Author Topic: If you're starting a new series, what will you do differently this time around?  (Read 100247 times)  

Offline Andrew Broderick

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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.

This looks like my kind of book. It's in my reading queue!

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    Offline Patty Jansen

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    I agree with Yoda about the series. I have several series going at the time. I'm in a genre where people don't expect new releases every month, and there is some cross-pollination between series as well. Having several series going can stop series burnout and also helps test the water for where you should focus your efforts.

    As for series I've started but have put on the backburner... I've got those under a pen name at the moment. If one of them happens to take off, that will force me to put more emphasis on that series.

    Offline Chinese Writer

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    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.

    I have the exact opposite problem. Every book idea ends up wanting to be the start of a series. The only problem, I don't have time to start these books in other genres. I want to focus on mystery until I get several books out. I'm also trying to learn to write short stories and novellas. After I finish up my WIP, I want to have a small novelette that I can use as a freebie to lead into my full length novels.

    Offline Chinese Writer

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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?

    While I'm finishing up my second mystery, I'm outlining an urban fantasy series that I plan to work on in 2015. I'm going to use the same author name for both of the series since there is a mystery element in the new series (hoping there might be reader cross over). For the debut novel, I'm also using one of my reader's favorite characters, my little old Chinese lady, in the the urban fantasy to kick off the story. It's a different side of her because the urban fantasy starts after her husband's death a few years ago, so I'm not sure how my audience would take it. Also, my urban fantasy will feature another Chinese female protag so I think it's okay to keep them under the same brand. 

    However, I do want to get into sweet and Regency romances at some point. And for that, I'm thinking of using a more American sounding pen name (as in Tanner vs Tan). I think there is still reader basis when it comes to the author name on the books.

    Offline 69959

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    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.

    I agree with this. I've even had readers say they can't keep up with my production schedule. If you publish a lot (pretty sure I haven't missed a month this year) your readers might not be able to keep up. In that case, having a couple series works best.

    Offline djv1120

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    I am a new author (less than a year) and would do several things differently.  The main thing is that I would do everything right the first time.  I tried to cut corners and self-edit then wound up spending money to edit it after it was already published.  I tied to get a cheap cover then wound up spending the money to pay for the custom cover that I wanted all along.  I would pay for some advertising instead of just hoping it would work on its own.  In short, I would do what everybody on this site recommends you do.  Of course, I didn't find this site until after I wrote the book and published.

    As far as the actual writing, I would plan things out more.  I have found that I can write 1000 to 1500 words a minute if I know what I am going to write before I start.  If I figure it out as I go, it is probably closer to 400 to 500 at best.  In short, 15 minutes of planning can save hours of writing time.  On top of that, when I plan things out, I get myself in the mood to write which makes things go even faster when I start pounding on the keyboard.

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    Offline Evenstar

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    I have found that I can write 1000 to 1500 words a minute if I know what I am going to write before I start.  If I figure it out as I go, it is probably closer to 400 to 500 at best.

    Wow, that is seriously fast  ;)

    Offline bobbic

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    I have the exact opposite problem. Every book idea ends up wanting to be the start of a series. The only problem, I don't have time to start these books in other genres. I want to focus on mystery until I get several books out. I'm also trying to learn to write short stories and novellas. After I finish up my WIP, I want to have a small novelette that I can use as a freebie to lead into my full length novels.

    Yes, I've discovered that although the advice on KBoards is excellent, most of it applies to other genres (fantasy, romance, etc.) and not to mysteries. My recent novella will probably be a perma-free book when I finish the next one in the series. Although, I still haven't decided whether permafree works with mysteries like it does for the other genres.

    As for the short stories, at some point I'll put them together into a collection.


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    Offline anniejocoby

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    How timely! I'll listen to my gut. My gut didn't like my latest covers, but I went with them anyhow. I think that they limited my new series, because nobody could tell what the books were about. Even my sister said she had no idea what my books were about, LOL. I changed that, though, and I just got my new covers back today, and I'm SO EXCITED!

    I'm also going to do some more intense studying in my genre. I'm picking the bestsellers in my genre and reading them, and I'm going to try to figure out the elements that made them popular. I'm going to get out of the mindset that I should try to be wildly different, and write to market. I might sound like a sell-out, but that's okay, because I'll be selling out all the way to the bank, LOL.

    Two dollars! Two dollars! I want my two dollars!!!
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    Offline Dolphin

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    I would do a better job at updating my notes on my character bios, storyboard, etc. I feel sorry every time my editor says something like, "You changed his eye color... again!"

    Your character is a shapeshifter IMO. Go with it.

    I resorted to making a spreadsheet with all the important/semi-important characters on it.

    An excellent idea! Could be handy for tracking any number of things, like nagging injuries, vocal mannerisms, &c. I very much like the idea of doing locations too.

    Scrivener's notes and metadata might be helpful for this as well.

    While it's still more than a year away, I'll try to make my MC less invincible. I've received a number of reviews about how my MC is "too perfect". Perhaps it's because of the much lower percentage of military to civilian readers. I think the average person has no idea there are many people walking around out there that trained for twenty years, how to survive and kill and are very good at both, if the need arises.

