Writing Your Series, Part 2

Write a book series

 

When you write a series, under ideal conditions you can get some traction with your books and build toward hitting the New York Times Bestseller’s list. In order to hit #1 on the list, you need to do a few things:

1) Generally speaking, you have to have a series that is hot from the start. You can’t have a mediocre book one in the series; the book needs to be strong enough to hook the reader and convince him or her to buy the series, not just the book.

For example, if you look at Robert Jordan’s first novel in the Wheel of Time Series, he has this fantastic prologue that sells the reader not just on the book but on the series as a whole. Though the novel moves fairly slowly in the opening chapters, as a reader you typically will say, “Ah, but I’m in this for the long haul. I want to see how this ends.”

2) The second thing that you need to try to do is to raise the bar in each book. In other words, if book one is great, book two needs to be better. The plot needs to be more brilliant, the pacing better, the writing stronger line-by-line. Readers need to see that you’re not a one-trick pony, but that you can create different effects, arouse powerful emotions, and so on.

3) Normally, publishers want you to put the books out on a regular schedule. If you look at Terry Goodkind’s fantasy series, you’ll see that he consistently put his books out once each year, year after year. Readers trusted him. Several mystery and romance writers have done the same. If a writer stops putting out books in his series for more than a year or two, the readership will often fall off—sometimes precipitously.

Keep in mind that it often takes an author three or four books to hit the New York Times list at all. As the series builds, the author will move up on the extended list—perhaps from the 40’s to the 20’s until they hit in the top ten. The top ten is where you want to be. Sometimes you need to write a long series of books to reach it, but people like Stephenie Meyer and Suzanne Collins prove it can be done in three books or less.

Twenty years ago, Dave taught his legendary 318R writing class at BYU. Some of his students included Brandon Sanderson (Way of Kings), Dan Wells (I am Not a Serial Killer), and Stephenie Meyer (Twilight). Dave’s approach worked well because he put emphasis not just on writing but also on the business of writing, so that an author doesn’t waste years of his or her life by making costly career mistakes. We have a few audit seats still open where you can be a "fly on the wall" when you audit it, but we will be closing registrations soon. Click here to Learn more about the class.
Consider joining the Apex Writers Online Writing Group If you’re a highly motivated writer committed to doing what it takes to make it in the publishing world, this group is for you. With Apex, you’ll be mentored by one of the world’s most successful writing teachers, David Farland. Once you join, you’ll be given access to all Dave’s online courses and seminars, such as The Advanced Story Puzzle Writing Enchanting Prose Editing to Greatness Promising Starts Magnificent Middles Powerful Endings Publishing in 2021 And Many More—(a $2400 value) In fact, new lessons are added weekly, all designed to help you either break into the publishing industry or move you up the ladder to becoming a bestseller. You’ll even get in on Dave’s calls where you can ask your own questions and get answers. You’ll be invited to join Study Groups—to go through workshop materials, study genres, publishers, and agents Writing Groups—to critique each other’s work Accountability Groups—to help you set and meet goals Writing Rings—where you can join like-minded authors and help boost each other’s sales by advertising to one another’s fan base Our private forum where you can research topics and network Our closed Facebook Group—network with hundreds of writers. We want to help bestselling careers, and you can do that better by networking with hundreds of writers who will help you boost your signal on social media when you sell your books, train you to market your work well, and help you break into Hollywood as your sales numbers grow. JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis had the Inklings. Ernest Hemingway worked with Faulkner and Steinbeck to achieve greatness. Now it is your turn! So what are you waiting for? The annual cost for the group is only $239, and you can pay monthly. Just click here to fill out an application.

Like this article?

Share on facebook
Share on Facebook
Share on twitter
Share on Twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on Linkdin
Share on pinterest
Share on Pinterest

More Free Writing Tips

Creative Writing
David Farland

Writing Long

When first writing a scene, let your conversations go a little long. Let your characters repeat ideas. Spend some time over-describing your scene.

Read More »
Creative Writing
David Farland

Single-draft Shakespeare

Some authors advocate writing only a single draft of a work, and then moving on. With concentration and training, some writers do learn to do that beautifully, but most never become first-rank authors. The most blatant exception of course was William Shakespeare.

Read More »

Leave a comment