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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I posted a thread last week saying I didn't know what to plan to write the rest of the year.

I'm warming to writing at least two books to add to The Killers Amongst Us, Which although it is standalone, it was meant to be at least a trilogy. I started the second book, then abandoned it, though I still have a copy . I even had mockup covers and titles worked out. I've never really marketed it, and it's a book I never look at, though the few reviews it had were good even though a few pointed out errors I had to rectify..

What ever I decide, it has to be at least a trilogy as my new release trilogy is doing great with follow on page reads and sales to a lesser extent. without a marketing budget.

The problem I'm toying with now, is that The Killers Amongst Us was published in March 2016. and I'm wondering if it's too late to add to it as a series from a marketing POV and maybe I would be better starting something from scratch..

What would you do?
 

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A book is a book. We, as Indies, tend to get caught up in the 30, 60, 90 day cliff stuff and assume anything past that is worthless. The reality, however, is, that's not true.

Yes, it's going to take more work to kick start an older book back up there ... possibly a full relaunch when the rest are ready. Whether it winds up being worth it, obviously your mileage may vary, but it is doable.

ie: I started my Crypto-Hunter horror trilogy back in 2012. Didn't release book 2 until 2018. Then released the final book a few months back. Is it setting the world on fire? No. But has it more than paid for itself, has a loyal (if small) following, and continues to generate revenue? Most definitely.
 

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I agree with Rick. The beauty of indie backlists: They last forever. They have the potential to sell forever. They are never removed from the shelves and returned, never to be seen again, like trad pubbed books.

If you already have book 2 and don't have any other more pressing things to write, go ahead and finish book two. Cover it, release it.

My only concern about your original post is that you say you don't market. I could be misunderstanding. You have to do something to sell your books. It doesn't have to be expensive or in depth, but it's in your best interest to develop some sort of plan. Ultimately, it's up to us to make sure the people who want to read our book know it exists.
 

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If you enjoy writing, and you like the series, it's always worth it to me. :) Write for your own enjoyment and worry about money later. Plus, the new books could help sell the old one.
 

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Readers like to wait on reading a book until they know the series is complete.
... Look at Game Of Thrones for the 'ever waiting' problem.
If the 'stand alone' was that or hinted at expected two and three then finishing them will be a good thing.
 

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A book that doesn't sell as is doesn't sell as is. Since you're not marketing, it's hard to say if your book could sell. Is the problem the visibility? Or is it the packaging? Or the book itself?

Unless it's the book itself, those problems see relatively easy to fix (relative to writing a whole new book at least). Can you find an expert in your genre (here maybe or in a genre specific FB group) to offer an opinion on the packaging and book itself?

If you want to write the series because you want to write it, that's a different story than if you want to write the series because you think it will save the old book. Personally, I wouldn't make a standalone into book one of a trilogy. No cliffhanger. You need the cliffhanger.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
A book that doesn't sell as is doesn't sell as is. Since you're not marketing, it's hard to say if your book could sell. Is the problem the visibility? Or is it the packaging? Or the book itself?

Unless it's the book itself, those problems see relatively easy to fix (relative to writing a whole new book at least). Can you find an expert in your genre (here maybe or in a genre specific FB group) to offer an opinion on the packaging and book itself?

If you want to write the series because you want to write it, that's a different story than if you want to write the series because you think it will save the old book. Personally, I wouldn't make a standalone into book one of a trilogy. No cliffhanger. You need the cliffhanger.
This is in answer to everyone who has posted. Really appreciated. Readers in the past have said it lends itself to a series, even though it stands alone.

The cover of the original might need a rethink, but the story itself as well as the cover might not fit neatly into the sci-fi genre in that everything takes place on a recognizable Earth which was the difficulty I had in marketing. as it was difficult to pin down the genre as it crossed from crime thriller, to shapeshifters, to aliens, with a background in Ancient Egypt..

It's a kidnap crime story, but as I said it involves factions of aliens living amongst us, relating back to ancient Egypt, so there is a supernatural edge to it with shapeshifting, If I were starting it over, I would say it would fit neatly into alien invasion, colonization, genetics, and I would forget the shapeshifting aspect altogether. .

I didn't market some time after release because there was nothing else to go to only my other standalones which are more crime thriller specific and not sci-fi. Having no marketing budget is only temporary while I'm waiting for flights to start again from Brazil to Portugal, so marketing would be a problem by the time I'd written another two books. I've just had a look and I'm 19k words into the second book.

