Are you considering writing a book series? One of the most appealing aspects of self-publishing is that it brings the ability for a writer to create the content they want without input from a publishing house looming over their creativity. Self-published authors can write the books they want and can edit, revise, and market those books however they see fit.
But building a fan base and developing an audience of readers as a self-published author can be challenging, too, so writers who publish their own work should consider writing a book series instead of only focusing on creating standalone books.
Writing a Book Series Gives Authors More Bang for Their (Marketing) Buck
As a self-published author, you are responsible for letting readers know about your book, connecting with potential readers, and marketing your book to the right audience. While some authors have an established fan base due to previous books they have written, first-time authors have to start building their audience from scratch.
But when an author pens a book series, the marketing efforts they undertake now benefit two, three, or more books rather than just one, increasing the marketing return on investment by leaps and bounds. Even if an author has only written one book in a series, the marketing strategy can include content about all of the planned books in the book series so readers will start anticipating the next installment.
By building excitement about future books, authors can get more out of the sometimes busy job of marketing a book without the guidance and funding of a large publishing company. Marketing for a whole book series may include more work initially, but all of the books in the series will benefit from each social media post, in-person event, or interaction with fans and potential readers.
How to Market Your Book Series
Creating a strategy to get your book series noticed is not wholly different than marketing a single title. The critical difference between marketing a single title and a book series is finding authentic ways to focus the audience’s attention on the series as a whole regularly.
1 Social Media: Leveraging the power of social media for a series of books is much more manageable for authors than handling marketing for a single book. The first step is to make sure you secure a social media profile for all book titles in the series so you can begin to build each book’s following as well as easily tag each book in posts.
Then, use social media platforms to drop early lines of upcoming books or reference series story arcs. Use social media to give readers tidbits of information, behind-the-scenes content, or insight about the characters in the series. Some authors even use social media for giveaways like a bundle of previously printed books in the series when a new book comes out.
2 Series Website: Like an author’s website, create an online presence for the series as a whole to give readers insight into each book as well as the series as a whole. The site is a great place to give fans a place to learn more about characters, read snippets of upcoming books, and even learn about upcoming author events. The site should link all social media to the site as well as provide links for visitors to buy each of the books in the series, too.
3 Genre Connections: Building an audience of potential readers of a book series is easier when you know where to find readers. Use social media to interact with other authors and fans of the genre and find opportunities to meet with potential readers in person like conventions or literary events.
4 Professional Partnerships: Don’t skimp on the way your book looks to your readers, especially when a book series is involved. Since a potential reader may only discover your writing at book two or book three in your series, the way each book looks should be professional and clearly connected to the other books in the series so readers will quickly grasp the connection between each of the titles.
- Use a professional graphic designer to develop each projected book’s look and feel so the series will be instantly recognizable to readers.
- A professional book cover designer can help you create covers that match your genre expectations while still conveying the connection between each book in the series. They can also help you choose the right color scheme to reflect the series as a whole while still giving each book its own identity.
- Working with a trusted printer can help you create a seamless experience for your reader. Printers like Dazzle Printing can assist you in making a quality book that looks and feels consistent from book one until the final page of the series.
5 Building Excitement: Use tools like author newsletters, social media, and live or virtual events to build excitement for the series with potential readers. Consider including a first chapter at the end of each book in the series to hook readers. Fans love to see surprise content in a book, and especially a chapter that provides a cliffhanger or other exciting events that build excitement and make readers excited for the next release.
Writing a Book Series Can Be Easier Than Writing a Single Book
For many authors, penning a longer book series can be easier to do than wrapping up every storyline and character arc in one book. Story arcs that stretch over the whole series can be planned without having to define the details immediately, giving writers longer to work out critical plot points and add interesting details to their writing.
Unlike the writing requirements of a single book, longer stories and character arcs can be simpler to write simply because the author has more time, over the course of the series, to flesh out their ideas. And planting seeds of future plot events in each book can provide plenty of opportunities to develop rich characterizations and intriguing storyline content as well.
Tips for Planning and Writing a Book Series
Transforming a single book concept into a series requires planning and a unique perspective on writing.
- When thinking about the initial story for the book, consider what occurred to your characters and plot before the story began. This may end up being a prequel to your first book or it may take the place of book one entirely. Then, consider what happens to your characters at the end of your initial story. Where do they go? What new characters pick up the action now?
- Develop major and minor characters for each individual book as well as characters that will arc through two or more books in the series.
- Leave room at the end (or even the beginning) of the series to continue the story. If your series takes off with readers, you may want to write another book or create a spinoff series with popular characters.
Readers Love to Read a Book Series
One of the most important reasons writers should consider writing a series is because readers love to read them! Readers enjoy following along with characters they fall in love with, so a series gives authors a chance to keep that excitement about characters or even storylines going with a book series.
And readers who are always looking for a new book to read love learning that a book they enjoyed actually continues on for another book or more. Knowing their latest read is actually part of a series makes choosing their next book much easier to do all the while creating a strong fan base for the author.
Another benefit to readers is that they are already familiar with an author’s cadence, characterization, and flow of the plot, so picking up the second or third book in a series allows readers to instantly immerse themselves in the story, creating a quick positive connection with the author and their work.
Getting Readers Hooked On Your Book Series
When a reader falls in love with the first book in a series, they will usually clamor for books two and three and beyond. But authors can implement a few tricks to make sure that readers who enjoy their writing will be hooked on their series and will want to read it from the first book to the last.
- Make each book capable of standing alone, in case a reader doesn’t ever see the other books in the series, but also include small “easter eggs” in each book that only readers of the series will understand. We all love to be an insider, and these little nuggets of content, like inside jokes that only friends understand, will loop them into the world of your series.
- Clearly connect each book so readers will want to read the next installment to find out what happens to a character or how a situation plays out.
- Print the first or a critical scene from the next book at the end of each book of the series. This sneak peek will alert readers to the rest of the series as well as create excitement about the next book.
- Utilize tools like social media to answer questions about the series or pose questions to readers about what they think will or should happen to a character in the upcoming book in the series. Some authors even take readers’ suggestions in their writing and then credit the contributors in the book. This is an excellent way for authors to create excitement and anticipation in fans since it creates the possibility that any fan might have played a part in the next book.