3 Reasons Why Writing A Book Series Will Make You A More Successful Author: Pt. 2

Posted by Kristen Hamilton on May 18, 2018 at 9:00 AM

In last week’s blog, I shared with you why series authors like Lou Paduano (known for his Greystone series) are generally more successful than authors who write a single book. The self-publishing industry is so saturated. If you're a self-publishing author, you need to stand out from the crowd. What's the best way to do that? Writing a book series.

Last week, we learned Reason #1: Readers get invested in a series and its characters and keep purchasing the next book whenever it becomes available. For you, the author, that means a greater number of fans and steadier sales. While a single, stand-alone book can be fun for readers, there’s something special about seeing a character as he or she faces many battles, overcomes various obstacles, and grows as a person in the process.

But what else makes writing a series a more successful venture for a self-publishing author? Let's learn Reason #2 why writing a book series will make you a more successful self-publishing author.

Reason #2: In writing a series, the author has less work cut out for him or her.

In books 2 and onward, the world is already built. The universe is already crafted. The characters are already developed. Readers love this—it’s why book series are major sellers in the industry—and it can be fun for authors, too.

With a world and characters that are already developed, it means the author needs to spend less time on creating new materials. Ninety percent of the heavy lifting is already done.

Lou: In terms of sales, I think [a series] does help, especially at first with readers. If they enjoyed the first book they know what they are getting with the second and so on. For me, the benefit has been more on the writing side. I’ve lived with the characters in the Greystone series for years now. Putting together a story for them is like breathing. I know the ins and outs of Portents as if it was in my backyard. It’s home and it shows in how much easier each new book has been to put together.

The most important thing in a series—just like in a standalone book—is that the overall concept must hold water. And for many authors, this means drafting and redrafting many versions of their original storyline until they get it just right.

Lou knows this better than anyone.

Lou: In 2007 a branch of Image Comics called Shadowline was looking for a new series and had an open submission for pitches. I sent 7 or 8 and one of them was Greystone. It was terrible.

I let it sit until the end of 2008 and picked up the concept again, this time digging into Soriya Greystone as a character. It was here I developed the Greystone and the Ribbon of Kali and all the essential imagery for who Soriya was for this story. I also figured out where the story took place – a wonderful little city called Portents.

By 2012 I realized the comic book thing wasn’t going to happen and started a prose version of The Medusa Coin, now with its proper title. I wrote the draft after hours in my oh-so tiny cubicle at work. It took 11 months. The spine of the novel survived for the most part but the writing itself was abysmal.

With that draft in my pocket and a newborn at home I started my role as full-time dad/closet author. I pulled out my old scripts of what was now in my mind called Signs of Portents and wrote the draft in six weeks! And then it sat until I decided to get serious in 2016 and make this author thing happen for real.

I’ve been living in Portents ever since, having just finished up book five in the series.

While for books 2 through the end of the series can be easier work for the author (in terms of world-building and character development), keep in mind that there can also be more work for a series author—but only upfront, when the series is first coming together. (This is why the first book of a series is always the most important one.) Outlining the series as a whole and having an idea of the major plot points of each book will save you major headaches later down the line.

Lou: I try to work out the rules, the ins and outs of a concept long before setting pen to paper. If it has legs, if there is merit in a longer form story to be told I work out the details in a loose outline.

Greystone has taught me quite a bit about forward thinking. By the time I finished book 2 I knew there would be 5 books in this arc. By the time I finished book 3 I knew the end of book 5 and how a major mystery would be resolved. Setting the course, to me as what is considered a plotter in this industry, is crucial to making it work as a series writer.

My other advice is to get ahead, FAR ahead, of schedule. It was a mad dash to get 5 books done in 2 years. It is part of the reason I am not continuing with the back half of the series. I want the time to make sure the events of book 6 line up with where things end in book 10 and not feel under the gun the entire time.

Check back next week as I wrap up my conversation with Lou and discuss the final reason why writing a book series makes authors more successful.

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Book editor Kristen Hamilton is the owner and sole employee of

Kristen Corrects, Inc., where she provides manuscript editing

services for traditionally and self-publishing authors. Several

authors whose books she has edited have won awards and have

topped Amazon's best sellers lists.

Reading is Kristen's passion, so when the workday is over, she

can usually be found curled up with a good book alongside her

four cats. She loves watching cat videos and scary movies,

eating pizza, teaching herself French, and traveling, and she is

likely planning her next vacation. She lives outside of Boise, ID.

Categories: writing, marketing

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