If you are considering turning your book into a series, here are a few questions you should ask yourself.
DOES YOUR GENRE SUPPORT A SERIES?Some genres (e.g. fantasy) almost require a series. In the video above, we tried to think of a fantasy novel that was not part of a series. Although I'm sure they exist, we couldn't think of one. Similarly, mystery and science fiction also support serial writing. However, be cautious about writing romance series, especially if you're dealing with one main couple. The audience is only going to last so long with the "will they, won't they" question before they get bored.
Is the story you want to tell big enough and complex enough to span several books. One of the fastest ways to lose your audience is trying to spread out a very small story across far too many pages. The panel discuss the TV series How I Met Your Mother. The consensus was that series should have ended years earlier. It was only kept alive because everyone was making money. While this is tempting, it diminishes the entire work. Remember, works of art, like people, are defined just as much by their endings as their beginnings.
DOES YOUR STORY SUPPORT A SERIES?
The panel discussed a noobie mistake: ending your book on an incomplete cliffhanger. Cliffhangers, in general CAN work, but, if done improperly, can insult your reader and ensure they never read another one of your books. When you start the book, you make a series of promises to your reader. You are promising that certain plot points and certain character arches will be fully contained in that one book. You need to deliver on that promise. Remember, this may be the only one of your books the reader ever reads.
HAVE YOU DELIVERED ON ALL YOUR PROMISES?
It's easy to determine what points you are promising to deal with in this book. Each book in a series should have a specific theme or a "beat". Think of the Guardians of the Galaxy Two. It was about fatherhood and redemption. If it had ended with Yondu floating in space instead of showing his funeral, it would have weakened the entire movie. The funeral was the sign that Yondu had finally redeemed himself. It also allowed Peter Quill an chance to see how Yondu had been a real father to him.
Endings are hard, but you owe it to your reader to wrap things up.
BE CAUTIONS WHEN WRITING ALL THE BOOKS AT ONCEAs a staff member of Ellysian Press, I recently edited a trilogy that had been written all at once. All three books were completely written before the editing process began. This does offer benefits. It speeds up the process with which books can be released. This increased momentum may improve your sales.
One problem with it, however, is it is very easy for the writer to miss giving specific cues to the reader. As a rule, you should never assume the reader remembers every detail from the previous book. As a writer, it is usually very clear in your mind. However, you may leave necessary reminders off the page.
Also, over time, each time you go through the editing process, you will become a better writer. Readers fully expect that book three in a series will be stronger than book one. If you try to speed up the process, you are risking your growth.
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