take away from the bang of a release day?

    Offline CJArcher

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    I'm still on the fence about preorder.  Does it take away from the bang of a release day?

    Yeah, I won't see a big release day spike in ranking on Amazon, but with a book 1 I don't expect it anyway. Also, Apple works differently to the Zon and I sell just as many there. I might keep the price low during the pre-order phase and let my subscribers know this, but I haven't put too much thought into this yet, so I might change what I do before then. Might be a good idea to write the book first :)
     
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    Offline Amanda M. Lee

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    Concentrate on 1 series at a time to keep the releases closer together. I'll probably put book 1 up as pre-order for a few weeks, therefore delaying its release so that it will only be a month until book 2 is out. That's the plan anyway  ;)
    I actually disagree with this. I believe in multiple series going at once. If you only have one series and you only focus on one series, then when you've overdone it and there's nothing new to write a lot of readers won't follow some authors to a new series. I just saw it twice in the past two months or so with established indie authors with only one series. Both are now going back to the first series (which is just tired and beat to death) because they don't want to miss out on the money.  I believe in spreading the love around and not putting all your eggs in one basket. That's just me, though. Everyone has to do what feels best for them.

    Amanda M. Lee

    Offline Amanda M. Lee

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    I'm still on the fence about preorder.  Does it take away from the bang of a release day?
    I was on the fence, too. I do not think I will be doing preorder for future installments of the series I write under my main name. I am doing it for the romantic suspense series, though, because the minute people are done I want them to click on the link so they can preorder the next one. I have decided to wait until I have three out, though, before running a big advertising blitz (which will be just in time for Christmas -- imagine that!). I planned and wrote this series with KU in mind, so I'm mildly interested to see how things go.

    Amanda M. Lee

    Offline jamielakenovels

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    I'd write all the books in the series before releasing any of them. Make the first book or a prequel book perma-free but the rest Kindle Unlimited. Make sure that they are properly edited and error-free, beta-rest the hell out of it until people were saying it was the best it could be, then I'd have excerpts and links in the back of each book and a mailing list sign up on the very first and last page.  Then, I'd create a list of people who like similar books and after we've gotten to know each other give them the first book in the series. Wash, rinse, repeat.  Eventually, when I had enough reviews, I'd do a series of small advertisements like BKnights and ENT and then follow that with a Bookbub advertisement. I'd find some kind of ethical gift for anyone who finished reading the first book to motivate the hoarders to actually read the book.

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