Feb 4, 2015

IWSG: Branching Out

This post is part of the Insecure Writer's Support Group


Series are tough.
Among the covers at the top of this page, you'll see the five covers for the current Flynn Monroe books. They're stories I love writing, stories I love talking to others about, and that have been selling consistently. And I went into this business with a hope for consistency, not crazy numbers. What I'm saying is: I have nothing to complain about.
But still, series are tough.

The number of sales for each book slowly goes down, and I start to wonder.... am I (and this small handful of people) the only one who cares about the story anymore? Would I serve my readers better by stepping back from this series for a moment and giving them other stories for a while. Because I write for myself, but I also write for them.

I had to think about that last month and in the end I came to the conclusion that for the moment, scaling back on the series was probably a better plan. I'm still writing the fourth novel, I've got the fifth one done (have I mentioned I write out of order) but for the moment, I'm going to focus on the breadth of my bibliography. Once I get some more options out there, then I'll go back to focusing on the depth (the rest of the Flynn books and the other long series I have planned).

February is about branching out, about preparing to widen my net to hopefully keep myself happy while giving readers a reason to be happy as well.
 

7 comments:

  1. As someone who is about to see the publication of the first novel of a series, I have the same worries as you. I planned it to be a trilogy, but now it seems like it's going to be longer. When should I stop? How far should I go? I keep trying to have faith I'll figure it out when I get there.

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    1. I have an end point. There is an overarching plot thread that ties it all together, and I am going to finish the series... I just don't know how quickly anymore. Five books in the series in two years was a fast clip.

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  2. Hmm that sounds like a tough call! What I hear for the romance world, and it may be totally different than what you write and your readers, is that series are what sells books. That to really sell you need at least 3 books out. I'm not much for prescriptive rules like that, but it sounds like that's proved true for a lot of writers in romance and that area where they found their sales increase rather than decrease the more books they put out. I've also heard of authors changing up covers and blurbs and all sorts of things to get reader interest. I'm still pursuing traditional so a lot of this is new to me, but i like keep up on the industry in all regards in case I do end up pubbing indie someday.

    Good luck! I think only you can determine where you want to go in your career and what's best for your books.

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    1. I guess that doesn't apply for the space western genre yet :)

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  3. I'm amazed you can write out of order!
    That's awesome.
    Best of luck with all that you do.
    Heather

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  4. Congrats to you for all you've accomplished! I'm working on my first book and can't imagine writing a series. Good luck with your writing; you're obviously doing something very well!

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  5. That's a wonderful accomplishment--to write that many books! I have an MG series that I am pitching to agents. I wrote the first draft of the second one, but won't edit it until I have a book deal. :) In the meantime, I wrote a totally different MG story which could lend itself to a sequel. Thanks for stopping by my blog yesterday!

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