There’s nothing I love more, as a reader and a writer, than a book series. Not only do I get to keep reading/writing a story I love, I get to watch the books and characters evolve throughout the books. I’ve invested in a fictional world and I want to see it in its entirety.
As authors, we have such a great opportunity, and reader, to capitalize on. There are so many benefits to writing a series, and that power rests in your pen.
Writing a series has its own challenges, but it’s a powerful tool to build yourself as an author, especially as an indie.
Ease of selling
We’ve all heard that it’s easier to sell ten books to one reader than it is to sell one book to ten readers. Read-through is a critical piece for new authors. They need to establish an audience, and nothing says consistency like publishing a series. You build a backlog, retain readers through the additional books, and show you can write good stories consistently.
Find your one reader and give them the books they want. Then, go find another. It’s so much easier than trying to write for everyone.
One and done world building
When you create a series, you create a world once and that world remains for the rest of the series. While that poses the challenge of creating the world correctly the first time (consistent rules), you also have a set of constraints that are established. Your characters move around the ‘same’ setting for the rest of the series.
World building is an incredibly focused and important piece of the puzzle, so when you create an interesting world, your characters will have plenty to do. Especially if you have consistent core characters throughout the series, you don’t have to worry about as much character sketching as the first book. Get it right the first time and the rest comes easy.
Easier to market
When you write standalones, you have individual books with individual markets. The readers will vary based on your subject. But when you have a series, you don’t have to waste money trying to market fifteen different books across the platforms. Instead, you only market your first book. If your writing is effective, your first book is the marketing tool for your second, your second for your third, and so on. Focus on getting your first book in a reader’s hand and ideally the rest will follow.
Investment in characters
When you write a series, your readers will invest in their stories. The more they come back, and the more read-through you get, the stronger those stories become. Characters and worlds take their places in imaginations and hearts. Give your readers some worlds and characters to root for.
But more than that, series allow you as the author to invest. It’s perfectly fine to be invested in your own characters. I’m not ashamed to admit that I love my characters as much as some of my readers. I mean, I created them so I better love them! If you plan out a series, you better enjoy being in your character’s head/world, otherwise the series becomes a bore and you won’t really want to finish. That’ll disappoint a lot of readers.
Establish a brand
As an indie writer, it’s important to establish who you are as a writer. Sure, you can be known for a bunch of standalones, but what really captures the attention of readers is that you are the creator of an entire series. Build a set of stories that you’re proud of, one that shows who you are as a writer. That consistency helps you create a name for yourself, and your readers will invest in that author. They’ll follow along and expect the same quality stories throughout your publishing career.
Establish a home
Series are always a way to create a home for yourself as an author, but also for your most voracious readers. It’s always wonderful to have some set of stories and characters that you can return to. It can be for fun or it can be your safety, but it gives you a bit of comfort. There’s nothing wrong with having that sort of escape for yourself as a writer. You can create a series that is done after a set number of books or you can create an open-ended series that can continue or spin off into multiple different directions. Either way, you have something that is your brand and your space.
Think of some series that you’ve read. Do you wish they were longer? Do you wonder what the characters would have done in later years? Those are the types of questions your readers will be asking… so why not cater to them and continue selling those ten books to one reader?
Laura Winter writes YA magical realism, NA romance, and fantasy. She’s the author of the YAmr Soul Series and the fantasy Warrior Series on Amazon. You can follow her fiction action by joining her tribe.