    The SEALs of Operation Red Wings were death walking terrors, but they still suffered terrible losses when they were ambushed by one to two platoon-sized elements. I'm sympathetic to your desire to not water your heroes down. Pit them against strong antagonists, tilt the table, raise the stakes, and see if you can have your Marty Stew and your Die Hard too.

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    How timely! I'll listen to my gut. My gut didn't like my latest covers, but I went with them anyhow. I think that they limited my new series, because nobody could tell what the books were about. Even my sister said she had no idea what my books were about, LOL. I changed that, though, and I just got my new covers back today, and I'm SO EXCITED!

    I'm also going to do some more intense studying in my genre. I'm picking the bestsellers in my genre and reading them, and I'm going to try to figure out the elements that made them popular. I'm going to get out of the mindset that I should try to be wildly different, and write to market. I might sound like a sell-out, but that's okay, because I'll be selling out all the way to the bank, LOL.

    There's nothing wrong with that, Annie.  I won't write something for publication that will be a hard sell.  It may not be the most popular thing.  I mean, there's some stuff out there that sells really, really well that I'm just not interested in.  But there's other stuff I can write.  :)

    Offline M.G. Russell

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    Thanks for this thread. I'm just starting a new series and this has been really helpful.


    Offline Silly Writer

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    I have found that I can write 1000 to 1500 words a minute if I know what I am going to write before I start.  If I figure it out as I go, it is probably closer to 400 to 500 at best. 

    If you can type that fast, you've beat all previous World Records...EVAH!   :o

    Even the fastest ever recorded is 212 words per minute - Barbara Blackburn is the fastest English typist in the world, according the Guinness Book of World Records. She managed to type at 150 words a minute for 50 minutes, and peaked at 212 words a minute. She even showed offer her talents on 'The David Letterman Show.'


    Offline Dolphin

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    If you can type that fast, you've beat all previous World Records...EVAH!   :o

    Ha, yeah, I was kind of interpreting that as hourly instead of minutely. Hi, wrote a full-length novel in an hour, AMA.

    Offline Crime fighters

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    How timely! I'll listen to my gut. My gut didn't like my latest covers, but I went with them anyhow. I think that they limited my new series, because nobody could tell what the books were about. Even my sister said she had no idea what my books were about, LOL. I changed that, though, and I just got my new covers back today, and I'm SO EXCITED!

    I'm also going to do some more intense studying in my genre. I'm picking the bestsellers in my genre and reading them, and I'm going to try to figure out the elements that made them popular. I'm going to get out of the mindset that I should try to be wildly different, and write to market. I might sound like a sell-out, but that's okay, because I'll be selling out all the way to the bank, LOL.

    This so hard.

    I'm head-over-heels in love with Carnival, but I knew from the beginning that it wasn't exactly 'market friendly'. I wanted a book that felt real and honest when it came to drug use, without any author-preaching-bias. I wrote about [expletive]ed up characters who didn't fix their issues, but rather ran from them. I wrote the book exactly the way I wanted, and everytime I see it on my shelf, I'm immensely proud of it. Now I'm faced with getting two sequels out this year, of a book that will never make it big. But that's okay, because I have a small, but very enthusiastic fanbase with this book. Still, if I could go back and do it again... I'd do it the same way.  I'm stubborn like that. But with my next series, because I need to do this for a living, I'm moving a little closer to the center...

    Which means I'm going to write books with popular tropes. I'm going to write about alpha males, and I'm going to write second chance romances, which I truly enjoy. But if my current plotting sessions are any indication, I'm going to steer away from the center the second the pen hits the paper. But I'll be happy... and broke.

    Business wise, I plan on trying out a few strategies with the next few series. On the docket for 2015 is 12 releases. Beginning with a serial with each part going on sale/preorder the same day. Then releasing the packaged novel a few months later when I have no scheduled releases to keep up visibility.

    That will be the start of my second series, followed by two full length novels later in the year. I'm also planning on releasing a duo-novella on the same day, one featuring the Hero's POV and the other featuring the Heroin's. So that's nine releases.

    Then I'm going to use whichever strategy worked best with the previous three series with the third series, which unlike the rest of the books, will feature a tried and tested story.

    Offline Austin_Briggs

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    I would definitely write shorter books!

    I just finished a trilogy of 180k word tomes. I loved writing them, and wouldn't change a thing, but when I started it was purely for my own benefit - I hadn't even considered self-publishing back then.

    For my new series I'm thinking more in the ballpark of 60-75k word books. Shorter, more frequently released, books seems to be the way to go to maximize sales.

    That's what I'm trying to do, too. Adult titles from 140K to 80K, Young Adult titles from 95K to 60K, or 40K for younger readers. It's actually possible to tell a good story in a shorter book, as I'm learning :)

    Offline kathrynoh

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    If I do another "series", it will be more interconnected stories.  That way I won't be locked into an overriding story arc spreading over a few books. I'm working on a standalone at the moment but trying to make sure there are enough interesting side characters with stories for further books. I'm quite interested in the idea of having one character out and out mean in the first book but then later developing her story, because no one is that black and white in real life.