Anyway, I'll have a good think about it regards genre, the covers, and the difficulty in marketing an old published book that I've taken from your replies. Saying that, I suppose I could set it at 99c or perma free.
 

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One of my pennames barely sold at one time, but I kept reworking covers and trying new approaches (in and our of KU etc) and then eventually I managed to get one particular book selling steadily; not setting the world light, but steady sales.

But then I could not seem to get people to move on to my other books (not a series btw). Fairly recently, I took all of the books that were not selling and lumped them together in an anthology, had a new cover done. And now, my anthology is my best seller.

So yes, I would say, rework things and try again, and keep doing that until you get it working.
 

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What have you got to lose, really, but some time? If it lends itself to a trilogy, and you have already got a large portion of the second one stuffed somewhere in your computer, it's not doing you any good just sitting there unused. It's not making you any money that way. It's worth considering giving it a shot, just to get the second one out there.
 

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One of my pennames barely sold at one time, but I kept reworking covers and trying new approaches (in and our of KU etc) and then eventually I managed to get one particular book selling steadily; not setting the world light, but steady sales.

But then I could not seem to get people to move on to my other books (not a series btw). Fairly recently, I took all of the books that were not selling and lumped them together in an anthology, had a new cover done. And now, my anthology is my best seller.

So yes, I would say, rework things and try again, and keep doing that until you get it working.
That's really interesting, and definitely something that I'll keep in mind for the future. Maybe sometimes it's a matter of tweaking a thing until it works. Thanks Kathy!
 

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I only have one question: Do you have a story that would work as a sequel?
If yes - Go for it, write that story.
If no - Don't try to shoe-horn something in.
 

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I think it comes down to:

Are you writing for money first?
If so, is this a smart money first move? It sounds like... no, since the series doesn't fit neatly into your genre. But I'd get some feedback from people who know your genre better. If it can fit into this subgenre, and it hits the tropes readers need, the extra stuff may not be a problem.

Are you writing for passion first?
If so, do you want to write this book?

Is there something else you'd rather write? Something that is more marketable? Can you take the lessons you learned with this book and start a new series that's more on market that you also want to write? That would be my choice.

I added two books to my first, even though I didn't plan it as a trilogy, because everyone said "series sell." But no one wanted book one when it was a standalone, so they didn't want it as a trilogy either. And I didn't even have cliffhangers to hook readers! I eventually rebranded and made some money on it, but it would have been a way better use of my time to start on a new, more commercial series right away.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I think it comes down to:

Are you writing for money first?
If so, is this a smart money first move? It sounds like... no, since the series doesn't fit neatly into your genre. But I'd get some feedback from people who know your genre better. If it can fit into this subgenre, and it hits the tropes readers need, the extra stuff may not be a problem.

Are you writing for passion first?
If so, do you want to write this book?

Is there something else you'd rather write? Something that is more marketable? Can you take the lessons you learned with this book and start a new series that's more on market that you also want to write? That would be my choice.

I added two books to my first, even though I didn't plan it as a trilogy, because everyone said "series sell." But no one wanted book one when it was a standalone, so they didn't want it as a trilogy either. And I didn't even have cliffhangers to hook readers! I eventually rebranded and made some money on it, but it would have been a way better use of my time to start on a new, more commercial series right away.
Thanks Crystal for the advice and sharing your experience. Plenty for me to take into consideration there.
 

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When a trilogy becomes a trilogy, it suddenly becomes a brand new project. It can start being marketed like a trilogy, designed like a trilogy, and people who only prefer to read series will suddenly have a new choice. Unless the story is (was) something very contemporary, my humble opinion would be to go for it!
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
When a trilogy becomes a trilogy, it suddenly becomes a brand new project. It can start being marketed like a trilogy, designed like a trilogy, and people who only prefer to read series will suddenly have a new choice. Unless the story is (was) something very contemporary, my humble opinion would be to go for it!
Okay. Decision made.

Here my plan for 2021.

It's now March 18th, and I have been writing, so that gives me 10 months to complete my plan of writing 6 full-length books @ 1 every 6 weeks on average at 90,000 words per book. Not saying they'll all get published this year, because that's a lot of editing and book cover costs..

I, Complete The Property Virgin: The House with a Dark Secret1st that I've been writing of late because it's fresh in my mind and I'm motivated to finish it. Female MC as a young crime writer. Standalone. Crime, horror, suspense thriller. Already have 11000,words down.
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2. Complete trilogy 2nd as it was intended for The Killers Amongst Us. So that's 2 more books to write, Already have approx 25,000 of next book down of Orphans to the gods, then start Return of the gods. Sci fi, crime suspense thriller.
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3 Complete 2nd book in series to In Search of Jessica. - In Search of Candice. Same detective series of standalones. Already at the mid-point with 45,000 words down, but needs more planning. Crime suspense thriller. I also have the cover for that one courtesy of Shayne to match the 1st book shown in my signature..

