Series can happen by chance. For instance, if a stand-alone book then later inspires a new novel in the same ‘world’ or ‘universe’ with perhaps a few of the same characters, or minor characters, or locations. A sequel may be requested by a publisher, and then the author descends into a madcap brainstorming session to come up with a follow-up for a story that hadn’t been designed as one. Perhaps the reader demand after the first book is so great the author decides to follow up so as to take advantage of the generated demand.
Or, series can happen by design, inspired during the idea or planning stage.
For Salmon Run, it was the latter.
A plot bunny came up and nipped me on the ankle, ate half my lunch and then sat on a corner of my desk taunted me with ideas while I was trying to get through the business day.
On Forward Motion Writers chat (http://www.fmwriters.com ) we sometimes joke about attacking plot bunnies. Well, it’s only partial joking. The little things can be quite vicious.
I found inspiration for a new story. But then I suddenly found myself overwhelmed with ideas, all wanting to be included. It’s impossible to put everything AND the kitchen sink in a novel (and is a common mistake of new writers). On the other hand, there were just too many great ideas to ignore.
I quickly came to the realization that I was dealing with a series. I don’t mind this. Series have many benefits:
1. A series can be a great way to create an author brand. Many successful writers have several series going, each building up readers, each helping the popularity of the other. A series builds up its own ready-made audience, always anxious for the next installment.
2. Honing the craft. With a series the main worldbuilding has been done. At that point it’s all about the stories, characters and places. With a series an author can concentrate on the storytelling without having to start from scratch on the planning for each and every book.
3. Increased productivity. This is related to the above point. The author already knows the ‘world’ or ‘universe’. They can start writing as soon as they have a new story without having to stop for a long period to figure out the basis for the ‘world’ the characters inhabit. This can also result in…
4. A Better Paycheck. A series creates a ready-made audience just waiting for the next story to come out. This is great for a regular paycheck for the author. However, this can be contingent on the steady output of said series.
5. Fun! Only so much can go into one story, and the chance to write additional stories allows a writer to continue to explore the fascinating place their imagination created.
However, a series takes a lot planning to do right. What type of planning depends on the type of series. Yes, there are different types of series and each have pros and cons that need to be studied carefully.
The next few posts I’ll go over the main types and the pros and cons of each.
“The E-Book Experiment” chronicles the business and creative side of an experiment with the business opportunities new technology and creative outlets now afford content producers. Will it fail? Will it succeed? The only way to know is to approach it with a solid plan and try. No regrets!
I hope the details of this journey will be a help to other authors. As the process proceeds to selling the final products I will also share hard data that might be useful in the decision making process of other authors who recognize that only they can take charge of their careers. For a listing of all the posts in this series, please click here.
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