    Offline Kirkee

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    What would I do differently? Let it write itself. Come to think of it, it did write itself. The "Tinsel"
    one did.
    That's always best.

    Annie: Pretty sharp (the studying part.) So long as you're okay with it.  Actually you wouldn't be "selling out,"
    it's more like "buying in."   :o


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    Offline Chinese Writer

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    Yes, I've discovered that although the advice on KBoards is excellent, most of it applies to other genres (fantasy, romance, etc.) and not to mysteries. My recent novella will probably be a perma-free book when I finish the next one in the series. Although, I still haven't decided whether permafree works with mysteries like it does for the other genres.

    As for the short stories, at some point I'll put them together into a collection.

    From my personal reading and by looking at friends who read the genre, free doesn't work as well. $2.99 is my lost leader price and I will go up after this with the occasional sale. If I'm willing to pay $5-$10 for a good mystery eBook, then I know my targeted demographics is as well since I'm writing for women like me. I have several friends that will pay full trad pub prices on preorders for their fav authors. So it's all about building a fan base and putting quality work.

    If you check out some of the authors in the humorous mystery sub genre, some price as high as $4.99 and they still have a strong following. One thing I've noticed is that once these authors have about 4-5 books out they move the price for all of them to $4.99 without any impact to their ranking. And their covers look just like trad pub covers.

    Offline Kirkee

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    What would I do differently? Let it write itself. Come to think of it, it did write itself. The "Tinsel"
    one did.
    That's always best.

    Annie: Pretty sharp (the studying part.) So long as you're okay with it.  Actually you wouldn't be "selling out,"
    it's more like "buying in."   :o


     Certain titles contain graphic violence and/or strong language and/or erotica.        
    Kirk Alex

    Joliedupre

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    Which means I'm going to write books with popular tropes. I'm going to write about alpha males, and I'm going to write second chance romances, which I truly enjoy. But if my current plotting sessions are any indication, I'm going to steer away from the center the second the pen hits the paper. But I'll be happy... and broke.


    I'm a ghost writer.  Therefore, I write whatever my clients want me to write - whether I'm interested in the topic or not.  (I'll never forget the time I wrote 50 different articles on garages and garage door openers.  So much fun.  Not.)

    So when it comes to my fiction, I have to enjoy and be interested in the topic.  I refuse to write something that is of no genuine interest to me just because it sells.  For example, BBW stuff sells really well, but it's of no interest to me.

    However, I also won't write something that has very little chance of gaining traction.  So for me it's a balance.   
    « Last Edit: September 25, 2014, 06:49:55 am by Joliedupre »

    Offline Brian Olsen

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    This looks like my kind of book. It's in my reading queue!

    Groovy! I hope you like it. Maybe I'll stop trying to condense the genre in my blurbs and just write it all out...

    I thought I read about this in this thread, but maybe not - I downloaded Aeon Timeline last night and started playing with it. I can't wait to go back and enter all my timeline info from my current series into it to help with plotting the final book, and I suspect I'll be using it from day one with my next series.

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    Offline 69959

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    How timely! I'll listen to my gut. My gut didn't like my latest covers, but I went with them anyhow. I think that they limited my new series, because nobody could tell what the books were about. Even my sister said she had no idea what my books were about, LOL. I changed that, though, and I just got my new covers back today, and I'm SO EXCITED!

    I'm also going to do some more intense studying in my genre. I'm picking the bestsellers in my genre and reading them, and I'm going to try to figure out the elements that made them popular. I'm going to get out of the mindset that I should try to be wildly different, and write to market. I might sound like a sell-out, but that's okay, because I'll be selling out all the way to the bank, LOL.

    I'm paying a lot more attention to the market myself. I've been studying covers and trends. I don't think it's being a sell out, although I felt that way for a long time too. My goal is to go full time and make a living with writing. I can't do that if I don't write what sells. Luckily I like romance! :)

    Your new covers are great, by the way. They do convey a lot more than the old ones. Great choice! I recently changed five of my covers and my sales have improved. I've even had people buy my books based solely on the new covers. Don't underestimate the power of covers.

    Offline heidi_g

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    I'm tempted to say NOTHING! But that's not really true, lol.

    ARCs
    ARCs
    ARCs

    That's about it :)

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    Offline Crime fighters

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    I'm a ghost writer.  Therefore, I write whatever my clients want me to write - whether I'm interested in the topic or not.  (I'll never forget the time I wrote 50 different articles on garages and garage door openers.  So much fun.  Not.)

    So when it comes to my fiction, I have to enjoy and be interested in the topic.  I refuse to write something that is of no genuine interest to me just because it sells.  For example, BBW stuff sells really well, but it's of no interest to me.

    However, I also won't write something that has very little chance of gaining traction.  So for me it's a balance.   

    I tried to write articles once and lasted ten hours. I couldn't do it, and it didn't help that I was only being paid $3 an article.

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