Author Topic: If you're starting a new series, what will you do differently this time around?  (Read 100227 times)  

Joliedupre

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If you're starting a new series, what will you do differently this time around? 


I'll start.

~~~

My goal is to release the books in my series every month instead of every two months.  For my short books, it's better for me to release closer together than farther apart. 

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    Offline LJ

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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!

    Offline bobbic

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    I would try to have the second one almost finished before releasing the first one.

    I tend to wait to see if sales are going to take off before committing to doing a second or third book in a series. In two cases so far, the lack of great sales have made me sit back and hesitate on releasing a second book. So I get stymied, petrified with indecision. And as we know, more books help sell a series, but I just can't get over the idea that I'm wasting even more time "beating a dead horse."

    I'm not saying I can actually make myself do more than one before releasing them, but it might help with my indecision about continuing a series. Especially now that I know more about that whole 30 days thing with Amazon.
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    Offline The 13th Doctor

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    I'd have the first three finished and then publish them once a month. Or at least I'd strive for having two finished and published while working on the third.

    Offline sarahdalton

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    I would adjust my expectations. Most readers don't buy any of your books until the series is finished (for trilogies) or at least half way through (for long series). I would go back and stop worrying about people buying the first one when I didn't have anything else released.

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    Offline susan_illene

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    My situation is a bit different.  The series I'm currently working on won't be finished until sometime next year and I have spin-offs from there that will take at least another year or so to finish and release.  But I have this new series that I began developing last spring and hate to wait years before being able to release it.  Plus I still have the attention of my fan base with the current one.  So I'm going to release book one of the new series before releasing the last book of the old (not counting spin-offs).  Though the two will be different in many ways, they'll still target mostly the same paranormal audience.  Then I'll do an alternating schedule from there, going back and forth on releasing new books for each. 

    Since I have a decent number of books out already, I'm hoping this will alleviate the problem of people not trying the new series since they can read all my other novels in the meantime.  No idea if it will work well, but it's the only way my muse will be happy.  It really wants to work on this new series and refuses to leave my head even six months after I conceived the idea. 

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    Offline bobbic

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    I would adjust my expectations. Most readers don't buy any of your books until the series is finished (for trilogies) or at least half way through (for long series). I would go back and stop worrying about people buying the first one when I didn't have anything else released.


    I guess the readers always assume there will be a series, then.  I assumed that by having a handful of short stories set in the same town, with some of the same characters, would help sell my new mystery novella, but that's not been the case. A recent give away of one of the stories got 258 downloads (good for a short story) but lead to NO sales of the novella so far.

    « Last Edit: September 24, 2014, 06:58:04 am by bobbic »
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    Offline Rachel Aukes

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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!"

    Joliedupre

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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!

    Yes, after you do this, please post at Kboards to let us know about how it's going.  I've wondered about releasing all at the same time.  So I'm very curious about your results.  :)


    I would adjust my expectations. Most readers don't buy any of your books until the series is finished (for trilogies) or at least half way through (for long series). I would go back and stop worrying about people buying the first one when I didn't have anything else released.


    I hear this a lot.  People did buy my first and second one.  So I'm interested in seeing what the results will be with the third (final) book.

    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!"

    I want to improve in this area, as well.  :)

    Offline susan_illene

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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!"

    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.

    Susan Illene | Blog | Facebook

    Offline Cheryl Douglas

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    In 2015, I intend to release every month, work on only one series at a time, focus on the sub-genres that are selling well for me, set a pre-determined number of books in the series (3-6), only adding to the series if it's selling really well.
    I made some costly mistakes with my series this year. I worked on two series simultaneously and released only bi-monthly. This meant readers had to wait up to four months for a release in a new series. I found that was too long for my readers. I intend to work on one series at a time from now on. In my case, one series was selling well, the other not so well. I shouldn't have committed to writing six books in each series until I figured out which was going to work.
    If I had it to do again, I'd commit to three books, then determine if I wanted to add more based on sales. I love to write long series, because it allows me to create a world surrounding a large group of families and friends, but that strategy only works if the series is selling really well. From now on, I'll move on if numbers aren't where I'd like them to be after three books.   

    Offline JumpingShip

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    These are some great suggestions. I'm starting a new series, but it hadn't occurred to me to hold back the first until the second was almost finished or completely finished. Great idea. I think I'll need to really pick up my writing speed though.

