Dear lameadvice.com, I want to write a book series. Any tips on how I might achieve this?
You MUST make it obvious to the reader that the book is part of a series by leaving the story open-ended. You MUST keep the suspense going. You MUST make the reader invest in that second book!
Write, write, and write some more. Don’t cut unnecessary chapters. All irrelevant chapters are relevant, if you want to extend your story beyond one novel. Once you’ve written about 350,000 words, print your manuscript, and then divide it into three neat piles. Hey presto! You have three books: a trilogy.
Have your protagonist search for five objects and have them find only one in the first novel. This will tell the reader that there will be five books in the series. Ideally, you can use the first novel to inform the reader about the five objects and the monotonous quest needed to acquire them, and then you’ll have six books – yay!
Write about seven unique characters that are connected in some way. Dedicate a separate novel for each character. The characters can be connected in an obvious way i.e. they can all have the same hair colour or in a less obvious way: they can all have the same shaped hands.
Write about each year of your protagonist’s life; from childhood to adulthood. You can write loads of books based on your protagonist’s life. Call it a journal – better still call it a diary and base it on own your life. Leave nothing to the imagination.
Write an epic fantasy novel with lots of landscapes, long journeys, long cloaks, extensive dialogue, and tons of battle scenes. Be sure to describe everything right down to the teeniest detail as you don’t want your reader to get bogged down with the task of having to use their own imagination. Use the word ‘epic’ in the blurb at the back of the book. This lets the reader know they’re in for the long haul.
When you get bored of writing your book series and want to move on to something else, quickly and painlessly, end the series in one of the following ways:
Say it was a dream. This will explain all the disjointed storylines, confusing, unresolved subplots, etc.
Wipe out all your characters in some horrible plague. This is the perfect twist in the tale. No one will see it coming. The reader will be shocked. This will save you the time of having to tie up any loose ends in the storyline, and it will also let the reader know that there are no more books in the series.
Happy book series writing!
On a serious note…
If you want to successfully sustain a career as a self-publisher fiction writer, consider writing a book series. I know writers who have taken a book and split it into smaller ones in order to grow their fan base and thus sell more books.
To build readership, set up a website for your book series and invite readers to sign up for an email list. You can also set up a Facebook fan page and a Twitter account.
Select a genre for your book series. Preferably one you enjoy and can write well.