4, .Write 2 more series standalones to Lethal Trade, same MC, Special Forces guy. This is the one where I had a malware virus encrypted the 2nd book file almost complete and demotivated me to stop writing for 2 years. These will be crime thrillers/organized crime..

Anyway, that's the plan in that order. So it's off to get it done and no more procrastinating. Thanks for all your replies.
 

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That's really interesting, and definitely something that I'll keep in mind for the future. Maybe sometimes it's a matter of tweaking a thing until it works. Thanks Kathy!
Way back, here at the forum, I remember someone saying something to the effect that you could simply 'reboot' if things didn't work out the first time.

Since then, I have 'rebooted' so many things. so many times, I have lost count. Along the way, I discovered some things that Amazon does not want you to change e.g. book title. But you can get around that by unpublishing and republishing. I contacted them about this before I tried it on one particular book and they were okay about it.

Anyway Nik, you may not need the tactic, but it is a good one to keep up your sleeve is all else fails.
 

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I posted a thread last week saying I didn't know what to plan to write the rest of the year.

I'm warming to writing at least two books to add to The Killers Amongst Us, Which although it is standalone, it was meant to be at least a trilogy. I started the second book, then abandoned it, though I still have a copy . I even had mockup covers and titles worked out. I've never really marketed it, and it's a book I never look at, though the few reviews it had were good even though a few pointed out errors I had to rectify..

What ever I decide, it has to be at least a trilogy as my new release trilogy is doing great with follow on page reads and sales to a lesser extent. without a marketing budget.

The problem I'm toying with now, is that The Killers Amongst Us was published in March 2016. and I'm wondering if it's too late to add to it as a series from a marketing POV and maybe I would be better starting something from scratch..

What would you do?
You are in an identical position to me a few years back.

I wrote a book that was meant to be in a 3 book series. ( each book having its own story, but same detective)

I wrote book 1 it didn't do well. So i removed the series part and added :novel

No luck.

Cut forward a year I decided i would unpublish and republish book #1 under a new title, new cover and write the second and promote the first through bookbub

The first got lots of reviews and did well

But when the second one came out ( almost a year later ) it was the same as the first in the beginning.

So I have abandoned doing a book 3 ;)

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I really think getting eyeballs is the biggest hurdle we face and stiff competition from a market that is oversaturated with hundreds of books being published every day.
 

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I added two books to my first, even though I didn't plan it as a trilogy, because everyone said "series sell." But no one wanted book one when it was a standalone, so they didn't want it as a trilogy either. And I didn't even have cliffhangers to hook readers! I eventually rebranded and made some money on it, but it would have been a way better use of my time to start on a new, more commercial series right away.
You just said something that few people I think realize. "But no one wanted book one when it was a standalone, so they didn't want it as a trilogy either. "

That's what I have noticed.

For any series to work, people have to love book #1. If they don't, they won't buy #2 and #3.

Writing a series is not a guarantee that books will sell any more than it would if someone wrote 3 standalones.

Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't.
 

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I posted a thread last week saying I didn't know what to plan to write the rest of the year.

I'm warming to writing at least two books to add to The Killers Amongst Us, Which although it is standalone, it was meant to be at least a trilogy. I started the second book, then abandoned it, though I still have a copy . I even had mockup covers and titles worked out. I've never really marketed it, and it's a book I never look at, though the few reviews it had were good even though a few pointed out errors I had to rectify..

What ever I decide, it has to be at least a trilogy as my new release trilogy is doing great with follow on page reads and sales to a lesser extent. without a marketing budget.

The problem I'm toying with now, is that The Killers Amongst Us was published in March 2016. and I'm wondering if it's too late to add to it as a series from a marketing POV and maybe I would be better starting something from scratch..

What would you do?
I'd go for it. You could even use the first book as a marketing tool, give it away for free, with the thought that if they liked it, then they'll buy book 2 and 3, etc of the series. I've seen other authors do this and had success in gaining new readers. The reason I suggest using it as a freebie is that if your not marketing/sell atm, you are not going to lose $...but rather it could help bring in new readers, especially also by the fact that the feedback you did have is positive and that they feel it leans itself to be a series.
 
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