    My new series is really a spinoff of my Mark Taylor series. The new main character is younger, just out of college, but the characters in the Mark Taylor series are in the book (at least the first one) as well. My problem is that I want people to be able to come to the spinoff without having read the MT series first, but I find that I'm referring to things that happened in the series, but can't seem to get around it. Maybe I should take the MT series characters out of the spinoff as much as I can? I need to create some new characters for the main character interact with also.


    Offline joncrocker

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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.

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    Offline Wayne Stinnett

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    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.

    As far as publishing? I'll slow down with the next series, perhaps only two books a year.
    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.
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    Offline susan_illene

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    In 2015, I intend to release every month, work on only one series at a time, focus on the sub-genres that are selling well for me, set a pre-determined number of books in the series (3-6), only adding to the series if it's selling really well.
    I made some costly mistakes with my series this year. I worked on two series simultaneously and released only bi-monthly. This meant readers had to wait up to four months for a release in a new series. I found that was too long for my readers. I intend to work on one series at a time from now on. In my case, one series was selling well, the other not so well. I shouldn't have committed to writing six books in each series until I figured out which was going to work.
    If I had it to do again, I'd commit to three books, then determine if I wanted to add more based on sales. I love to write long series, because it allows me to create a world surrounding a large group of families and friends, but that strategy only works if the series is selling really well. From now on, I'll move on if numbers aren't where I'd like them to be after three books.

    You all make me feel like such a slow writer.  On average I have 4-5 months between releases, though I'm trying to get faster.  It hasn't cost me on readers since my retention rate is good, but it does take longer for them to figure out I've got a new book and pick it up.  This results in a long tail for my sales.  I don't hit as high as I could around release time, but my newest book will stay in the top 100 of its genre categories for at least a couple months.  It's a trade-off.  I just can't write 100k words or more in a month or two or I'd burn out.

    Susan Illene | Blog | Facebook

    Joliedupre

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    As far as publishing? I'll slow down with the next series, perhaps only two books a year.

    Wayne, you're doing fabulously with the pace you're on now.  Do you think it's a good idea to slow it down?

    Offline 10105

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    I'l still release in the order in which I finish each volume, but my goals are:

    1. Spin off popular characters into their own series.
    2. have each release include e-book, paperback, and audible book editions published concurrently
    3. Combine the first three volumes in an omnibus edition after the third has been out there a while
    4. Thread stories and characters through the series across volume boundaries. No cliff-hangers, though, and no making earlier volumes prerequisite reading for newer ones.

    Lofty goals. I hope I live long enough.

    Offline susan_illene

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    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.

    As far as publishing? I'll slow down with the next series, perhaps only two books a year.

    My MC is ex-military, but her enemies are werewolves, vamps, and other creatures.  Even with all her training, it gets annoying for her that shooting them in the head doesn't kill them, lol.  At one point she had to resort to RPGs and grenades, but that only works if she's in an area where she won't draw the attention of humans.  Having her face much more powerful creatures with far more time and experience on earth has helped reduce the problem you're having, Wayne.

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    Offline Cheryl Douglas

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    Wayne, you're doing fabulously with the pace you're on now.  Do you think it's a good idea to slow it down?

    This is a good question. After my first year of releasing monthly, I was feeling a bit burnt out. I thought I'd go from 12 releases a year to 6. Guess what? My income decreased proportionately. I learned something about myself from that experiment. Money motivates me to keep writing.

    Offline Wayne Stinnett

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    Wayne, you're doing fabulously with the pace you're on now.  Do you think it's a good idea to slow it down?

    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.
    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 sarahdalton

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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.

    This is an excellent idea. I always find myself desperately checking things in old manuscripts.

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    Offline ElHawk

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    I'm releasing books 1 and 2 together for the new series (romance) and will have book 3 out within a month of that.

    For my next HF series, I'll do one book at a time, since I already know my readers in that genre are okay with reading at a slower pace and don't seem to lose focus on an author if there's a longer delay between books. But for romance, two books out at once seems like a smarter strategy.


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    Offline bobbic

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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.

    Yes, that too! I love writing shorter fiction and that's why I focus on short stories. BUT I've realized that I do just as much marketing for the short ones as the longer ones, with lots less profit. Mystery readers, in general, like the longer books, (although the classics were shorter). 

    So there's some sort of sweet spot where you can charge enough on a shorter book to make it worthwhile. Something else to think about.


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    Offline I'm a Little Teapot

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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.

    Offline susan_illene

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    This is an excellent idea. I always find myself desperately checking things in old manuscripts.

    I highly recommend it.  So much easier to find what you need quickly, though sometimes I think I need to make one for locations, too.  I'm still having to go back to my older books and check to see how I described someone's home or business.  The only reason I don't is the spreadsheet would have to be rather long to fit all the details.

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