Writing a Book Series – Cut the Crap
I’m like many others. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very unique, but I’m also the same as a whole bunch of new authors. I’m writing a book series.
Well, I’m fairly new to the writing game and after writing and self-publishing my first three novels, I find myself writing a series, the perfect series, the start of my writing career.
It is a project to demonstrate everything I have learned since publishing my first novel. The series will hopefully not succumb to the same mistakes I made the first time around.
To do this, to successfully publish an entire series effectively, I need to clear the virtual desk in my head. That desk is currently covered in sticky notes. They are notes that I have been sticking there since I began writing. Typically they say, ‘Do this…’ ‘Read this…’ or ‘Stop doing this…’
It’s a mess, if my Mum was in my head, I wouldn’t be allowed out until I tidied it up.
I imagine there’s a lot of people like me too. There’s a whole wealth of information out there, a lot of it supports common ideas and practices, but, much there’s also a fair amount of contradiction.
So if I’m going to carry out the perfect launch, with the perfect product, I need to clear that desk and make a decision on what methods I will use.
So, because I’m a nice guy, I figured I’d share what I think is the most effective path to take, and obviously, I’ll leave the door open for anyone to chime in with opinions, after all, I’m not saying I’m right, I’m just saying that I need to make a decision, I need a plan.
Planning or Pantsing?
I am by nature a planner. But I agree with Johnny at Sterling and Stone, when he says that being somewhere int he middle of planning and pantsing is the ideal place to sit. The method provides a basic fence to guide focus, but isn’t restrictive and allows for the story to have a life of its own.
Literally, the whole planet says ‘Do Not Do This Yourself.’ I never have and never will. I have int he past been using thecovercollection.com. Debbie is incredible! No brainer.
Okay, so I have 6 books planned. If I just amble through the series, getting each book done whenever I can, it will never get done.
So, I have opened my calendar. I have targeted 2,200 words per day. The first story will be completed in two weeks time. The editor is ready and waiting. The cover is being prepped. in 5 weeks time, book 1 of the series will be ready. However, as soon as it goes to the editor, book 2 will be started. The calendar is mapped out until October 2018. The editors are also mapped out. Voice artists know when they will receive the manuscripts and plans for the covers are in place.
In short, it is a solid plan.
So yeah I have the calendar mapped out, big deal. What am I going to write?
Well, I have the entire series arc, with individual story arcs all mapped out, printed on A0 and stuck to the wall above my desk. I know exactly what I’m going to be writing.
But how quick am I going to be writing? I based my plan on my standard, 2,200 words per day. However, I am currently working my way through 5,000 Words Per Hour by Chris Fox. So if the speed increases, I will only be ahead of schedule, and that’s awesome!
Writing to Market?
Yep, even though my first two novels were literally just spewed out of me onto my laptop with no idea of plots, target markets or strategy, the series, my perfect book series, is written to market. If you need any information on this, I suggest reading Writing to Market by Chris Fox.
You need one.
I have one.
See Sterling and Stones SPP podcast. Delve into the archives and you will find plenty of useful information on releasing a series.
Promotion and Advertising.
Yep, you guessed it, I have a plan. I suggest listening to Johnny, Sean and Dave at SPP and also reading ‘Mastering Amazon Ads’ by Brian Meeks. It’s a quick read and will guide you through every step of the Amazon Ad journey. Facebook? Goodreads? Too many experienced people say don’t bother. I’ll learn it but will make it a plan B.
Ah, bugger! Yep, we all hate this. We all need it too though, it sucks doesn’t it? One piece of advice, read ‘Gotta Read it’ by Libbie Hawker. You’ll read it and wonder what the problem was.
Wide or KDP Select?
I’m going to mix it up. I’ll publish the series on KDP Select, then pull the first series and put them out wide. It’s all experimentation, right? So that it? It’s what I’m doing. Oh yeah, most importantly…
I cannot stress enough. You need to be motivated, it’s a long road we walk and none of us want to be that guy by the roadside who cant go any further.
How do I do it? Easy. Listen to Johnny, Sean, and Dave when I’m not writing. Sieve out all the shit that just gets in the way and select a few virtual mentors that you enjoy and respect, and only listen to those words of wisdom. Of course, you need to be open to new ideas, but if you have a game plan stick with it. Work new ideas into plans further down the road as part of experimentation.
Is it really necessary? mixed opinions on this. I will limit myself to ten mins per day.
The first casualty of wear is the plan. Create it and protect it, and you’ll never veer too far from the path.
Open to comments here. Did I miss anything? I’m writing a book series, right? How much do I really need to plan?
That depends on how good it will be…this one will blow your mind!