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Writing a Bestselling Series, Chapter 20

I began writing this series because I talk to literally thousands of people each year who want to embark on writing a series, yet have very little understanding of how to go about it. They don’t know that there are pitfalls to avoid, and so they fall into pits. Nor do they understand the unique strengths to […]

Writing a Bestselling Series, Chapter 18: Going to Hollywood

Among novelists, there is a saying: Don’t go to Hollywood.  It seems to be something of a graveyard where authors go to die.  But every year, a few young novelists go to seek their fortune there—and most are never heard from again Part of the problem is that most of the authors go to Hollywood […]

Writing a Bestselling Series, Chapter 17: A Few Lessons Learned

After I finished my first series, I still found that I had a lot to learn.  As a reader, I’ve always enjoyed long books.  I loved to immerse myself in a good fantasy or science-fiction series, especially ones with fascinating worlds, but I found that being a reader of those novels and a writer of […]

Writing a Bestselling Series, Chapter 16: Finishing the Series

  When I opened the Runelords series, I knew that I didn’t want one of those endless book series that just kept stringing the reader along—something like Tarzan 28, or Sherlock Holmes 15.  I mean, there are characters that I love, but I just can’t stay interested in a character after he has grown through […]

Writing a Bestselling Series, Chapter 15: On Molding New Writers

When you’re a writer, there are a lot of jobs in the field that are somewhat related.  I’ve worked on videogames and movies, edited computer manuals, helped write proposals, written a little nonfiction, and so on.  Certainly one of the most common careers is teaching. Now, when I was in college I put a lot […]

Writing a Bestselling Series, Chapter 14: Choosing my Covers

In 1998 and 1999, I found myself in an odd place.  I had advised one of my publishers to push Harry Potter big, and I was filled with anticipation about that. I was writing little Star Wars game books as fast I could, and I was invited to write a novel based upon an old […]

Writing a Bestselling Series, Chapter 13: Strange Reviews

writing a bestselling series strange reviews

Most writers kill their own careers.  For decades now I’ve studied promising new writers, and sometimes after a writer makes a great debut, a few years later I wonder, “Where did so-and-so go?”  Many authors will start great but then quit the race. The most common mistake that a new author makes is that the […]

Writing a Bestselling Series, Chapter 12: Audience Analysis Pays Off Big

My first fantasy novel took off in a way that I had hoped, and I suddenly found myself with a number of opportunities. First, I was working hard on my second Runelords novel, and that was my priority, but with the success of Starcraft’s Brood War (which is still played today in the final round […]

Writing a Bestselling Series, Chapter 11: Taking the Plunge

From the time that I was a teen, I’d wanted to write a fantasy series.  In fact, my first two attempts at fiction writing were both fantasy novels, but as I got into college I began writing other things—literary fiction, poetry, science fiction, non-fiction.  Ten years after winning the grand prize in the Writers of […]