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

Posted by Kristen Hamilton on May 23, 2018 at 10:20 AM

In parts 1 and 2 of this mini blog series, I spoke with Greystone series author Lou Paduano about what makes a series author more successful than an author who will publish a one-off book.

First, we learned that book series are more successful because readers build relationships with characters and the worlds they live in, becoming invested in a series—and becoming willing to purchase the next book in the series to find out what happens next in the characters’ lives.

Next, we found that continuing a series in the same world saves the author tons of time. The world is already built, the universe is already crafted, and the characters are already developed, which means the author needs to spend less time on creating new materials. After book 1, ninety percent of the heavy lifting is already done.

Now, let’s look at the numbers. Specifically, let's talk about Reason #3 why writing a book series will make you a more successful author.

Reason #3: Writing a book series positions you as a prolific author with a growing reader base.

Just the act of writing a book series alone won’t make you a successful self-publishing author. (Sorry.) It takes time dedication: time for writing, time for marketing, time for working with beta readers. The most serious and successful authors like Lou find and schedule time for all three, ensuring the important tasks of authorpreneurship are taken care of.

Every author has to start somewhere. It’s understandable—even expected—that sales on your first book will be slow, especially at first. The number of purchases on Lou’s first book were still low when Lou published book 2 of the series, Tales from Portents. Things were still gathering steam on many fronts: Lou was hard at work on building his e-mail list, posting blogs to his website, and spending time on marketing efforts. It would all come to fruition soon. As he was writing and publishing the subsequent books in his series, Lou was getting attention as an emerging author.

When Lou put up the pre-order option for book 3, The Medusa Coin in August 2017, he noticed an uptick in sales for book 1: around 15 books per month on average. Book 2, which had sold 47 copies in about a year, suddenly sold an additional 57 copies in two months.

Lou’s growing fan base was due in large part to his marketing efforts to draw attention to his series of books. Not only were people jumping on the Greystone collection bandwagon, developing relationships with the characters Loren and Soriya and following their adventures, but readers were able to hear directly from the author himself with a newsletter.

Lou: With the release of Signs in August 2016 I had no newsletter.

Tales from Portents came out in February 2017. I had 30 people on my newsletter.

The Medusa Coin came out in September 2017 and my list had grown to 3,000 people thanks to services like Instafreebie and My Book Cave.

My list is currently at 7,000 people but I am about to cull it down to the true fans so we’ll see where that leaves me.

So, what does an average successful series author’s day look like? Various activities must get done—and here’s where an author’s dedication kicks in.

Lou: I love setting my calendar and having hard deadlines on projects. That is key to making this work. To maintain my productivity I work out my week ahead of time every Sunday. I am very schedule oriented.

Social Media Calendar is always first. I like to schedule any tweets or Facebook posts early to make sure I am still active on social media even if I never have time to actually visit the pages.

Newsletters – I have 3 or 4 lists going at any one time. There is my main list that I try to connect with twice per month with news about the books, promotions, cover reveals, other fun stuff. Anywhere from 5 to 8 newsletters need to be written and scheduled in every given month.

Blogs – I write 2 per week. I tend to batch them during the first week of the month so my calendar is clear until the 1st of the following. Sometimes more if I am on a roll or offering commentary on my books because I love talking about the process of writing and how things came to be in the book. LOVE IT.

As is true with anything, the bigger and more successful a project gets, the more time it takes. While one of the joys of being an author is the freedom to work from home and be creative, it also comes with responsibilities of self-publicity and marketing.

Lou: The marketing side of things has built tremendously. Not a day goes by where I don’t look at different options to market one or more of the books already out as well as start to plan the launch of the next book. It’s difficult to balance with the creative side and can lead to outright frustrating weeks but it is a necessary component to the business.

If I stopped writing and focused 100% on marketing would I sell more books? Absolutely. Do I want to do this? No way. Advertising, book fairs, comic conventions, Indie Author Day, cross-promotions, all offer new and exciting ways to get your book out there and all require time and effort, sometimes much more than you can afford.

I experiment with different tactics. Cross-promotions through different sites. Newsletter swaps with other authors. Amazon Ads which scored me my best sales week EVER but cost me WAY too much to continue. Marketing takes over the schedule when I am not drafting. For me, though, writing trumps all.

I could spend hours talking about the need for a fantastic editor and a brilliant cover designer. I could eat away days on building a writing process, on finding your strengths and working around them to help you hit your daily word count goals.

While Lou is still just financially breaking even with his book series, he’s building up his fan base—and continuing to build sales.

Lou: My hope is to tip the scales to profitability next year as everything earned immediately goes into cover design, editing and promotion of current and upcoming work. I work solely as an author. I may still spend my days raising 2 toddlers but my writing is absolutely my profession and I treat it like a business.

Now that the Greystone series, the debut for author Lou Paduano, is coming to a close, he’s poised and sitting pretty to continue writing books—and he already has a dedicated reader base who will be ready and willing to buy his books when they’re released.

Lou: With Greystone off my plate I have a new series in the works. It is a science fiction/conspiracy thriller series called The DSA and is told in an episodic, seasonal structure with 6 novellas (approx. 40,000 – 45,000 words) making up each season. I don’t intend to launch until I am completely finished with the season so probably summer of 2019.

After that I have a standalone called The Lost Outpost, a sci-fi/horror novel in the vein of Alien. I wrote the first draft for NaNoWriMo in 2017 but it needs a ton of love before seeing daylight. My hope is to launch it after DSA’s first season concludes in 2020.

What do you think of Lou’s decision to write a series as opposed to a stand alone book? Although the amount of time and effort he’s put into his Greystone series is no joke, it’s clearly paid off: He’s building up a strong group of readers and making a name for himself in the self-publishing industry, one book at a time. (Psst... If you're an author who is new to the industry, these are the steps to take to ensure your success!)

Check out Lou’s website or read Signs of Portents, the first book in his Greystone series!

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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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